Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 23, 2005
U.S grabs moral crusader tag
University of Alberta professor calls on Canada to resist American Domination
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The United States is deliberately moving from a position where it was one of the most powerful countries in the world to a position where it is the most powerful country in the world, says a University of Alberta professor.
"And this is really a deliberate policy on the part of the United States to accumulate a supreme position, an imperial position in the global community," professor Tom Keating said at the Social Justice Institute May 13. "This is very much a reflection of policies pursued by the Bush government in a desire to maintain a stronghold on its position of power within the global international community in which we live."
This desire for world supremacy is reflected in the economic, the military and the political context of American foreign policy.
Shift to militarism
"There has been a significant shift to militarism and reliance on the military on American foreign policy," Keating said. "There is also an increase in unilateralist tendencies within the United States, a tendency to act alone independently of international organizations and other countries."
Canada must resist and challenge these policies by creating an alternative world, the professor said.
Keating, an author and professor of political science, gave a workshop on Canada-U.S. relations at the May 12-14 Social Justice Institute at Newman Theological College. Nearly 100 people attended his presentation.
One stated objective of the U.S. government now is to accumulate as much military power as possible so that no one will even consider threatening them in the future, Keating told his audience.
"There has been a tremendous increase in American military capability in the last four or five years," he noted. "Military spending in the United States is now sitting at about $420 billion a year. This is beginning to exceed the highest level of American military spending during the Cold War."
Canadian military spending, by comparison, is scheduled to rise to about $20 billion by 2010.
There seems to be an increasing willingness on the part of American policymakers to turn to the military when they want to influence other countries, Keating noted.
"This is a very disturbing trend, but it is becoming more and more common because of technological changes in the military, which, until the Iraq War, made it conceivable that the United States could use its military in a way that did not result in a lot of American casualties."
And so throughout the 1990s, for example, there was regular bombing of Iraq by American and British forces without incurring any American casualties. In 1999 there was a significant military action launched against Serbia over Kosovo in which not a single American casualty occurred. This tended to reinforce the idea that the United States could fight wars without incurring any casualties itself, thus making the wars more politically acceptable.
Of course, after Sept 11 the United States has become willing to accept a certain number of casualties in the event of conflict, he said.
"But it's very interesting that the U.S. government still tries to limit any discussion of casualties in the Iraq war and not only do they prohibit any discussion of civilian casualties in Iraq, but they try to limit discussion of American casualties as well," Keating noted.
Moreover, as a result of the war on terror, the United States has expanded military bases abroad, particularly in central Asia. "And there has also been a significant American effort to bring about regime change in different countries to try and get their support in the war on terror.
"(The truth is that) the United States does not know who their enemies are and that becomes a very useful justification for being on constant alert, for having sufficient military power, for pre-empting possible attacks against possible enemies that might possibly one day attack the United States."
There's also a moral element to American policy where the U.S. sees itself as a moral crusader, he said.
"The message that the United States is sort of taking on the cause of civilization is becoming very prominent in American foreign policy speeches in recent years," he said. "They do see themselves as sort of carrying out some civilizing mission for the rest of the world. So this is a fight between the civilized world acting on God's behalf against this sort of evil, heretic world."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.