Trampling On Other Nations? The U.S. Empire Was Built On That

Revolution Newspaper | March 10, 2014

The situation in the central European country of Ukraine continues to be tense, volatile, unpredictable, and dangerous. What—as we go to press—is contention at the level of economic blackmail and lower-level military moves could erupt very quickly into something even much worse.

In the midst of all this, Barack Obama talks about respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the aspirations of the people of Ukraine.

But neither the aspirations of people in Ukraine (which are conflicting, contradictory, and overall quite confused), much less respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, is what is driving the U.S. and the European Union, or Russia, on an ominous trajectory.

As we wrote last week, this crisis is driven by the “jockeying for position and geopolitical advantage by rival imperialist powers—with the potential to escalate into direct great-power confrontation.” (See “Ukraine: Not a ‘Democratic Uprising’ but a Clash Between Predators.”)

In all this, people in the United States are being systematically lied to and taught to identify—unthinkingly and uncritically—with the interests of the U.S. ruling class that sits atop a world of vicious exploitation, ferocious oppression, and environmental devastation.

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At a tense, contentious press conference, in an endless series of questions for White House spokesman Jay Carney about whether or not Obama authorizing restrictions against travel and financial transactions by Russians who are “threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” are “tough enough” or will be “effective,” NOBODY asked what should have been the OBVIOUS question:

Who the fuck is the United States to lecture anybody about not respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries!?

And in the midst of saber-rattling, Secretary of State John Kerry declared, “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.”

What happened in the 19th Century and the 20th?

The United States has invaded or staged coups, and carried out massacres on a scale unmatched in human history. There were wars against the Native American peoples as part of the genocidal seizure of North America (including the massacre of 300 Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee in 1890).

There were U.S. invasions, coups and occupations: Argentina (1890); Chile (1891); Hawaii (1893); Nicaragua (1894); China (1894-95); Korea (1894); Panama (1895); Nicaragua (1896); China (1898-1900); the Philippines (1898-1910); Cuba (1898-1901); Puerto Rico (1898); Guam and Nicaragua (1898); Samoa (1899); Panama (1901-14); Honduras (1903); Dominican Republic (1903-04); Korea (1904-05); Cuba (1906-09); Nicaragua (1907); Honduras (1907); Panama 1908); Nicaragua (1910 and 1911).

There was military aggression against China (1911); Cuba (1912); Panama (1912); Honduras (1912); Nicaragua (1912-33); Mexico (1913); Dominican Republic (1914); Mexico (1914-18); Haiti (1914-34); Dominican Republic (1916-24); Cuba again (1917-33); Russia (1918-22); Panama (1918-20); Honduras (1919); Yugoslavia (1919); Guatemala (1920); Turkey (1922); China (1922-27); Panama (1925); China again (1927-34); El Salvador (1932); Iran (1946); Yugoslavia (1946); Greece (1947-49).

There was a counter-revolutionary invasion of the Philippines (1948-54) and invasion of Puerto Rico (1950). The U.S. sent troops into Korea (1950-53). They staged a coup in Iran (1953). The U.S. first went into Vietnam in 1954; and that same year deposed a nationalist-elected government in Guatemala that tried to nationalize unused land owned by U.S. agribusiness. The U.S. interfered militarily in sovereign countries in the Middle East: Lebanon (l958); Iraq (1958 and again in 1963).

Until driven out, the U.S. waged a genocidal war in Vietnam (l960-73). The U.S. expanded the war in Vietnam by invading Laos (1964-73). And the U.S. carpet bombed Cambodia (l969-73).

Under John F. Kennedy, the U.S. invaded Cuba (l961). The U.S. orchestrated a coup in Indonesia in l965 that resulted in the deaths of up to a million people, and invaded the Dominican Republic that same year.

In 1996-7, the U.S. engineered death squads and counter-revolutionary insurgents in Guatemala that resulted in the death of thousands. In 1973, the U.S. orchestrated a coup in Chile that installed a fascist regime that killed tens of thousands, tortured more, and drove many of the country’s intellectuals into exile.

