Red scare. Supporting neo-liberal-to-fascist govts. Yelling democracy but then killing democratically chosen representatives when they do not "suit de US likings". Bitching about some "meddling" in their election when the history is full of US meddling in democratic process of other nations. Giving "foreign aid" to apartheid regimes.
US looked like a force of good after WW2, but that deteriorated quickly. Not that other western nation states are holy, but the US seems to be the ringleader.
But for a contrarian view on the “US Bad” narrative, check out a book called The Accidental Superpower
Here’s a good summary of the book: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/your-book-review-the-a...
It presents an interesting case that the relative peace of modern society is entirely due to US military over-investment brought on by the Cold War—which allows for uninterrupted global supply chains, safe global trade, and enforces the intertwining of economic interests through global markets.
Absent the US existing, the world doesn’t suddenly become a utopia of people living happily ever after. Humans don’t have a great track record of being nice to each other. Unfortunately the alternative options to US power don’t look all that great.
From the book:
> American disinterest in the world means that American security guarantees are unlikely to be honored. Competitions held in check for the better part of a century will return. Wars of opportunism will come back into fashion.
It sounds like a narrative where a powerful monopolistic entity backed by military power bullies everyone else and claims to provide “protection” for them.
When was the last time consolidated power in one place ended up to be good for people?
I believe a world with US as a powerful country along with other equally powerful nations (an equilibrium) is a much better place for everyone to live in (also for people of US). Maybe it’s naive, at least for now, but one can only dream.
An interesting example is the number of ICBMs programs on both sides. The engineering culture within the USSR meant that it had many different missile designs, some only ever resulting in a handful of missiles. Missiles would have short service lives and then be replaced by a new model. The Americans were different. They stuck to a smaller number of designs but mass produced and maintained them for decades. Both sides perceived that the other "had more missiles" because they were effectively counting them differently. The USSR saw American missile factories churning out missiles. The US saw a flood of new designs on parade and assumed they were being mass produced. Such cultural splits continue to inflate budgets today.
But I just don’t think humans do equilibrium well. We seem to have a constant need to seek control or to be controlled.
And importantly we can't know the counterfactual, so we can't claim that the US is responsible for all those good outcomes with any real certainty, and it's entirely possible that the incentives were there no matter which nation had the resources to control global affairs.
Backup these results with data is not the way to go. You have to proof the same results could have not been achieved without force. Which is impossible to proof IMO
Sadly? It's about time. Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, most of Latin America, many places in Africa. They all have a US hangover.
> US felt invincible after it and tried to do the right thing.
Serious? What propaganda outlet do you read? They try to help their big biz make max profits. That's all. That's not "the right thing". Yeah sure they sell it as "the right thing". Who does not...
Not really - the US looks really attractive from the outside - Hollywood propaganda probably does the heavy lifting. The reality is disappointing. Before I immigrated, I told an American expat friend my plans and he asked me a bewildered "Why?!" and that surprised me a little because "The greatest country on earth" and all that. After my first month in the US, I was legitimately depressed, and I finally understood why he had asked. The reality of living in the US is not close to being as good as it appears from the outside (or as a visitor). Fortunately, I got better at coping but I'm still very much aware of how abnormal and batshit crazy some things are in the US that most Americans are inured to.
The (gross) salary and tech scene are good, but almost everything else is worse compared to other developed nations.
I probably would have been better off moving to Canada, Germany or the Netherlands (I might do that yet - the 2020 elections were pivotal in my decision to stay put for now)
I'll take the Gollywog and Schwartz Pete over anxiety-inducing traffic stops any day.
Yes, because they are richest natiom in the world. How is that statement not a complete non sequitur to what was being discussed?
My point was the US is more than that, and “good” as illustrated by its popularity with immigrants. You can, actually, in this court system receive justice, you can speak your mind at least legally without reprisal. You can leave this nation if you so choose.
Being just a “rich” nation isn’t it. There are many rich nations and many not as accommodating.
This is such a bad argument I dont even know where to begin with unpacking.
Regimes being bad to their own people (US is also in this category, but not like some poorer countries), is separate from it behaving bad to other nations. Internal affairs vs foreign affairs.
Also before US involvement all countries were colonies, do you think being repeatedly invaded and bombed has any negative effects?
I agree bombings, chemical warfare and the like are some of the worst outcomes for people, but what would you suggest for the Koreans under attack? Not my problem? I don’t have the moral authority to get involved? Send aid?
What about the Cambodians massacred? No help from anyone and they were absolutely brutally destroyed by the millions. Millions. We haven’t even spoken of the millions in the 20s in Eastern Europe or the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I can’t so easily write off those dead, and I don’t think inaction is the answer, but war.
