Francois Mitterrand, the longest serving president of France (1981-1985), not long before he died (1996), made this quite extraordinary statement:
“France does not know it, but she is at war with America. A permanent, vital, economic war, and only apparently a victimless war.
Yes, the Americans are inexorable, they are voracious, they want undivided power over the world… It is an unknown war, a permanent war, a war without apparent deaths and yet a war to the death.”
Such sentiments from a modern French president seem extraordinary – after all, France was and still is a historic American ally.
To test the truth of Mitterrand’s words we have, as usual, to remove the dust of history and return to the time of America’s birth. No intent here of re-writing history, but to subject to reason certain opinions that custom or prejudice have exempted from scrutiny or alternative interpretation.
Immediately we face perhaps the hardest task of any historian or of anyone attempting to make sense of history. I calculated that the average human has about 21 million minutes available in his life to make decisions.
A historian has then the task to decide which among the compounded millions of decision made by many individuals involved in the politics of a nation are historically important. Which means that any choice or selection a historian makes is arbitrary.
While admitting these limitations I will extract out of the chronicles and legends surrounding the history of the United States some less known but relevant events, which in the view of some have historical significance. Those that hide the baby figure of the giant mass of things to come at large (1)
Starting with the American declaration of independence, the conventional line about the grievances of the American colonists against England, their mother country, is that the Americans wanted political representation in England and England refused. This has been condensed in the punch line, “No taxation without representation.” Which is not entirely true but let’s not discuss it.
Suffice to say that, then as now, propaganda likes punch-lines, which have greater appeal than subjecting facts to scrutiny. On the other side of the Atlantic and typical of a certain British counter-spirit was the famous assertion by Dr. Johnson about the Americans, “They are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them, short of hanging.” Even so, many colonists continued to read and admire Dr. Johnson. Both George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson owned a copy.
The tipping point, the grievance triggering the war for independence had to do with the tax the British government decided to apply to imported tea – tea having become a popular drink in America. Whereupon the Americans rebelled and threw the tea carried by a British ship, into Boston harbor.
This is only partially true, because the London-based East India company had accumulated a large surplus. The idea was to apply the tax, but to reduce the original price so that the cost at retail would be less than that paid for smuggled tea. And smuggling tea had grown into a flourishing business.
It may be a coincidence, but the first financier of the war of independence was John Hancock, whose family had amasses a fortune with smuggling.
The elites of Boston and the other colonies wanted to ensure that their profits remained in their own pockets. It was then necessary to use the masses, being careful that their anger could be properly directed.
During the riots against the earlier stamp tax, promptly abolished, the commander of the British military forces in America had observed:
“The masses of Boston, fomented by certain influential people, and attracted by the idea of being able to plunder … destroyed several houses… the promoters of the riot began to be terrified by the spirit they had fomented, since the popular fury was out of control. And they, too, were afraid of being the next victims of the rapacity of the people.”
Anyway, the independentists converted the artfully fomented winter of discontent (2) into a quest for independence. Or rather, they convince the multitudes that choose by show (3) (then like now), that the already rampant social inequality was the fault of English rather than of local exploiters. Today NGOs in foreign lands, with suitable adaptation, carry an equivalent responsibility. The US government finances them via its overseas embassies, or via even darker entities with equal or more nefarious motives (e.g. Soros et alia).
In America it was the classic case of catching two birds with one stone. The elite already relished the “freedom” to seize new western lands ad libitum and to do away with the various standing Indian treaties established by England – while wresting political power from the historic establishment. At the same time, anger, bitterness and popular resentment had to find an outlet that would safeguard the elite.
Consequently, the desire for a more even social structure, ready to break out into revolution, was converted into a struggle for independence. The elite could not predict the outcome of the war of independence, but it averted the danger of an internal revolution.
The Declaration of Independence is a document with almost the status of a Gospel. I find it therefore necessary to insist that I, an atom in the universe, have no right to impugn the value of such a legendary document. This is a critique, which does not imply rejection or disrespect. But it is possible to find in the declaration the seeds of much that followed in American history, including American exceptionalism.
“We hold that these truths are self-evident: that all men are created equal…” – is the famous beginning. To which we may add – purely for the sake of logical consistence – less the Negroes, because they did not count, the Indians, because they were not white, the women, because they were not men, and the poor, because they were not rich – and therefore couldn’t vote.”
