Today, we are living in a world order that is presiding over the greatest mass murder of other forms of life since the Permian extinction 250 million years ago. It is also setting the path for a global catastrophe of truly epic dimensions, where billions of people are going to die, and the future of all human life on this planet is in doubt. If that's not bad enough, it's also created a world economy that is highly unstable, and sustained by levels of debt that are going to lead to disaster. So, this is a world order that is malevolent, and frankly, not doing a very good job about building a viable future. So what to do?
Now, some people claim the solution is greater levels of American imperialism. Some people claim that God has ordained America to rule the world, and this kind of thinking helped produce the invasion of Iraq by England and America in 2003. That didn't work out very well, but we thought this would be a good time to analyze the structure of American imperialism, look at some of its roots, and see if this really is the solution for what the world needs.
Now, we don't have time here to cover the whole history of American imperialism, but we need to stress some basic points in the structure of imperialism. There are two kinds of imperialism in history. One is where one country takes over another country, and puts their people in charge of what's going on, and takes over the rule of their country, but basically leaves the local population relatively intact. This is, for example, the Roman Empire or the Persian Empire. Now, there's another kind of imperialism that's a lot more brutal, and that's racial imperialism. Now, there is a holy book which very specifically endorses racial imperialism, and that holy book is the Bible. Genocide, racial imperialism and slavery are very specifically endorsed in the Old Testament. Indeed, of the so-called God in the Old Testament, Yahweh, gets very upset if people do not adopt genocide. In fact, the bad guys in the Old Testament were the people who were in favor of religious tolerance, and so on and so forth. The Old Testament also lays a very specific agenda for a complete totalitarian religious reign of terror.
Now in the case of America, the structure of American imperialism from day one was racial imperialism. In other words, it was not just to conquer the Native Americans; the Native Americans were to be removed from their land, and stuck in glorified concentration camps known as "reservations." In other words, it wasn't that we were going to take over the land from the Iroquois, and various people like that; they were to be physically expelled and replaced by white settlers, and this led to the decision - under probably the most racist president in American history, Andrew Jackson, to expel whole sections of the native populations in the early 19th century. The Trail of Tears was just a small part of the whole campaign of racial imperialism. This was also carried out in the West.
This caught the attention of a leader in Europe in the 20th century. That leader was Adolf Hitler. He saw what America did as a model for what he would've liked Germany to do in a conquest of the Soviet Union, as is very specifically discussed in our study of Hitler's geopolitical plans, General Plan Ost. Hitler and Himmler very specifically cited America as the example of what Germany should do.
On another level, it's important to understand that the history of American imperialism is a history of massive government intervention in the economy, contrary to the myth developed in the 20th century that America developed by little people reading the Bible, and having nothing to do with the government, and just going out and making it on their own - it's hard to believe such rubbish is ever taken seriously. America had a huge system - which is not unusual in history - of state military conquest, and then sharing the spoils, vis-à-vis legislation such as the "Homestead Act" of all the land stolen from the Native Americans given over at very good rates to individual American people. It was probably the greatest welfare act in history, far more generous than the pennies given to the Afro-American population, and other poor people in the in the 20th century. This was an enormous transfer of wealth to American whites.
The economic structure of America was also very similar, where the huge levels of land conquered from the Native Americans were leased out at wonderful rates to mining companies, ranching companies other people who had good political connections with the American government. For example, the transcontinental railway was built with huge subsidies to corporations such as Union Pacific, and so on. So, this was massive government intervention in the economy, and overall, America had the highest tariff walls in the world, in terms of protecting its local industry. So, this is an important background to the structure of American imperialism. Now, we're going to discuss World War I in the next lecture, which is the beginning of American imperialism on a truly global scale.
1914 - 1917
By 1900, Christianity had come to dominate the world, which was very unusual because it had not, and there were proclamations that this was going to be the beginning of this wonderful age of harmony and happiness, and so on and so forth. It didn't quite work out that way, and in 1914, war broke out in Europe: the first World War, which would turn into one of the greatest catastrophes in history. Now, this war would have tremendous impact on American imperialism. Specifically, America was one of the world's leading debtors - probably the world's leading debtor - again, this fairytale that American business was built by free-enterprising people reading the Bible, and so on, this was sense nonsense. America was not only built with - as we mentioned - by massive state intervention, it was built by the massive investments from overseas particularly from the capitalists and England.
