War games

An excerpt from Jane Walmsley's guide "Brit-think, Ameri-think."

Published February 5, 2003 8:00PM (EST)


In spite of the fact that the U.S. is arguably the most powerful nation in the world, Yanks are not a warlike people. America was founded by pacifist religious groups who had broken ties with Europe, and the legacy remains. Throughout their short history Americans have formulated or signed many policy documents meant to reduce the possibility of conflict: i.e., the League of Nations Charter, the Monroe Doctrine, the present U.N. Charter, and the Marshall Plan. They have entered both world wars late, and with considerable reluctance. In the sixties, America made Peace and Love fashionable; and by the early seventies, aversion to war was so widespread that Nixon was forced to extricate America from Vietnam. Yes, average Americans hate fighting ... yet, they are perceived by others as a trigger-happy and hawkish nation. This is because:

1. They are the world's foremost nuclear power (Might makes Fright).

2. They once "nuked" Japan.

3. They're moving further to the political right, in pursuit of

4. a Republican president who is unfamiliar with the map of the world, and thinks Greece is a musical.

5. The successful development of Star Wars will leave the US holding the nuclear trump card.

6. Yanks may not like fighting foreign wars, but they carry guns and spend a lot of time shooting each other.

7. They fight wars in Third World countries by proxy, using CIA operatives with slush funds instead of military troops.

8. In matters of foreign policy, they have been known to support right-wing regimes that seem to prefer genocide to Communism.

9. They are fully committed to the American Way of Life, and have scant time or tolerance for alternative points of view; and, more important,

10. they have 45,000 nuclear warheads, and will not put hands on hearts and promise not to use them.

By Jane Walmsley

MORE FROM Jane Walmsley

Related Topics ------------------------------------------