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O Moderno Imperialismo Norte-Americano

17 January, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Em 17 de março de 2009, Noam Chomsky foi palestrante na Boston University sobre a atual forma de imperialismo norte-americano. Chomsky defende a tese de que os EUA sempre foram, desde sua origem, uma nação voltada ao imperialismo e à expansão territorial. Sua atual fase é nada menos do que a realização do projeto de seus fundadores. O discurso de Chomsky é simplesmente excelente e rico em detalhes e conexões.

Cito aqui algumas passagens interessantes do discurso:

“I’ve been asked to talk about modern-day American imperialism. That’s a rather challenging task.  In fact, talking about American imperialism is rather like talking about triangular triangles.  The United States is the one country that exists, as far as I know, and ever has, that was founded as an empire explicitly.  According to the founding fathers, when the country was founded it was an “infant empire.”  That’s George Washington.  Modern-day American imperialism is just a later phase of a process that has continued from the very first moment without a break, going in a very steady line.  So, we are looking at one phase in a process that was initiated when the country was founded and has never changed

“The model for the founding fathers that they borrowed from Britain was the Roman Empire.  They wanted to emulate it.  I’ll talk about that a little.  Even before the Revolution, these notions were very much alive.  Benjamin Franklin, 25 years before the Revolution, complained that the British were imposing limits on the expansion of the colonies.  He objected to this, borrowing from Machiavelli.  He admonished the British (I’m quoting him), “A prince that acquires new territories and removes the natives to give his people room will be remembered as the father of the nation.”  And George Washington agreed.  He wanted to be the father of the nation.  His view was that “the gradual extension of our settlement will as certainly cause the savage as the wolf to retire, both being beasts of prey, though they differ in shape.”  I’ll skip some contemporary analogs that you can think of.  Thomas Jefferson, the most forthcoming of the founding fathers, said, “We shall drive them [the savages] — We shall drive them with the beasts of the forests into the stony mountains,” and the country will ultimately be “free of blot or mixture”—meaning red or black.  It wasn’t quite achieved, but that was the goal.  Furthermore, Jefferson went on, “Our new nation will be the nest from which America, north and south, is to be peopled,” displacing not only the red men here but the Latin-speaking population to the south and anyone else who happened to be around”

“In particular, to Andrew Jackson’s invasion of Florida, which conquered Florida from the Spanish.  That was strongly approved by then Secretary of State Adams in a famous state paper in which he advocated the principle of preemptive war on the basis of the thesis that expansion is the path to security, as Gaddis puts it.  So if we want to be secure (after all, we want to defend ourselves), we have to expand–at that time expand into Florida.  We were being threatened by what were called runaway slaves and lawless Indians, who were in the way.  They were threatening us by their existence, by barring our expansion.  And as Gaddis points out, there’s a straight line from that to George Bush.  And now “expansion is the path to security” means we take over the world, we take over space, take over the galaxy.  There’s no limit to how much you have to expand to guarantee security, and that’s been the principle from the beginning”

what is happening now traces right back to the wars of extermination and plunder and murder and lying and deceit and so on

“But the belief that the imperial thrust started in 1898 is an example of what historians of empire call “the salt water fallacy,” the belief that you have an empire if you cross salt water.  In fact, if the Mississippi River were as wide as the Irish Sea, the imperial thrust would have started much earlier.  But that’s an irrelevance.  Expanding over settled territory is no different from expanding over the waters.  So, what happened in 1898 was just an extension of the process that began when the infant empire, as it saw itself, was first formed, in its first moments.  The extension to beyond was… Again, a lot of this starts in New England, with New England merchants who were very eager to take over the Pacific trade, the fabulous markets of China, which were always in their minds, which meant conquering the northwest so you can control the ports and so on, meant kicking the British out and others out, and so on.  It went on from right here.  The goal, as William Seward, who was Secretary of State in the 1860s, pointed out (a central figure in American imperialism) was that we have to gain command of the empire of the seas.  We conquer the continent. We’re going to take it over.  The Monroe Doctrine was a declaration that we’ll take it over—everybody else keep out. And the process of doing so continued through the nineteenth century and beyond until today.  But now we have to have command of the seas.  And that meant when the time was ripe, 70 years later, when the apple started to fall from the tree, given relative power, proceeding overseas to the overseas empire.  But it’s basically no different than the earlier steps.  The leading philosophical imperialist, Brooks Adams, pointed out (this is 1885; we were just on the verge of moving overseas extensively) that “all Asia must be reduced to our economic system, the Pacific must be turned into an inland sea” (just like the Caribbean had been).  And “there’s no reason,” he said, “why the United States should not become a greater seat of wealth and power than ever was England, Rome, or Constantinople.”

McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas” (meaning the US Air Force)

“It was a world, they said, in which the United States will “hold unquestioned power” and will ensure “the limitation of any exercise of sovereignty” by states that might interfere with US global designs.” Incidentally, I’m not quoting NeoCons.  I’m quoting the Roosevelt administration, the peak of American Liberalism”

“One of the leading figures was George Kennan, who was head of the State Department policy planning staff.  He wrote one of his many important papers in 1948 (PPS23 if you want to look it up), in which he noted that the United States has half the world’s wealth but only 6% of its population, and our primary goal in foreign policy must be, as he put it, to “maintain this disparity.” He was referring specifically to Asia, but the principle was general.  And in order to do so, we must put aside all “vague and idealistic slogans” about democracy and human rights”

“The US had the only really functioning industrial system in the world and had a huge excess of manufacturing products, and there was what was called a “dollar gap.”  The countries we wanted to sell it to didn’t have dollars—that’s Europe, basically.  So we had to provide them with dollars, and the function of Southeast Asia was to play a role in that.  Hence the support for French colonialism in recapturing its Indochinese colony, and so on”

Africa was to be exploited by Europe for its reconstruction, with consequences we know”

“as long as we guarantee the protection of “our resources.”  Our resources happen to be somewhere else, but that’s a historical accident”

The Cold War was a kind of a tacit compact between the superpower and the smaller power, the United States and Russia.  The compact was that the United States would be free to carry out violence and terror and atrocities with few limits in its own domains, and the Russians would be able to run their own dungeon without too much US interference.  So the Cold War in effect was a war of the United States against the Third World, and of Russia against its much smaller domains in Eastern Europe

“November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union soon collapsed.  So what did the United States do?  How did it react?  I mean, the pretext for everything that had happened in the past was, y’know, the Russian monster—”the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” attempting to take over the world, as John F Kennedy called it.  Well, now the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy was gone, so what do we do?   Well, it turns out what we do is exactly the same thing but with different pretexts.  And that was made clear instantly.  A couple of weeks after the Berlin Wall fell, the United States invaded Panama, killing unknown numbers of people”

“This kind of thing the US does in its domains all the time, but it was a little different.  For one thing, the pretexts were different.  This time it wasn’t that we were defending ourselves against the Russians.  It was we were defending ourselves against the Hispanic narco-traffickers who were going to come and shoot up our kids and destroy the country and so on”

“you talk about our belief in free trade and free enterprise and so on, but anyone who knows anything about the US economy knows it’s based extensively on the state sector.  High-tech industry is very largely created within the state sector, and it’s typically under a Pentagon cover as long as it’s electronics based”

“For US leaders, aggression means resistance.  So, anyone who resists the United States is guilty of aggression”

“Okay, so if a country uses weapons of finance against us, that’s an act of war, and we have to be ready to use nuclear weapons if necessary”

“1971, when President Sadat of Egypt offered Israel a full peace treaty in return for withdrawal from occupied territories.  What he cared about was withdrawal from the Sinai, where Israel was kicking out thousands of peasants and settling.  He didn’t say anything about Palestinian national rights.  They were not an issue at the time.  Israel recognized this as a genuine peace offer and decided to reject it.  They made a fateful decision, preferring expansion to security.  A peace treaty with Egypt would’ve ended security problems”

Clique aqui para ler o artigo completo (em inglês).

Clique aqui para assistir ao vídeo (em inglês).

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