Monday, May 14, 2007

Hawaii, Iraq, War and Peace

What does Hawaii have to do with the U.S. War Against Iraq?

This morning I posted the draft chapter The U.S. Conquest of Hawaii and Other Pacific Islands, which is part of my larger work The U.S. War Against Asia. I probably will not include the Iraq War I and Iraq War II or the War Against Terrorism or Afghanistan in the Asian War book. But I could, since technically Iraq and Afghanistan are in Asia. That goes back to those crazy Greeks, who defined Asia as all the lands to the East of their homeland.

In the U.S. war against Asia it is important to note that the broader context of the war is political, economic, and cultural. Before the Hawaiian Islands were invaded by the U.S. military they were invaded by U.S. Christian missionaries. Several of the major figures in the U.S. seizure of Hawaii were children of those missionaries who were born on the islands and became lawyers or businessmen.

While Hawaii was desirable as a way station for U.S. merchant shipping, it also began to produce an important crop, cane sugar. I am indebted to Luzviminda Bartolome Francisco and Jonathan Shepard Fast whose book Conspiracy for Empire details the role of the sugar industry in the Spanish American War and seizure of Hawaii. It is a sad commentary on the American book publishing industry that this book is quite rare, having never been published in the U.S. and being out of print in the Philippines, where it was published by the Foundation for Nationalist Studies in 1985.

At times the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans saw "missionary" efforts as a prelude to colonization by European nations or the United States. The same is true of commercial relationships. Yet closed door policies proved to be even more disastrous than trade and cultural exchange. The military weakness of the Asian nations encouraged military aggression by, in turn, Portugal, Spain, Holland, England, Germany and the U.S.

The tragedy of Japan's westernization is a sad, related tale. To resist the Europeans the Japanese decided they had to control, and eventually conquer, their Asian neighbors.

Iraq too has been a victim of a system where all roads lead to failure. The collapse of the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire during World War I, while it liberated many subject states, meant that no single subject state could successfully resist Great Britain, Germany, France or the U.S. At best the Islamic nations could hope to play one off against the other. Iraq was at first a client state of Britain and then of the United States. Saddam Hussein started as a socialist, but became a U.S. puppet. While he did the U.S.'s dirty work invading Iran, he led a military and economic buildup of Iraq that also followed Turkey's lead in creating a secular, non-Islamic culture. He thought he had grown strong enough to cut the puppet strings, but he was wrong.

The key to solving the problems of the world is disarming the United States of America. It is true that some other evil empire might emerge, but disarmament is a likely course to a peaceful world. Sadly, Japan is now run by politicians who want to re-arm.

I hope that countries like Japan, China, Iran, Korea and Japan will only use their armies and navies for self-defense. But military establishments grown powerful create their own dynamics, as we have seen in the U.S.

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