J.P. Morgan, the most powerful banker in American history, got his start with his father as a broker for British loans to US corporations. Now, when war broke out, total panic gripped the American business elite. Because, in light of America's huge debts overseas, the feeling was that England in particular would start calling in these debts to finance the war. So, in an act unprecedented in American history, there was such a state of emergency that the US stock market was closed for months to hopefully prevent the entire economy from collapsing. Meanwhile, in total violation of all aspects of international law, Britain imposed a total blockade - food, medicine, everything - for its enemies in the war. In 1812, America had gone to war in protest of such a blockade, but an event occurred which put things in, shall we say, a different perspective. That event was that Britain and France - but particularly Britain - began to place an enormous orders for war supplies from big business in the United States. And this set off an absolute economic boom.
As a result, a revolution in world finance began to take place. Britain started - it's true, liquidating its debts - but it liquidated those debts in America, and used the money to buy weapons and war supplies from American industry. This would change the center of gravity from world finance in World War I from London to New York, and America would become the number one creditor in the world, up until the time of Reagan's irresponsible budget and trade policies, which would set America on the road to bankruptcy that it's currently on.
Now, this transformed the whole political landscape for the discussion of the war. There was an Anglo-Saxon elite in America that was highly sympathetic to Britain to begin with. Oddly enough, the Jewish community - a good part of it - supported Germany, because the Russian Empire was a vehemently anti-Semitic affair. It had presided over horrible pogroms of the Jewish population, and one of the top ministers, as we point out in our report, of the Czar in the 19th century had even called for exterminating third of Russia's Jews. So, also in Germany, the head of the economic war department, Walter Rathenau, was one of the most respected Jewish business leaders in Europe which - all of this shows the total insanity of Hitler's campaign against the Jews that would follow. But that's a whole another story.
Anyway, suffice it to say that the Anglo-Saxon elite and big business got solidly behind the idea of war with Germany. Now, out of sheer desperation - and the Germans were certainly in desperate shape - the Germans launched what is known as the U-boat campaign to try to sink the ships bringing the weapons to England, and this was never very effective, and in our view, probably counterproductive, but that's what they did.
Meanwhile, a huge propaganda campaign was launched by England to spread the most nonsensical lies about the Germans. Press reports bombarded the American people that the German soldiers were cutting off the Belgian children's hands, and laughing their heads off while they did it, and so on. This was very similar to the lies spread by slime such as Congressman Lantos, the chairman of the House international relations committee, when he scheduled a woman - who later turned out to be, of all people, the Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter - to a public hearing, where her identity was hidden, which supposedly revealed that Saddam Hussein's soldiers were murdering babies in the hospitals, which later turned out to be a total fabrication.
But anyway, this this is all a chip off the old block in terms of imperialism and lies, and so on and so forth. So anyway, William Jennings Bryan, who was a sincere social reformer, was Secretary of State under Wilson, and he obviously saw that US policy was a complete fraud, in terms of claim to be neutral. He was forced out, and replaced by someone who would go along with the whole structure. Anyway, America continued to pretend that it was neutral, and the war raged on, and on, and on, and the economic boom got bigger, and bigger, and bigger in America as the war raged on and on. We will then discuss the entrance of America into World War I.
AMERICAN IMPERIALISM WORLD WAR I AFTERMATH
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson took America into World War I. Wilson is probably one of the most despicable people in American history. He was a religious nut, who admired the Ku Klux Klan, re-segregated the federal government, and had these religious delusions of building a global utopia. Wilson proclaimed that by going into World War I America would: A) make the world safe for democracy, and that this would be the war to end all wars; that this would create some kind of global Christian utopia. Well obviously, that didn't quite work out. Now, we can't cover all details World War I here, but we will cover a very important point which would lay the groundwork for total disaster as the 20th century unfolded.
The first stage of total disaster - which is not the main point we're going to make, we do have to bring up the first stage of total disaster - was the insistence of Wilson in keeping the Russians in the war. Russia had taken horrible bloodying at the hands of the Germans, and desperately needed to get out of the war. But America insisted that the Russians stay in the war, and threatened to cut off all financial relations with Russia. That helped bring down the Russian government, and bring to power the Communists, and we know what a bloodbath that produced in the 20th century. The Communists sought a peace treaty with Germany, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and that led to Russia's final exit from the war. But that's just the beginning of the problems that would emerge here.