Right there is half of the animosity behind the cold war. Try telling a Russian that it was the US that "ended" WWII. Remember to duck. The US bombings of Japan were bad, but worse was the threat of a Russian invasion of the home islands. Japan decided that it would rather be occupied by Americans than Russians. And it was Russian troops on the streets of Berlin. They suffered far more losses and killed more enemies. It isn't "WWII" in Russia. It's "The Great Patriotic War". Despite what Texas highschool textbooks say, the US did not end that war solo.
But an interesting thought experiment, imagine, after ending WWII the US and its people simply sunk into the ocean.
Then you’ve got a massive imbalance of power tilted towards Stalin and the Soviets with nuclear weapons and allied with China, vs a weak UK and France.
While it’s impossible to prove the USSR wouldn’t have started caring about democracy and human rights and stopped caring about expansion on their own...I don’t think it’s a leap to say the world would be a worse place.
Wait, you think that was the motivation for US actions?
There was a lot of cruelty, bloodshed and lies. But there has not yet been anyone in history who avoided that while being large. The US could certainly have been much worse.
Iran '53 and Guatemala '54 are some of my favourites, as is Timor.
You do understand this right? At no point were the American public consulted by the intelligence agencies when they did these operations.
It's rather childish to retcon history by implying that declassified operations that were deeply unethical were endorsed by the American public at the time. These operations were ultra-classified in the American public had no idea about them for decades. Do you think that's fair to make the assertion that the American public do not promote freedom as a cultural aspiration based on this?
Meanwhile millions of people have lost their freedom in the last year when the CCP officially retook Hong Kong and violated the treaty with the British. They are literally being deprived of their democratic rights. Less than 10% of the Chinese public have any form of voice in their government (via CCP membership). Hong Kong is vastly less free than it was a year ago. But sure attack the US for crimes committed 70 years ago, while ignoring what's happening as we speak.
That's exactly the problem! Once the federal government started conducting secret projects during the world wars, it stopped being accountable to the public. And it used that latitude to commit war crimes, assassinate foreign leaders, and experiment on American citizens. All in the name of lower commodity prices and fat profit margins for well connected companies.
The CIA should have been disbanded after what came out in federal hearings in the 70s. We have known since the 90s that the joint chiefs of staff endorsed killing Americans in a terrorist attack to justify invading Cuba.
Americans as a whole are good people, or at least no worse than anyone else. But our government is a bloodthirsty imperial machine whose claims of any sort of moral high ground are laughable.
Moreover, many of the US operations were not really secret, people either ignored them, or favoured them. Also you say crimes 70 years ago? The US implemented the largest mass surveillance system in the world very recently, strong-arming many allies and infiltrating the internet infrastructure of other allies as well as likely violating their own constitution in the process. Also note that the US has by far the largest proportion of their population incarcerated (although the unknown numbers on China's internment camps adding some uncertainty).
Now nobody is saying China is better. The issue is that very often people (typical Americans) portrait the US as the main force of "good" in the world, but as soon as somebody points to all the atrocious things the US (the state not the people) have done, they get accused of anti-americanism, or people bring up "but China"
German public was not informed of the gas chambers, and Soviet public didnt endorse the gulag. So thet don't count then?
Nobody is responsible for what they don't know about and are unable to learn about. In what world should they be?
Whether this applies here depends on what you mean by 'responsible' in thos context, is it morally responsible?
I am not morally responsible for actions I don't commit, or actions that others commit that I had no way of stopping.
This belief appears to go against a current cultural zeitgeist of regressing to tribalism and collective/ancestral guilt. The labelling is different, but the implications are the same.
Let's compare Hong Kong and Guatemala, right now, and pick one to live in.
> There is no 'right' and 'wrong' side of history.
But then you conclude:
> There was a lot of cruelty, bloodshed and lies. [...] The US could certainly have been much worse.
So you do accept there's a gradient of right and wrong.
> The US could certainly have been much worse.
But also a lot better!
> But there has not yet been anyone in history who avoided that while being large.
What we've seen is next level. This is due to the increase in mobility and world trade, sure. But it has been abused heavily, and seemingly to every extend possible. I dont know how it could have been worse without being a straight up dictatorship. (having only two parties come very close to being a dictatorship if you ask me; only one party better than the China the US like to bash so much lately).
> They've pushed science and the arts forward, promoted freedom as a cultural aspiration rather than rule by a monarch and generally acted as a credible supporting force for the greatest improvement of living standards the world has ever seen in Asia.
