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Preserving your way of life by invading countries half-way around the World?
Bi-lateral agreements? LOL - given the US record of assination, interference in elections and terrorist attacks (not to mention invasion and punitive airstrikes) you can't seriously think bi-lateral agreements are entered into willingly.
The US is the bully of the modern world willing to shed others' blood for political points, cheap oil, cheap raw materials - if you can't see that then you clearly don't see the true picture.
In fact, one of the hottest debates in Malay literature centers on the duel between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat. Hang Tuah is a symbol of absolute loyalty to a ruler while Hang Jebat symbolizes truth and justice. Hence, the question of who is right.
... if invading someone half way around the world either directly or indirectly contributes or ensures that I am safer and better off here in the US, well, why not?
The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday.
"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
But here, of course, you are hoist with your own petard. Either the US is really invading other countries to bring them democracy (hah!) or the motive is to provide the US with access to raw materials. So the game is up: the raw materials are obviously what you care about.
Do you think people would be happy in these countries if they knew?
You ask about the motivations, and that is one of the patterns that comes through when you look at these things all together. There’s really a three-stage motivation that I can see when I watch so many of the developments of these coups. The first thing that happens is that the regime in question starts bothering some American company. They start demanding that the company pay taxes or that it observe labor laws or environmental laws. Sometimes that company is nationalized or is somehow required to sell some of its land or its assets. So the first thing that happens is that an American or a foreign corporation is active in another country, and the government of that country starts to restrict it in some way or give it some trouble, restrict its ability to operate freely.
Then, the leaders of that company come to the political leadership of the United States to complain about the regime in that country. In the political process, in the White House, the motivation morphs a little bit. The U.S. government does not intervene directly to defend the rights of a company, but they transform the motivation from an economic one into a political or geo-strategic one. They make the assumption that any regime that would bother an American company or harass an American company must be anti-American, repressive, dictatorial, and probably the tool of some foreign power or interest that wants to undermine the United States. So the motivation transforms from an economic to a political one, although the actual basis for it never changes.
Then, it morphs one more time when the U.S. leaders have to explain the motivation for this operation to the American people. Then they do not use either the economic or the political motivation usually, but they portray these interventions as liberation operations, just a chance to free a poor oppressed nation from the brutality of a regime that we assume is a dictatorship, because what other kind of a regime would be bothering an American company?