Echoing General Smedley Butler's road-to-Damascus experience, former senior US government insider warns that the country's war economy will destroy its host
Originally appeared at Ron Paul Institute
Continuing his insightful analysis offered in October RT and November Real News Network interviews, Lawrence Wilkerson, a former United States Army colonel and chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel, expands this month on his exploration of the US national security state. In an in-depth interview this week with host Abby Martin at teleSUR, Wilkerson explains how “interminable war” is a goal of the national security state.
Many people suppose that US foreign policy is purposed to protect the American people from danger or to achieve altruistic aspirations overseas such as the spread of democracy or the protection of human rights. Consider, for example, the Afghanistan War that was justified as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on America and also promoted as having humanitarian purposes. In August of 2002, President George W. Bush claimedsuccess in achieving some of these humanitarian purposes as follows:
In Afghanistan, the Taliban used violence and fear to deny Afghan women access to education, health care, mobility, and the right to vote. Our coalition has liberated Afghanistan and restored fundamental human rights and freedoms to Afghan women, and all the people of Afghanistan. Young girls in Afghanistan are able to attend schools for the first time.
While such humanitarian achievements proved to be largely illusory in Afghanistan, and in other recent recipients of US military intervention from Iraq to Libya to Syria, many Americans still extend to Bush and other American politicians the benefit of the doubt. “Their hearts are in the right place,” conclude many Americans — despite the repeated failures of US foreign policy to enhance Americans’ security or to achieve humanitarian goals overseas. While the implementation of US foreign policy may be bumbling, the argument goes, we have to trust that the policy is guided by the best of intentions.
Enter Wilkerson, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member, with a counterargument that the purpose of US foreign policy is neither to protect Americans nor to alleviate the suffering or protect the rights of foreigners. Wilkerson, in his first answer in the interview, presents the following motive for US foreign policy:
Today the purpose of US foreign policy it to support the complex that we created in the national security state that is fueled, funded, and powered by interminable war, and the ramifications thereof. That’s a sad commentary on what America has become, but it’s a realistic and, I think, honest appraisal of what America has become.
From there, Wilkerson, who teaches at the College of William & Mary, proceeds with a probing analysis of US foreign policy, along with the companies and former military officers that profit from it.
Not only is the foreign policy not purposed to accomplish the claimed aspirations used to achieve support from the American people, Wilkerson exposes that the policy also diminishes US real power in the world. “History demonstrates,” says Wilkerson, “this is what empires do when they are getting ready to collapse; they begin to be so zealous of their own power and its expansion that they actually decrease their power until it becomes inevitable that they cease to exist or they don’t exist in the same form they did when they were an empire.”
Watch Wilkerson’s complete interview here: