Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Political Science 101: The Relationship Between U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policy

Political Science 101

The Relationship Between United States Domestic and Foreign Policy: Reflections on Settler Colonialism, Slavery, Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Note: The following is a lecture delivered at Wayne State University on November 19, 2012.

This is a very important historic period to discuss today’s topic on how the domestic policy of the United States is mirrored in its foreign relations. When we discuss foreign policy it is important to emphasize that North America was in fact invaded and occupied by Western Europeans beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries.

However, before we examine this viewpoint, let us look at the current situation prevailing in Palestine, where the Gaza Strip is under bombardment by the State of Israel. The Israeli government is backed by the U.S. ruling class and its surrogates in the Congress as well as state and local governmental structures.

Since the formation and recognition by the United Nations of Israel in 1948, successive U.S. administrations have provided financial, military and political support. This assistance is essential to not only the continuation of the occupation of Palestine but the political rationale provided by the White House, the State Department and the Congressional leadership in regard to why the dominance of the Israeli state over Palestine is indispensable for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa.

President Obama has said that Israel has the right to defend itself. Well, what of the Palestinian people who have lived in the area much longer than most of the people of European Jewish descent who represent the dominant class in Israel?

Do the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout the country have a right to defend themselves as oppressed people? Why should the Arab population be subjected to a different set of assumptions and rules of political and military engagement?

The founders of the State of Israel as leaders of the world Zionist movement which began during the later years of the 19th century closely allied themselves with European colonialism and imperialism. During this the same time period, the U.S. ruling class, which was and still is, predominately European, made a major push toward gaining colonial and imperial dominance through the so-called Spanish-American War and later its role in World War I and World War II, where Washington became the leading superpower internationally.

Is there a similarity between the rationale used to justify the removal, extermination and occupation of the indigenous people of North America and the current situation in Palestine and throughout the Middle East? How does the justification for 250 years of enslavement of the African people in North America relate to the current foreign policy orientation of the U.S.?

From Settler Colonialism to Slavery

Now let us go back to the formation of the British, French and Spanish colonies in North America as a means of gaining insight into contemporary realities. The imperative of European settlers in North America was largely designed for the purpose of enhancing European economic development and dominance over the world’s peoples.

Prior to the 15th century, the center and control of the world economy system existed outside Western Europe in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The historical processes of the period between the 15th and the 19th centuries required the mass extermination, exploitation, removal, re-location and enslavement of hundreds of millions of people in the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Pacific as well as North America.

As I wrote several years ago, “Slavery as a world economic system took firm root in the western hemisphere beginning in the early 16th century when in 1503 the Spanish directed their attention towards the African continent seeking a vast reservoir of free untapped labor power. Initially the indigenous peoples of the North American continent were transported to the Caribbean islands of St. Domingo and Cuba in astronomical numbers for the purpose of chattel slavery. Using the rationale of the necessity of spreading Christianity among the Native Americans, the indigenous people suffered and died in great numbers as a result of this barbaric treatment by the European slave owners.”

This same historical review went on to point out that “With the conquest of Peru and Brazil by Cortez and Pizarro in the early 16th century, the stage was set for the mass capture and importation of African slaves into South America, the Caribbean and later in North American continent. As early as the mid-1500s, the Native peoples of the Caribbean had virtually become extinct as a result of the genocidal economic and social policies of the European colonialists. Consequently, the African population became the numerically dominant group in the so-called West Indies by the middle of the 16th century, serving as the principle engine of economic growth for the Spanish colonialists. Soon afterwards, the British adventures embarked upon the trade in African labor as well, which they proceeded to carry out under charters issued by Elizabeth and James I.”

With specific reference to the initiation of slavery in continental North America, “In 1619, the British colony of Virginia, which later became a part of the U.S. in the late 18th century, introduced the indentured servitude of Africans. By 1670, approximately 2,000 Africans had fallen victim to the system of chattel slavery in this region of North America.”

Even after the American war of independence from Britain beginning around 1775-76 and extending to 1783, the African slaves were not granted the right to full citizenship. It would take another 80 years and a full-blown civil war to at least bring about the conditions for the “legal” abolition of slavery with the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

The passage of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865 ostensibly abolished involuntary servitude-- that is if you were not incarcerated in a penal institution. Yet what good is freedom without civil and human rights?

