While the claim is probably not widely believed outside of the US nowadays, it is worth reiterating that the international actions of the US are not a force for good. In fact, its behaviour closely resembles those of the empires that came before it, albeit on a much larger and more tone-deaf scale. The successful empires of old wielded a thoughtful mix of military might and international diplomacy to achieve their means, while the US utilises only military might, and does it so bluntly that it is no longer capable of pretending that its actions serve the greater good.
For the short term, military might can achieve one’s objectives if one’s military is mighty enough, and the US wields the most powerful army the world has ever seen. It spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined on a budget that accounts for 34% of the military spending of the entire world. It maintains over 800 garrisons worldwide (they call them “military bases”) and has troops occupying 172 countries (90% of all the countries in the world).
The architects of terrorism
Like most dictatorships, the US government is, for the most part, run by its military. Over 50% of the discretionary budget is allocated to the military and in 2010, with a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, it was much closer to 60%. Additionally, the military is active in every state.
The purpose of the military is to “serve American interests”, which of course does not mean the interests of the American people, but rather the wealthiest in the country – military contractors, large multinationals and the 1%. One of its primary purposes is to continuously expand, and to that end it must be in a state of constant warfare and it must keep the American people in constant fear of the “others”. From the red scare of the 1950-1980s to the war on drugs in the 1980s-1990s, and the war on terror through the 2000s to the present day, the people of the US are continuously terrorised by its mass media, and in their fear they ironically reach out to the architect of their terror; their own military.
There are strong parallels to Australia in this. the Australian government uses the fear the “others” (muslims, immigrants and “boat people”) to impose its will on the Australian public. It is not exclusively to serve the needs of the military in Australia’s case, but it does serve as the tried and true divide-and-conquer tactic; keep the working and poor classes fighting amongst themselves while the wealthy rob them behind their backs.
One of the major industries propped up by the US military is the sale of arms, which benefits greatly from the perpetual war and the state of constant fear imposed on the American people. It uses the excuses of the communists, drugs and terrorists to justify its violations of other countries, and also to suppress its own people with its increasing militarised police force brutalising protesters and whistle blowers, and its incitement of the ill-educated masses with perceived threat to their guns and god.
The scourge of democracy
The US military has crushed the rise of democracy wherever it has appeared in the world. It operates at different levels of severity, whichever is necessary to achieve the desired result. Trade sanctions are often sufficient to cause a state to buckle to its demands when its people begin starving. If sanctions fail, it will instigate a military coup, either internally if it can find the right people competent enough to see it through, or externally if the right people inside the country cannot be found. If the coup is insufficient or a demand is not being satisfied quickly enough, then the US will stage an outright invasion. It will likely begin with bombing raids that can last a decade (such as in Iraq or Syria) to destroy the country’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, food stores, schools, hospitals). It will send troops in to occupy the country, pillaging its natural resources and annihilating its cultural identity. The invasions almost always fail in the sense that the US rarely gains total control of the country, but this is of little importance. The goal is the devastation and destruction. These are the terror tactics that the US imposes on the rest of the world: “Do what we want or your country will be destroyed”. The war profiteers and disaster capitalists are then left to pick through the pieces of whatever remains.
Australia is obviously complicit in this destruction but its participation is essentially mandatory. This is probably the price that Australia must pay as tribute to the world empire, just as conquered civilizations of old were required to contribute soldiers to the Roman army.
To conclude, consider the following. A single Tomahawk cruise missile costs roughly 1.5 million dollars. On a single day, on 7 April 2017, the US launched 59 of these missiles at the Shayrat Airbase in Syria. Imagine the food, blankets and medical supplies that could have been purchased with the 100 million dollars that were exploded that day. Consider the impact that it would have had on reducing terrorism and contributing to the peace process. Instead, we have yet another smouldering crater in Syria, an increase in the number of people who will vow revenge against the west, and the US continues to be the greatest threat to world peace.