Black American Politics in the 21st Century: Is It Time For A New Plan?

Is our political strategy delivering us peace abroad?

All of our permanent interests, jobs, justice, human rights and peace are inextricably linked. We start with the last of these, because without peace abroad, none of the others are possible. The US of A is a global empire, with somewhere between 800 and 1200 foreign military bases scattered around the world. There are no Turkish Air Force officers at corner bars in rural Alabama, or Chinese Marines with bases in Michigan, and you can’t find Argentine or Nigerian sailors at any US port, unless your tax dollars are paying to train them here. But there are uniformed US armed forces in more than a hundred countries. This is what the Romans and Brits did in their day, and it’s what we are doing now. It’s not “foreign policy,” the US does not have a “foreign policy,” it has an empire. Maintaining and extending that empire is the “foreign policy.”

Empires are horrendously expensive. For what it costs to run the war in Afghanistan for an hour or two, you could plug all the budget holes in the transit system of Philadelphia, or Atlanta, or Chicago or Califorina’s BART, or fully fund the school systems in a half dozen cities the size of Macon or Birmingham or Hartford or Oklahoma City. An entire day of war funding would plug all the holes in a medium sized state budget.

Just as Martin Luther King pinpointed the war in Vietnam as the reason the 1960s War on Poverty programs could not be funded, funding the multiple wars needed to maintain and extend a global empire will absolutely prevent the funding of jobs, education, housing and health care for the foreseeable future. And just as back in the 1960s, our political class, including its black faces, regard this as a subject not to be discussed, and utterly off the table.

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