American National Interests

The Erosion of American National Interests
By Samuel P. Huntington
Foreign Affairs, September/October 1997


A nation’s interests derive from its identity.
But without an enemy to define itself against,
America’s identity has disintegrated.
This breakdown intensified with the rise of multiculturalism
and the ebbing of assimilation.
Lacking a national identity,
America has been pursuing commercial or ethnic interests
as its foreign policy.
Instead of putting American resources toward these sub-national uses,
the United States should scale back its involvement in the world
until a threat reinvigorates our national purpose.


The years since the end of the Cold War have seen
intense, wide-ranging, and confused debates
about American national interests.
Much of this confusion stems from
the complexity of the post-Cold War world.
The new environment has been variously interpreted as involving
the end of history,
bipolar conflict between rich and poor countries,
movement back to a future of traditional power politics,
the proliferation of ethnic conflict verging on anarchy,
the clash of civilizations,
and conflicting trends toward integration and fragmentation.
The new world is all these things,
and hence there is good reason for uncertainty about American interests in it.
Yet that is not the only source of confusion.
Efforts to define national interest presuppose agreement on
the nature of the country whose interests are to be defined.
National interest derives from national identity.
We have to know who we are before we can know what our interests are.

Historically, American identity has had two primary components:
culture and creed.
The first has been the values and institutions of the original settlers,
who were Northern European, primarily British,
and Christian, primarily Protestant.
This culture included most importantly the English language and
traditions concerning relations between church and state
and the place of the individual in society.
Over the course of three centuries,
black people were slowly and only partially assimilated into this culture.
Immigrants from western, southern, and eastern Europe
were more fully assimilated,
and the original culture evolved and was modified
but not fundamentally altered as a result.
In The Next American Nation,
Michael Lind captures the broad outlines of this evolution
when he argues that American culture developed through three phases:
Anglo-America (1789-1861),
Euro-America (1875-1957), and
Multicultural America (1972-present).
The cultural definition of national identity assumes that
while the culture may change, it has a basic continuity.



America: From Colony to Nation to Slave
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2012-10-02


If independence and sovereignty mean anything for a national government,
they mean that that government alone decides
whether or not the country it governs will go to war.
In the United States, more specifically,
its [sic] means — constitutionally — that
the Congress will decide via a formal vote
whether it will declare war on behalf of the American people,
who once upon a time were its constitutional masters.
This is, at any rate, how the Founders meant the process to work.

Both houses of the craven U.S. Congress, however,
have long since illegally delegated that decision to the president,
and our current president regards the Congress with such contempt
that he looks first to the UN to see if it is okay for him
to bomb hell out of a country like Libya or some other offending party.
If on the issue of war-making
Israel has become America’s master —
and it has,
despite Obama’s cowardly ducking of
a face-to-face with Massa’ Benyamin —
the UN surely is becoming its overseer.
Congress, at day’s end,
simply and unquestioningly pays for
the U.S. troops who go off to die
in wars that have nothing to do with
protecting genuine U.S. national interests,
but do please Israel, the UN,
or some figment of those militarist viragoes
Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Rice,
as well as of the pro-war boys McCain and Graham,
such as
the “democratic and human-rights-loving Libyan and Syrian freedom fighters.”

So each of us can vote as we see fit in November,
but we all should recognize that
neither candidate intends to restore U.S. sovereignty and independence.
As president, either man will take America to war with Iran —
Obama just wants it after 6 November —
because that is what Israel and its U.S.-citizen advocates want.
Iran, of course, poses no direct military threat to the United States,
but it will exact a fierce and bloody revenge
after we and Israel attack
by using the intelligence/terrorist surrogates
it has long maintained in the United States
for just such a response.
Iran’s response likewise
will wreck much of what remains of the U.S. economy
by disrupting the oil-tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf
and perhaps elsewhere.

And all of this pain for what?
Another unjustifiable and ahistorical reliance on air power
to do what it has never done and cannot do without nuclear weapons —
win a war.
And so we will have yet another unfinished and lost war
that will further stoke the fires of
the aggressive cultural war
both U.S. political parties are waging on the Islamic world.

[7]When America was part of Britain’s Empire,
Americans — as loyal British subjects —
had no choice but to be at war [e.g., the Seven Year’s War]
when the British Crown was at war.
In the two-plus centuries since we won independence from Britain,
we have declined in manliness, commonsense,
and allegiance to our Constitution
to the point where we will go to war
at the behest of a foreign nation
and in direct violation of U.S. national interests.
In addition,
our major mainstream and cable networks
[and, in print, the Washington Post editorial page]
use the public’s airwaves
to routinely act as agents of a foreign power
by supporting Israel’s prime minister against the U.S. president,
while disloyal American citizens
enthusiastically corrupt the U.S. political system
in support of
Israeli interests,
Evangelical fanaticism, and
the one-world fantasies of the super-national and super-corrupt UN. …
Who knows, perhaps we were better off with the Crown.
It fought often, but only for genuine British interests.

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