The US Fear of Peace

November 18, 2015

The arrogance of Eurocentric and ethnocentric thinking in the New World, bolstered by the settler’s utilization of military technology, produced an omnipotent mindset enabling the conquering with impunity everything and everybody in their path. Examining US history reveals that when popular domestic movements within or without seriously question power they are perceived as threats to that power. Similarly, when popular revolutionary governments or movements around the world emerge, they are often perceived as a threat to US global hegemony, antithetical to the meme of expansion of historic oligarchic power benefiting a few at any cost.

Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him[1]     – Lewis Mumford

The West has ravaged the world for five hundred years, under the flag of master-slave theory which in our finest hour of hypocrisy was called ‘the white man’s burden’….What sets the West apart is its persistence to stop at nothing[2]     – Hans Koning


In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, Continental Army Supreme General George Washington’s ordered General Sullivan to completely defeat the Indigenous Iroquois Indians in upstate New York. He ordered “The Indian Country should be occupied with all expedition…to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed”. The orders stressed the “total destruction and devastation of their settlements”, including to “ruin their crops”, while stipulating that Sullivan would “not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements ….Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them”[3]. Here we find historical US military operating principles of total war targeting civilians (all inhabitants) through use of terror, while refusing any efforts for achieving peace.

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence that included the following words: “He (King of Great Britain) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”. The description of our original inhabitants – genuine human beings – as “merciless savages”, of course, is grotesquely a racist, demonizing term, enabling massively slaughtering them with no remorse whatsoever. Ironically, this description accurately describes our own US military behavior around the world, an example of what psychologist Carl Jung called the “shadow concept”, a trick that projects ones own inner demons (shadow) on others, rather than honestly addressing them.           


In 1866, as Sioux Indians were opposing construction through their sacred lands of the Bozeman Trail linking white settlers to the newly discovered gold mines in Montana, US Army Captain William J. Fetterman boasted that with his eighty men he could destroy the Indigenous Sioux nation[4]. Shockingly, on hearing of the defeat of the entire Fetterman detachment (Ft Kearney Massacre), General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote US Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant: We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children. Nothing else will reach the root of this case[5].


When there was temporary cessation of shooting in Korea on November 28, 1951, the day after agreement on a cease-fire line, there was a near hysterical fear of peace in Washington. As the truce talks bogged down over existence of air bases and exchange of prisoners, US military officers were readily scheming a roll back war with China. Chiang Kai-shek (the loser, along with his US backers, in the China Civil War when the Communists prevailed two years earlier in November 1949) and right wing political sidekick Syngman Rhee, feared Korean peace would be the end of their political ambitions. And prominent Republican and future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, feared that peace would severely interfere with plans to build the old axis powers (including of course Japan) into a new anti-Soviet crusade. The dominant trend in US political, economic and military thinking was fear of peace[6]. General Van Fleet confirmed this when speaking to a delegation of Filipinos in January 1952: “Korea has been a blessing. There had to be a Korea either here or some place in the world”[7].


In May 1986, a National Security Planning Group meeting of Reagan’s Cabinet-level officials was convened due to their alarm that Nicaragua was prepared to sign the Contadora peace plan ending Reagan’s gruesome terrorist war against the elected government of revolutionary Nicaragua. Washington’s strategy was to portray the plan as unacceptable to others in the region “while denouncing the Sandinistas for refusing to negotiate”. One official who attended the meeting was reported to have said it had been convened because “there was a peace scare”[8].

Another report indicated that “U.S. officials said the Reagan administration sought to disrupt the efforts of the Contadora group of nations …..because the peace talks complicated efforts to persuade Congress to approve Contra aid”[9].

New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, in discussing the Central American peace process, summarized the Reagan administration: “They want war. That is the policy…As Mr. Wright said, they ‘are scared to death that peace will break out'”[10].


Peace absolutely requires justice as a foundation. The U.S. cannot afford justice in Central America (or elsewhere) unless it is willing to endure a painful but liberating revolution of consciousness and values that no longer lives by the principles of greed, unlimited consumerism and domination. The US population with 4.6 percent of the world’s population insists to remain in denial about the fact that preservation of its insatiable consumption habits requires devouring some 30 percent of the world’s resources, outsourcing all the consequent pain and suffering of the majority of the world’s people and  destruction of the Earth’s ecosystem.

[1] Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964), 9.

[2] Hans Koning, Columbus: His Enterprise, Exploding the Myth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1991), 116.

[3] Writings of George Washington. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, XV, pp. 189-93; Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1980), 331.

[4] Robert M. Utley and Wilcomb E Washburn, The American Heritage History of the Indian Wars (NY, American heritage Publishing Co., 1977), 240-41,

[5] Drinnon, 329.

[6] I.F. Stone, The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1952), 345-348.

[7] Stone, 348.

[8] Joel Brinkley, “Reagan Offer: A Way to Help Contras”, New York Times, August 6, 1987.

[9] Alfonso Chardy, “Threats Abetted Contras Imperiling Talks Was One U.S. Tactic”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 10, 1987.

[10] Anthony Lewis column, “ABROAD AT HOME; The Peace Scare”, New York Times, November 19, 1987.


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