The World’s Most Warring Nation

The history of US foreign policy is a violent and bloody one, although this is not necessarily the dominant perception of most Americans. From the frontier wars of subjugation against Native Peoples to colonial wars against Mexico, Spain and the Philippines, the Cold War interventions in Korea, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Libya and elsewhere, the post-Cold War interventions in Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, and the post-9/11 interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya today, the US has an unrivaled record of war and foreign military intervention. There are in fact, few periods in its history when the US has not been engaged in war or military attacks on other countries. In addition, the US is the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of military weapons, and has a military budget several times greater than all its nearest rivals combined. It is in fact, the most warring nation in modern history. It is in this historical context that we have to try and understand its current military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and Libya.

Although it is sometimes argued by apologists that these military actions are always defensive in nature rather than proactive and expansionist, and are the result of real and serious threats to US security or the wider international system, the virtually impregnable security position of the US, notwithstanding the 9/11 attacks a decade ago, makes this argument unconvincing. The reality is that the size of the US landmass and population, the vast oceans to its eastern and western borders and the friendly countries to its north and south, and the extent of its economic and military power, means that there are no serious obstacles to the adoption of an isolationist foreign policy or even the adoption of a pacifist role in international affairs. In other words, there is nothing inevitable or predetermined about its long record of war and intervention. Explaining the historical record of US foreign intervention requires a careful evaluation of both its strategic interests and its ideological system, as it is the almost unique combination of these factors and the way in which they underpin and interact with each other which helps to explain why the US continues to be the most violent state in the international system today.

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About richardjacksonterrorismblog

I am currently Professor of Peace Studies and the Director of the National Peace and Conflict Studies Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Prior to this, I was Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. I study and teach on issues of pacifism and nonviolence, terrorism, political violence, conflict resolution and war. I have published several books on these topics, including: The Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies (Routledge, 2016); Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011; co-authored with Lee Jarvis, Jeroen Gunning and Marie Breen Smyth); Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Cases (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010; edited by Richard Jackson, Eamon Murphy and Scott Poynting); Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009; edited by Richard Jackson, Marie Breen Smyth and Jeroen Gunning); Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-first Century: Principles, Methods and Approaches (Ann Arbor MI: Michigan University Press, 2009; co-authored with Jacob Bercovitch); and Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counterterrorism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005). I am also the editor-in-chief of the academic journal, Critical Studies on Terrorism. In 2014, I published a research-based novel entitled, Confessions of a Terrorist (Zed Books, 2014) which explores the mind and motivation of a terrorist.
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1 Response to The World’s Most Warring Nation

  1. Jerry says:

    Without a doubt the US has had a fight with almost everybody at one time or another.It is hard to really give a all inclusive answer to why, the only one thing that I can put my finger on is religon. The US is the most religous developed nation in the world.Usually the more developed the less religious a nation is,this unfortunately can lead to (we are right and just) thinking rather then actually using their heads to avoid war.I believe the US thinks they can fix the world when they should become the best they can be first.I do not believe the over all plan is to do damage or run the world although to some degree that’s how it appears.So many American’s think their way of life is the best when in fact it is no different then most nations.The level of education is too low as well which has lead to people following like sheep.Most American’s think Iraq had something to do with 9-11 which is not the case. I’m always surprised how little most US citizens know about other nations or in some cases even about 50 miles down the road.It seems from an outsider that American’s live in compartmentalized area’s. The politician’s in the US really need to start taking care of their country and citizen’s The trade situation is completely out of sync
    they need to have FAIR trade if they ever expect to be healthy financially.Also the Health Care issue to most other modern nations is insane,it isn’t health care it is insurance that is the issue, on top of this you have a Nation that firmly believes they are far ahead of everyone in Medical expertise .This is simply not the case. The US is overall a good country that needs to start acting good and needs to put their peoples wellfair first.

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