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Enemies America Made
And How To Make Friends Again

December 14, 2021
by William P. Meyers

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Joe Biden, the U.S. military, and many other Americans see the world as full of enemies. They like to think the reason America has so many enemies is because the United States is such a good country, with a good government and good citizens, including our business leaders. They are surprised that nations like Russia, China and Iran are suspicious of American intentions when we call for global cooperation to make sure the U.S. is number 1, no matter what.

I think it is best to begin to look at specific cases before I generalize about the cause of the multiplication of our enemies or how we should go about making friends. I will start with an old enemy that has been our friend for about 70 years now, then go over our more prominent current enemies.


In the 1800s Japan was keeping to itself, as it had a right to. Although the United States had not completed it conquest of continental indigenous groups (American Indians), its ruling class was eager to imitate the imperialist nations, particularly Great Britain. In 1853 President Millard Fillmore sent a military fleet to Japan, known as the Perry Expedition. First thing, they invaded Okinawa and put an American flag atop its mountain peak, generally a sign of conquest. After other stops Perry blasted his way into Edo (now Tokyo) in 1853 and again in 1854. The Shogun negotiated, giving the U.S. ports in Shimoda and Hadodate, without any reciprocal rights in U.S. ports. Is that how you make friends? U.S. insults to Japan, based on the racist theory that the Japanese were an inferior people, continued decade after decade. Japan modernized and decided to free Asia from White People, starting with China, which had fallen into chaos. But the U.S. liked China in chaos as it presented commercial opportunities. So in 1941 FDR's Secretary of State sent the Hull Memorandum, basically a declaration of war, to the Japanese government [which was a democracy, though highly patriotic and militaristic and headed by a powerless Emperor]. President Roosevelt also sent a very large invasion fleet from the West Coast and gave General MacArthur permission to attack the Japan in Taiwan, while people pretending not to be the U.S. Air Force [Flying Tigers] attacked Japanese troops in China. Given all that, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, which was no surprise to the President, since his Ambassador to Japan, Grew, had been telling him about it for months. With Pearl Harbor, and most Americans ignorant of the background, Roosevelt was able paint Japan as evil and an enemy in need to conquest.

When you lie about people, or a nation, they usually know you are lying, and start thinking of you as an enemy. When you are a criminal, and want something belonging to someone else, you may find a way to think of them as an enemy, to justify your violence and theft. If they watch you steal from their neighbors, (as the U.S., Britain and others stole from other Asian nations), they will think of you as an enemy. If you say they are of an inferior race, they will think of you as an enemy. If you say you can do something or have something, and deny them the right to do that or have that, they will think of you as an enemy. And then you have made an enemy, when you could have made a friend.


Colonial merchants were trading with China before the American Revolution. In the 1800s, in addition to legitimate trade, American merchants, notably Delano (yes, as in Franklin Delano Roosevelt) got rich running opium into China. U.S. warships helped out the British in the Opium Wars. After grabbing the Philippines and suppressing the natives there with genocidal war crimes, lots of powerful U.S. business and government leaders started wondering how to compete with Britain, Germany, and France to rule over China. The U.S. eventually backed the organized criminal family posing as a national government, the Chiang Kai Shek regime, and in 1946 it looked like we had won China (including Taiwan). But the people of China thought differently, and by 1950 the Communists ruled China and Chiang had retreated with his henchmen and as much loot as he could take (like the nation's gold reserves) to Taiwan. American and Chiang planned to use Taiwan to invade China, but as decades rolled by that hope faded. So now America pretends Taiwan is not part of China, but the Appendix of the U.S. empire.

America had plenty of opportunities to have friendly relations with the Chinese people. China has never invaded the U.S. or done anything to harm the U.S. We have punched and kicked and bullied and spat on China for two centuries now. We tried liking them for a moment when they developed a market economy, but then hated them when the beat us at our own game. We say they are not a democracy, but 90 million people are members of their Communist Party, which is pretty good mass participation. Rather than point at what we say are China's flaws, perhaps we should fix our own, rather than meddling in theirs.


