Date: Wed, 5 Aug 98 18:47:00 CDT
Workers World <email@example.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Expanding Empire: The meaning of ‘Pacific power’
To: undisclosed-recipients:; Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Expanding Empire tells the story of U.S.
imperialism from its beginnings in 1898 up to the Vietnam War. The
pamphlet was written in 1968 during the Vietnam War and became one of
Workers World's most popular titles. It is being reprinted on the
100th anniversary of the Spanish-American War, the first foreign war
by the United States.]
Keeping the question of economic expansion firmly in mind, and
remembering the statements of Sen. Chauncey Depew and his fellow
servants of big business about the Philippines and Asia in 1904, it is
easier to understand why Lyndon Johnson on July 12, 1966, reaffirmed
the determination of the United States to meet our obligations as a
To whom do
we owe these
obligations? To the puppet
we have installed in the western Pacific, on the
fringes of Asia?
obligation is the pledge of the American people to die
for the profiteers and investors who have been making money in the
western Pacific for generations and need to make constantly more money
on an ever-ascending scale.
We have an
obligation to protect the rights of those who
draw rent, interest and profit from the soil of the Asian continent
and the labor of the Asian people.
We are asked to die, not only for Ford, Chrysler and GM's existing plants in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, India, etc. Not only for Mobil Oil's reserves in Indonesia, the Middle East, and its gas stations throughout the world. Not only for the First National City Bank, Chase Manhattan and Bank of America, which now truly dot the Eastern hemisphere as well as the Western.
We are asked to die not only for their existing investments, but also for their insatiable need for more, and still more.
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson is willing to burn all, kill
all—women, children, babies—and of course
too, to defend this
obligation. And he is very, very clear on
why this is and to whom the obligation is due.
Johnson, although not a professional economist, understands the economics of war much better than most of the economists do.
Johnson may never have worried very much about anything other than
making money out of his government connections and his Texas
construction, oil and aircraft company graft before he became
President. But he is on a different level now, and he understands the
Pacific power because he now represents the
combined interests of the ruling billionaires, who are primarily
anxious to expand rather than to die.
Johnson may have formerly seen Asia as a repository for a small group
of business interests, or as a chance for him to get a contract plum
for his original sponsors—the Brown, Root Construction Co. of
Texas, which, of course, now has huge contracts in Vietnam itself. But
as president, regardless of any private financial pecadillos, he must
advance the interests of the United States, which are the interests of
the corporate owners and bankers of the United States. As a president
loyal to the majority interest of the bankers he serves, he is
determined at all costs to
hold on in Asia, and if at all
possible, expand into China.
That is why Johnson also said on the occasion of his
Lasting peace can never come to Asia as long as the 700 million
people of mainland China are isolated by their rulers from the outside
The U.S. has surrounded China with bases and with the nuclear-armed
Seventh Fleet, refused to recognize its government or allow it into
the United Nations. To the extent that China is
isolated, it is
clear who has done the isolating.
But Johnson meant more than this. He meant that the U.S. would never
lasting peace to come to Asia—he meant
that U.S. troops, arms and battleships are in Asia to stay—until
isolation from U.S. exploitation should be ended.
He was threatening in other words that the U.S counter- revolution in Vietnam was a curtain raiser for a similar U.S. counter-revolution in China.
Under the cover of attacking
Communism, he concealed what his
less inhibited predecessors like Theodore Roosevelt used to reveal at
every opportunity: namely, that China was necessary for
prosperity. Johnson wants to
open China to the importation of
U.S. capital and the exploitation by U.S. capitalists. He certainly
wants to end its
isolation from the U.S.-dominated part of the
world and make it
peacefully welcome the dollar and Henry Ford.
To do this, he and his advisers are even now seriously considering the
possibilities of a much bigger war than Vietnam and soberly discussing
air war, missiles, and other
contingency methods of attack.
China is so important to the expansion of U.S. capital that the first Roosevelt even persuaded U.S. big business to invest in China before it considered the time ripe, even having private meetings with J.P. Morgan to get him to challenge British, Belgian and German economic hegemony in China! (This, by the way, is used by some learned persons as a proof that business itself was not interested in exploiting China.—Sancta simplicitas.)
Johnson was a little more careful during his Manila Conference last
year. He didn't talk so much about
Pacific power and he
tried to pose as just another conferee along with his Vietnamese,
Philippine and other puppets. With Clark Air Field just 70 miles from
his conference room and 20-odd U.S. bases in his
which, by the way, is now supposed to have its
freedom from the
U.S., it would have been quite unwise to breathe a public word about
the U.S. expecting every Filipino to do his duty.
The idea of
Asians fighting Asians is mostly a public relations
job for the benefit of the United States public, anyway, rather than
the Asian. It is almost exclusively the youth of the U.S. that will be
called upon to take up arms for U.S. business. Not even the troops of
those old exploiters of Asia—British, French and Dutch
imperialism— are likely to be around for a strictly Asian
Today, Britain, France, Holland and Germany, which all had big interests in Asia, have been either ousted by the masses or defeated by the U.S. or both. And Johnson's problem is now to defeat the peoples themselves, rather than his rival groups of big business in Britain, Germany, etc. But his basic motives and needs—or rather the motives and needs of the big businesses he serves—are the same of those of the big businesses in the elder Roosevelt's time. Only more urgent.
The question now, said Theodore Roosevelt shortly after the
conquest of the Philippines,
is not whether we shall expand, for we
have already expanded—but whether we shall contract. The
Philippines are now part of American territory.
There is infinitely more fear of
contraction today, of course,
than there was in Roos evelt's time.
Expand or die is a
bold slogan for the youthful buccaneer. An old scrooge facing his
inevitable, but unwelcome demise might personally settle for just
being let alone. But when he is part of a system—a system that
must expand or die—he cannot.