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Since the end of WWII, especially since the breakup of the Soviet Union, it appears as if U.S. political leaders feel they are trapped in a time warp and are unable to break free. They seem to believe that they must repeat the same insane and disastrous foreign policy of regime change over and over.

Since 9/11, the U.S. has attacked or supported attacks against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The attacks, especially the horrendous U.S.-led war crime against Iraq, have destabilized the Middle East, devastated these nations and caused death and appalling suffering for the people.

In addition, the U.S. has troops positioned in about 800 locations worldwide, further threatening international stability. In particular, U.S. forces surround much of Russia, China and Iran, heightening the risk of war. Moreover, illegal U.S. sanctions, a form of warfare, continue to cause immense suffering for, among others, the people of Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Iran.

Now U.S. political leaders are greatly concerned about China challenging U.S. primacy or hegemony in East Asia. Wait a darned minute — why must the U.S. be the hegemonic power in East Asia? Or in Europe, Africa or anywhere else? Why isn’t it sufficient for the U.S. to be a member in good standing in the community of nations instead of trying to control the world?

U.S. leaders and its corporate-controlled media proclaim that the U.S. is the exceptional nation and that this exceptionalism conveys upon it a special responsibility to prevent chaos from happening. Besides its two horrific original sins — the sin of genocide against the American Indians and the sin of slavery — I would agree that the U.S. is exceptional in at least two ways. The first is that it does not provide its residents with many of the human rights spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, e.g., the right of health care, that many other economically advanced nations provide. The U.S. is also exceptional in that it has been at war throughout most of its existence. Most often, these were wars of aggression, stealing the land and/or resources of other peoples for the economic interests of U.S. businesses.

U.S. Marine Corps legend Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler captured it very well when he wrote:

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

Although President Biden has announced that the U.S. is back and ready to lead, does the world want a self-righteous U.S. to lead? Certainly U.S. history, as well as its more current record of causing, not preventing chaos undercut any idea of U.S. moral authority. Moreover, the numerous U.S. violations of international laws, its failure to ratify treaties that, among other things, ban land mines and cluster bombs and safeguard the rights of women and of children, hardly recommend it for a position of leadership.

Instead, the U.S. should join with Russia, China and other nations in working through the United Nations to bring about world peace and to lessen the impact of other global problems such as the current pandemic, the threat of nuclear war and climate chaos.