Therefore, the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and the passage of the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution as well as other federal laws may have laid the foundation for abolition of institutional discrimination, however, the southern states and even the federal government after the Compromise of 1876, refused to enforce these laws.

Between the late 19th century, right through to the post World War II period of the mid-1950s, legalized segregation was the order of the day in the South and in many other regions of the country. It would take a civil rights movement, mass urban rebellions and radical organizing to win any semblance of equal and just treatment of African Americans.

Impact of Domestic Policy on Foreign Relations

Of course this political culture of national oppression and discrimination was reflected in the foreign policy of the U.S. After the Spanish-American war the U.S. would become a major imperialist power outside its own territorial boundaries.

Although the U.S. claims that it was not involved in colonialism in Africa, the West African state of Liberia was established in the 1820s to re-locate “freed African slaves” since the prevailing belief was the Africans could not live as equals with whites inside this country. The colonial project benefit U.S. imperialism and successive administrations backed by the ruling class supported those colonial powers from Europe when the national interests of Washington required it.

During the course of the national liberation movements of the Post World War II period, the U.S. ruling class and government never supported any genuine independence struggle. In South Africa, Rhodesia, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau as late as the period between the 1960s and the 1990s, the U.S. was in support and alliance with the European colonial and neo-colonial powers.

U.S. Foreign Policy in the 21st Century and Its Domestic Impact

Rather than subsiding, the military aggression of the U.S. is escalating. Since 2001, the U.S. has been involved in wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, Colombia, Libya, Somalia and now Syria.

The impact of these wars have been monumental both in regard to domestic policy but also as it relates to the overall image of the U.S. around the world. This increase in militarism has coincided with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In Iraq over two million people were displaced by the U.S. intervention and thousands were killed. The wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, have left over 7,000 U.S. and NATO troops dead, tens of thousands wounded and hundreds of thousands injured both physically and psychologically.

Have these wars made the U.S. stronger? I would argue quite to the contrary. The wars have delayed any serious attention being devoted to the most pressing issues of the day: the rebuilding of the cities, the decline of the education systems, the burgeoning unemployment and underemployment rates, the escalation of poverty, the alienation of the youth, the ongoing problems of race relations, the degradation of the environment and the widening gap between the cities and the suburbs and the rural areas and the urban centers.

These are perspectives on the history of the U.S. and the political system. It will of course be up to the current generation to not only grapple with these questions but to also work toward their resolution.

What we have discussed here today can no longer be ignored. The future of the U.S. and the world is dependent upon the solving of these problems.

61 comments:

Timon berg said...

Your articles are more than wow!
Jordan Pusle Tips And Tricks

Sir ackent said...

I am sure you have a great fan following out there.
phlebotomist training

cannor core said...

Your content is shows potential, m gona add this to my bookmarks.
More about No DOS

allan grace said...

Thanks guys, for sharing such informative data.
No DOS Tips And Tricks

Lindsey Messier said...

I am surely coming again for more contents of yours. Look for Yu Eyut Ex Here

unsit polek said...

Really amazing blog, I’d love to discover some extra information.
Tips by RCM Software

Angel Isbell said...

These articles and blogs are certainly sufficient for me personally for a day.
Full Distributioned Article

Violet Flynn said...

This blog has very distinct features. Thanks Get more info about Ai Worlds

Eric Jackson said...

Your articles are very well written and unique.
Click Derry Chat Link

Timon berg said...

I would be glad if all WebPages provided such type of best articles.
payday loans online same day

peter watson said...

This article has some vast and valuable information about this subject.
payday loan lenders

Jeri Doyle said...

Your contents are wonderful and recommended. Cagla Yanas Tips And Tricks

brandon blake said...

I conclude I haven't understood such particular incomparable contents anywhere added online.
Discover Uliea

brandon blake said...

The quality of your articles and listing is really attractive.
Learn More About Uliea

Jullie Simpson said...

Quickly this site will indisputably be famous among all blogging people, because of its fastidious articles or reviews.
Good Relationship With Chrome Download

sirking said...

Waooow!!! Really very cool site of blogs. You can imagine what you have done for me.
Push Button to File Bankruptcy

Julian Guzman said...

Keep the balls rolling!! Nice posts you have given for us.
accident compensation

Paula Lewis said...

