The achievement of US superpower status owes to its historical evolution, abundant resources, and various geopolitical factors. The U.S. foreign policy has its legacy shaped by many of its elites. Most ordinary citizens are led by the elites through media reports and their influence. Today’s U.S. China Policy and the people’s reaction to it are shaped and led this way, however, the American people must be aware of its consequence, which is re-trotting the road towards another war just like the Korean, the Vietnam, the Iraq and the Afghanistan Wars. This article speaks out on this issue, hoping to arouse the awakening of the American people from 'war addiction'.
I. Americans’ glory
The U.S. is a big rich big continental country securely shielded by the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Though racial discrimination exists, America is an immigrants’ heaven with abundant opportunities for foreign elites. Immigrants were very helpful in US 250 years of nation building. Fortunately, George Washington, a great leader, successfully led the revolution, gained the independence of the U.S. and served as its first president. Luckily, many brilliant political figures in the early American history chartered the Declaration of Independence, formulated a three-branch separate power federal government and advanced a democratic system gradually expanded people's rights to vote. Then happily, President Lincoln made the right decision to abolish the slavery system and fought the pro-slavery South. Though he was assassinated, the unity of the U.S. was preserved. The abandonment of the slavery system made the U.S. an even more desirable country for immigrants. Therefore, more elites from countries in stress immigrated to the U.S.
In the two world wars, the U.S. has learned some valuable lessons: Don't join a war lightly unless it is absolutely beneficial to the U.S. and don't bring any war to the homeland. In WW I, the U.S. didn't suffer any loss but gained profits. In WW II, the U.S. made profits by selling large amounts of steel to Japan for its invasions in Asia until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. WW II did not cause devastating injury to the U.S. as it did to many nations; on the contrary, it made U.S. a world power. Unfortunately, it also caused some American elites to like participation in war. The American military-industry-enterprises can sell weapons for high profits, addictive like opium. Once the military-industrial-complex Is addicted to opium; it cannot stop, the underlying cause for the U.S. to launch wars so easily and frequently post WW II, mostly for profits and less for world prosperity, human rights, justice, and poverty alleviation.
II. The Myth of American Hegemony and the Thucydides Trap
The hegemonic behavior of the U.S. is controversial. In the struggle against hegemony in the era of the communist Soviet Union, the actions of the U.S. were praised by the liberal camp. The contemporary American elites are influenced by the thoughts of two international relations and foreign affairs masters (scholars) on foreign strategic policies. One is John Mearsheim (12/14/1947), West Point Military Academy (1966-70), Air Force, Master from Southern California (1974), and PhD from Cornell (1980). He is currently a professor at Chicago University. His theory of hegemony and offensive realism is that great powers will always take the path of confrontation following hegemony, competition will never stop, hence war is the endgame. He considers U.S. - Russia, and U.S. - China are all hegemonic struggle.
Another master is Graham Allison (3/23/1940), Harvard Bachelor (1962), Oxford Bachelor (Marshall Scholar 1964), Harvard PhD (1968) and has been teaching at Harvard since then, having students all over the world. Based on the Greek history, he deduced a Thucydides Trap theory - Powerful countries cannot escape the Thucydides trap, meaning competition leading to war. These two scholars made a great influence on American diplomatic and military strategy. However, in the Korean War (6/25/1950-7/27/1953), the U.S. did not gain much benefit but only split Korea as thorns on the Chinese border. The 20-year Vietnam War (11/1/1955-4/30/1975) finally ended by Americans’ war-weary protests. The U.S. didn't gain any ground except leaving a Communist Party pursuing capitalism in Vietnam. The Gulf (1/17/1991-2/28/1991), the Iraq (3/20/2003-12/15/2011) and the Afghanistan (10/7/2001-8/30/2021) wars were the most protracted ones consuming a lot of U.S. resources, but in the end the U.S. hastily withdrew from Afghanistan. These wars were not directly engaged by two hegemonic powers. Mearsheimer had openly opposed the Iraq War.
