Since I haven't posted in a while, I'd thought i'd share this rant I was compelled to write in reply to someone my wife knows back in the states...
History is not one continuous, unchanging line. Humanities empathy is determined by what we know; our fears determined by what we don't know. This means morality is determined by the extent of the communication infrastructure that capitalism is responsible for building.
As exploitative as it is, at least capitalism is thereby sowing the seeds of its own downfall.
You see, militarism makes sense when communication structures were limited to national borders (except for the republic of letters during the enlightenment). In that age, everyone was an 'other', a potential enemy that meant governments had a duty to protect their citizens with strength. During this time, xenophobia was a virtue and racism acceptable.
That is no longer the age we are in.
Communication is global. Global influences through the internet are generating a youth who, more than ever before, incorporate humanity as a whole as equally worthy of rights and respect. But where does that leave nationalist duties of government? What was once a virtue: wealth grabbing, resource plundering, national security entailing military bases all over the world, propping up repressive regimes because it suits (i.e for money, or access to it), being a superpower... these things are no longer the moral imperative. They unquestionably assume that whatever is best for ones own population must be done, no matter the cost to 'others'.
There are no 'others' anymore.
Violence begats violence. Unquestionably, the U.S has been the single leading sponser of terrorism for the last 60 years, no corner of the globe has been left untouched. Whether it was directly in proxy wars with Russia or beating on Latin American countries who dared defy the corporations that held them to ransom, or indirectly through scores of dictatorships, armed by U.S companies, trained in the U.S and sent to subjugate people like those in West Papua, suffering cultural genocide whilst their land is sullied and raped.
Imagine. Look at Americas response to 9/11. You rightly, as did I, got amazingly upset and angry. The 'other' of which you are scared are human too. They fear, they get angry, and then you have the gall to wonder why?
"It's because they hate our freedoms!" - The most insulting soundbite of them all. It is because they want your freedom but the U.S. denies them this chance.
Seriosuly, what Human does not want to be free?!
The safest thing America could possibly do is to practice what it preaches. Stop the militarism, stop the exploitation, stop determining peoples futures like they are pieces on a chesssboard. Because it isn't the 'other' that will be the threat when it all gets too much. No, the 'other' will have actually have joined with the increasing millions of Americans and people around the globe that have seen their humanity and empathise with them. It will be corporate apologists that will become the 'other' as people fail to understand how such one-sided, exclusive empathy could exist in such an unjust world.