Since World War II, American leaders have been obsessed with asserting their dominance over the rest of the world. Busy with their self-proclaimed title of the “world police,” these politicians have neglected domestic issues such as poverty and discrimination in favor of unnecessary and unsuccessful foreign interventionism. In his textbook chapter, “The Unreported Resistance,” historian Howard Zinn discusses the growing opposition to these misguided policy priorities, and the adverse effects of domestic neglect. Prompted by a global shift towards neoliberalism, President Reagan adopted a trickle-down economy position resulting in the reduction and elimination of social services. This ideology frustrated many Americans, and “Reagan’s cuts in social services were felt on the local side as vital needs could not be taken care of” (Zinn 12369). He justified this decision by arguing that the people did not want higher taxes, which was “certainly true as a general proposition… but when they were asked if they would be willing to pay higher taxes for specific purposes like health and education, they said yes” (Zinn 12438). Reagan’s indifference towards the will of the American people frustrated many Americans, especially when paired with his international policy decisions.
The American people were still recovering from the highly problematic and avoidable Vietnam War when President Reagan considered a Nicaraguan invasion in the early 1980s. Fearful that politicians were repeating the same mistakes from two decades earlier, “over 60,000 Americans signed pledges to take action of some sort, including civil disobedience, if Reagan moved to invade Nicaragua” (Zinn 12369). American politicians did not learn their lesson, though. A few years later, the Bush administration was considering a war against Iraq. When this news reached the American people, “thousands of people in Los Angeles marched along the same route they had taken twenty years before, when they were protesting the Vietnam War” (Zinn 12522). Despite these protests, the Bush administration carried on with the Gulf War. The next decade, Bush’s son instigated the Second Gulf War. It is clear that, as of now, the United States government does not plan on breaking their pattern of foreign interventionism, even if it is against the will of the American people. This fixation with foreign invasions contributes to the ongoing wealth disparities that persist in the United States.