III. The U.S. Has Become A Serious "War Addict"
In the U.S., drug abuse is a problem. Many drug addicts and traffickers create social problems - homeless population and drug-related crimes. If it weren’t for the US government engaging in drug trafficking and arms sales, these problems should be easily solved. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) once had created an airline to transport drugs and got exposed later. In South America, CIA also used the profits from drug trafficking to purchase weapons and to support its training of militants to overthrow the “unfriendly” government (Example, the Iran-Contra affair: toppling the Nicaragua government). Trafficking drugs and selling arms can reap huge profits and launching a war will consume weapons. Under the lure of profits, the U.S. arms dealers and military-industry-enterprises will lobby the defense agencies and the U.S. Congress to start wars. Then arms will be manufactured, sold abroad and consumed. Huge profits change hands and military budgets are increased to support weapon development and war expenses. The military-industry-complex and the U.S. government basically became a ‘war addict’.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established to counter the Soviet Union’s expansion, but the collapsed of the Soviet Union made NATO expanded rather than reduced in membership. Expansion of NATO naturally required supply of arms. The U.S. has military bases all over the world with troops stationed in allied countries. Of course, these bases need funding. American military-industry-companies certainly had continued lobbying members of Congress to pass needed military expenditures. Demanding payments from allies for U.S. troops stationed there and raising military budget despite of ballooning national debt are basically hegemonic behavior. Using military force to settle conflicts of interest is also a part of the above mentioned ‘war addict’ behavior. However, allies such as the European Union, Japan and South Korea have already felt the pressure to pay ever higher ‘military protection fee’. Reasonable thinkers have already expressed concern, but the U.S. foreign policy is still creating tensions, causing right-wing politicians in various countries to support the ‘war addict’ behavior. (Recent Example, Taiwan is buying $billions of war gear under the tension created by the hyped U.S. anti-China policy) This war addiction is more serious than the opium drug addiction in the United States.
IV. Americans Must Wake up from War Addiction
From a personal point of view, living on debt or borrowing money to survive is not a way to raise a family. It not only creates great pressure on oneself, but it also ruins the future of one’s next generation. The same principle holds for nations. The national debt of the U.S. has reached US$23.3 trillion (2020), and the average total debt per person (approximately 233 million adults) has reached US$80,000 to US$100,000, more than two years of mean personal income of U.S. citizens. Can this debt be forgiven? Can the U.S. renege this debt using military power? This type of thinking is very dangerous, it will inevitably support the prediction by Mearsheim and Ellison - breaking out to war. But with today’s proliferation of nuclear weapons, mankind cannot survive a nuclear war, everyone will be perished. Therefore, it is time for the American people to wake up and cure the ‘war addict’ behavior. First of all, the American people must stop letting military-industry-enterprises sell arms for high profits, and then spend money to lobby the government to support them, launching wars-developing weapons-selling arms: a cyclic process.
American people should urge the Congress to levy a high tax on military-industrial-enterprises and limit their senior corporate officials' salaries. Their bonuses must be determined based on how many jobs generated and how much workers’ social welfare paid not just on profits. Lobbying expense must be limited and profits must be used to create jobs and to pay worker benefits before paying dividends. Legislation must be enacted to prevent brewing the above-mentioned ‘war addict’ behavior and never ending cyclic process. Only by stopping the ‘war addict’ cyclic process, investors' funds can be diverted back to much needed national infrastructure construction projects and much desired high-quality domestic jobs. In fact, the American people should understand that the above discussion is a simple and easy-to-understand truth. The American people must assemble their energy to correct the above-mentioned wrong policies and stop the ‘war addict’ behavior, including the current anti-China strategy. With the rich natural resources possessed by the U.S., it will not take many years to make her truly prosperous and strong if the American people can really cure their government’s ‘war addict’ behavior.