We say we are for democracy, but when Iran established a democracy after World War II, we did not like who the people selected. So we staged a coup and set up a dictatorship under the Shah. When the Iranians overthrew the Shah and re-established a democracy, again we did not think they were sufficiently good at kissing the feet of American Presidents, capitalists, and the CIA, plus they were of the wrong religion. Most recently, we negotiated a treaty that was not particularly fair to Iran, then we reneged on the treaty, and now we want to impose an even worse treaty. Is that how friendly nations act? Is that how ethical nations act? No, it is gangster diplomacy.


Russia once extended its empire as far as northern California. Its rapacity culture has certainly been as great as that of the U.S., France, or Britain, but its competence (life France's) has not been so well demonstrated. America made an enemy of Russia, or the USSR, over the capitalism v. communism thing, even though each requires a ruling class to control capital and boss around workers. For 4 years in World War II we pretended to be friends to that the Germans could be defeated. Then back to enemies. Then the USSR went capitalist and democratic, so sort-of friends. But capitalist states go to war over money, territory, and power, so soon enough, when the Russians were not willing to be US puppets, they went back on the enemies list. We are a petroleum power, so we don't like their building another pipeline to send gas to Germany. If they would just dismantle their military and industry and let Walmart build superstores across their land, we might be willing to be friendlier.

North Korea

Okay, it is hard for anyone to be a fan of the Kim dynasty. But they did lead the fight against Japanese occupation. Which should have been good in the American anti-Japanese playbook, but they were communists, so bad, bad, bad inferior Asian people. After World War II, before people got to know them better, the Kims might have won free elections, but the U.S. occupied South Korea was not interested in free elections. So North Korea conquered South Korea, then the U.S. conquered Korea (long a U.S. goal), then the Chinese almost conquered Korea, then it went back to a stalemate between a U.S. puppet regime in South Korea and a communist regime in the north. It is hard to make friends after a history like that, but we could start by lifting economic sanctions and by withdrawing U.S. troops from a place they do not belong.


I bring up Venezuela to show that the US can still make new enemies out of old friends, just like we did in the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s. You know the story. Sure, Chavez was an ass and Maduro is an incompetent ass, but then the same could be said of our Presidents.


In the 1950s the U.S. backed Batista dictatorship was overthrown by Castro and crew. Instead of rushing in to befriend Castro, the US pouted that its organized crime syndicates lost their Havana casinos and their smuggling routes. Even today Biden is too chicken-shit to restore normal relations.


Many local leaders and foreign nations have tried to rule Syria over the centuries. In 1963 the socialist Baath regime restored order, and since 1971 the Assad family has led that party and the nation. But could the U.S. be friends? No, not with socialists, not with rivals of Israel. So Barack Obama decided to overthrow Assad, an act of friendship between peoples if there ever was one. Only problem is, it led to ultra-orthodox Islamic groups to almost take over Syria, notably Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Nice play, Obama! After millions died and the country was bombed to rubble, the Baath regime restored order. Can we be friends?

Enemies to Friends

I am not very fond of many of the enemy regimes or cultures I have mentioned. But then I am not all that fond of the government of America. I have a list of perhaps 50 reforms that are urgently needed in the United States. I don't have time to try to reform the nations listed above, or Saudi Arabia or France or anyone else. The world is a mess and I think each nation should focus on cleaning up its own neighborhood.

If you are pointing a gun at someone, the first step to friendliness is not pointing the gun directly at them. Maybe even start leaving the gun at home in a lock box, if your new friends will do the same. So, the United States of America should close our foreign bases and withdraw our troops. The guns and troops can be kept handy on our own territory, until we realize we really were the problem all along, and could spend our money on more useful things and pursuits.

People do not like a sore loser, and people don't like people who will cheat or harm other people to be winners. That is as true in economics as it is in diplomacy. The U.S. should stop trying to claim, all the time, that it is superior to other nations. It isn't. We should stop cheating, which includes stopping economic sanctions against nations just because they are outcompeting us in business.

It can take a long time to make friends with an old enemy. But it can be done. It may be difficult at times; all parties must ultimately cooperate for it to work. Humans have the capacity to cooperate. Cooperative people can lead by example. And I do not mean cooperatively beating up on people, with gangs like NATO.

Liberty and Justice for All! How sweet that would be.

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