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May-07-2011 16:28printcomments

How We Got Here

One can not help but wonder...

America's take on the world

(GOLD RIVER, B.C.) - It is amusing to watch the never ending battle of opinions, often devoid of all but the tiniest sliver of fact, if that, in the political arena in the US and Canada. It is particularly entertaining when observing the scene in the United States where fantasies and off the wall ideas seem to be a staple in political discourse between the major parties and groups like the Tea Party.

So much of what is said and taken for gospel by one side or the other appears myopic as if people only pay attention to those parts of history that they find favourable while ignoring the rest. One might reasonably conclude that many do not pay any attention to history at all aside from the spin that they pick up that is created to push one view or another.

Talk about budgets, debt, deficit or all of the above and each side cherry picks their facts to blame the other for the problems that we have to deal with. Talk about security, foreign affairs, human rights, you name it, the story is the same. The contrasting views of each side makes one wonder if there isn't completely separate realities for each. The fact is that neither reality may reflect accurately how our world got to be what it is today.

From my studies, and admittedly in my opinion, what follows is a list of a few things that happened over the past 110 years, in more or less chronological order, that have had a major impact on shaping our world. Though the fault for many of these is shared by a number of countries, the US political parties supporting them are listed to show that everyone's hands are dirty.

  1. The policies that steered the Japanese into a position where they felt that in order to survive as a modern industrial nation they had to go to war with the United States. - Republicans and Democrats
  2. The Balfour Declaration (British) and subsequent decisions that allowed Zionists to push the Arabs of Palestine off of their land and establish and maintain a Jewish colony in the Levant. - Republicans and Democrats
  3. The Treaty of Versailles making Germany the scapegoat for WWI. - Democrats
  4. Invading the Soviet Union and occupying parts of it after WWI. - Democrats
  5. Aiding Hitler and Mussolini by failing to support the Republicans in Spain, thereby allowing the Fascists to win the civil war. This is the place that Hitler should have been stopped. - Democrats
  6. Allowing Churchill's vision of preserving the empire to prevail over FDR's of breaking up empires and ending colonialism. - Democrats
  7. Taking out the democratically elected government of Iran and replacing it with the monarchy - Republicans
  8. Taking out popular leaders in Latin America and supporting brutal dictators friendly to foreign business interests. - Republicans and Democrats
  9. Betraying WWII ally Ho Chi Minh and returning Indo China to France, then aborting the 1954 election on unification of Vietnam, and finally directly intervening in the Vietnam civil war. - Democrats and Republicans
  10. Supporting reactionary forces in Afghanistan against the Soviets and a relatively progressive regime. - Democrats and Republicans
  11. Setting up ally Saddam Hussein and fighting two wars in Iraq to secure control of Iraqi oil. - Republicans and Democrats
  12. Invading Afghanistan and starting another war instead of dealing with the Taliban who were willing to negotiate on Al Qaeda. - Republicans
  13. Spending money without raising taxes to cover the cost, especially the huge cost of war. - Everybody

One can not help but wonder what the world would be like today had the powers behind these decisions made different, more far sighted choices instead of ones based on protecting national advantage and an economic system built on exploitation. One also wonders what the world could be like tomorrow if society spent more time on examining its history beyond the slogans and abbreviated accountings of the past to understand in more depth the consequences of prior decisions and how many of the problems that we face today are a result of what was done previously.


Jerry West grew up on a farm in Fresno County, California, and served with the US Marine Corps from 1965 to 1970 including 19 months in Vietnam with the Third Marine Division, and three years at MCAS Iwakuni where he became an anti-war organizer in 1970. He earned an Honors Degree in History at the University of California, Berkeley, and did two years of graduate study there. While in university he worked seasonally in fire and law enforcement with the US Forest Service.

After university he worked for a number of years in the international tour industry in operations and management before moving to a remote village on the west coast of Vancouver Island where he is currently the editor and publisher of The Record newspaper serving the Nootka Sound region. He is a Past President of the Northern California Land Trust, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

You can email Jerry West, Salem-News.com Writer, at: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Jerry West May 9, 2011 7:55 pm (Pacific time)

Person hiding behind Anonymous, cite your scholarly sources and primary sources. Go back and study the Meiji era, study the actions of the Western powers in China from the 1500s forward. Are you familiar with the Tokugawa period and how it ended? Much of what has happened the last 100 years is blow back for what was done in the 400 before that. The masses have been waking up just like they did in Germany in the 1930's, eh? :) ---- Daniel, maybe they think we are all followers of Tommy Douglas, the Greatest Canadian.

DJ: What probably almost no Americans know: Tommy Douglas was Keifer Sutherland's grandfather. 


Daniel Johnson May 8, 2011 10:02 pm (Pacific time)

I think the map of the American World should have "Moose heads" not "Mouse heads" at the top.


Anonymous May 8, 2011 6:43 pm (Pacific time)

Starting with your proposition number #1, you are quite wrong, for Japan needed absolutely zero impetus from us to act out as per their militaristic (and suicidal) leadership, for their plans for us, China and Korea had been in the making for many years before any trade disagreements surfaced in the PTO. Japan has a history going back countless centuries with an ingrained warrior mentality. Even a quick cursory glance of their armanents, personal and military, exposes the error in your proposition. I have heard a number of people since the late 1950's making your arguement in this area, but they never could provide sufficient evidence, just emotional rhetoric. Then of course you have those who think they understand the flow of history because of what they read in something akin to an encyclopedia, or that online distorter, Wikipedia, or maybe even have a scholary background in history that is essentially GIGO. They seem to have influenced many out there, so these newly propagandized people continue with distorting history. I assume it's the same bunch whose primary motive is to blame America for all global problems. Not working, the masses have been waking up.

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