Tell that to the Vietnamese and North Koreans. Indonesia and Philippines also have a bit of a US hangover.
Science is fucked nowadays. Very "proprietary", as by the US-push patent law.
I think there is right and wrong. Read some Jesus and you know that ideas of what it good behavior and what is bad is not at all new. I'm not religious, but just to show that it is not merely the last decades that we know we should be nice to people and now do any horrible act for a bit of profit.
I mean, look at the path the Europeans took to get to the modern era. Short periods of it, like the last 2000 years, have involved questionable acts.
If 'acknowledge' literally means acknowledge then I doubt you'll struggle getting what you want. If 'acknowledge' means 'and then we have to follow my political recipe for what to do next' then it might be a struggle.
I have numerous Dutch friends who are not as young and foolish, and your perspective is not the mainstream one in that country.
Your nation was under occupation by the Nazis until the United States came in with the UK and made it otherwise.
Obviously that doesn't mean the United States isn't imperfect and of course it has tremendous flaws and has yet to live up to its true ideals in its founding documents. That being said there aren't American soldiers walking around outside your door right now.
Ask yourself if anyone in the EU will stand up for your nation?
Angela Merkel sat on her hands and did absolutely nothing when a Dutch jet liner was blown up by Russian weaponry in Eastern Ukraine. Hundreds of your fellow citizens died and nobody in Europe did a single thing. Sure, sanctions were procured and many other nasty letters but not a single Russian military asset was arrested or brought to justice. Hundreds of your countrymen are dead and nobody was ever held accountable for it. It was a war crime and there is no trial.
I look forward to the United States continuing to recede from its superpower status so that the world can finally realize what they were taking for granted. About half of the United States population spent the last 5 years talking about how terrible their government was. That makes the US unique compared to the other superpowers in the world which are authoritarian at their core.
I should hope that India will eventually step up and develop into a democratic superpower but until then you have no other options other than a toothless, useless Germany dominated EU. The EU couldn't even handle vaccines properly, so I'm sure they'll do very well in protecting your citizens from the realities of authoritarian superpowers.
"Universal truth is not measured in mass appeal." -- Immortal Technique
After WW2, Stalin immediately began claiming as much of western Europe as possible. Historical documents reveal he wanted the Warsaw Pact to extend over all of Europe.
The only thing that prevented this was the US/UK forces immediately after WW2. The Berlin Airlift wasn't supported by the French government, because they viewed Berlin as a lost cause.
The Netherlands would have ended up like East Germany if not for the evil capitalist empire you clearly despise, despite the fact that it's technology is how you make a living. As a United States taxpayer, I strongly dislike the size of the US military, and wish we would scale it back dramatically, and let Europe handle (and pay for) their own defense. If I was you, I would want this as well.
In the meantime, realize that you benefit tremendously from the evil empire you openly resent, not unlike a spoiled teenager who complains about her rich father from her bedroom in the mansion.
I can't stand this phrase. It reeks of the history is a narrative with good guys and bad guys point of view.
There's an interesting book about this called Overthrow.
 - https://www.amazon.com/Overthrow-Americas-Century-Regime-Cha...
Not saying Diem government was that good, especially in their last months their anti-buddhist paranoia made them insane; but yeah communists were bad against the buddhists too once they came into power.
But yeah Agent Orange and napalm were horrible. There is no debate about that.
These were incredibly interesting and inspiring pictures and it's a shame to see the top comment hijacked by juvenile America-baaad-ism.
There are political prisoners, but it’s not random and widespread.
Coincidentally, Vietnamese communist government nowadays tries to be Best Friend with USA.
Also in the US that you seem to defend...
I am kind of defending US actions in Vietnam, and really not US actions themselves, but the South Vietnam government (US did some bad stuff there)
It does not lack problems but they would argue it is far fairer than communism.
It's a lot easier to see that in hindsight and I'm sure it was not easy at the time to make the right decisions though.
Except for maybe the Germans, Americans have a credible claim to more "facing" of their sins than any other country on Earth. Have you consumed any U.S. news over the last 20 years? Wrestling with our past is practically the national pastime.
Most Americans don't care about politics, don't care about history, and certainly don't engage in any past wrestling.
It's a relatively small, well educated elite who has that interest. The rest of the population would rather watch cat videos.
Watching sports is a national American pastime. So is drinking beer.
Wrestling with the past is not.