Now, the larger problem was that Wilson promised the Germans the so-called "14 points" if they would surrender, which included a whole series of feel-good things, like ethnic self-determination, so on and so forth, reasonable peace terms. The Germans accepted Wilson's 14 points, and surrendered. Now, what followed was just a tidal wave of fraud and disaster on a truly epic scale. Let's start with some basic points. In 1919, the German members of the Reichstag (that was the parliament of Austro-Hungary) voted for Anschluss with Germany, according to Wilson's promise of self-determination. That was completely denied by the Allied powers. Now, you must understand this whole time, the food embargo - which is killing hundreds of thousands of German civilians - was continued to squeeze the Germans into signing whatever the Allies wanted them to sign. The punitive nature of the Versailles Treaty is well-documented, and we don't need to discuss that here. We do need to discuss the total fraudulence of Wilson's proposals.
The deceit about self-determination in Europe would lay the groundwork for tremendous problems, and the punitive nature of the treaty would bring to power Hitler. But the fraudulent nature of the Versailles, probably of what happened at Versailles vis-à-vis Wilson's 14 points, would lay the groundwork for tremendous problems throughout the 20th century, and would definitely lay the groundwork for World War II. Now, another aspect of the war that has been less well-covered has been the total fraud of Wilson and the British in the Middle East. The Arabs, like the Filipino independence movement, and like the Vietnamese in World War II, were promised that if they went along with England and America, and fought, and bled, and died for their freedom, they would get freedom. This was a lie from day one. And after World War I, the British double-crossed the Arabs, and set up colonial regimes in what is modern-day Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.
The French got Syria and Lebanon; Britain got Iraq, Jordan, and what is now Israel. As if to rub the whole thing into the Arabs, they also agreed - particularly influenced by reading the Bible, and other great inspirational books - that it was time to set up a home for the Jewish people back in Israel. And so a campaign of ethnic imperialism was introduced, where Arabs were pushed out, and Jewish citizens were pushed in Israel. This began a whole series of problems, obviously. But that was not really the big bloodbath that occurred. The bloodbath that occurred was in Iraq and it was also the French occupation of Syria was very bloody, because the Iraqis, they were rather upset at having been double-crossed. So this led to a very bloody British campaign to repress them.
Now, never underestimate Anglo-Saxon ingenuity. They came up with a brilliant plan that actually did work. See, Britain was basically damn-near broke after the war, and they had to do imperialism on the cheap. It was vaguely - as you probably hear of in the US budget - they had to be budget-sound. And what they figured out was that by carpet-bombing and murdering Iraqi civilians by air power, they could intimidate the Iraqis into going along with accepting their betrayal by England, and the crushing of the Iraqi independence movement. Winston Churchill was in charge of this, by the way, the great hero of the Neocon, so there's a tradition of Churchill in Iraq.
Churchill also advocated that the troublesome Iraqi towns and villages should be carpet-bombed with poison gas. This suggestion from the great hero of the neocons was not adopted by the British Air Force. However, the guy who supervised this for England, Arthur Harris, would later develop the tactic of aerial bombing in World War II, which involved not bothering to aim at military targets, but knowingly and deliberately trying to incinerate entire cities, with all the civilians and works of art in them. And Arthur Harris got his star in the murder of civilians in Iraq.
Now, this would also have very big issues for global disarmament, because in the global disarmament talks of the 20s and 30s, there was an awareness that the carpet-bombing of civilians was probably not a good thing, and probably something that everybody ought to avoid. However, England sabotaged - even Germany, even Nazi Germany supported this - but England sabotaged every effort to restrict the bombing of civilians, because it wanted an exemption in its imperial territories to engage in the wholesale mass murder of civilians.
So, the peace in the middle east - a great author called it "the peace to end all peace," sort of a satire of Wilson's diluted "war to end all wars" - laid the groundwork for the wars that were to come. It was a massive study in fraud and hypocrisy, and the dishonesty of the Anglo-American powers would have very grave consequences in terms of the future of the world. Say nothing of laying the groundwork for the even bigger disaster of World War II, but laying the groundwork for the current, very dangerous situation in the middle east. And we will discuss more about this and future lectures; this is the end of the lecture so far.