The American “Elite” Against the Common Man: Foreign Policy Edition

Justin Raimondo, of Antiwar.com, published a fitting tribute to the late Gore Vidal. In his post, Raimondo referenced his review of Vidal’s novel “The Golden Age“. Here, Raimondo quotes a passage from Vidal’s book that neatly sums up the central question in American foreign policy since the events leading to the annexation of Hawaii.

The author’s own credo is neatly summed up in a memorandum written by the fictional Senator Burden Day detailing a meeting of the President with his high council of state. Day is the last of the Midwestern populist Democrats, perhaps modeled after Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, generously endowed with a Senatorial handsomeness, and clearly meant to represent a noble figure, the last of the old school. My own favorite isolationist, Senator William Borah, the Lion of Idaho, also makes a few key appearances, and of this tradition Senator Day is very much a part. In this memo, Vidal, speaking through Day, writes:

“Those rich boys daydream about vast armies and navies conquering all the seas and lands while we humble folk think of boys that we know – sons even – dying in a process that benefits no one but the international banks and their lawyer-lobbyists, like Mr. Acheson himself. The real political struggle in the United States, since the Civil War, has been between the peaceful inhabitants of the nation and their generally representative Congresses and a small professional elite totally split off from the nation, pursuing wealth through wars that they invent and justify and resonate for others to win.”

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