Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Fourth of July as Outdependence Day
By Ben Tanosborn
ccun.org, July 11, 2009
About this time every year I grow a bit philosophical, and
melancholic, as we celebrate what this country should be… but isn’t.
Last year, my written words called for a second American revolution, and
the year before I underlined the belated realization that the US is not us
(the people). Perhaps in my idealism, I showed more than a touch of
This year, as I take stock of where the United States is,
a new administration in power, and vast economic and social problems
pressing the country, I cannot help but feel disconsolate at the state of
the nation. Amid early stages of an economic depression that neither
Wall Street nor the government is willing to acknowledge publicly, or
lasting military conflict in the Middle East, the motto carried by the
American eagle – e pluribus unum – appears to me as a two-centuries-old
dictum that represents a cruel hoax.
“Out of many, one” was a
great slogan, an appropriate theme of a seal’s imagery, which reflected a
new world; a new nation ready to pragmatically define how a government by
the people should be… the meaning of true democracy. A great start
for 1776, one that most Americans followed until two generations ago, as
the stark realities of our social, economic and political conditions
became evident, in need of little or no explanation.
Unity for the
good of the country no longer has the patriotic ring that it once had, as
the overwhelmingly powerful few use it to yoke the overwhelmingly
powerless many. Yet, politicians, government and those holding the
reins of wealth and power are quick to resort to a call for unity with the
sole intention of maintaining a truly undemocratic status quo. A
most difficult situation to overcome when the few – and powerful – aren’t
just an ubiquitous elite barely representing 1 percent amongst us, but
squires to this elite by the legion that could add up to as many as 10-15
percent of the population. Still few… but a powerful, ruling few!
And that represents the divided America, not down the middle (in
population) as we are led to believe, but an America of power and
influence where 40 million people rule the lives of the other 280 million
(when undocumented immigrants are included). The ruling of the many
by the few via an unrepresentative government, masked via elections,
bought for the most part with money provided by the tentacles of predatory
capitalism… yes, the lobbies representing corporate and foreign interests,
and not the needs or the desires of the American people.
And if that happens to be the reality of the nation in 2009, more than
celebrating the nation’s independence, we should be mourning it instead…
for the course the country took long ago has in fact replaced Independence
Day with Outdependence Day.
Outdependence of the United States to
foreign nations created by annual international trade deficits every year
since 1976; and which last year amounted to over $695 billion; that, added
to a projected budget deficit of $407 billion, put the United States in
arrears to the tune of 8 percent of the US gross domestic product; or, in
terms we may be able to understand, it potentially took away a star from
our flag (2 percent of US resources).
Outdependence of the United
States to foreign petroleum-producing nations created by a gluttonous
demand for energy which has brought about the risk of present or future
unduly influence by those nations in how the US conducts foreign
Outdependence of the United States to “adopted” sister
nations that keeps this country tied down to unchangeable international
commitments, no matter how illegitimate… as viewed by the rest of the
world, and which de facto help write and enforce the nation’s foreign
policy. The most blatant example is the US treatment of
“does-no-wrong” Israel in its decades-long conflict with its Arab
neighbors… now extending past the Near and Middle East to other parts of
Outdependence of the United States to neighboring
nations to meet its citizens’ demand for illicit drugs; suppliers in the
hemisphere born out of such demand, and America’s drug policies of
criminalization and enforcement. These are nations that are being
destabilized because of such US drug demand at a cost to them several-fold
of the resources provided to them by America and its war on drugs.
Mexico, Colombia and smaller Central American and Caribbean nations are
now absorbing much of that cost.
On this Fourth of July of picnics
and fireworks, perhaps we should look introspectively and think how we can
reverse course and revisit the Declaration of Independence and live by the
motto of “E Pluribus Unum” once more.