As a heavy anti-imperialist myself, I love hearing people try to justify the actions taken by the United States overseas especially when they go as far to argue that the USA is some beacon of human rights that should patrol the world in hope of setting up democracy and spreading peace and love around the world! That’s exactly what Russian Deadpool tries to do in this video and Nightmare Fuel stated that he “agrees with him 100%” so this will be a response to both of them. Let’s begin:
At the time stamp 3:44 Russian Deadpool (Russian from now on) refers to the United States as a “viable human rights oriented government” that should be ready to pounce on any threat to human rights. Now this sounds innocent at first, but let’s take a look at United State’s track record when it comes to human rights in foreign countries. To date, the United States is currently supporting these authoritarian regimes:
And that is to this day. If we go into the history of United States foreign policy, we get an even larger list of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, and totalitarian governments that have been fully or partially backed by the United States. How can you reasonably, with regard to history, say that the US stands as a “human rights oriented power” when the reality is is that the US always puts its own economic or political interests above human rights?
The next claim our foreign policy expert makes at 4:40 is that not only was the US invasion of Iraq justified, but that we should keep a strong military presence there as we do in countries such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea. Let’s first take a look at what happened to Iraq as a result of our invasion, shall we? Due to the imperialist occupation of Iraq an estimated 1.9 million people were displaced around the country, while also leaving 2.2 million as refugees around the world (1). The violence created by the imperialist forces kept children from having access to education, healthcare and a stable community life; which servery harmed the prospects of the country’s future generations. Displacement also left children in a very risky position and those who fled to Syria and Jordan are living with scarce resources and being turned away from school (2). Another consequence of the U.S. invasion was women’s rights are on a drastic decline. The number of rapes, honor killings, and domestic violence cases has risen to the point where around 21.2% of all women have reported suffering from some sort of violence/hatred directed towards them (3). There have been many more terrible things done in Iraq that have either been done directly by the U.S. or that have been caused by their presence which you can read more about here however, let’s continue with Russian’s arguments. His next claim is that whether you’re a right-wing “pro-isolationist” or left-wing “pro-isolationist” you are unethical if you do not support America policing the world because it is the U.S.’s job to “uphold universal human rights,” and he even goes as far to claim that the U.S. has intentions of reducing poverty, and violence in these areas. However, as I just discussed, the U.S. has a terrible track record of supporting dictators, increasing violence, and increasing global chaos. That is not to say that all problems in the world are being caused by the United States, or started as a result of the United States, but rather to say that the majority of the time that the U.S. does decide to enforce a “universal code of human rights” they are usually doing it the wrong way and end up doing more harm than good.
Next, Russian gets into saying how since the United States is the only country that can afford to do world policing, that we should therefore do it. Let’s firstly take a look at that first claim on whether or not we can afford it. An examination of NATO data (4) from 2010 shows that the United States spent 5.4% of its GDP on its military. This is twice as much as spent by Britain and three to four times as much as most of our NATO allies. Much of this money is going towards maintaining our military bases in the countries you said we should stay in such as Japan, South Korea, and Germany. This costs up to $150 billion annually (5), that is just for military bases that we most likely don’t even need because do you honestly think any of these countries are going to rise up anytime soon? Now of course I understand that the main justification for having these bases is so that the U.S. can be quick to respond to any disaster that happens near these areas. However what makes the interventionist think that these countries cannot handle minor uprisings on their on? What makes it the responsibility of the United States to maintain these bases? I mean, the fact that we spend so much money to “care” for the citizens of the world and yet can’t even provide basic services for our own people should really say something. If we look at recent data, every hour, taxpayers in America are spending $117,000+ for the war in Iraq, $615,000+ for the war against ISIS, and $4 million for the war in Afghanistan (6). Just think of how this money could be better spent if we decided to invest in something like a Universal Healthcare like every other modern nation (7) and get 15% of Americans the healthcare they need, or infrastructure to get rid of our D rating from ASCE (8), or many other things. So when you say “we can afford it” just please take into consideration at what cost we are affording being the world police.
Next, Russian gets into talking about how it is the responsibility of the U.S. to intervene in monarchies and or dictatorships. He goes onto to call the DPRK a dictatorship however as we have discussed here and here that is a false claim. Aside from that, let’s look into how successful America has been in the past at crushing dictatorships and spreading democracy. As shown in Table 1. America to this day is supporting many dictatorships/authoritarian regimes, and if you need a more in depth explanation, here’s a list of 35 fascist movements that have been supported by the U.S. and something you’ll notice about almost all of them, is that the United States claimed to be overthrowing a dictatorship (usually because the governments in power were left wing) and instead ended up putting forth their own dictatorships. So sorry if us “unethical isolationists” are not so quick to believe the typical sob story about a brutal dictator/regime that we’ve heard so many times; given that the end result almost every time is overthrowing a democratically elected leader, and setting up our own puppet government. I can tell that this guy, as well as other interventionists, have good intentions when it comes to interfering with other countries and their political systems however history clearly shows us that there is almost always a political/economic motivation for interventionism and the U.S. is hardly the all loving, great upholder of human rights that interventionists claim it is. Russian goes on to bring up a personal story where he human rights of women being abused and wasn’t allowed to stop it, yet this is an entirely one sided view and ignores why those things happen in the first place and as I discussed earlier, the increase in attacks against women goes hand in hand with U.S. occupation (3).
Russian does get into explaining how he recognizes that “some interventions” have had alternative motives, but then cites the US-Kosovo intervention (9) as an example of the U.S. successfully stopping a brutal genocide. I will admit that this was a good thing for the U.S. to do, however this was one of the only times in history that there was U.S. intervention that ended in something good, because keep in mind that the U.S. did have a political interest in taking down the brutal regimes in Kosovo, it just so happened that this was one of the few times the interests of the United States and the interests of the people of the country they were invading coincided, because given the legacy of U.S. intervention, this is almost never the case. I really dislike how much Russian downplayed the extent of failed U.S. interventions, essentially saying that “yes they happen, but it’s an acceptable consequence.” Let’s just take a look at how many times the U.S. has invaded a country or supported a regime with “humanitarian intentions” and then it ended in a totalitarian government. Here’s a list of (almost) all the countries it’s happened in:
Given this list of failure, and the untold horrors that have been done in the name of U.S. imperialism it is sickening to see people try to justify it. I highly suggest reading up on some of these regimes the U.S. has supported and the horrible things they’ve done. Russian and other interventionists claim they’re against these human rights violations, yet they support the very intervention that gives rise to it.