A Quick Note on American Nationalism

I’m pleased to see that my arguments on the U.S. military and emancipation have sparked further discussion about the military-executive relationship in America. After reading my post, a friend on Facebook asked me the following:

Any insight as to whether our modern army would fire upon its own US citizens at the orders of the Commander in Chief?

I don’t have a ready answer for that, although the executive-ordered drone attacks on American citizens and the legal rationale underpinning such orders is worrisome. I guess I’ll just have to hope that the American people are smart enough to pick a Commander in Chief who wouldn’t abuse his powers in such a way. Hopefully that isn’t wishful thinking, although my concern about drones is growing.

I also want to add that while American nationalism helped end slavery in America, we must also remember that that same nationalistic spirit has also led to other events in our history that were more controversial. Nationalism and a belief in manifest destiny led to the near wiping-out of all American Indians in the years following after the American Civil War. Furthermore, the country was silent when the U.S. military–following executive orders–began rounding up thousands of Japanese citizens and putting them in internment camps at the outbreak of World War II.

In sum, the legacy of American nationalism is mixed.

Until next time…