The subject is foreign policy, specifically whether we should treat Iran and North Korea as we have Iraq.
In the course of her research she came up with quotes from three important Presidents — James Monroe, Woodrow Wilson, and Ronald Reagan. Each was highly idealistic, each spoke of America’s role in the world as being different from other nations. She was trying to match these quotes to the present situation, so I sat her down to tell her the inconvenient truth.
All these statements turned out to be lies. They were cover. The Monroe Doctrine. The 14 Points. The Reagan Doctrine. Even if the speakers were completely clean of heart, even if they meant every word, each of these statements unleashed great horrors upon the world, because those who followed and interpreted the words were not so pure:
- Under the Monroe Doctrine, which warned Europe off the Western Hemisphere, we took half of Mexico in war, Southerners invaded Nicaragua, we made Puerto Rico part of our country, and we created Panama. You keep your hands off, because we’re going to rape and pillage at will. That’s the lesson Latin America got from the Monroe Doctrine. It’s the lesson kids there are taught. It’s why we’re distrusted there now, and will always be distrusted.
- Under the 14 Points, which sought to organize the world for freedom, we fought the Cold War, not just in Korea, but in Iran, in Guatamala, in Cuba, in Vietnam, in Chile, in 10,000 places all around the world. The ‘us vs. them’ framing, the idea that the world should judge us by our intentions rather than our acts, has blinded us to evil done in our own name ever since. It still does.
- The Reagan Doctrine, which was similar in intent to the 14 Points, is behind our current policy. We claim the right to do anything, to anyone, to corrupt all institutions, to torture and spy on our own citizens, to destroy any government, all in the name of what we call "freedom." And the world sings with the late Janis Joplin that it’s "just another word for nothing left to lose." You can see the Reagan Doctrine in the Gulf War, fought to benefit kings, in the Iraq War, fought to secure oil, and in current Pakistani events. No one else gets anything unless we deign to allow it.
Only now, with the Sun having set
on their Empire long, long ago, are the British people coming to grips
with the evil done in their name.
We’re still doing evil.
Here’s the plain truth that no candidate for President could even tell you today.
No person is irreplaceable. No company is too big to fail. No nation is
indispensable. Were she to repeat this, my daughter would get a poor
grade, but that’s the way it is.