Inspired by Mark Twain’s recent birthday, I decided to start a new website. It focuses on the same raison d’être which inspired the creation of the American Anti-Imperialist League prior to the Spanish-American War in 1898, of which Mark Twain was an important part.
In this age, Americans of all stripes had seen the growth of militarism and imperial stretch and grown weary of further expansion. They had already been the sponsors of military interventions all over Latin America, and in 1898, this new American eagle seemed destined to “put its’ talons” on the shores of both Cuba and the Philippines, as well.
American patriots, determined to not have their Republic turn into an Empire, took to gathering with others of like mind to convince their brothern of the dangers of American expansion beyond her shores. This energized the anti-imperialist American spirit inherent in its founding documents, and sparked a national conversation on the role of the American “big stick” on the world stage.
However, once the 1900 Presidential election was lost to imperialist William McKinley (coincidentally enough, also my direct ancestor), the movement seemed to dissipate. Once the next atrocious war, the Great War, was blindly accepted by the League, the true strength of the Anti-Empire movement had been extinguished by the calls for “patriotic” embrace of intervention in Europe’s war.
As in those early days, there does exist an anti-war contingent in the United States of America, however hidden and unmotivated they may currently be. Assessing past events, who can blame them? After the anti-war rhetoric of Presidential Candidate Barack Obama swept across the nation, the same progressives and moderates who had denounced the war crimes and excessive imperialism of the George W. Bush administration had finally found their political savoir and messiah.
As the record would indicate, however, President Obama has actually been worse for issues of war and peace, civil liberties, and growth of the American Empire. The cases of Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Uganda, and much more demonstrate just that.
By the creation of the 21st Century Anti-Imperialist League, it is hoped that there can be a modern discussion on what the role of the United States should be on the world stage. Should the U.S. be the belligerent hegemon, imposing its will on countries which have weak democratic institutions and abundant natural resources? Should more blood and treasure be spilled to further enrich those in the military-industrial complex? Should American men and women be killed under a flag which has betrayed them? Should American arms and occupation be continually used to breed both hatred and violence in foreign countries, eventually inspiring the acts of terrorism which are committed against innocent American civilians?
The 21st Century Anti-Imperialist League will do everything it can to document the tragedies and atrocities perpetuated by continued expansion of war and empire across the globe. Once consciousness of the imperial acts committed abroad has been reached, a new hope for restoring the Republic can be assured.
Until then, continue to spread the message; continue to embrace peace as the ultimate alternative to violence; continue to protest against all parties, whether Democrats or Republicans, who use war to justify the eradication of civil liberties at home; continue to hold elected officials accountable for supporting the unnecessary bombing, killing, and occupying of foreign lands; continue to uphold the most important document of the last 300 years, the American constitution, which loses its strength with each imperialist adventure; continue to push for having your government represent human rights and virtue abroad, not the systematic permanence of violence and destruction against all nations not willing to buckle to every whim of the world’s aggressor.
Accordingly, it must be remembered that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism”, and that criticizing your government when it is wrong is the noblest duty a citizen can perform.
Let us dismantle imperialism and promote liberty in the 21st century.