SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Blame is Bipartisan: How the Democrats Ruined Central America and Worsened the Mess at the Border

Image result for honduras coup

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat its mistakes blah blah blah, someone said —Americans don’t even pay attention to the news, so how the heck are they supposed to remember it after it becomes history?

So we keep making the same mistakes over and over. In foreign policy the biggest mistake the United States keeps making is interfering in the sovereign domestic politics of foreign countries it doesn’t know enough about. More often than not, the U.S. supports the wrong side: a privileged minority who oppresses the people, aka the majority. Eventually, because they are the majority, the people overthrow the jerks. Unsurprisingly to everyone except the State Department, the new government is pissed at the United States.

The progressive historian Chalmers Johnson called this stupid cycle “blowback.”

A classic example followed the decision of the CIA to arm the mujahedin in Afghanistan against the Soviets during the 1980s. The mujahedin gave rise to Al Qaeda, who caused us some sort of trouble in 2001 though I can’t remember exactly what happened there. Then there was the CIA-backed coup that ended the rule of the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. I’d be shocked if five percent of Americans have heard of Mohammad Mossadegh, but the Iranians have and they remember and for some reason they just won’t shut up about it and sometimes they give our citizens a hard time.

Blowback isn’t always terrorism and it doesn’t always originate in the Muslim world.

At this writing the Trump Administration’s mistreatment of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United States from Mexico has drawn international condemnation, and rightly so. The cliché that most migrants come here to pursue economic opportunities is out of date. Nowadays much if not most of the migratory flow is comprised of refugees from violence, specifically from the so-called “Northern Triangle countries” of Central America: Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Guatemala. Homicide rates are especially high in Honduras and El Salvador. A 2015 Doctors Without Borders survey of refugees from these countries found that most Central Americans seeking political asylum on the southern border were fleeing physical attacks or threats of violence against themselves or a close family member. More than 40% had had a family member killed in the previous two years.

American officials blame the violence on the drug trade, and accept some responsibility by noting the U.S. demand for illegal narcotics that is behind the violence. But while drug cartels are indisputably a big part of the problem, what no one wants to talk about — especially not Democrats who are having a field day watching the Republicans get beat up in the polls because the optics of forcibly separating children from their parents are so hideous — is the U.S. interventionism, most recently carried out by former President Barack Obama, behind the disintegration of civil society in Central America.

Shortly after becoming president in 2009, Barack Obama and his bellicose secretary of state Hillary Clinton faced a foreign policy dilemma: what, if anything, to do about a military coup that toppled Honduras’ democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya. As Al Jazeera remembers: “Latin American leaders, the United Nations General Assembly and other international bodies vehemently demanded his immediate return to office.”

Obama dithered.

The people’s will be damned; the U.S. government wanted Zelaya out because he was a leftist, an ally of Venezuela’s charismatic leader Hugo Chávez and an enemy of Honduras oligarchs, who had long been propped up by the U.S. and U.S. corporations. Zelaya’s crime: he wanted to reduce the country’s staggering chasm between a tiny clique of wealthy families and the rest of the population, who were desperately poor. But Obama had been elected post-Bush because he opposed the Iraq war. He couldn’t be seen as backing a Cold War-style intervention in favor of Latin American thugs.

So he played a double game. In public — after an embarrassing, telling silence — Obama decried the coup and called for Zelaya’s return to power.

Thanks to WikiLeaks we know that behind the scenes and in defiance of international law, Clinton reached out to the new junta leader to assure him of U.S. support and rejected the international community’s requests that the U.S. demand Zelaya’s reinstatement. The secretary of state worked hard to make certain democracy did not return to Honduras so that the new junta could remain in power.

The right-wing military junta, many of whom graduated from the Pentagon’s notorious assassin-training School of the Americas, were not good stewards. “The homicide rate in Honduras, already the highest in the world, increased by 50 percent from 2008 to 2011; political repression, the murder of opposition political candidates, peasant organizers and LGBT activists increased and continue to this day. Femicides skyrocketed. The violence and insecurity were exacerbated by a generalized institutional collapse. Drug-related violence has worsened amid allegations of rampant corruption in Honduras’ police and government. While the gangs are responsible for much of the violence, Honduran security forces have engaged in a wave of killings and other human rights crimes with impunity,” Al Jazeera reports.
Next door in El Salvador — the only other Northern Triangle nation with a higher murder rate than Honduras — Obama propped up sellout former leftist president Mauricio Funes, who abandoned his populist roots to open his country up to looting by transnational corporations. Poverty, violence and drug trafficking increased dramatically.

