Guest Commentary | U.S. remains greatest purveyor of violence in world

Guest Commentary | U.S. remains greatest purveyor of violence in world

By C.G. Estabrook

While we're preoccupied with politics at home, our government is killing people around the world.

International polls show that the United States — not Russia, China, Iran or Israel — is by far the most feared government in the world.

The wars the U.S. is waging and its war provocations against Russia and China risk a wider — even nuclear — war.

Many Americans are not aware of it, but the U.S. government is today making war — killing people — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

They're doing so principally to control the flow of oil out of the Mideast and North Africa, which the U.S. uses as a weapon against its economic rivals from Germany to China.

The ongoing drone assassination program — called "the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times" — has killed thousands of people (most of them not the presumed targets), including American citizens and hundreds of children.

More than a quarter of a million American troops are stationed in a thousand U.S. bases on foreign soil, most of them surrounding Russia and China.

The 70,000 members of the U.S. Special Operations Command are active in three-quarters of the countries of the world.

Their activities have included kidnapping (our government calls it "rendition"), torture and murder.

Since 1945, the United States has killed more than 20 million people in wars (in Korea, Vietnam, the Mideast and elsewhere) designed to maintain the worldwide economic dominance that the U.S. inherited at the end of World War II.

The liberal U.S. diplomat and historian George Kennan wrote as follows in a State Department memorandum in 1948:

"We have about 50 percent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

It unfortunately continues to be the case that the U.S government uses war and the threats of war to retard the economic development of Russia and China — from U.S. support for a fascist coup in Ukraine to U.S. naval provocations in the South China Sea and huge NATO military exercises in eastern Europe — for fear that they will be competitors with the U.S. economic elite for control of the world economy.

The rest of the world recognizes that the U.S. government remains what Martin Luther King called it long ago — "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

C.G. Estabrook is a retired visiting professor at UIUC and the anchor of "AWARE on the Air" on Urbana Public Television.