Granderson: The United States sees itself as a white knight (emphasis on “white”)


Temple University professor and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill summed up the biggest problem with the country’s approach to foreign policy shortly after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. He said the United States has no friends; he has interests.

We are like that parent who only calls when he wants to borrow money. No one likes it when that parent calls.

For almost 200 years, we have behaved much like this parent when it comes to our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. “How are you?” is just a euphemism for “I need you to do something for me.” This is the seedy side of the Monroe Doctrine.

When President Monroe expressed this vision in a speech to Congress in 1823, he declared the end of European interference in Latin America. This was not done out of respect for the indigenous peoples who fought to regain their independence. It was so that the United States could take the place of the Old World by controlling and colonizing the hemisphere.

From the capture of Mexico in 1847 to the support of Operation Condor in the 20e century, when eight US-backed military dictatorships kidnapped, tortured and murdered tens of thousands of their political opponents, our country has been working to undermine the sovereignty of the Caribbean and Latin America almost since we first joined us. unilaterally declared its protector.

The recent treatment of Haitian refugees along the border comes as a shock to those who do not remember our decade of invasions of the Western Hemisphere: Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, Haiti in 1994.

Let us not forget President Reagan’s support for the allegedly anti-Communist Contra forces in Nicaragua, a foreign policy decision that has provided weapons to generations of geopolitical enemies.

In 1964, the country directly intervened in the elections in Chile. When he was a national security adviser, Henry Kissinger later said of the intervention: “I don’t see why we have to sit idly by and watch a country become communist because of the irresponsibility of its own. people.

It sounds like freedom to me.

Each case took place under the guise of protecting liberty, when it was really about protecting our (usually commercial) interests. When we seek no gain, we too often tend to be inhuman, such as separating migrants from their children or treating Haitian refugees like cattle on the southern border.

Look, I’m not saying the country shouldn’t protect our global interests or that some of the leaders the CIA helped topple weren’t bad men.

I’m saying that the contempt some Americans have for refugees fleeing the untenable conditions America helped create is a lot like the European imperialism Monroe claimed to end. The hypocrisy should have been predictable; history remembers Monroe as the abolitionist who enslaved 250 people.

The only neighbor whose sovereignty we seem to fully respect is Canada, which is nearly 73% white. I know, I know – here he goes, talking about race again.

Well, check out these now infamous photos and videos of U.S. Border Patrol agents and Haitian refugees: white men on horseback, desperately descending fleeing blacks. How can we honestly talk about this situation without talking about race? How do you honestly talk about how America treats its “friends” on this side of the world without recognizing race?

We don’t.

Not when the United States helped the French try to maintain slavery in Haiti, not when the United States did not recognize Haiti’s freedom for almost 60 years, not when asylum seekers from the world’s first black republic currently hold the lowest acceptance rate. among the 84 countries for which this data is collected.

No, when it comes to our neighbors, not addressing our recurring interest in Latin America or the role of race is not an honest discussion at all. But again, neither did the Monroe Doctrine which put us on this path initially.


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