By Liu Si and Zhu Ruiqing
"The US was built through cruel, ruthless, and soul-destroying wars. Only by recognizing this can we understand the US' past and present," wrote German historian Holger Hoock in his book Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth.
The history of the US's founding and development aligns with its history of waging wars and expansion. For over 240 years since its independence, the US has evolved from a nascent power in North America into a global military hegemon driven by its colonial genes and imperial dreams. It has often exercised its military power arbitrarily and engaged in bullying and coercion.
Countless facts show the world that the US's military hegemony, characterized by its reliance on force and exploitation, runs counter to the trends of peace and development. It has brought enormous devastation and harm to many countries, and stands as a major source of global instability and the greatest challenge to the advancement of human civilization.
Manifest Destiny: The Spiritual Fantasy Underpinning Hegemony
The US has long referred to itself as "a city upon a hill," and the Americans have often seen themselves as the "chosen people." They believe that America is a nation with "Manifest Destiny". For centuries, Americans have used this concept to imbue their military expansion and hegemony with a sense of legitimacy and divine purpose.
According to the "Origins, Facts and Perils of the US Military Hegemony" Report, released by Xinhua Institute, the think tank of Xinhua News Agency, the US has continually expanded its territory and influence through the use of force. From the Mexican-American War to the Spanish-American War, the US expanded westward and seaward, rising to become a global superpower through two world wars. After the Cold War, it emerged as the sole dominant unipolar hegemon. Throughout America's journey toward global military hegemony, "Manifest Destiny" has served as both a spiritual fantasy and a pretext for its development and consolidation of military dominance. It has consistently influenced American policies and actions, not only as a historical justification and excuse for territorial expansion and violence against indigenous peoples, but also as an ideological foundation for the 20th-century struggle for global leadership, the promotion of values, and military interventions abroad.
American foreign affairs scholar George Herrin once pointed out that from the expulsion of Native Americans, the seizure of one-third of Mexican territory, colonial rule over the Philippines and Puerto Rico to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US has consistently used its perception of greater destiny to legitimize its military expansion.
Dozens of armored vehicles from the US military move from the city of Kuwait towards the border with Iraq on March 25, 2003. The Iraq War had begun.as six cruise missiles launched by the US Navy struck some key targets in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad on March 20, 2003. (Photo by Li Xiaoguo)
Furthermore, Americans have continuously attempted to find theoretical justifications for their expansionist actions. Social Darwinists in the US have argued that nations, like nature, follow the laws of jungle justice and the survival of the fittest. And their scholars have proposed theories like hegemonic stability and democratic peace, advocating that the unipolar world order led by the US can bring lasting peace.
The Report argues that these arguments do not stand up to historical and real-world scrutiny. Regardless of the terminology used, they all serve as theoretical justifications for American military hegemony and interests, reflecting a core imperialist ideology of American militarism, expansionism, interventionism, and moral whitewashing.