There is no excuse for the way the Trump Administration is treating applicants for asylum as they enter the U.S. from Mexico. But it’s worth noting that both major political parties are to blame here. Many of the children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border are there in the first place because of the mayhem to which Obama and Clinton contributed.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

33 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Blame is Bipartisan: How the Democrats Ruined Central America and Worsened the Mess at the Border

  1. So we keep making the same mistakes over and over. In foreign policy the biggest mistake the United States keeps making is interfering in the sovereign domestic politics of foreign countries it doesn’t know enough about

    Ted, a deliberate action which attains the ends for which it was performed can hardly be characterised as a «mistake» ; rather it is the policy of the agent performing it. «[W]e» doesn’t enter into it at all – when were you ever contacted about what US policy should be towards the military coup against the Zelaya government in Honduras (and do you really believe that the US government was neither informed of the impending coup nor gave it its (deniable) seal of approval beforehand) ? One can of course argue that from the point of view of long-term US interests, it’s not wise for a declining power to be seen constantly interfering in the affairs of other nations – sometimes by direct military invasion, in others by subverting the military of the country in question (what do you think the infamous «School of the Americas» – now known as the « Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation» was and is all about ?), or by «sanctions» designed to either enforce compliance with Washington’s writ or to foment «regime change» – but as John Maynard Keynes is famously but misleadingly cited as noting, «in the long run, we are all dead», and the people whose leitmotif is quarterly capitalism and «what’s in it for me ?» are hardly concerned with the long-term interest of the United States and still less so with that of its people….

    The history of US foreign policy is hardly one of benevolent intentions gone wrong, but rather of evil intentions that at times played out as they were expected to, but after which the long-term consequences came back to bedevil policy makers and/or their successors (who hitherto have, of course, been spared any personal consequences – how many US presidents or secretaries of state have you seen tried in a counterpart to the Nürnberg tribunal ?) It would be comforting to feel that the day of reckoning is approaching and that these people will at last be held responsible for their actions, but on the other hand, to avoid bearing that responsibility, they may very well choose to launch a thermonuclear Armageddon – as Tom Lehrer used to sing, We will all go together when we go….

    Henri

  2. Discussing the savage history of Central America is, I am sadly afraid, relevant. There has never been a stable, orderly society down there, and one could argue that the practice of human sacrifice is still widespread, as evidenced by all the Mexican politicians murdered (132 to be exact) prior to today’s election. (Source: CNN, Andrea Diaz reporting, June 28, 2018)

    Now the dsygenic descendants of the Mayans and Aztecs are streaming up to our border. Undoubtedly there are many good people among them, but violence clearly has not been bred out, as evidenced in their many gangs: MS-13, MS-18, Alabama Street Gang, Mexican Mafia, Barrio Azteca, Latin Kings, and well, you get the idea.

    Jeff Sessions appears to have taken American Teacher’s suggestion, mentioned on another comment section of the Rallblog, and is revamping the nation’s aslyum laws, making it impossible for the Central Americans to claim aslyum.

    That will be The Solution.

  3. Okay. Here’s the problem. Inevitably, the conversation spirals into an infinitely regressive division. The points become more and more focused on less and less of the actual root issue under discussion. THE issue under discussion is “HOW does the U.S. operate its border with Mexico?” The subsequent issue is “HOW is that policy the best one for the U.S.?”

    EVERYTHING else is simply debating the size of the table, its shape, the height of the chairs, what kind of water glasses, etc.

    Notice how little of the discussion is on the actual issue? We’ve got a long argument about sacrificial practices from centuries back, which is IRRELEVANT to the issue of border security, how to enforce it, and so forth.

  4. Mesoamerican “civilizations” were as horrible as it gets. Their level of violence had probably not been seen in Europe for thousands of years. Even Rome didn’t come close. If Cortez had not arrived, they would still be doing human sacrifice.

