by Ajani Mgo
In today's context, should we continue to allow the shadow of the eagle be cast upon us?
|During WWIII, the US was forced to break out of its policy of isolationism with a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Many historians agree that by the end of the war, the US was left as the world’s sole remaining superpower. It, therefore, had the supposed duty of rebuilding the war-torn nations and peoples of the world. The earlier USA-proposed League of Nations had failed without the participation of the proposing country itself, greatly. With the recovery of the Soviet Union in the background, the world would soon be brought a Cold War, with the Americans perceiving the Soviets to be aggressive in nature.
With its responsibility of rebuilding the world, the US provided aid and assistance to many nations around the world, officially as “rebuilding efforts” as actually part of the Cold War arsenal against the Soviet Union. Indeed, many of the G8 today would not have been if not for the large financial aid packages i.e. Marshall Plan given to them by the US then, fuelled by the paranoia of that period. Many nations today can attribute their growth and continued prosperity to the US. The sphere of influence of the US then slowly spread from its base in North America to the rest of the world.
It is like an eerie fulfillment and extension of the Manifest Destiny of the 19th century - today the US is argued to be the leader, or perhaps imperialist, in world affairs. I do not deny, however, that the world now has the US to thank for its heavy efforts of reconstruction in the past, though the intent of which remains to be much-debated to this date. Democratic ideals have survived and gained strength, as Communism slowly became passive and contained.
My question, for my argument hence, is whether the US should carry on to exert its giant influence over the world politics?
I think that the US imperium over the world ought to have expired. In recent years, the US has had more failures than successes, so much so that its “well-intended” big brother status over world affairs is as effective as the obsolete League of Nations.
Popular examples include Iraq, which by the opinion of a great many seem to judge it as “fighting a losing war”. I recall that in Russia today, there exist sympathizers for the Soviet cause, who seem to think that the fall of Communism in 1990 was not for the better of the people, given that it was that strong authoritarian power in the past to bind the deeply-fragmented peoples of Russia together. By analogy, it does not seem that the downfall of Saddam has done much to alleviate tensions. Besides the fact that the initial push into Iraq was justified by claims by the US that the former held weapons-of-mass-dest ruction, which never quite materialized, the invasion did little to help the people. True, I will admit that the genocide did stop on a macro-level. Yet on the micro-level, such killings are frequent with tribal clashes and bombings. I would even go on to say that the scale of these conflicts have increased. Indeed, Saddam was a cruel leader, but while the US had no clear understanding of Middle-Eastern sensitivities and clear plans on halting the genocide and killings, they should not have entered the region at all. As we see now, they are caught back in where they started like the Vietnam War.
I should only hope that they do not touch on Iran unless they be clear-headed about their direction. Iran, though dangerous, is but a democracy with a decent standard of living. I seriously think the US should weigh all their options carefully before proceeding.
Outside of the Middle-East where they have had the worst stroke of bad luck thus far, the US has had tensions with several countries around the world- traditionally North Korea. Yet as this occurs, how can we be sure that these countries will be the only few points of contention for good? The US foreign policy seems to point to a dire possibility - the US influence over the world will ultimately establish them as “bad influences”, with a rising big brother China, the US should have more work to do at home improving the living standards of its people. The rich-poor divide is still a fundamental issue untackled throughout the years.
The US could indeed have great domestic leaders, but for their messy foreign affairs, there remains much to be said. If the leaders could focus more at home, then maybe they would be much more well-loved, both locally and overseas.