Outstanding blog, in my opinion site owners should acquire a great deal out of this blog its very user welcoming. mis sold ppi

Jeri Doyle said...

Your blogs and every other content are thus interesting and helpful it makes me return back again. faxless payday loan

zombia apocalypse said...

I am surprised why other specialized don’t perceive your site I’m greatly cheerful I discovered this.
are genital warts curable

Norman Seymour said...

You guys out there are performing a great job.
no win no free claim

Norman Seymour said...

You guys out there are performing a great job.
no win no free claim

Nunah Mikhail said...

No wonder why you receive countless of feedbacks. Advice by Blog PTR

bail bond said...

Hi buddies, it is great written piece entirely defined, continue the good work constantly. iphone vs andriod

Harry Salvin said...

you have a great fan following out there.
Bail Bondsman Los Angeles

Leona james said...

The author of your blogs and articles and contents is appreciating.
Relationship Advice by Citizen Justice Association

Valentina Lilienthal said...

Your articles don’t beat around the bushes exact t to the point.
here

Nancey John said...

I beyond doubt appreciate your articles and blogs
More about Ho Spice of Stanns

Jennifer Young said...

Your content is such like that nobody will stop to come back that’s really rewarding.
Learn More About YMCA Fit Jobs

lara jade said...

Info is out of this world, I would bang to see more from your writers.
Relationship Issues With Kaufman Alimony Guidelines

chris jericho said...

I admired your helpful words. Top class contribution. I really hope you’ll write more. I'll continue looking for.root your android

Richard Sandberg said...

Found your blog excessively interesting indeed. I really enjoyed studying it.pirater un compte facebook

Angelina Jullie said...

Thanks friends, for providing such enlightening data.
how much will insurance cost

Cool boy said...

I have learnt various good stuff right here, and I’m sure everyone will get advantage of it.infographics design

Micheal Clark said...

These articles have got absolute sense devoid of confusing the readers.
infographic

Johney Duke said...

Superb posts with lots of information!!! This is really the most miraculous blog site dude….
infographics design

Nunah Mikhail said...

congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!! infographic

akon said...

Whether somebody pursuit of his vital thing, hence he or she desires to be accessible that at length, hence that thing is maintained over here. social media infographics

robin hood said...

This short article posted only at the web site is truly good. social media infographics

ALBERT LIET said...

Pretty! It was really a wonderful blog. Thanks for the provided information. infographics design

Julie Johnson said...

Your blogs and its stuff magnetize me to return again n again. cheap auto insurance

sirking said...

I thought haven’t read such distinctive material anywhere else on-line.
cheap auto insurance

Julie Johnson said...

The caliber of information that you're offering is merely wonderful. car insurance quotes

stefhen fleming said...

Found your blog excessively interesting indeed. I really enjoyed studying it. cheap auto insurance

BRAX TON said...

It’s my first time to visit this site & I’m really surprised to see such impressive stuff out there.weight loss pills that work

ALBERT LIET said...

This blog post is really great; the standard stuff of the post is genuinely amazing. nemesis copy

chris jhon said...

This text may be value everyone’s attention. How will I learn more? pirater un compte facebook

Paula Lewis said...

I have got the superb information from these blogs finally. hacker un compte facebook

tina john said...

vietnam holiday

Gexton said...

The information in this blog is extremely useful for the people.
Buy Follistatin

Gexton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gexton said...

This blog post is really great; the standard stuff of the post is genuinely amazing.
Android App in Pakistan

saim disoza said...

Great blog post! I don’t understand how long it will require me to obtain through all of them!vietnam travel

saim disoza said...

Awesome! Immense information there.vietnam tour

saim disoza said...

It’s really very informative that I wanted ever, thanks for this.vietnam holiday

janiffer suiz said...

I’m soooo happy through your blog posts, and waiting for the upcoming posts.vietnam travel

janiffer suiz said...

I was searching for many blogs site and now finally I have got this cool place with lots of information.vietnam tour

janiffer suiz said...

Your articles and blogs are inspirational.vietnam travel

janiffer suiz said...

This blog Info is fabulous; I must wanna see best more from your writers.vietnam holiday

liena rose said...

We are dealing in superior quality of methylone, our research center takes very step to produce the best quality methylone.for more detail visit our site

http://methyloneshoppe.com/

deny lost said...

I feel ecstatic I found you website and blogs. find villa marrakech