    • You are obscene.

      Just testing the limits of obscenity here:

      Reading your posts is like being slapped in the face with the shit covered cock that fucked the ass of Jesus.

      Test concluded.

      • What is obscene, including your little comment there, is the skull racks that were recently discovered in Mexico City, a discovery that demonstrates the massiveness of human sacrifice as practiced by the Aztecs when the Spanish conquistadors arrived.

        The cartels were operating in Mexico even then!

      • > is the skull racks that were recently discovered in Mexico City,

        ooooh, six hundred skulls. Yes, of course, that’s far, far worse than Hitler killing six million. – or the entire death toll from WWII – sixty million. Or WWI – sixteen million.

        Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
        – Matt 7:5

      • The Mayans were on the decline when Cortez sent his army into Guatamela.

        NASA archeologist Tom Sever said, “They did it to themselves” through deforestation for corn production and building their pyramids.

        The Mayans overfarmed. That led to drought, disease, and warfare. They were already on their knees when the Spanish arrived.

        Please don’t use Africa and civilization in the same sentence. At least the Mayans had a form of writing. Africa did not have writing until it was colonized.

        Consider what could have happened if, over the last fifty years, we had spent 22 trillion on Apollo missions
        instead of foreign aid and anti-poverty programs.

        SPACE FORCE!

    • [This is obviously trolling, but I’ll indulge myself anyway]

      > Their level of violence had probably not been seen in Europe for thousands of years.

      Pffffft. That would totally make sense if it weren’t for the fact that Europeans slaughtered the Mayans people and utterly destroyed a 600 year-old civilization.

      Thousands of years? Thousands of years ago Europeans were still rubbing blue mud in their bellies and howling at the moon. Civilization was centered in Africa. The Mayans had nothing like the Inquisition, the Crusades. and the Holocaust. (all of which happened much more recently than “thousands of years ago”)

      The *fact* is that the Mayans had an advanced civilization, closer to bronze age than stone age. They worked metal, produced big architecture, created great art, practiced agriculture and animal husbandry. Their entire civilization at the time was far larger than the Spanish Empire. They exceeded the Europeans in math, astronomy, and medicine.

      As always, the rational mind wonders why those that consider themselves ‘superior’ feel compelled to tell LIES about those they consider ‘inferior’ – if they really were superior, wouldn’t the facts speak for themselves? A much more logical explanation is that the supremacists are actually suffering from massive insecurity and so tell LIES to bolster their own fragile egos.

      Consider what would have happened if instead of committing genocide, Cortez had negotiated for trade and exchange of knowledge. Both groups would have been enriched and the area would be prosperous today.

      The Mayans welcomed Cortez with open arms. In return, he killed their people and destroyed their civilization. It’s pretty obvious which one is the barbarian here.

      • No one knows the exact number of human beings sacrificed in this Stone Age world. The practice went on for centuries and we can never truly know as the skulls deteriorated over time.

        The conquistadors said that these skull racks contained thousands of skulls, but historians thought that they were exaggerating.

        Nevertheless, according to Science Magazine, archaeologists at the National Institute of Science and History now believe that these racks held thousands upon thousands of skulls, “testimony to an industry of human sacrifice unlike any other in the world.” (Source: Science Magazine, “Feeding the Gods” by Lizzie Wade, 6/21/2018).

        You are fond of quoting Jesus, aren’t you? I’m surprised you even believe that he existed.

        Writing Assignment:

        Could a figure like Jesus have emerged from such a savage society?

      • > Please provide documentation for all of your claims.

        Oka-a-a-a-ay. I *am* willing to do that thing. But please cut me some slack, it would be a much less work if you could tell me which specific claims you contest:

        1) The Mayans welcomed Cortez with open arms.
        2) Cortez slaughtered the Mayans and destroyed their civilization.
        3) he Mayans’ civilization was closer to bronze age than stone age. They worked metal, produced big architecture, created great art, practiced agriculture and animal husbandry.
        4) Their entire civilization at the time was far larger than the Spanish Empire.
        5) The Mayans were far ahead of the Europeans in astronomy.
        6) The Holocaust brought about the deaths of over six million people.
        7) WWII brought about the deaths of sixty million people.
        8) “Sixty million” is a bigger number than “thousands upon thousands (est.)”
        9) Africa was civilized before Europe
        10) Genocide is bad
        11) Water is wet

        > You are fond of quoting Jesus, aren’t you? I’m surprised you even believe that he existed.

