Zinn talks about how America is involved in making affairs with other nations and the need to economically expand in his chapter, “The Empire and the People”. The first line instantly catches one’s attention as it says that ‘Theodore Roosevelt’ said that he would “welcome any war” which would be considered to solve the economic crisis the country was going through as it was believed that it would unite the people against the external enemy. America portrays this image of war as a good thing for the nation, an act that brings people together. The author describes the Spanish Cuban American War and how the United States used force to enter Cuba and fight the Spanish people. Such wars happened for more financial and economic development for the country with no consideration of the effects they have on the middle and lower class citizens as well as minority groups. This annoys me as it seems more important for the leaders of the country to start a war that would benefit the rich wealthy elites instead of fixing the injustices and the social issues existing in the country.
The fact that this country would do anything to support the economy and to be seen as the ‘greatest’ links directly to the idea of American exceptionalism which I feel that a lot of people in this country believe is true. This assumption that America is the best and is superior to all other nations due to its history of being the first to break from colonial governments is dangerous and creates sort of a superiority complex among its citizens. I believe that such a problem would also create other social issues like xenophobia; the only way for a government to actually keep progressing is by acknowledging that it has flaws and issues that need to be solved. This issue can still be seen nowadays especially with doing anything to maintain a stable economy as the President refused to shut down the country in the current pandemic which resulted in the loss of thousands of Americans. Many other lives are still in risk just because of greed and the capitalist system which only sees the money.