>The August 2, 1980 bombing of the Bologna train station which killed 85 people, is widely recognized as a Gladio operation. While it was initially blamed on the communist “Red Brigades,” eventually, right-wing and fascists elements were discoverd to be the culprits. Two Italian secret service agents and Licio Gelli, the head of the infamous P2 Masonic lodge, were convicted in connection to the bombing.
>1969: “In Italy, the Piazza Fontana massacre in Milan kills 16 and injures and maims 80 [….] during a trial of rightwing extremists General Giandelio Maletti, former head of Italian counterintelligence, alleges that the massacre had been carried out by the Italian stay-behind army and rightwing terrorists on the orders of the US secret service CIA in order to discredit Italian Communists.”
Humanity has seen the most positive growth by far under Pax Americana.
What's your alternative?
It's not really much of a Pax Americana in the middle east or Central/South America. East Asia seems to be next too. "Pax Americana" has definitely been amazing for the west and it's friends but as countries like China and India start to challenge that, true colors will probably start to show as the existing world power(s) fight to keep that title.
Ok good, so both the good things and the bad things they did, yes credit where credit is due.
Lead by who?
Watching some of the US WW2 propaganda is really eye opening. We're the lesser of 2 evils, but that's not saying much.
How dare you on an article like this...
But then sure, I have to admit. :)
And the world is not perfect, but for whatever it's worth. I think the US does and did a fine job.
Outside of militarism, the US has generally been cruelly expansionist against Native Americans, and has seen a lot of atrocities on "its own" soil. Yet the colonists eventually established a nation today that is pivotal to the arts, science, technology, and even human rights, humanitarianism, and large scale philanthropy.
How do we weigh all these? The US is not merely on the wrong side; we are a mixture of good and bad.
This is simply not true.
The North prosecuted the war to preserve the Union. It was only afterward that it was re-imagined as a war of liberation. This reimagination makes perfect sense from a propaganda perspective. After all, the Confederacy was a democracy. Its people voted to leave the Union. The Yanks, for the stated purpose of "preserving the Union" invaded a democracy and killed half a million of its citizens. Ingeniously, by pretending that the war was always about freeing the slaves, the US has people walking around celebrating a one-million casualty war as a sign of their country's morality! Woof!
The truth is this: The Civil War was waged to preserve the American Empire in North America. The fact that it happened, in an unforeseeable confluence of circumstances, to result in the end of slavery, does not make it a moral war.
This is known as the Lost Cause myth, and it's investigated in an Atlantic article titled "Why Does the Myth of the Confederate Lost Cause Persist?"
From the article:
It was then, in the late 1800s, that the myth of the Lost Cause began to take hold. The myth was an attempt to recast the Confederacy as something predicated on family and
heritage rather than what it was: a traitorous effort to extend the bondage of millions of Black people. The myth asserts that the Civil War was fought by honorable men
protecting their communities, and not about slavery at all.
We know this is a lie, because the people who fought in the Civil War told us so. "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest
material interest of the world," Mississippi lawmakers declared during their 1861 secession convention. Slavery was "the immediate cause of the late rupture and present
revolution," the Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens, said, adding that the Confederacy was founded on "the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white
The Lost Cause asks us to ignore this evidence. Besides, it argues, slavery wasn't even that bad...
 - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/06/confede...
No, the Lost Cause myth is not that the North was fighting for the Union, it was that the South was defending against Northern aggressionn rather than to prevent the perceived threat of future abolition.
The aims of opposing sides in a war are often not simple inverses of each other. The South fought for slavery, but the North (especially the slave states in the Union) did not fight against it.
> The myth was an attempt to recast the Confederacy as something predicated on family and heritage rather than what it was: a traitorous effort to extend the bondage of millions of Black people.
The states that seceded in 1860 seceded purely to preserve slavery--that's a matter of fact. I don't see how that changes anything I stated above, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.
> The myth asserts that the Civil War was fought by honorable men protecting their communities, and not about slavery at all.
This is an odd statement, because it contains two assertions, one true and one false. The Confederacy was created by white supremacists who wanted to preserve slavery. But they didn't start a war, they started a country. A country which was, for all the odious motivations underpinning its inception, just as much a democracy as the one that was founded by the Washington and Jefferson. When the United States declared their intent to wage war on the South, they were just as much a foreign power as the British were in 1775. The idea that Southerners were not defending their communities is simply bizarre.
None of this has any bearing on the assertions made above. Slavery is evil, we're all on the same page there. The Confederacy was created to preserve slavery. That was evil. But that doesn't change the fact that the North did not fight the war to free the slaves, but to subjugate the South and to preserve the American Empire. The fact that Confederacy was founded to preserve slavery doesn't have any bearing on the simple moral fact that imperialism is evil, too. And that nations don't get to start imperial wars, kill a million people, fall ass-backwards into taking an important moral action, and then pretend that the war was about that moral action all along.