It could be argued that applying logic to history is unhistorical. Agreed, except that even in the history written today, notorious states use or pretend to use logic even in their most murderous enterprises. The reader will no doubt recall many examples of ill-weaved western ambition turned deadly.
Back to the declaration. Apart from the limitations of applicability, those to whom the opening statement applied were endowed by the Creator with “certain inalienable rights,” and among these rights were life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.
None would disagree but a related anecdote is meaningful. One draft of the declaration, instead of “the pursuit of happiness” had “the right of property,” which no reasoning mind would object to. Why then the substitution with the somewhat vague pursuit of happiness? ‘Pursuit of happiness’ is an abstraction and turning an abstraction into a right compares with discovering that a great cause of the night is lack of the sun. It is a pearl of meaninglessness. Not even Genghis Khan, that I know of, forbade his Mongols to pursue happiness.
Yet better safe than sorry. If you want the poor to fight on behalf of the rich, proclaiming the preservation of property as a means to reduce inequality may perhaps raise some questions even among the distracted multitude, who like not in their judgment but their eyes. (4)
In practice, the Declaration of Independence replaced the old with a new authority, the monarchical with a new Republican ruling class, founded on property, class distinction and inheritance, just as in the previous regime.
The great difference – and here lies the crux of the unresolved American question – is that Americans could not admit distinctions of class and heritage. Distinctions that were the foundation of the new society as they were, indeed, of the old one, which they had detached themselves from.
This paradox created a chasm between practice and theory – between the theory of egalitarianism, used to create the new nation, and the practice of competition that necessarily creates winners and losers.
The whole further reinforced by a mental attitude condensed into the very Yankee expression, “Winner takes All.” A sentence extracted from the rules of a game that expresses both an aspiration and an acceptable and recognized mode of thought and way of life.
But this tension between theory and practice, between egalitarianism and antagonism could not be officially admitted. Therefore it remained not only unresolved, but even concealed. And the frauds, hypocrisies, and illusions necessary to conceal the tension between words and deeds were and have become part of America’s history.
Some may argue that this subterfuge is necessary to create a ‘great’ nation. Someone else may say that the tension between theory and practice is not America’s exclusive legacy. Certainly, but America is the one country in the world that – from birth – has officially pretended that the problem does not exist.
One other key element of the American political psyche – not sufficiently acknowledged, I think – is that the authority that fixes the rules of foreign trade and foreign exchange is also the authority that fixes all others.
Therefore, we have a commercial interpretation of liberty and a perception of international trade quite different, for comparison, from another revolution, the French revolution that followed not long later, based on liberte’, fraternite’, egalite’ – however difficult it may have been to convert that vision into practice. Still, one of the first actions of the French revolutionaries – usually unknown to most – was to abolish slavery, in 1792.
And now let’s examine another symbolic but actual and important cornerstone of the American worldview since 1776. Or rather, to have an idea of how the American collective political psyche views the world, we may focus our observation on the famous US dollar bill.
The front features the portrait of George Washington, himself the owner of 300 slaves. But in France, in 2005, the 200th anniversary of the legendary victory of Napoleon at Austerlitz, against the Russians and the Austrians, was not celebrated because Napoleon had re-introduced slavery. A small detail in the immense cauldron of history, but sufficient, I think, to perceive one significant difference between the political psychologies of peoples.
When we then examine the back of the one-dollar bill, we find the statement, “In God we Trust”. In different ways we may all do so. But we know that money can be the ‘worse poison to men’s souls…, ‘that too much of which will make black white, foul fair, wrong right, base noble, old young, etc.’ (5) Therefore that “In God we Trust” sounds like a virtual jarring note. It almost equates to printing “we trust in virginity” on the door of a brothel.
Furthermore for Christians thus directly associating God with money has the sound of blasphemy. For it contrasts dramatically with the famous answer given by Jesus to those who tried to trick him by asking him if citizens should pay taxes.
“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”, replied Jesus.
Another item on the back of the dollar bill is the Great Seal, a masonic symbol carrying the date 1776. This is historically congruent, because masonic societies have been largely responsible for revolutions both in the United States and in France. And masonry is considered the antithesis of God, being based on the Cabal, arcane symbolisms etc.
Equally meaningful is the banner below the Great Seal, “Novo Ordo Seclorum,” a Latin sentence meaning “The New Order of Centuries” –the new eternal order of the world. In corporate lingo this would be a veritable mission statement. It suggests the objective for America to establish a new timeless world order. It proposes and promises an imperial mission – which became dramatically evident for the first time in 1812, the first imperial war to annex Canada, under the presidency of James Madison.
