Blue Ribbon Campaign

Am I posing a threat to you? This was the question a school teacher from Boston asked in April 1982 during the discussion with the Soviet intellectuals regarding nuclear threats and disarmament. It was the time when the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, called the Soviet Union "evil empire" and threatened the world with "star wars".

Of course, it was difficult to imagine that this petite woman wearing big eyeglasses, who read Russian poetry and watched Soviet films, could pose any threat to a group of strong, adult men, leave alone the great and mighty Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But it was equally obvious that it would be foolish to judge the whole USA A.D.1982 from one Baltimore school teacher's appearance and behaviour. Because the Americans, who knew Soviet culture and discussed political matters with the Soviet partners at the time when their president called the Soviet Union "evil empire" and raved about "star wars" had no access to the administration of the United States.

Years have gone since then, the "cold war" is seemingly over, and there is widespread belief that the USA is the stronghold of democracy and human rights, and poses a threat only to the countries, which themselves pose threats to the mankind. An army of propagandists works to maintain the visage of the USA that has built its wealth with peaceful, creative work, and they have no need to conquer someone else's possessions. Ordinary citizens may be willing to admit that sometimes the American government used to conduct unjust wars, but they are convinced that US achievements in various spheres of human activities outweigh those isolated mistakes.

American successes in the economical and scientific development, their historical contribution to the development of the democratic institutions, as well as other undeniable achievements of the American people have convinced those individuals about the correctness of the domestic and foreign policy of their country. And once the leading position of the USA was achieved by the rules of the political system dominating a big part of the world, these people perceive it as the example to follow, not the matter of reproof. Otherwise they would put in doubt the correctness and justice of the existing world order. Meanwhile, these people are not capable in principle to accept another opinion than univocal, and understand the complexity and deep contradictions of the socio-political systems.

Nevertheless, it is known that sudden disappointments happen to the people, who blindly believed in the picture of the surrounding world, people, and historical processes. To get rid of illusions, objects and processes need to be examined objectively, comprehensively, and from many points of view, with all the internal contradictions. And while the appraisal of one individual should be made on the basis of his whole life, for the appraisal of a whole nation it is appropriate to study thoroughly its history.

It is also worth to note that there are many people in the world, who are convinced that the USA pose a threat to their very existence. American writer Gore Vidal, while studying this problem, had elevated it to the title of his book: Why Do They Hate Us? As he added the subtitle Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Gore Vidal, an American writer and public intellectual, had compiled a list of wars and armed conflicts that the United States undertook merely within half a century. That took 10 pages of text. That long list illustrates Vidal's answer to the question stated in the title of his book.

So, is there a basis to the belief that the USA poses a threat to the peace and security of our planet? Who initiated those wars that engaged the USA: itself, or the rest of the world? Can a widespread distaste and distrust towards America be explained solely by the events of the selected 50 years?

To answer this question one needs to look into the depth of the American history, beginning from its first pages.

Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.