By Walt Garlington for The Saker Blog
Mr Robert Bridge is mostly right when he says the American impulse to dominate other countries is quite old. Mostly right, for he fails to mention that ‘America’ is not a monolithic entity that speaks with a single voice. There are, in fact, several regional cultures and subcultures with their own folkways that often clash with one another. Relationships with foreign countries is just one of many flash points that have risen between them over the years.
American exceptionalism, as he rightly sees, has its origins with the settlers of New England, who believed they were sent by God to build New Jerusalem in North America. But the Pilgrims were not the only cultural group that settled in the land area that now belongs to the United States. The Southern people, whose history begins at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, had quite a different temperament and beliefs than the Yankees of New England. Their views of foreign policy were, accordingly, also quite different.
The well-known Farewell Address (1796) of President George Washington (a Southerner from Virginia), is a good place to begin. In it he recommends the following to those in the States:
‘Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? . . . The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.’
Pres Thomas Jefferson, also of Virginia, echoes these sentiments:
‘Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto’ (letter of 1799).
‘The presumption of dictating to an independent nation the form of its government is so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation as well as moral sentiment enlists all our partialities and prayers in favor of one [independent nations] and our equal execrations against the other [dictating to other nations]’ (letter of 1823).1
Another important Southern voice is John Randolph of Roanoke: ‘His political creed was that of a latter-day Antifederalist. “Love of peace, hatred of offensive war, jealousy of the state governments toward the general government; a dread of standing armies; a loathing of public debt, taxes, and excises; tenderness for the liberty of the citizen; jealousy, Argus-eyed jealousy, of the patronage of the President.”’
The critical moment for the United States was the so-called Civil War of 1861-1865 (more properly called the War of Northern Aggression or the War to Prevent Southern Independence, for the South was not fighting to take over Washington, D. C.; she wanted to peacefully separate form it and the Northern States and chart her own course). Here Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s statement is key: ‘The lust of empire impelled them [Yankees] to wage against their weaker neighbors [the South] a war of subjugation.’2
The dramatic change that was wrought in the Union through this horrible War – from a voluntary confederation of States to an involuntarily unified nation dominated by the Yankee ruling elite in Washington City – was admitted even by Yankees themselves. A professor at Harvard, George Ticknor, after the War was over, said, ‘It does not seem to me as if I were living in the country in which I was born.’3
From that point onward, the restraint in foreign policy advocated by many Southerners was rejected by and large for the imperial expansion desired by Northerners from Alexander Hamilton to Pres Lincoln. The prediction of General Robert E. Lee in 1866, that the US government would become ‘aggressive abroad and despotic at home’, after the old principles of decentralization and a voluntary compact of independent States were destroyed by Lincoln’s War,4 has come true.
However, with more and more voices predicting a breakup of the current American Union, due to various cultural divisions, failures abroad, and so on, it is possible that the South and the other cultural regions (Great Plains, Old Midwest, etc.) will be able to free themselves after decades of Yankee domination. Smaller confederations conducting foreign policy along the lines laid down by the Old Southern statesmen would spare the countries of the world any further violence from the current Yankee Empire.
Professor William Riker once speculated about how the 20th century would have looked if the unitary American Empire had not arisen; if, instead, North America looked more like South America, with several smaller ‘disconnected republics’ populating it:
‘“I know for certain,” writes Riker, “that the relatively smaller and weaker American nations would not have been able to participate in European wars.” An America-less First World War—or Great War, as we’d be calling it—would have ended in a German triumph, according to Riker. “There would, of course, have been no occasion for Hitler and the Second World War,” and in carving up European Russia the Germans would have unwittingly prevented the rise of Soviet communism.
‘No Constitution means no Hitler, no Stalin . . . and no American Civil War, for that matter.’5
What would the 21st century look like if the American Empire were broken up into its more natural cultural-ethnic components? What terrors could be avoided – war with China, Iran, and Russia? What good could be fostered – more restrictions on the power of Big Tech?
New England does not make up the totality of culture in the United States. There are other cultures, other voices; but they have unfortunately been silenced by the Yankees for the time being. The future of geopolitics hinges in part on whether the peoples of the South, the Midwest, the Spanish Southwest, etc., rediscover and strengthen their cultural identities, withdraw from the arrogant, heretical Yankee American Empire, and pursue a modest and peaceful foreign policy that is in keeping with their unique historical, ethnic qualities.
1 James and Walter Kennedy, Yankee Empire: Aggressive Abroad and Despotic at Home, Shotwell Publishing, Columbia, SC, 2018, p. 140.
2 Ibid., p. 342.
3 Ibid., p. 142.
4 Ibid., p. ix.
5 Bill Kauffman, Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin, ISI Books, Wilmington, Del., 2008, p. 34.
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