Many young liberals truly believe that by voting for Joe Biden they’re somehow helping evict racism and fascism from the Oval Office. If only it were that easy.
This columnist is thinking, in particular, of an illustrative, albeit anecdotal example. A recent conversation with a well-meaning, 20-year-old fellow pleb may help us comprehend what makes America racist. This girl is my coworker, who proudly announced, the other day, that she voted for the first time and excitedly so.
The aforementioned interlocutor was solidly convinced that the United States is a “racist country.”
She laughed with disdain when recalling an interaction, from another week, with a fellow college educated young person who dared to question, in a debate setting on campus, how America could be racist? After all, Americans elected, and reelected, a “black president?”
How stupid, another employee scoffed in the chat “…can she even cross the street by herself?…How did she get into college?”
Your columnist, attempting to find common ground with my coworkers and their stylistically vague “anti-racist” sentiments, agreed that they were, in fact, right. Barack Obama, as President, committed unspeakable genocides against some of the poorest black people in the world, namely Somalis and Yemenis. (The devastation caused by Obama’s treasonous, illegal, and callous war in Libya, and the subsequent return of chattel slavery there, would have been another obvious example.)
There was no real response; that wasn’t what they meant. The comment wasn’t dismissed so much as it was ignored, much like the majority American population and mainstream media tend to treat the wars themselves.
American Presidents committing some holocaust, big or small, against brown, black, or often yellow people somewhere “over there,” to Americans, is like background music or having coffee with breakfast. So routine, we hardly ever think about it. The “expert” class has said, repeatedly, that it can be no other way; and you’d better support the guys, gals, and trans folk dropping the bombs and doing the shooting.
Think about how little most Americans pay attention to what the troops are doing “over there” anyway, then contrast that with the ridiculous consensus that they’re essentially our society’s best, bravest, and most admirable figures.
America’s long war on Iraq throughout the 1990s—an era of yellow ribbon fascism—is a potent case in point. During those days, immediately after the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union fell, our intellectual and political enthusiasts for “full spectrum dominance,”—that is American global hegemony—attempted to purge the citizenry of our “sickly inhibitions” against massive shows of military force. Therefore, Iraq was brutally sacrificed so that the so called “Vietnam syndrome” could give way to a heartless, neo jingoist culture more hospitable to the much coveted “unipolar moment,” that was now at hand.
Right now, our politics at home seem so polarized, confusing, hysterical, dire, and hateful. It makes some sense when we realize that, dozens of years ago, Americans probably lost their collective empathy somewhere over Iraq. Mercifully and very memorably, Ron Paul alerted the electorate and broader American culture of this ugly, forgotten history back in 2007 with his famous “Giuliani moment.”
See the UN sanctions crisis, allied bombings (including from the numerous U.S. bases on the Arabian Peninsula, a major al Qaeda recruitment talking point) and the blockade on Iraq throughout the entire decade of the 1990s and beyond. Bill Clinton launched a full-scale global trade embargo on Iraq (including banning chlorine for clean water after the water and sewage systems were deliberately bombed out, prohibiting imports of spare parts to repair the electrical grid and delivery trucks, blocking medical imports, as well as oil exports, etc.). This long strangulation followed the George H.W. Bush regime’s strategic obliteration of civilian infrastructure during Iraq War 1, where estimates show maybe 200,000 Iraqis died. After that, for the rest of the nineties and into the next millennium, America bombed Iraq, regularly, three to four times a week.
Clinton’s “Iraq War I and ½,” as Scott Horton calls it, killed hundreds of thousands.
In 1996, half way through killing these people, Madeline Albright, who served as UN Ambassador and then Secretary of State during these years, said it was “worth it.” Ironically, she’s since rebranded herself as a neoliberal, anti-fascist, even feminist icon. In this country, some people really can do anything.
Shortly thereafter, the next Bush regime lied us into a full-on invasion, the regime change war, where one million Iraqis died.
That’s the “bad war” though, Iraq war II, the one Joe Biden championed as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That’s the one everyone remembers; although most Americans are likely unaware that their government killed that many people, in, as Ron Paul has said, “an impoverished Third World nation that lacked an air force, anti-aircraft weapons, and a navy. This was supposed to be the great threat, requiring urgent action.”
Is this the old “normalcy” pined for by so many Americans?
Back to our anecdote, another coworker, attempting to comfort this newest member of the voting class, assured her that, “I’m sure Trump has been more destructive than Obama was with that stuff.”
Depending on the regions, that point has merits. As Dave Decamp of Antiwar.com has pointed out, Trump has escalated the bombing campaigns and wars on Somalia, Yemen, and, until relatively recently, Afghanistan as well.