Andrew Jackson, who was a general in the war of 1812 and later a president, made a prophetic statement: “We will make prevail our right to free-market exchange, and open the market for the products of our soil so as to duplicate the exploits of ancient Rome.”
A remarkable declaration, especially given the then small number of US inhabitants, about 7 million, mostly dedicated to agriculture. Yet a statement foreshadowing the intent or mission to become a Roman-style empire.
The Americans did not win the Canadian war – even if, in population they outnumbered the Canadians by a ratio of 25 to one.
During their first attempt to invade Canada the Americans crossed the Detroit river to meet a joint force of Canadian and Indian armies. Leading the Indians was the legendary Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, the Canadians were led by Isaac Brock, who, by choice of chance, was born in the island of Guernsey, where I lived for 5 years. Incidentally, Tecumseh had witnessed the massacre of his people and the invasion of Shawnee land by the Americans.
Leading the Americans was General William Hull, who, after crossing the border, issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of Canada. I quote it in full because of the startling implications it contains.
“Inhabitants of Canada!
The Army under my command has invaded your country, and the standard of the United States now waves over the territory of Canada.
“To the peaceable, unoffending inhabitant it brings neither danger nor difficulty. (subtext, if you surrender we will allow you to live). I come to find enemies, not to make them. I come to protect you not to injure you… I tender to you the invaluable blessings of civil, political, and religious liberty… That liberty which has raised us to an elevated rank among the nations of the world (we can read here the seeds of the ‘exceptional nation’).
Remain at your homes, pursue your peaceful and customary avocations, raise not your hands against your brethren… I have a force that will look down on all opposition, and that force is the vanguard of a much greater. If, contrary to your own interests and the just expectation of my country (notice that ‘just expectation’), you should take part in the approaching contest, you would be considered and treated as enemies, and the horrors and calamities of war will stalk before you. If… the savages be let loose to murder our citizens and butcher our women and children, this would be a war of extermination. The first stroke of the tomahawk, the first attempt with the scalping knife, would be the signal of one indiscriminate scene of desolation. No white man found fighting by the side of an Indian would be taken prisoner; instant destruction would be his lot.”
Having the war ended without a winner, a peace treaty was signed in the city of Ghent, Belgium in 1814.
Incidentally and anecdotally, to the 1812 Canadian war is directly attributable the reason why the White House is called the white house. During the war, an attack by British naval forces that had sailed up Chesapeake Bay, overpowered the American resistance, reached Washington and literally burned up the seat of government. The fire blackened the building, which had to be refurbished and repainted in white. Hence the name White House, now sealed in history.
However, the efforts to annex Canada did not end in 1814. I will skip the history of failed subsequent attempts. More interesting are the snares used to achieve the desired results, on the part of the United States. Strategy and snares still successfully applied today.
In 1854 – 40 years after the treaty of Ghent, the backers of the annexation movement succeeded in pushing the British government to negotiate, on behalf of the five eastern Canadian colonies, a so-called ‘reciprocity agreement’. Which meant free trade in natural products, opening Canadian waterways to US shipping, and free access by the United States to the Canadian maritime fishery.
The interesting part of the ‘Reciprocity Agreement’ is how it was achieved. The US government sent a secret agent named Israel D. Andrews to influence the course of events. He used means, or rather a new strategy that, though distant in time, is quite similar to events occurring during our historical present.
Of agent Israel Andrews, by a quirk of fate, his related expense account is extant and it tells us more than many books. To push the annexation and free-trade agreement he paid, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick,
$5,000.00 to an editor – read corrupting the Canadian pres
$5,000.00 to the attorney general – read corrupting the justice system
$5,000.00 to an inspector of trade – read corrupting the administration
$15,000.00 to a member of the New Brunswick assembly – read corrupting a politician.
Today, in refined Orwellian language, the procedure is called of course lobbying. Incidentally, we owe the term lobbying to President Ulysses S. Grant who so described the action of people accosting him in the lobby of the Willard Hotel sometime in the 1860s.
On May 14, 1854 Andrews wrote to the Department of State as follows,
“… I have therefore taken such measures, as the circumstances of the case required in New Brunswick, to moderate the opposition and keep the public mind in a quiet state… I was able to reach Fredericton before the New Brunswick legislature adjourned, and prevent any discussion of the proposition now under consideration, or any legislative action of a character adverse to our interests.”
