Americans honestly believe they are helping. They may have turned against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which had liberals in opposition. But liberals don’t have a systematic analysis of why ALL overseas military intervention by the US is, and will be, negative.
Think about it. We have radical ideas that most people don’t:
- the absolute right of nations to self-determination (sometimes I wonder if even socialists believe in this; many are fine with Soviet historical invasions)
- we are in no position to be exporting democracy or stability when we have so much oligarchic corruption and gun violence (which I blame on the tension and competition of living in capitalism, not on guns)
- Americans being unfamiliar with living under foreign occupation, they do not realize how any democracy under foreign occupation is invalid because the elected always live at the mercy of being forcibly replaced from pressure by the occupier’s government
- a military rooted in capitalism will always act to enrich our wealthy and gain strategic global footholds at the expense of people’s sovereignty, and therefore
- it is far better to just let horrible shit happen in another country than to try to “fix it” by involving the US military, which would be even more horrible.
The idea that “the best we can do to help other countries is to change our own” seems far-fetched to most people, because they (1) don’t realize the connection between the corruption at home and how it shapes military behavior abroad, (2) don’t admit the depth of corruption at home, or (3) have no vision of how to change the corruption at home. If there was some kind of anti-imperial struggle in Nigeria that would be one thing, but the US military was literally invited in. It seems obvious — they ask for help, we send it. Except the US military is never “help,” but always the Pentagon helping itself to a permanent geostrategic foothold, with no regard for what collateral damage they cause among the actual people living there.
Without those ideas, the obvious answer to a lot of global atrocities is “let’s go help stop it,” the obvious thing to use often being a military. Patiently explain.