In the year that I was born, African Americans were being lynched with impunity. When I was in my teens, the American military was in the process of dropping more explosives, including lethal cocktails of chemicals, on the peasant farmers of South East Asia than had been used in the entire Second World War. Three million Vietnamese and more than a million Cambodians and Laotians were to be murdered by the US military-industrial complex for the crime of wanting to be free of European and American colonialism. By the time I had reached my mid-twenties, that very same military-industrial complex was in the process of wreaking bloody havoc across Central and South America, repeatedly overthrowing democratic governments and installing in their place vicious dictators propped up by US trained death squads.

In that same decade, the US had armed, trained and financed the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan – a para military force that was soon to morph into the Islamo-fascist Taliban and its sister organisation, Al Qaida. The purpose of this gang of cut-throats was to overthrow the progressive Afghan government - the consequence of which has been to unleash a forty-year civil war in that unhappy country, a debilitating war that shows no sign of abatement. As for Asia and South America, so it was for Africa, where in addition to the usual US sponsored coups and political machinations, the US government continued to prop up the South African Apartheid regime until the very last moment.

And now, as I enter the twilight of my years, I witness that same military-industrial complex launch new wars of occupation across the Middle East in pursuit of geopolitical dominance and a cheap and secure supply of oil.

Domestically, successive US governments have maintained a repressive presence, locking up civil rights activists and political dissidents at will. At present, no less than two and a half million American citizens are incarcerated in cages mostly for the crime of being Black, Latino and poor. The US now has by far the largest prison population in the world and the figures just keep on growing. Despite the so-called progressive administrations under the Kennedy’s, the Clinton’s and more recently, Barrack Obama, one in three of Black American males will find themselves incarcerated, whilst the indiscriminate killings of unarmed Black citizens by uniformed police continues without respite. The only force in society capable of stemming this state sponsored violence – organised labour - has been consistently criminalised, marginalised, infiltrated and generally neutered.

For those not blinded by the Disneyland and Hollywood fantasies of the American Dream, it is blindingly clear that the US is a nation founded on genocide against the native Americans, grown wealthy by centuries of slavery and endemic racism, and perpetuated by neo colonialism, outright imperialism and an all-pervasive militarist corporatism. Whilst not all democratic pulses have been extinguished, the United States of America is not and never has been the beacon of democracy that its propaganda machine has tirelessly sought to portray. On the contrary, it has behaved in the exact same way as every empire before it; bullying, self-seeking and domineering. Now, as its star begins to wane, it has become transparently xenophobic, misogynistic and outright racist.

But these are not new characteristics for the USA. On the contrary, they have always been there, only now that the democratic façade is being stripped away, it all becomes that much more apparent. So, when liberal America throws up its arms in shock and horror at the pronouncements and decrees of the Trump administration, they are only showing their own ignorance of the true nature and history of their country. Trump is a continuation of all that has gone before.  His modus operandi may be a little more gung-ho, a little more free-wheeling than his predecessors, but the direction of travel is pretty much the same. Some of the corporates may huff and puff for a while but they will quickly enough adjust. After all, the business of America is business, and all else is destined to take a distant second place. Civil rights may come and civil rights may go, but the bottom line is, and always has been, capitalist profit. Despite the liberal bluster, nothing has actually changed. And this continuity is underlined by an endemic and stubborn national tribalism. Only when you see a US administration consistently putting the global perspective above that of the national, might we dare to hope that something substantial has changed. Until then, expect the Trump administration, like all its predecessors, to continue; corporate business as usual.

End JPK Copyright 31/1/17

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