In other words, in this new type of war it was/is important to disorient public opinion guided by media paid-for pied pipers. Besides, in the mind of the Americans the free-trade agreement was the equivalent of, or the prelude to, annexation.
In all Andrews spent more than $100,000 – equivalent to several millions today – trying to persuade prominent individuals in Canada to support either annexation or, as a second choice, free trade with the United States. But the amount was a mere trifle, he wrote, “in comparison with the immensely valuable privileges to be gained permanently, and the power and influence that will be given forever to our Confederacy.” (meaning the Americans).
And this describes perfectly the undeclared war that caused French President Mitterand to say what I quoted earlier on. And, as shown in the recent posture towards Ukraine, the EU is, or behaves as, a US colony.
Unbeknown to most, contrary to conventional history, but supported by ample documentation, the primary promoters and pushers of the European Union were not European men, cosmetically turned into prophets of peace and prosperity, but the Americans, starting with Eisenhower et alia.
Back to the attempts at Canadian annexation. The ‘reciprocity agreement’ ran from 1854 until 1866. After six years from its implementation, the American consul in Montréal reported to the secretary of state of the time, Lewis Cass, that the treaty was “quietly but effectually transforming those five provinces into States of the Union,” meaning American.
Some in Canada viewed things differently. For example a Canadian lumber man, in 1862 said as follows, ”… as regards lumber Canada lost millions by the treaty… The raw material which now will be worth millions of dollars… never returned a farthing to the operators of this country … Labor expended in manufacturing added to the wealth of our neighbors across the line… They and they only were the gainers by reciprocity in lumber, while nearly all on this side engaged in supplying their wants were ruined.”
This sequence of events finds echoes in the process whereby the American Midwest was converted into the properly named ‘Rust Belt’ via the comprehensive shutting down of the industrial powerhouse of America and its transfer to China or elsewhere where labor was cheaper.
Which may be considered as an interesting twist and application of the “In God we trust” principle applied to money at work. For now, to “duplicate the exploits of ancient Rome” – as per Andrew Jackson’s mission statement previously quoted – the time had come to further broaden the horizon, behind the conquest/annexation of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines.
China would be a somewhat larger bite to swallow, but if there is a will there is a way. That the process did not entirely go to plan (until now) is due to temporary setbacks, for the web of life is of a mingled yarn, where good and ill go together. (6)
Returning to history, the issue of Canada’s annexation became entangled with the American Civil War, when it appeared that Britain, and therefore Canada sided with the South. Incidentally, Canada had abolished slavery in 1793, 72 years before the US did. Anyway, it was the threat of forced annexation by the United States that prompted the leaders of the Canadian colonies to join forces and create what is today the Confederation of Canada.
But as late as 1888, the vice secretary of state John Sherman said, “The annexation of Canada will not be achieved through hostile measures but by making amicable propositions. This annexation is a historic inevitability.” There are echoes here of Obama’s reference to the US as the ‘indispensable nation’.
Sherman’s war, with methods not used before, can be called war by enticement, or even better, making an offer that cannot be refused.
In 1948 the US pushed again for a free-trade agreement, but in the parliament of Ottawa John Deutsch responsible for these negotiations stated, “The price to pay for a custom union with the United States is the loss of our political independence – because we will not have any longer control on our political decisions, which will be made in Washington.”
If we abandon the ballast of bias and use the telescope of reason, the parallel between US efforts to annex Canada and the creation of the European Union and NATO is inevitable. Where the European Union, as current events show to all but those who refuse to see, is but the political annex of the United States, and NATO a branch of the US military.
That the empire-building enterprise treats citizens as expendable fodder and contemptible fools should not surprise. For understanding is the child of reason and the powers-that-be have refined the means to surprise the unawareness of the thoughtless, and taught them to believe anything provided it is quite incredible. The artists of lying censure those who don’t believe the lie, and propaganda is a machine that has little care to preserve probability in its narrative.
With Russia, at least for now, the same powers have bitten more than they could chew. But malignity never sleeps and can easily inflict wounds not easily to be cured. And hoping for a cleansing of evil would be to transgress the bounds of probability.
** 1. Troilus and Cressida
** 2. Richard III
** 3. Merchant of Venice
** 4. Hamlet
** 5. Timon of Athens
** 6. All’s Well That Ends Well