        I am quite certain that one or more human beings wrote the awesomely compassionate and inspiring words attributed to Jesus. I am also quite certain that a demigod has never existed in all of ever and ever.

        But then, you’re the alleged Christian here. The real question is why you do not follow the awesomely compassionate and inspiring words attributed to Jesus.

        > Could a figure like Jesus have emerged from such a savage society?

        Why, yes, of course. If order could not emerge from chaos, Homo Sap could not have reached even this pathetic level of civilization.

        Your writing assignment:
        Answer the same question, taking into account the fact that you think that Jesus was inferior to you on account his religion, skin color, and place of birth. Note that I was able to answer the question in 23 words. Can you?

      • oops. Missed one. My bad:

        12) The Inquisition, the Crusades. and the Holocaust all happened much more recently than “thousands of years ago.”

      • Good that you realize you need to provide attribution and nice that you have even come up up with your own list. Number 5 needs to be amended to include medicine and agriculture. You might even try rebutting what I wrote.
        Proceed.

        You might also back up your beliefs about Jesus.

        As Nietzsche noted, morality is inhospitable to human excellence. Western morality is stifling us. In fact, it is putting us in danger.

        Were I in control of the border I would not build a fence.

        I would build catapults. Anyone who violated our sovereignty would be catapulted back over the Rio Grande.

        You haven’t done your writing assignment. You’ve evaded the question. But I’ll show some compassion and grant you a redo.

      • > You might even try rebutting what I wrote.

        I just did. I even gave you the opportunity to pick and choose those points which went over your head.

        However, as an expert in rhetoric, I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of ‘burden of proof.’ You’re defending your post, prove it. I’ve already poked quite a few holes in it. Time to put your money where your mouth is.

        re: medicine: see trepanation.

        BTW, you’re late on your writing assignment. Here, let me remind you:

        Answer the same question [Could a figure like Jesus have emerged from such a savage society?] , taking into account the fact that you think that Jesus was inferior to you on account his religion, skin color, and place of birth. Note that I was able to answer the question in 23 words. Can you?

      • @CH

        All good points, CH.

        The problem is that, like Trump and AH, AT feels no responsibility to recognize anyone or any truth.

        Reading AT’s posts is like being slapped in the face with the shit covered cock that fucked the ass of Jesus.

        John 8:44
        “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

      • Ach, Mein Gott

        I have been providing attribution as per your request.

        You refuse to provide any attribution whatsoever because you can’t. The savage Mesoamericans could never have produced a figure such as the Christ nor did Africa have written language before its colonization.

        To state these things is not to be racist. It is to remark upon the observed.

        Case closed.

      • @Glenn

        Ach, Mein Gott

        The left truly disintegrates when challenged. At least CH tries.

      • @AT

        “The left truly disintegrates when challenged. At least CH tries,” says the degenerate.

        I don’t see how you fit into Ted’s plan to stimulate discussion.

        A repetitive non-responsive assault on decency is too boring to stimulate discussion.

        Somethings not right here.

        Are you extorting Ted?

      • > I have been providing attribution as per your request.

        Last I heard, you still were unable to use a hyperlink, let alone post one. I am not going to waste my time trying to prove your points for you. That’s your job. “Burden of proof”? Hello? Do I really have to do the ‘knock-knock’ bit again?

        I did try to find whatever article it is where the little crying girl’s mommy was exposed as a scammer. I couldn’t. I don’t believe it exists. I think you pulled that story out of your ass, which makes me even less inclined to chase your pipe dreams all over the internet.

        Please document – via hyperlink – that the Mayans were a stone age society when Cortez murdered them. That was your opening post earlier – so put up or shut up.

        And while you’re at it, please be so good as to answer the same question you asked me, which I answered, which I have now asked you three times without a response, let alone an attribution:

        Could a figure like Jesus have emerged from such a savage society, taking into account the fact that you think that Jesus was inferior to you due to his religion, skin color, and place of birth?

