by Kevin Carson at Antiwar.com
This column was inspired by one of Rupert Murdoch’s tweets on September 6: “Big military brings peace through strength.” A clichéd tweet by Murdoch isn’t what most people would consider a news hook. But it’s just the latest expression – caveman syntax perhaps included – of an insidious idea that anyone born in the United States has probably absorbed subliminally since the were old enough to talk. And the more I think about that wretched little maxim, the angrier I get.
The first question that popped into my head after reading Murdoch’s tweet was “Hitler had a big military. Why didn’t that bring peace through strength?” Or Japan – Tojo and the imperial cabinet had a big military in 1941. How come that didn’t bring peace?
If you start thinking in those terms, the unstated assumption behind the “peace through strength” cliché becomes obvious. It assumes that the power for which a “big military” is being advocated – usually the United States – is the “good guy,” and that it’s all those other “bad” countries that need to be deterred through superior strength. The same assumption is implicit in the standard “Chamberlain at Munich” rhetoric that’s unfailingly used to frame American relations with other countries deemed a “threat.” In this scenario, the United States is always the well-meaning but hapless Chamberlain, and the other country’s leader is a self-aggrandizing Hitler, a clear and present danger, emboldened by American weakness.
Maybe we should ask ourselves, though, whether America really is the good guy – or whether it’s the power that needs to be deterred. And if you look at its record of invasions, coups and support for terrorist groups and death squads since WWII, the United States is the hands-down winner as most aggressive power in the world. The overthrow