The Daily Illini

Letter to the Editor: University professor justifies a century of American aggression

By David Green

This letter is provoked by a disturbing commentary in the Champaign News-Gazette on Feb. 19 by History professor Kristin Hoganson, titled “Requiem for the American Century.”

My political identity is as an antiwar activist and socialist. Hoganson laments the passing of an American Century characterized by “freedom of conscience and of speech, freedom from want and fear. Freedom of movement. The free world.”

This transparent falsehood is consistent with her general support for U.S. warmaking and subversion since World War I, while admitting in passing that our wars against Korea and Vietnam “burned too hot.”

This is an unfortunate description of our government’s murder of millions of innocent people, in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, for what the record clearly shows to be the goals of global economic and military domination, ongoing.

For the past four decades, these aggressive (neoconservative) policies have been joined with neoliberal policies promoting radically increased economic inequality, at home and abroad. Hoganson supports corporate-driven and rapacious “free trade” agreements which are central to a neoliberal agenda that has nothing to do with freedom or democracy. In sum, Hoganson offers an innocent narrative of American exceptionalism that is false, implicitly racist and explicitly elitist.

While she aligns her views with general disdain for President Donald Trump, she tellingly criticizes his most reasonable policies: his opposition to war with Russia and to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That all of this is argued within liberal and feminist frameworks is revealing of our current ideological impasse, within academia and beyond.

Students and other community members deserve the self-critical historical facts and analyses that will move us beyond long-term nightmarish realities and triumphalist dogmatism. Ironically, Hoganson’s “requiem” augurs and implicitly supports continued destruction of our species and our planet.

David Green is a Champaign resident.

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