Jimmy Carter calls the US ‘the most warlike nation’

The former president said that this was true not just for the current time but in the history of the world and backed up his assertion with facts.

Carter then referred to the US as “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” a result, he said, of the US forcing other countries to “adopt our American principles.”

Carter then said the US has been at peace for only 16 of its 242 years as a nation. Counting wars, military attacks and military occupations, there have actually only been five years of peace in US history—1976, the last year of the Gerald Ford administration and 1977-80, the entirety of Carter’s presidency. Carter then referred to the US as “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” a result, he said, of the US forcing other countries to “adopt our American principles.”

These wars are not only immoral, they are bleeding the country of resources that could be much better spent on other things. He argued that China is showing the way.

Carter, who normalized diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing in 1979, said he told Trump that much of China’s success was due to its peaceful foreign policy.

“Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody?” Carter asked. “None, and we have stayed at war.” While it is true that China’s last major war—an invasion of Vietnam—occurred in 1979, its People’s Liberation Army pounded border regions of Vietnam with artillery and its navy battled its Vietnamese counterpart in the 1980s. Since then, however, China has been at peace with its neighbors and the world.

China’s peace dividend has allowed and enhanced its economic growth, Carter said. “How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?” he asked. China has around 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of high speed rail lines while the US has “wasted, I think, $3 trillion” on military spending. According to a November 2018 study by Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, the US has spent $5.9 trillion waging war in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations since 2001.

“It’s more than you can imagine,” Carter said of US war spending. “China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.”

“And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure you’d probably have $2 trillion leftover,” Carter told his congregation. “We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing, we’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of say South Korea or Hong Kong.”

But that lesson is ignored by US politicians. When it comes to investing in health care or education or alternative energy or infrastructure, the cry goes up (including from the neoliberal Democratic party leadership) saying that there is no money for these things but when it comes to writing huge checks for the military and for wars, no such obstacles are raised.


  1. Sam N says

    The 1 thing I liked about Trump during the primaries, was his calling out the disaster of American interventionist, war policies. Of course, even there, he managed to fail once in office (still ground troops in Syria, still a crazy number of US military bases all over the world, continues to support the absurd murder of people in Yemen). Even if I was a xenophobic racist, I’d still detest Trump for that failure. Combined with my other values, Trump is about the most disgusting piece of slime that could occupy the presidency.

    I would prefer my taxes go to building things than blowing things up. Producing wealth instead of destroying it. Unfortunately too many of our fellow citizens continue to disagree with that notion.

  2. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 mnb0

    It depends on how you look at it. From the Chinese point-of-view this is self-defence ever since Obama did his redirection of US forces to Asia. Have a look at the Chinese coast. There are really only a few choke-points through the islands.

    The USA has bases of various types from Korea to Japan, down through the Philippines, and on down to Australia . There are really only a few choke-points through the islands. I think the USA is working hard to improve “cooperation” with Vietnam.

    A US blockade of the choke points along that crescent would cut off “all” of its seaborne trade and, for a number of reasons, the South China Sea is the most important route.

    With Mike Pence threatening to use a naval blockade[1] to cut off Russian energy exports, Trump threatening to use force to stop Iranian oil exports and a bit of a memory of the recent unpleasantness in Afghanistan and Iraq, I cannot blame them for a bit of nervousness.

    Of course they have been expanding into the South China Sea for longer than Trump has been president but the Chinese Central Military Commission can read a map and those choke points have been obvious for a /long

    Think of how happy the USA would be if China had bases in Mexico and Canada and maybe Haiti and Costa Rica. No threat, right?

    As for the Silk Road Initiative, it is a very ambitious attempt to turn the Eurasian content into one large free market, at least so far. The main difference is that China has much more of a national level economic plan than the USA ever has so the Silk Road Initiative is much more coordinated at a government level.

    1. Since most of Russia’s energy exports go by pipeline, it should be fun to see an aircraft carrier group portaging to Lake Baikal.

  3. Ray de Silva says

    Mano, when you wrote “said that this was not true just for the current time” I believe you meant “said that this was TRUE NOT just for the current time”. Sorry to nitpick, but I’m an English teacher, and it’s my moral duty to correct this. Or something.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 Ray de Silva
    No, not a moral duty but an ethical one. Section 34 of the Code of Ethics for English Teachers. Available on-line from the MLA.

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