      • @Glenn –

        “The problem is that, like Trump and AH, AT feels no responsibility to recognize anyone or any truth.”

        Ay-yup. This is part of my ongoing rant about the dangers of religion. In order to make an adult believe in Deity Claus you must completely destroy their critical thinking skills as a child. You must intentionally blur the distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘opinion.’ Once you do that, you can make people believe any absurdity you can dream up.

      • It’s sad to think of the toxic Eurocentric and Christian white supremacy disinformation American Teacher spews to his or her students. AT’s just repeating the propaganda that was used to justify European imperialism since the 16th century- the “superiority” of Western civilization, the benightedness of the pagans before Europe and Christianity saved them, and that there was no civilization before the Europeans arrived. AT also can’t get basic historical facts right, like that Cortes invaded Mexico, not Guatemala, and that Mayan civilization collapsed centuries before the Spanish arrived. BTW, there’s some evidence that environmental degradation from deforestation, lead in the water, and pollution led to the collapse of the Roman Empire, so Europeans are completely capable of foolishly destroying themselves (as we’re now discovering with climate change).

        https://romanenvironment.wordpress.com/environmentalproblems/

        So I’ll demolish AT’s absurd attacks on pre-Colombian Meso-america. I won’t even invoke more recent examples of European bloodshed like the Holocaust, will just use the comparison of Spain and the peoples they conquered in the Americas. That’s not say that Meso-america was some kind of paradise, but they were far more than people who indulged in human sacrifice with flourishing civilizations extant before any European arrived on America’s shores.

        1) Sub-saharan Africa had written languages that predate Ancient Greek, including proto-Saharan that dates to at least 3000 BCE, around the same time the earliest Cuneiform tablets can be found in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). These have been found in various archeological sites south of the Sahara. Logical since Homo sapiens originated in Africa.

        http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/08/08/11-ancient-african-writing-systems-demolish-myth-black-people-illiterate/

        2) On the extensive civilizations in the Americas prior to the Spanish conquest, just read ‘1491’ by Charles C. Mann which provides extensive sources on how advanced those civilizations were. Or if you want a more academic take, look at the 3 volumes of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures edited by David Carrasco, 1424 pages. Tenochitlan, the capital of the Aztec Triple Alliance had a population (around 200,000) larger than Madrid when Cortes arrived. Aztecs ruled about 5 million people compared to an official population of 5.2 million for Spain at the same time.

        3) The Spanish who conquered Central and South America had just finished up the Reconquest of Spain from the Muslim Moors (as they called them) and killed and enslaved around 100,000 in the final conflict with the Emirate of Granada, between 1482 and 1492. Then to show how “Christian” they were, Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain decided to give all Muslims and Jews left in Spain the option of converting or leaving, causing more than 200,000 Muslims to emigrate and between 40,000 and 100,000 Jews. The expulsion policy hurt Spain economically because Jews and Muslims tended to be more educated than the average Spaniard and therefore had contributed greatly to Spain as merchants, farmers, scholars, etc. Spanish civilization was LESS advanced than their Muslim neighbors across the Mediterranean in N. Africa, and compared to the Ottoman Turks to the East, which is why the Ottomans got as far as Vienna by 1529.

        ‘Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain’ by Joseph F. O’Callaghan

        ‘The Moors Last Stand’ by Elizabeth Grayson

        ‘Blood and Faith: the Purging of Muslim Spain, 1491-1614’ by Matthew Carr

        https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jun/15/moors-last-stand-blood-and-faith-spain-muslims

        4) The horrible Spanish mistreatment of the natives of the Americas has been extensively documented going back to Bartolomeo de las Casas’ ‘A Brief Account of the Devastation in the Indies’ (1542). But I don’t expect AT has read any of it.

        https://history.mcc.edu/wordpress/history/2014/03/18/spanish-treatment-of-the-natives/

        http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20321?msg=welcome_stranger

