the most warlike nation

Mars_EUR.jpg
Mars, God of War Velázquez


Over the last 200 years the United States has "used its armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes" 241 times, according to research done at the Library of Congress. I have added the number of conflicts since 1993, when the data was collected by the Department of the Navy. The report cautions:

The instances differ greatly in number of forces, purpose, extent of hostilities, and legal authorization. Five of the instances are declared wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846, the Spanish American War of 1898, World War I declared in 1917, and World War II declared in 1941.
The fact that only five of these actions were legally-authorized wars is hardly reassuring.

Even if we choose to deny our warlike character, the rest of the world cannot. This nation, which even now numbers less than 5% of the world's population, feels it necessary and justified to regularly attack people around the world in the name of its own security. Even when we are not at war or in attack mode, we're right out there. The United States "owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and has another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories."

On Memorial Day just ended, our de facto Commander in Chief declared, apparently with a straight face, "Through our history, America has gone to war reluctantly because we have known the costs of war."

Gone to war reluctantly? We go to war at the drop of a hat. Known the costs of war? Unlike the war experience of virtually every other nation on earth, that of these United States has only been in other peoples' backyards.

Ours is the most warlike nation on earth, and perhaps in all of history.


[image from Art Renewal Center]