The American Empire’s Terrorist Network

The United States of America is the biggest and worst terrorist nation of the world. And most Americans approve enthusiastically. Those two statements need careful corroboration. They need a careful reading of history.



In his State of the Union speech in December 1823, President James Monroe told European nations to stay out of the Americas, and North Americans applauded what was rapidly dubbed the Monroe Doctrine. Of course, most European countries ignored it back then because the U.S. armed forces were not strong enough to enforce it. But soon they were, giving President Theodore Roosevelt the opportunity to declare in his infamous 1904 corollary that the United States had the right to intervene in Latin America to “stabilize” its economic affairs. As every Latino school kid immediately understood, that corollary meant that the United States could decide whatever made the United States richer. And it did — massively.

Grabbing Land, Grooming Dictators: U.S. Interventions in Latin America

At first the victims of the Monroe Doctrine were almost always the United States’ close neighbors in Central America. Examples would take hundreds of pages. But let me mention a few. In 1824, then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (who later became president) told Simon Bolivar that he must not interpret the Monroe Doctrine as “authorization for the weak to be insolent with the strong.” Bolivar wanted to kick out the Spaniards from the Caribbean, but U.S. oligarchs sought those islands for themselves, leading Bolivar to quip in 1829: “The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.”

Monroe Doctrine

"The Monroe Doctrine." Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1833 England invaded the Falkland Islands, which as Las Islas Malvinas belonged to Argentina. The United States did nothing. Nor did it object when England seized a huge chunk of Guatemala, plus the island of Roatan. The reason was that while abolition of slavery did not become a formal law until the 1840s in Spanish America, Afro-Spaniards had become an integral part of the land ever since the great liberators — José de San Martín, Manuel Belgrano, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Simón Bolivar — made them free because they joined the wars of liberation. Not so in territories dominated by England.

By 1830 slavery was firmly outlawed in Mexico. That did not stop U.S. land-grabbers from pouring over its borders, bringing slaves of African descent with them. When Mexico objected, the gringos declared their area independent, calling it Texas. And when war ensued, the United States seized over half of independent Mexico — its richest part, of course. A few years later, when Mexico asked U.S. residents in what was left of its territory to pay taxes just like all Mexicans, U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes scoffed at “the volatile and childish character of these people” and sent troops across the Rio Grande to teach them a lesson.

In 1854, the United States settled a minor argument with Nicaragua, again over taxes, by sending a warship to bombard San Juan del Norte. Three years later, when the United States levied a fine of twenty thousand dollars because one of its latifundistas refused to pay his taxes, and a scuffle ensued and Nicaragua could not pay, President Buchanan dispatched the navy to flatten that town and, to make sure, sent in U.S. Marines to finish the job.

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John Gerassi is a journalist and political activist who has been teaching political science at Queens College - CUNY since 1980. He has served as editor at both Time and Newsweek, and was a correspondent from Uruguay for the New York Times. He is the author of eleven books, including the recently published Talking with Sartre: Debates and Conversations.

Source Citation

Gerassi, John. 2011. The American Empire's Terrorist Network. Tikkun 26(3).

tags: Global Capitalism, US Politics, War & Peace   
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3 Responses to The American Empire’s Terrorist Network

  1. ppsei July 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Thw first sentence of the article, “The American Empire’s Terrorist Network”, proposes that “[t]he United States of America is the biggest and worst terrorist nation of the world.” The next sentence then proposes that “…most Americans approve enthusiastically.”

    Americans, of course, live in North America, Central America and South America.

    Is the author seeking to describe the approval of *all* of these Americans?

    If the author is only concerned with the approval of North Americans or only with the approval of United States of America residents or citizens, would not it be best for the author to be specific, rather than imply that the term American only refers to a portion of all Americans?

    I would like to hope that the author is not adopting a USA-centric view of the world in which Americans only live in the USA.

  2. bdfreund July 20, 2011 at 7:00 am

    The author seems to portray both Nassser and Khadaffi as victims of US imperialism and corporate interests, yet also mentions that they killed political enemies in cold blood and, at least in Khaddafi’c case, enagaged in international terrorism. Understood…..things with human beings and human institutions are always complex. So, why does Mr Gerassi not take the same stand vis-a-vis the US? Why not delve into the complexities of the American political/economic/military reality? Of course there are commercial interests that heavily influence policy. This problem is as old as civilization itself. But to sum up American actions as 100% based on immorality seems to belie a hidden agenda by the author and an unbalanced view, something that might be problematic for TIKKUN to endorse, being an organization/publication that is supposedly seeking the truth and trying to transcend pre-conceived myths. For the idea of America as totally controlled by evil corporate interests, with every political action predicated on profit and oligarchical cabals, is as much of a myth as that of an America clothed in shining armor riding a white steed to selflessly battle evil and stand up for all the world’s underdogs. The truth lies somewhere in the ever-fluctuating middle ground, and this article does nothing to illuminate that point of view.

  3. Ben July 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Leftist author called Americans-terrorists!
    All of them: “proletariat”,”peasants”-all that Marxist stuff! These today`s leftists made an idiotic mixture of old Marxism and 3 world racism declaring non-western nations-the noble victims of white imperialists.These left demagoges are often sponsored by oil money.

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