The U.S. backed brutal death squads in Angola (l975-92) and in other countries in southern Africa at the same time. It carried out a military operation in Iran in 1980; attacked Libya in l981; funded reactionary armed forces in El Salvador (1981-92); financed and aided terrorist attacks against the elected government of Nicaragua (l981-90); invaded Lebanon (l982-84); invaded and overthrew the elected government of Grenada (l983-84). The U.S supported genocide of the Indonesian regime of Suharto agasint the people of East Timor in 1975.

The U.S. established military bases in the sovereign state of Honduras (l983-89); carried out more military operations in Iran (l984); against Libya (l986); against Bolivia (1986); and again against Iran (l987-88).

U.S. forces went into the Virgin Islands to suppress protests (1989 and 1991-2003)); the Philippines (1989); Panama (1984). The U.S. invaded Iraq (1990-91 based on lies about “weapons of mass destruction”; Somalia (1992-94); attacked Yugoslavia (1992-94 and 1999); invaded Haiti (1994); and invaded Afghanistan in 1998.

Lies, Distortions, and Coverups

These invasions, coups, and wars via proxies overthrew elected governments. They attacked progressive nationalist and communist revolutions. And in these invasions, coups, and proxy wars, the rulers of the United States systematically trampled the territorial integrity of just about everywhere—including outright seizing of countries like Puerto Rico and Guam.

How many people in this country even know this history? It’s buried in footnotes in a few textbooks. It is ignored and covered up by the ruling class’s media. It is lied about and distorted by the rulers and spokespeople for this country. But it’s true.

Do some digging and critical investigation at and other sites about this history. Encourage your classmates, your students, your cell mates, or your colleagues to do that as well. When you look into any of these crimes, the whole truth is much worse than we can detail here. The rivers were choked with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of communists and others as a result of massacres orchestrated out of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia in 1965. The bloody invasion of the Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century in a U.S. war of colonization killed hundreds of thousands of resistance fighters and civilians. The United States bombed every building two stories or higher in northern Korea between 1950 and 1952—aggression against a country halfway around the world from the United States—in part to threaten socialist China. The U.S. dropped napalm—jellied gasoline—on children in Vietnam, burning them alive, and dropped terrible chemical weapons that poisoned farmland to starve civilians throughout Vietnam.

And Today...

But that’s not all! Since the 19th and 20th centuries, when the U.S. was establishing its empire, in the 21st Century—when U.S. officials proclaim that you just don’t do this (anymore)—the U.S. has invaded or continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, wars that have killed or dislocated millions. American drones blow up people the rulers of the U.S. see as a threat, or just people at random in Pakistan and Yemen—supposedly sovereign countries in which a constant state of terror is created for the peoples of those countries. More death, more oppression, more misery. And yes, as we exposed in our coverage last week, the U.S. is knee-deep in machinations to reconfigure the government in Ukraine and has been for some time.

And it is on the basis of all that and more that the U.S. empire (and other colonial and imperialist empires) have risen, and today the U.S. capitalist-imperialist ruling class is the top oppressive power in the world. The logic and “morality” of these global meta-thugs is: We killed millions and millions, and laid waste to much of the planet to dominate it. It’s ours, back off or else.

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That fact that Russia and other oppressive global powers are contending with the U.S. with their own drive to expand their piece of the action doesn’t diminish for a minute the fact that when it comes to respecting the integrity of other countries, nobody can touch the record of the U.S.A.

The stakes are high. Truth must be told, lies confronted, and the interests of HUMANITY brought to the fore everywhere right now.

Editors’ note: This article draws on the paper, “A Century of U.S. Military Interventions: From Wounded Knee to Iraq,” by Zoltán Grossman, faculty member in Geography and Native American Studies, The Evergreen State College

This article originally appeared on in the March 10, 2014 issue.

Main Real History Lessons Trampling On Other Nations? The U.S. Empire Was Built On That


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.