AlterNet By Nicolas J.S. Davies: The Tragic History of U.S. Military Supremacy.
The idea of U.S. "national security" seems inextricably entangled with the notion of "military supremacy." Over the past 15 years, this has served to rationalize the most expensive unilateral military build-up in history. But there is no evidence that having the most expensive and destructive military forces makes Americans safer than people in other countries, nor that restoring a more balanced military posture would leave us vulnerable to dangers we are currently protected from aggression. Many countries with smaller military forces do a better job of protecting their people by avoiding the hostility that is generated by U.S. imperialism, aggression and other war crimes. Now, successful diplomacy over Syria's chemical weapons has demonstrated that diplomacy within the framework of international law can be a more effective way of dealing with problems than the illegal threat or use of military force. Our government claims that its threat or use of military force. Our government claims that its use of force led to the success of diplomacy in Syria, but that's not really what happened. It was only when the sleeping giant of American democracy awoke from its long slumber and pried the cruise missiles from our leaders' trigger fingers that they grudgingly accepted "diplomacy as a last resort." For once in a very long while, our political system worked the way it's supposed to: the public made its views clear to our representatives in Congress, and they listened. We saved our leaders from the consequences of their own criminality, and their efforts to sell a propaganda narrative that turns on its head is a sad reflection on their disdain for democracy and the rule of law. For most of our history, Americans never dreamt of global military supremacy. At the turn of the 20th century, even as the U.S. waged a genocidal war that probably killed a million Filipinos, Americans never dreamt of global military supremacy. At the turn of the 20th century, even as the U.S. waged a genocidal war that probably killed a million Filipinos, American diplomats played key roles in the Hague Peace Conferences and the establishment of international courts, eager to adapt American concepts of democracy and justice to the international arena to develop alternatives to war and militarism. In response yo the horrors of the First World War, an international social movement demanded the abolition of war. In 1828, the U.S. government responded by negotiating the Kellogg-Briand Pact, named for U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, in which all major powers renounced "war as an instrument of national policy." The treaty failed to prevent the Second World War, but it provided the legal basis for the convictions against genocide,, torture and other war crimes, under which senior U.S. officials must eventually face justice. The allied defeat of Germany and Japan in the Second World War was not the result of American military supremacy, but of an alliance across ideological lines with imperial Britain and the communist Soviet Union, based on mutual trust, vigorous diplomacy and the recognition of a common existential threat. Most Americans believed at the time that the war would lead to a renewed international commitment to peace and disarmament, not to an American bid for military supremacy. American, British and Soviet leaders agreed that their common interests required what Roosevelt called "a permanent structure of peace" after the war.