        5) Current research suggests that the numbers of human sacrifices may have been exaggerated by the Aztecs to intimidate enemies. Archeological sites in Mexico City have been found with hundreds of skulls but we don’t know over what period those sacrifices took place. AT also invokes a ridiculous logic that somehow because 500 years ago their ancestors used ritual human sacrifice all of them are condemned for that ancestral crime so much that their descendants still act like bloodthirsty animals, even though they all converted to Christianity since. Does AT give you a pass if you’re from South of the border and your ancestry is largely Spanish, or is it just the brown people condemned in his/her mind? It’s not very Christian either, given the basic tenets of forgiveness that are central to the religion- shouldn’t they be absolved of the actions done by their pre-Christian progenitors? The Classical Romans performed human sacrifices as well, and we still use aspects of their language, culture, law, and system of government in our society. Ditto for the Vikings before they began converting to Christianity after 800 CE. By AT’s logic, we should consider all Italians and Scandanavians deranged and uncivilized because of what their ancestors did, and ban any future Italian/Nordic immigration to the US.

        ‘Religions of Mesoamerica’ by David Carrasco

        6) And by far, the most advanced civilization in the world in 1500 was not Europe, it was China.

        ‘China and Maritime Europe, 1500-1800’ edited by John E. Wills Jr.

        So AT can continue with his/her ignorant nonsense or he (or she) can do some reading and find out what the real history of Meso-america and the world was.

      • @austerlitz

        Cortez sent an army to Guatamela. I forget who the commander was.

        I have indeed read de Las Casas, in the original Spanish.

        I’m not going through all of this point by point – we’re on to abortion now- suffice it to say that it was through God’s providence and goodness that Europeans came to the Americas and conquered this land.

        Archaeologists Steven LeBlanc and Tim Kohler and psychologist Steve Pinker have all demonstrated that these were “merciless Indian savages”, far more barbaric than the Europeans. As evidenced from their archaeological excavations, 90% of SW Indians died a violent death; 60% of Plains Indians died violently.

        In fact, the Lakota, part of the Sioux, of which Crazy H thinks he is a member, were pushed out of their home westward by warfare, not with whites, but with the Iroquois.

        Wherever the white man has gone, he has created order and stable societies.

      • Well, Teach, that’s closer to the truth than your usual pack of lies, but let’s dig in a little further, shall we?

        Your idea of god’s grace includes rape, murder, and plunder. Far from bringing civilization, Europeans caused the destruction of civilizations older than their own. They destroyed the Indian nations of north America, finished off the Mayans, destroyed the Aztecs, burned thousands of totem poles in the NW under the mistaken belief that they were idols (and what the fuck would give them the right to burn idols, anyway?)

        They went on to destroy every single Polynesian and Caribbean culture as well. That’s not goodness, that is pure, undiluted evil. They spread the word of the Prince of Peace at gunpoint, without appreciating the hypocrisy in the least.

        &btw – “Crazy H” is a pun on the kids’ card game”Crazy 8’s” – I’ve never said it had anything to do with Crazy Horse. However, he was far more honorable than the whites who murdered him in cold blood and broke every treaty they ever made with the native population.

        I’ve never read the reference you’re citing, however, since it is at odds with the other 99.9% of historians’ conclusions, I assume it’s as full of bullshit as any other of your posts.

        And again, I wonder why someone who considers himself ‘superior’ feels a need to denigrate his ‘inferiors’

    • Wrong again AT. Cortes originally landed on the island of Cozumel (went there on a cruise once), currently on the coast of… Mexico, part of the Yucatan peninsula. The modern nation of Guatamela is quite a bit to the South.

      I also haven’t seen a response from you to my simple point about whether you world ban the immigration of Italians and Scandanavians because their distant ancestors practiced human sacrifice as you would for Latin Americans (who actual tend be more religious than Europe thanks to the spread of secularism). That should be pretty easy- Yes or No, and a brief explanation of your underlying logic.

      As I said, China surpassed European civilization at the time of Columbus in culture and technology, with the contemporary Islamic world also being more advanced than Europe. Western superiority comes much later in the 19th century. Neither should cultural superiority justify the right of one people to conquer another for whatever reason. Your faith in the benefits of imperialism is not matched by the historical record either. Imperialism is simply the exploitation of the resources of a periphery by an imperial metropole and ironically, it rarely benefits the conquerors or the subjects. Countless nations have bankrupted themselves trying to run huge empires- whether it was the Spanish did in the 17th century or the British in 20th. The US empire will thankfully be imploding by 2030 and you may get to personally witness the political and economic fallout that WILL be coming.

