Striking The Root Of Foreign Crises
05 March 2015
By Jacob G. Hornberger
As the United States jumps from foreign crisis to foreign crisis, it’s
important that we recognize that there is a root cause of all these crises.
The reason it’s important is that if Americans ever want to get off the
crisis merry-go-around, there is a way to do it — by striking at the root of
Consider two of the crises that have U.S. officials pacing the floors and
experiencing sleepless nights: Iran and ISIS. What to do about these grave
threats to “national security”? Should there be a nuclear agreement with
Iran? Should more sanctions be imposed on Iran? Should Iran be bombed? Should
more bombs drop on ISIS? Should Congress give the president the authority to
drop more bombs on ISIS? What if ISIS takes over Iraq and other parts of the
The crisis mindset, along with all the fear, anxiety, and depression that
comes with it, never stops. Americans live their lives in a constant state of
On the surface of things, there doesn’t seem to be any other alternative.
This is just our unfortunate plight in life, people feel. We just happened to
be born in the wrong era. If only we had been born in an era of freedom,
peace, prosperity, and harmony. Woe is us. Maybe future generations will have
it better. We’ll just keep praying for an end to terrorism and continue
praising the troops for doing their best to keep us safe.
Yet, when we examine the root cause of these crises, we get a hint as to how
we could exit the current lifestyle of constant, ongoing crises and actually
live in a society of freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony.
The antagonism between Iran and the United States is rooted in what the U.S.
national-security state did to that country in 1953. Operating through the
CIA, the U.S. national-security state ousted the democratically appointed
prime minister of Iran from power and installed in his stead the shah of
Iran, a brutal tyrant who proceeded to tyrannize and oppress the Iranian
people for the next 26 years, employing such totalitarian practices as
arbitrary arrest of dissidents, indefinite detention, torture, and
extra-judicial execution. Even worse, the U.S. national-security state
supported and trained the Shaw’s goons in how to engage in these
In 1979, the Iranian people successfully revolted against what the U.S.
government had done to them. The problem, however, is that they weren’t able
to restore the democratic system that the U.S. national-security state had
destroyed back in 1953. Instead, the shah’s tyrannical regime was replaced by
a religious tyrannical regime headed by ayatollahs.
U.S. national-security state officials have never forgotten the ouster of
their Iranian dictator nor have they forgiven it. That’s in fact why they
partnered with Saddam Hussein during the 1980s and even delivered him those
infamous WMDs — so that he could use them to kill Iranians. (See here and
What U.S. officials still want, above all else, is another regime change in
Iran, one in which a pro-U.S. Iranian stooge, like the shah, is placed into
power. By the same token, Iranian officials and the Iranian people have never
forgotten what the U.S. national-security state did to them in 1953 and are
bound and determined to resist another U.S. regime-change operation.
So, look at where we are today — an ongoing, never-ending crisis with Iran.
And who do Americans look to in order to resolve the crisis? They look to the
national-security state, the governmental apparatus that caused the crisis in
the first place. Why should it surprise us that the crisis just keeps getting
bigger and bigger? National-security state officials keep hoping that the
fuel they continue to pour on the fire they ignited many years ago will
succeed in putting it out.
It’s no different with ISIS. There was no ISIS before the U.S. invasion and
war of aggression against Iraq. Obsessed with the idea of ousting Saddam
Hussein from power in a violent regime-change operation, the U.S.
national-security state threw Iraqi Sunnis out of power and replaced them
with Iraqi Shiites. Not surprisingly, the Sunni faction wasn’t too happy
about that. Why does anyone get surprised that a civil war breaks out?
Indeed, that’s precisely what happened in Guatemala in 1954. The
national-security state ousted the democratically elected president of the
country and installed a brutal military dictator, one who proceeded to impose
one of the most horrible tyrannies in Latin America. Is it surprising that a
civil war broke out in Guatemala, one that lasted for decades and resulted in
the death, maiming, torture, incarceration, or disappearance of millions of
Now, consider Switzerland. Do you see the Swiss going from foreign crisis to
crisis? Do you see them pacing the floors in fear, anxiety, and depression?
Do you see them having color codes for the latest terrorist threat against
No, you don’t see any of that. Why is that? Why is it that Americans pace the
floors and constantly lament “Woe is us” while the Swiss go about their daily
lives in a normal fashion?
There is a difference between the two nations, one that goes to the root of
the problem. The Swiss do not have a giant national-security state apparatus
attached to their governmental system.. They don’t have a vast empire of
foreign military bases. They don’t have a foreign policy based on regime
change, interventionism, meddling, foreign aid, and partnerships with foreign
dictators. They don’t have a CIA. They don’t have a NSA. The Swiss government
limits itself to defense.
In other words, Switzerland has a governmental structure that once
characterized the United States — that is, before the United States grafted a
national-security state apparatus onto its constitutional structure. In fact,
the Framers looked to Switzerland and its longtime antipathy toward standing
armies and foreign interventionism as their model when they were drafting the
When there is a weed in your garden, do you trim the branches or do you pull
it out by its root? Then why not do the same with respect to the
national-security state apparatus that was attached to our constitutional
system during the Cold War? That’s the only solution that will bring us what
we all want — a life without constant, ongoing crises — a life of freedom,
peace, prosperity, and harmony.