Obama, Hillary, Biden, etc., when they speak about U.S. foreign policy are always bandying about the term ‘U.S. interests’. This raises the question just what are these interests and who defines what it is, exactly, that they specifically are? I ask this question because, in my opinion, U.S. interests should be one and the same with the interests of the human community (if I can be so bold as to entertain such a concept) in general. It seems to me that some of these interests should include, peace, justice, an equitable distribution of wealth, human rights, and individuals (and groups) having the ability to have a meaningful say in the policies and practices taken up in their name (by their leaders and governments).
I don’t think this is what Hillary, Obama, Biden, et. al. mean when they refer to what it is that they define as ‘U.S. interests’. When they (and other vaunted ‘leaders’) refer to so-called U.S. interests they are talking about a paternalistic idea of what the U.S. wants another nation (or other nations in general) and its citizens to do. They are referring to the ways in which they want a nation’s (or multiple nations) citizens and leaders to think and act. If we, as a nation (and our leaders), would stop defining our so-called national interests in this manner, we’d be received by many of the nations of the world, that we don’t (currently) have the best relations with, much more warmly (and in indeed we’d be much more likely to end the existing tensions that we have with these peoples and their governments).
I wonder how ‘U.S. interests’ are defined, and who (what special interests) are involved in the conception of our so-called national interests? After all this nation is a democracy, so who was it that gave our ‘public servants’ the authority to go and define what the interests of the American people are to the rest of the peoples and the nations on this planet! Do Iranians, or Venezuelans not want peace, justice, social harmony, egalitarianism, human rights, and a say in the power and authority that rules over them!
Obviously, everyone in every corner of the world is aware at this point that Barack Obama campaigned on a message of change, not only this, but he campaigned on the message of the U.S. taking on a role of having more humility with our actions in the world, and having more of a willingness to talk with other nations; and work, to a much greater extent, in conjunction with our allies (and even our enemies, whatever the case may be). Therefore, I think Team Obama, needs to drop the notion of ‘U.S. interests’ that they are currently so adept at making reference to and bandying about (when they go about their diplomatic undertakings in the world). If it doesn’t seem too bold and/or overly presumptuous, the United States needs to take it upon ourselves to promote the consensual interests of humanity in toto. Our political leaders should stop promoting the interests of big business and/or ‘defense’ contractors that might be based in, and that operate out of this country; but that do not necessarily have the bests interests for the majority of humanity as amongst the top priorities of their deeply coveted goals and agenda. This could be a real critical element towards bringing significant change to U.S. foreign policy, instead of just the window dressing and alteration in rhetoric that we’ve seen coming from the Obama administration thus far in Barack Obama’s short lived presidency.