Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is the USA a bully?

Asked by Dutchess_III (41921points) June 26th, 2019

Is that how we’ve maintained our dominance for lo these many years?

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40 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Self appointed hall monitor,then yup.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Off and on. Back to the Monroe Doctrine, for sure.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. We definitely throw our weight around at times. Sometimes I agree with it, sometimes I don’t. Sometime I think we have a lot of chutzpah and I don’t understand why others take us seriously, but I guess having a lot of economic power and a strong military helps. We do a lot of good and generous things too, so there is that.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@JLeslie: “We do a lot of good and generous things too, so there is that.”

Could you provide an example?

kritiper's avatar

Generally speaking, we set the standard for what is right and we project it. But some people don’t see it that way.

stanleybmanly's avatar

In fairness, when you’re bigger by far than everybody else, it’s tough to resist “throwing your weight around.” Even were you not a bully, your big fingers wind up in everybody’s pies. We’ve done some noble things, but we’ve also fucked the world up in ways too numerous to list.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanleybmanly Agreed. Pleasant to read a balanced and fair response from you on this subject.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s pleasant that you can recognize a balanced and fair response.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@stanleybmanly: “We’ve done some noble things”

What things?

janbb's avatar

Sure. Whatever country is “on top” is a bully. It was Great Britain for a time; it will probably be China soon. I’m sure no country has a monopoly on either good or evil.

ucme's avatar

Well if it is, then like all bullies, it thrives on allies on which to play up to.
Isolate a bully & you take away their power…a fabricated, plastic aggressor.

ragingloli's avatar

Your recent history is replete with military invasions, attacks, assassinations, toppling of governments, support and sponsoring of terrorism, and most recently, economic warfare and imperialism under the pretense of security.
So, yeah. You are.

LostInParadise's avatar

Is there any example of a major power that did not act as a bully?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli Says the German?! haha!

ragingloli's avatar

@knownothingatall as a German, I am especially qualified to judge you for these sins.

JLeslie's avatar

@hmmmmmm When major natural disasters happen the US often lends a hand or money.

On my recent Q about whether photos sway people regarding the conditions at our detention centers a jelly pointed out we pulled some of the money and aid we had been giving to Guatemala and Nicaragua, which means at least for some amount of time we have been helping.

The US government gives money to the Gates Organization, which has efforts going on to eradicate Polio in the world, and also giving other vaccines.

We gave money to help fight HIV and AIDS in Africa, I don’t know if we still to it.

Here’s a Wikipedia link about foreign aid. Granted some of the efforts have motives to help our own country, but it still is also in the interest of helping others.

Also, after WWII we helped Germany and Japan rebuild. They didn’t like our presence in their countries, but just look at West Germany vs. East Germany when the wall was up. We allowed the countries to flourish. Germany had been a democracy, a capitalistic country, with high levels of education, and with America in the West it was able to go back to the path it never should have veered from. With Russia in the East, it was controlled and kept down with communism.

I’m not discounting some of the crap we have done, remember I agreed the US can be a bully. I often pout out we are the only country in the world to actually drop nuclear bombs. Then we have the gall to say other countries can’t have them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, that was so nice of us to help Japan rebuild after we bombed the living shit out of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, and that was just in the initial blast. Yeah, they attacked Pear Harbor, but at least they attacked soldiers!

hmmmmmm's avatar

@JLeslie: ”...Guatemala and Nicaragua…”

Ummmm…Are you aware of the US involvement in those countries? The US destroyed them. Our “money” and involvement there are/were imperialistic. 1954 Guatemalan coup, backing and funding the contras in Nicaragua, etc. The US brutal history and current actions in Latin America is now being described as “good and generous”?

JLeslie's avatar

@hmmmmmm I don’t know the whole history there. We also destroyed parts of Japan and Germany, although they started it. The whole world has this horrible cycle of destroying and then helping—the big powers do anyway. I might be off base with Guatemala and Nicaragua, I accept that.

What about when we brought aid to Haiti after an earthquake? To parts of Asia after a Tsunami. Tried to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians (I’m talking about Clinton). Lent Mexico money (this was also Clinton) when they needed it. Plus, the help I mentioned regarding disease and medications. Are you going to give zero credit to America for sometimes being a positive force?

hmmmmmm's avatar

Zero credit. I urge you to research US involvement in Latin America, and how these are not humanitarian ventures. It’s just a long string of imperialist military and financial pressures that undermine democracy and sovereignty in these countries. The US doesn’t give money without strings either. Most/all of this is done with specific policy goals, and it’s not good.

Most US intervention is violent and in service to global capital. It’s sold as “aid”.

The US is never a “positive force”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was much more positive under Obama.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ No, it very much wasn’t.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, then we disagree. He did more for LGBT people than any other president. He was kind. He was caring. America was just a nicer place for a while.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ I thought we were talking about the US involvement in the world and whether it was a “bully”? The US was bombing 7 countries under Obama. He dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016 alone. He started the US support for the Saudi genocidal attacks on Yemen. Hillary Clinton helped destroy Honduras through the coup and was called out for being responsible for the deaths of people there (see Berta Carceres), etc.

You might dislike Trump, but no need to whitewash the Obama administration and US empire in general.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’m not arguing with you about Central America, I believe you.

As far as NEVER goes, that’s a really big, finite, word, and I reject it out of hand.

MrGrimm888's avatar

The US, is like a church. They don’t do ANYTHING for altruistic reasons. It’s all so everyone remembers where it came from…

mazingerz88's avatar

The US is a bully when citizens of a certain nation see Uncle Sam as intrusive, manipulative and exploitative but some nations see him as a friend, even a protector.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Actually, old school war the victor would take all the spoils, or goodies from the loser. Citizens would be made slaves. War has frequently how borders grew.
The US made post war humanitarian aid a new practice.