Trump’s almost totally unjustified reputation as “antiwar” notwithstanding, Somalia has been bombed, by the U.S., more in the first seven months of 2020, than the Bush II and Obama administrations combined.
Uncle Sam’s genocide in Yemen is another example, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The U.S.-Saudi coalition’s total war against the poorest Middle Eastern civilian population (a war of famine, terrorism, treason, terror bombings, blockades, record shattering epidemics, and deliberate starvation) was commenced, in early 2015, under the Obama-Biden administration. After nearly four years of Trump executing this war, with the gloves off, so to speak, according to the UN at least 233,000 people have died; almost half were killed violently, the rest have died due to deprivation, and disease. The U.S.-Saudi axis are purposely crippling Yemen’s population, its economy, and healthcare systems. As with Palestine, Yemen’s desperately needed aid has been largely cut. Additionally, Trump has vetoed multiple Congressional resolutions, including War Powers Act challenges, demanding an end to America’s illegal/unconstitutional support for the Saudi coalition’s war there.
And despite Trump’s ostensible progress working toward a full withdrawal from Afghanistan in Spring 2021, he set records for the number of munitions dropped on the long battered country. He doubled the number of troops left there by Obama, in 2017; and Afghanistan was bombed nearly 15,000 times between 2018-2019.
Beyond these campaigns, both parties, their constituents and leadership, seem all too content to have neocon apparatchiks continually forcing our whole population further into conflict, and possibly eventual hot wars, with China and Russia. Given all the hydrogen bombs involved, this is the issue of our time and surely one that all Americans, young people especially, should be united against.
For example, how many Americans know that Trump, in an incident during the early February of 2018, had hundreds of Russian mercenaries bombed in Syria, which is still illegally occupied by the U.S.? That’s some puppet Putin has there.
At the same time, the severe lack of coverage on the U.S. military’s countless, multi front provocations of China this year, (occurring constantly in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, etc.), in the media, the debates, public discourse, etc. is highly troubling.
If racism, or fascism, are the issues we must face, we should be honest and admit that American exceptionalism has successfully blinded the voter class, young and old, from these and many other critical points. For instance, the U.S. unconditionally backs what the Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow has called Israel’s “militarized apartheid” in its close to 60 year occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and Syria’s Golan Heights. For nearly 20 years, to the tune of more than $2 trillion, we’ve supported a coalition of communists, warlords, drug dealers, and child molesters in Afghanistan. Obama installed an anti-Russian, Nazi infested coup regime in Ukraine fighting a proxy war with Moscow for years, with more than 10,000 dead (and not to be outdone by his predecessor, Trump proudly sent them anti-tank missiles, manufactured by Raytheon, the former lobbying home of his current Defense Secretary, Mark Esper). The U.S. also backs a totalitarian, religious/gender apartheid regime in Saudi Arabia, along with their al Qaeda allies in Syria, Yemen, etc. And for decades, the U.S. has happily underwritten assorted fascist, death squad governments throughout Latin America. The list could go much further.
Speaking of Latin America, for all the criticism Trump gets for racism, one would assume now that the estimated death toll of his sanctions on Venezuela has reached 100,000 people, that we’d see quite the controversy. Evidently, these poor people will only be given the time of day when their misery—largely U.S. induced—can be intermittently exploited by CNN for regime change efforts against Maduro’s government.
In many diverse parts of the world, people are living through some version of hell because it’s profitable for our Military-Industrial-Congressional-Security Complex, it benefits their neocon think tank partners in crime, as well as their corporate and often foreign benefactors. Until we reject empire and the paper-thin propaganda it’s built on, we will be inextricably tied with this racism and fascism everybody is debating over. This racism/fascism discussion cannot remain a muddled and ambiguous partisan debate. Indeed, to be truly anti-racist, as an American, is to be an anti-imperialist.
It is impossible to oppose empire, racism, authoritarianism, or fascism in this election when the only apparently viable political alternative to such things is…checks notes…Joe Biden? We have “Israel’s man in Washington,” the author of not only the Patriot Act, but the infamous 1994 mass-incarceration bill as well. And let’s not forget, Kamala Harris, California’s top cop, who laughs about locking up poor people for victimless crimes; she’s a red baiting, neo Cold Warrior, and National Security Democrat.
If the terms mean anything, both candidates are fascist imperialists. For sure, those who would vote, this time, for either candidate because they think they’re fighting racism, authoritarianism, or fascism with that vote are likely not racist or fascist themselves. However, a culture and government that has so cynically and systematically coddled “the folks” into such delusions most certainly is.
Connor Freeman is a writer and college student, based in Arizona, primarily covering American imperial politics and foreign policy. He has written for the Libertarian Institute and the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also been featured at Antiwar.com and Information Clearing House. You can follow him on Twitter at @FreemansMind96.