      Any religion with a long history serving as the official religion of empires and states is going to have a lot of blood on its hands, Christianity being a major example. Crusades, persecution of heretics, pogroms, anti-Semitism, Catholic-Protestant wars, the justification of chattel slavery and segregation, imperialism all supported by the major Christian sects that clearly show it’s far from the example of superior morality you claim it to be, especially when talking about the conquest of the Americas, a brutal, genocidal endeavor as Crazy H correctly points out, accompanied by racism and slavery.

      And on the “superiority” of white civilization lets take its supposed apogee, the United States today. Currently fighting in 76 countries around the world according to a recent Brown study. Supporting a genocidal war in Yemen by its Saudi ally. Can’t defeat insurgents in Afghanistan, and has failed in its efforts to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, our military isn’t looking so good either despite the billions we throw at it. One of the most unequal societies in the OECD with endemic structural poverty that shocked the UN. Viciously racist and homophobic. Not doing great when compared to other developed nations on education or health outcomes. Willing to waste trillions on a bloated military, internal security and surveillance apparatus, while it’s unwilling to do what every other civilized nation does and provide health care to all its citizens or wages you can live on. It pretends to be a democracy but a Princeton study tells us it operates as an oligarchy where the rich and corporations dictate the major decisions of the government. Only country where climate change isn’t correctly seen as the reality, with a major political party, Republicans, a doomsday cult hell bent on actions that will end human civilization just so a few energy corporations can make a little more money. As Noam Chomsky says, every one of our presidents since 1945 would be hung for war crimes if the Nuremberg principles were applied to the US (including Jimmy “Human Rights” Carter). That’s not superiority of any kind, my friend.

      • I did say that I don’t have time to respond to this diatribe.

        Cortez sent Pedro de Alvarado to take care of Guatamela.

        I would not ban immigration from “non-shithole countries.” Immigration should be merit based. Scandinavia will supply engineers and doctors, not barely literate peasants who will be on relief.

        I’m done. I can’t spend my day on the Rall blog.

  5. The history of the region is fascinating. When Cortez sent in an army to conquer Guatemala, they found the place the equivalent of the Stone Age.

    Not much has changed.

  6. Thanks for this post, Ted.

    This is the kind of information that is not taught to students in school.

    This is the kind of information that a teacher would lose his job over for if caught teaching to his students.

    I once met the Socialist Party of the USA presidential candidate of 1992 who said he got away with teaching this kind of thing to kids because the kids were black and in a poor Chicago school where teachers were not watched very closely. This white teacher was loved by his black students who listened to him because he had something to teach them that helped them understand the world they would have to live in.

    I once went to a bookstore to hear two writers of a column in The Nation Magazine talk about how Iranians were a tribal people opposed to “modernity”. I asked them why they didn’t mention the CIA part in the overthrow of Mossadegh, and they answered “because everybody knows that.”

    I told them that a picture of a man standing, leaning 15% forward might look strange if you didn’t know he was leaning into the wind.

    I asked the authors if being in tune with “modernity” meant graciously accepting that CIA interventions and coups are the only evidence of “not being a backward people” they would recognize.

  7. Yeah – politicians on both sides play the same games, while their faithful followers never bother to look behind the curtain. “My” side kills innocents: good. “Your” side kills innocents: bad.

    However, I do blame the drug war on the righties. Nixon hated hippies, Reagan listened to Nancy’s astrologer, Nancy listened to Tipper … d’Oh! Okay, the drug war is *mostly* the righties’ fault. %^P

    Step one: Identify the “enemy” (preferably an under-powered minority)
    Step two: Demonize the “enemy”
    Step three: lather, rinse, repeat, until the “enemy” fights back
    Step four: Promise to protect the innocent from the enemy you created

    It works for everyone from preachers to presidents, and the marks never catch on. We’re fucked.

  8. Thank you. It is absolutely mind-boggling to me that so many of my fellow Americans are unable or unwilling to look beyond the fact that “the illegals” are coming here to question WHY. This isn’t even the problem, it’s one symptom (of many, sadly).
    Working people in this country and migrants are in the same life raft, while our postmodern pharaohs laugh from their enormous, exquisitely appointed yachts.

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