Terrorism from the USA? What nonsense! Do you not know that about 50% of all philanthropies are based in the US, or that The US Peace Corps has employed 210,000 men and women in 139 countries. Then there are all those archaeologists, architects, artists, authors, entertainers, musicians, researchers, and scientists who are contributing so much to the world. Listen to the millions who flee to the US for a safer, freer, and better life style!
Because of all this most of us refrain from delving into US faults which then mystifies us as to why it is possible that there are so many who mistrust, dislike, or even hate the USA? Why do we have scores of intelligent US dissidents who author books on US misdeeds? Is the US really a nation of hard-working sparrows controlled by a few hawks? One small blog can only begin to answer this conundrum but recklessly I will try.
A few hundred years ago, unlike the French, Spanish, and Portugese, the British brought their families with them to the ‘New World’, so multiplied to 3 million while New France had a mere 65,000 that so worried Louis XIV that he recruited young women, including two of my ancestors, as brides for those lonesome settlers who had not married natives. Families of 22 became common but could not match the numbers of British settlers spilling over the Appalachians into lands where Natives and French traded rather than fought.
Pressure from the British colonists, who provided 33% of the invasion force, caused the 1759 conquest of Canada that cost Britain heavily and taxpayers objected to maintaining an army of 75 regiments in order to rotate 17 to protect expanding settlers. They sought a sixpence per household tax that settlers refused to pay. London, with problems in Europe, issued the Proclamation of 1763 forbidding settlements west of the Appalachians while planning an independent Native confederacy there. LtCol George Washington had invested with the Ohio and Mississippi companies and in 10,000 acres near Vandalia so would lose. Break with Britain for financial gain?
Now, Sam Adams was a merchant for Dutch Indonesia tea and his business was hurt when London supplied tax-free British tea so he organized his ‘Tea Party’, dumping British tea into the ocean, excusing it as a political protest.
Then there was the Quebec Act of 1774 that let Canadiens retain their culture and lands to the Ohio and Mississippi valleys which infuriated settler business interests that expected to exploit these lands and people.
The vast majority of colonists had no desire to break with Britain. In fact 60,000 fought the rebels. But the hawks prevailed and the revolution succeeded. Millions of Loyalists were persecuted, many tarred and feathered, and had their lands confiscated. Over 100,000 fled. Those who went to Canada created a bi-cultural country overnight with residual hatred of the US that persisted for a hundred years - just as the US Civil War did.
Well, what do you call these rebels? With a belief in ‘Manifest Destiny’ they chose to also capture the name 'America' implying the rest of us, like the Natives, were too insignificant to warrant consideration. In Canada this resentment was still alive when I was a high school student in Ontario in the 1930s. It is now almost extinct and Canadians are just as bad in limiting ‘Americans’ only to ‘United Statesians’. Not so in Mexico where better memories exist. When Joel Robert Poinsett was appointed US ambassador to Mexico in 1825 he ordered the sign ‘American Embassy’ changed to ‘Embassy of the United States’. This made him popular there.
US insensitivity remains in the national anthem. Canadians and Britons will respectively stand to attention with their US friends as it is played, commemorating the resistance to the 1814 burning of Washington which, after all, was a reprisal for the unprovoked burning of Toronto, then called York, in 1813.
All those invasions failed because 16 different tribes of Natives, the earlier-defeated French Canadians who appreciated London’s fairness and feared US oppression, plus the United Empire Loyalists resisted a US takeover.
Undeterred, the US went on to invade, seize land from, and/or control Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Philippines, Hawaii, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, former Yugoslavia, and Libya. It was Truman’s bribing that got the UN votes to re-establish the state of Israel at the painful expense of Palestine. One could infer the military-industrial complex needs constant war. If there is no enemy, one must be made. Coups have been organized to depose unco-operative rulers. Bring back the Cold War! We have munitions to sell. Too often good US intentions have lacked proper insight, tactics, staying power, human rights, and empathy.
If we add in the Civil War, the lynching of thousands of Blacks, Mexicans, and even undesirable Whites, the support to oppressive regimes in Israel, Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Indonesia, and as well a cruel penal system, armed militias, domestic violence and rape, and persecution of whistle blowers, we have sufficient reason to persuade the US to remedy its own terror before assuming the role of world leader in anti-terrorism.
For 13 years I taught History, Geography, International Relations, and Algebra in the US public school system. At the Junior High level numerous errors were built in to make George III, actually a good king very interested in the welfare of the colonies, appear a tyrant when really he served rather than ruled Parliament. History was more honest at the Senior High School level, but interest was limited to the world’s major powers. While in university I was surprised to find I was the only one arguing the US was not all that bad. It was during the Vietnam war and the mood among professors and students was very anti-US aggression. Yet at all levels there was little mention or knowledge of middle powers like Canada. Two teachers actually taught Canada had never participated in any world conflict. It struck me that the US was preparing students to lead in athletics and, perhaps, science, but not politically.
Pity. Good, bad, and indifferent people populate every country but the US has the geography, numbers, wealth, and military might to lead, if not save, the world. Its many people who have the ability to do this are hampered by political gridlock, a democracy lost to Money and Greed, and a feeling of hopelessness.
We do need to cheer up, appreciate the many forums of co-operation among international groups of humans specializing in various activities, and encourage the efforts of all those nations who have punched well above their weights.
But, back to Terrorism. It is a world problem that cannot be solved by leaving victims to handle their own problems. Every world religion and philosophy has started with a handful of humans. We need the same zeal to sweep into homes, communities, schools, villages, but this time to leave the sword sheathed.