Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Russia is reflection of U.S. intervention policy

    A friend in Mexico recently posted a meme on social media that I couldn’t help but re-post so my friends in the U.S. could see it. There are two photos: on top, the Statue of Liberty, captioned: “Visit the United States…” and the bottom photo, tanks and helicopters: “…Before the United States visits you.”

    This is the world’s view of the U.S.: intrusive and uncontrollable. While Ukrainians are probably Photoshopping their own versions of this meme, America’s panic over Russia’s recent interventions mirrors what the rest of the world sees whenever the U.S. decides to “defend its interests.”

    Our media’s discussion of Russia masks the US’s long and ongoing tradition of interventionism. Remember George W. Bush’s 2004 State of the Union Address? An excerpt: “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people” — very Putin-esque.

    How do you think the U.S. got North Dakota? Hawaii? How about Puerto Rico? A la Crimea.

    The U.S.’s insistence on its sacred right to intervene abroad in defense of “American interests” has garnered international criticism, which we ignore. But what are “American interests” and who defines them? After the invasion of Iraq a decade ago, the American “proconsul,” L. Paul Bremer, used the occupation to encourage US corporate establishment.

    According to Greg Grandin, Bremer “…removed restrictions on foreign corporate ownership, allowed foreign businesses unlimited repatriation of profits…and privatized state industries.” He also imposed “Iraqi Order 81,” prohibiting seed-saving by farmers, forcing them to purchase seed — from, say, Monsanto and Dow Chemical. The U.S. has also incited coups and trained death squads to promote capitalism, but not just for capitalism’s sake. Our “interests” are profits for the corporations that bankroll our leaders.

    In his 2002 “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,” the late Gore Vidal presents a 10-page chart of all U.S. military operations between Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Ten pages! That doesn’t include Afghanistan or Iraq II. It’s no surprise that the subheading of his book is “How We Got To Be So Hated.”

    So, too, is Russia getting to be hated. Russia’s self-interests are no more valid than our own. Let’s use this mirror to question the U.S.’s incursions abroad through institutions like School of the Americas and through its aid programs.

    Russia’s recent wave of interventionism is an opportunity to question our thoughtless acceptance of the U.S. government’s military engagement abroad and begin to analyze the reasons behind it.

    Cat Callaway — Journalism 21 student

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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