If the North had fought the war to free the slaves, then you could make the case that it was a moral war. But they didn't, and it wasn't. It was an evil war which happened to bring about the end of an evil institution. We're adults, and we should be able to entertain nuance in our appreciation of history. It is okay observe that the end of slavery was a beautiful thing, and that we're glad that it happened, AND that the Civil War itself was a moral abomination and nothing to be proud of.
“In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.”
You seem confused. Nobody said that.
That’s overgeneralized. They couldn’t vote everywhere in the North, and in some of the states where they (and sometimes other nonwhite citizens) could they had different terms than whites (e.g., New York imposed a property requirement on non-Whites for voting that wasn’t imposed on Whites.)
Neither side of the Civil War fought to free slaves. One side fought to separate itself to prevent the distant future threat of that happening, the other side fought to preserve the Union (those on that aide interested in abolition had previously decided to defer it to preserve the Union.)
Secession and the rebellion ended up backfiring and also enabling abolition sooner than it otherwise would have happened, but that wasn’t what the war was fought for in the same way as WWII wasn’t fought to establish the UN.
US misunderstood the history of Vietnam and the goals of the belligerents. Vietcong also misunderstood the US.
Ho Chi Minh and Vietcong were nationalists first, communists second. US feared the domino effect that had no change of happening with Vietnam. Vietnam would not side with China for any reason and China was prepared to go to war against Russia if Russia got too much influence in Vietnam.
So admit it, say sorry, pay reparations.
So yes, they've done a lot of bad crap. Their history of supporting corrupt murderous fascists in latin America is a notable series of lows. Not that the communist alternatives were all that wonderful. However it's a very mixed bag. Take the US out of the post-war period, and does it really look a whole lot better?
If you're going to go off on one about countries the rest of the world could have done fine without for the last 70 years I could probably name a few for you.
Also repeatedly on the right side of history. It's really intellectually dishonest to ignore one over the other.
> they cannot even face that
I don't know who "they" are, but Americans are extremely self critical -- just look at this thread. It's also certainly the only of three global superpowers where citizens can be (and are) openly critical of their country's policies.
> Red scare
I'm sorry, have you ever lived in a communist country?
> Supporting neo-liberal-to-fascist govts
Yeah pretty much any time a country is a global superpower / police, it's going to make mistakes. But also, many governments the US has supported historically have had broad popular support on the ground, too, and the governments overthrown have been oppressive regimes. The regimes that take their place may often have also been oppressive, but that's not known without the benefit of hindsight. (Also there are legitimate victories in this camp too. Just ask any resident of South Korea.)
I could keep going, but it seems like your main beef with the US is that it operates like a global superpower pursuing its own domestic and international policy. I don't know what you think the world would look like under another superpower like China or Russia, but given the treatment of those countries _towards their own citizens_ in Chechnya, Crimea*, Uyghur Xinjiang, and Tibet, it's hard to imagine your or my life would be much better off under those global regimes.
I also challenge you to find a global superpower in world history that has yielded a more unshakeable global peace for almost a century.
Very arguably: no, it didn't.
The USSR defeated itself. It overspent and was rife with corruption. They don't call it "the collapse of the USSR" for no reason. It couldn't maintain its own weight and fell in on itself.
The USSR didn't really "overspend" though. The amount of money it was spending on the military was wildly exaggerated by the CIA and other people who wanted more budget.
The issue was the centrally planned economy and the monthly plans where factories would be effective for one week a month and spend the other three turning raw materials into garbage.
In the end, the USSR was simply unable to deliver sufficient goods and services to its citizens.
I just hurt my eyes from rolling them _so hard._
The USSR collapsed because it was a wildly inefficient system that was unable to provide goods and services to its people.
In order to believe your wild statement you have to believe a lot of huge implausibilities, like the idea that the USSR would not have spent money on their military if not for the Americans, which would literally make them the ONLY empire in history to do that.
Particularly hard to believe is the idea that if Reagan hadn't spent trillions on thoroughly useless weapons, the USSR would have magically flourished.
> Ronald Reagan
Americans just love their wildly incompetent and corrupt Presidents, don't they?
I'm not arguing either for or against Reagan. I merely point out that he was right about the USSR.
None of this had anything to do with the United States, but it did contribute greatly to just how broken the USSR was by the time it collapsed. The collapse wasn't only about this, but it certainly wasn't simply a defeat by the US either.
e: not false, I misread.