US: Global force for peace

I was shocked when I saw the recent Win/Gallup International poll. Can you believe that 24 percent of those polled in 65 countries named the United States as the greatest threat to peace in the world today? That’s right. This poll alleges that, with 193 countries to choose from, nearly one-fourth of all respondents chose the U.S. The runner-up? Pakistan at 8 percent.

I would expect this from Russia and China, where 54 percent and 49 percent of respondents view the United States as the greatest threat to peace, but I just cannot accept that Bosnia (49 percent), Argentina (46 percent), Greece (45 percent), Turkey (45 percent), Mexico (37 percent), Brazil (26 percent), and Peru (24 percent) would do the same.

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Ukrainians, who share a border with Russia, also chose the U.S. as the greatest threat, with 33 percent of respondents listing the U.S. first and only 5 percent choosing Russia. Though the percentage of those who chose the United States was much lower, even Germany ranked the U.S. as the greatest threat. As for our friends across the pond in the UK, ranking the United States in a tie with Iran? Really?

Clearly, there must have been some kind of mistake. Probably a poorly written question that confused the respondents. That’s it. They probably threw a double negative into the question or something. Let’s see. “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” Aha! Oh, right. Everything appears to be in order.

How does the rest of the world fail to see that America is a global force for good? It must be envy. They must be jealous of the peace the U.S. brings to the world. Remember when we overthrew that dangerous democratically elected regime in Guatemala in 1954? That was for peace. Vietnam? Peace, obviously. The Liberation of Iraq? Do I even need to say it? Peace.

And to aid in our selfless quest for peace worldwide, we maintain hundreds upon hundreds of military bases in close to 70 countries. You don’t see any other countries this committed to peace, do you? We even allow some lucky countries the honor of hosting our drone fleets. You’re welcome, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Afghanistan, Turkey, Qatar, Ethiopia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates.

With those drones flying overhead, how could anyone not feel safe? Maybe it’s the whole robot thing. They’ll come around. I’m sure it just takes a little getting used to. Eventually, the humming of the drone overhead will lullaby them to sleep just like the sound of the ocean. Or perhaps it’s names like ‘predator’ and ‘reaper’? Whoever came up with those names ought to be fired. The ‘Guardian Angel.’ Now that’s more like it.

“What’s that humming noise coming from the sky?”

“Nothing to worry about. It’s just a ‘Guardian Angel,’ protecting innocent civilians by exploding all military-age males.”

Pakistan has got to be the most ungrateful group of people this world has ever known. Forty-four percent of those polled in Pakistan listed the United States as the greatest threat to peace. And after we’ve given that country so much. Since 2008, our ‘Guardian Angels’ have completed 343 missions, killing around 3,200 people, in defense of the very same people who have the nerve to call us a threat to peace.

Those missions have removed 49 high profile targets. That’s right, 49 out of 3,200. And that’s not all. They killed another 2,450 or so individuals who we’re pretty sure also deserved to die. See, we count all military-age males as militants. It helps keep the civilian death toll down, which is necessary when waging peace. We can’t let the propagandists use the number of innocent people we kill, accidentally of course, to drum up opposition to our efforts.

You might be wondering about the other 700 or so people killed. All loss of innocent life, including 175 children, is tragic, but sometimes you need to break a few eggs to make a peace omelet. Besides, how innocent could they have been if they were within range when our ‘Guardian Angels’ rained down righteousness upon them.  

The United States has been so committed to protecting the innocent and promoting peace that we’ve even been willing to use the ‘Guardian Angels’ against funerals, weddings, and rescuers. It takes a true commitment to wage peace under such circumstances, circumstances that would prevent other less peace-loving countries from acting. President Obama has even made policy the use of “signature strikes.” That’s right, we don’t even wait to be sure individuals are threats before taking action to protect the innocent from them. Yet, there are some who have the nerve to call on President Obama to return his Nobel Peace Prize.

And it’s not like waging peace comes cheap. Because other countries simply do not share our commitment to peace, we have no choice but to fill the void. I mean, we wouldn’t need to account for 39 percent of global military expenditures if we simply had partners in peace. China and Russia are only responsible for 9.5 percent and 5.2 percent respectively. Slackers.

As if we don’t already do enough, just in case the day comes when others decide to match our commitment to peace, we also sell more peace weapons than anyone else. We accounted for $63.3 billion of a total global arms market of $85.3 billion, or more than three-quarters, in 2011.

And our partners have already begun taking advantage of our spreading the wealth of tools for peace . Look at the peace Saudi Arabia and Israel have brought to the world. And how about Bahrain? A rising star in peace waging. I’d be remiss if I left out Iraq, Egypt and Honduras. With friends like these, and our own steadfast commitment, world peace is just a small step away.

Bachman is a professorial lecturer in Human Rights and director of Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs at the School of International Service at American University.

 

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