Remember, the US tried to stay out of WWII. We sent some supplies to allies, but we tried hard to stay out of it. Japan got pissy because we would not meet their demands for supplies, and they attacked first. Yes, they attacked a military base, but it was not involved in any aggression. It was Japan’s intent to cripple us militarily first, so we could not counterstrike rapidly. It was a cheap shot chickenshit move. Even so, the US tried to keep things military. Japan killed their own civilians before the US did, convincing their civilian population that suicide would be more honorable than being taken prisoner.
Women threw babies from suicide cliff in Saipan, and then jumped themselves. This took place a full year before the bombing of Hiroshima ended Japan’s war efforts.
I’m not comparing the two. There is no comparison. I’m just saying that war leaves deep ugly scars, and the US does not have a monopoly on the ugly things done in war times.
The attitude of Japan before we became involved in that war was the very definition of bully. They pressured our president, and when we did not comply with their demands, they attacked persons who might have been mostly military, but unarmed. They were completely unprepared for the attack.

So fuss about Hiroshima all you want, but Japan left no alternative. They took a chickenshit move, and escalated from there. They would not let up until we devastated them to a degree that they no longer believed their emperor a god.
That’s the cold hard facts on that one.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. I agree that the US, doesn’t have a monopoly in regards to being a bully. But the US, as a whole, seems to think it is somehow better than the other bullies. Which just isn’t true…

hmmmmmm's avatar

@JLeslie: “As far as NEVER goes, that’s a really big, finite, word, and I reject it out of hand.”

In what other cases would you take an institution that is demonstrably evil and assume that there must be a case somewhere where something good was done for altruistic reasons? US foreign policy is a perpetual series of monstrosities, yet we’re supposed to assume that that the next intervention or “aid” will suddenly break from every other action?

And even if we could find one scenario where something was done with no obvious political motive, the net bad is so great that it would be irresponsible to describe the US as doing “lots of good and generous things”. If a serial killer had a dog that it treated kindly, it would make little sense to try to couch discussions of his overall work in parenthetical apologies about him doing nice things too.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’m not saying the good things mean we ignore the bad things. I’m not saying a lot of the things that help others doesn’t also help us at the same time. One could argue no act by anyone or any entity is altruistic. That people always have an underlying motive of serving themselves, even if it’s just feeling good about being generous. If some of the situations are win wins, because being generous helps our country also, I think that’s ok.

I agree that a lot of the things we have done regarding interfering with other countries, including going to war, have resulted in a lot of tragedy, and sometimes those countries wind up worse when we have argued we are helping the people in those countries. However, it’s very hard for me to say we should do nothing when bad elements are controlling countries or groups of people.

What do you propose the US does? Stay out of other countries altogether? Just worry about ourselves?

kritiper's avatar

The US practiced isolationism back before WWII. And it didn’t work. Won’t work now, either.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@JLeslie: “However, it’s very hard for me to say we should do nothing when bad elements are controlling countries or groups of people.

What do you propose the US does? Stay out of other countries altogether? Just worry about ourselves?”

We could start by not supporting these bad elements. We have a long history of overthrowing democratically-elected governments and installing monsters. We destabilize economies, support the most violent and radical right-wing elements in those countries, and then decide that we need to bomb them later on when they become disobedient and are no longer US puppets.

ragingloli's avatar

“We sent some supplies to allies”
Those “supplies” being weapons and ships. Once you sell arms to one party of a war, you are no longer trying “to stay out of it”. You are fully in it, and legitimate targets.

“Japan got pissy because we would not meet their demands for supplies,”
You, together with the British and the Dutch, enacted an oil embargo against Japan, which imported 90% of its oil.
You know, which is a tiny bit different than North Korea complaining about too small flour deliveries.
You basically forced their hand, and make no mistake, if the roles had been reversed, and Japan had enacted an oil embargo on the colonies, you would have acted the same way.

It is funny how you so transparently twist history and couch it in diminutive language to make your country appear as some sweet pixie that only wanted to help.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli and @hmmmmmm So, would you say the only legitimate war the US has fought to date is the war against Hitler? You don’t feel we helped bring him to power do you? Maybe we (the world) needed the US bully to fight the Nazi Germany bully.

I’m going to guess your favorite Dem candidate is Tulsi Gabbard. She argues the US through military action most often makes things worse. She is still a Major even now, she has hands on military experience. I don’t think she has a chance of winning, but I hope whoever wins thinks about having her as a voice in the new administration.

hmmmmmm's avatar

Sure, stopping Germany is definitely worth discussion.
But Tulsi – no. I do not support her. Despite some of her anti-interventionist anti-war rhetoric right now, she holds very problematic views about Islam and “terrorism”, among others (including Israel). Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat I will be voting for, despite his right-leaning foreign policy talk in recent years. At one point years ago, he was far better and held anti-imperialist views.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie We DID bring him to power! Actually, Wilson did advise against punishing Germany to a crippling extent following the first world war, but we did put up with the French and British demand to inordinately punish Germany. It was those enforced tough times that resulted in Hitler and the lesson was learned for the aftermath of the second world war, when we had the sense to aid in the rebuilding of both Germany & Japan.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@mmmmmm and the Marshall plan was an example of a noble thing we have done that coincides with our best interests. But the direction of this conversation is good in its emphasis that the positive aspects of representative government are easily negated when the people of such nations remain woefully ignorant of their country’s history, and that of the world at large. The innumerable blunders we have stumbled into in just my lifetime are easily attributable the profound ignorance which besets our population. it’s that simple.

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