chapter  1
The Logic of U.S. Intervention
Pages 18

Human motives are impossible to observe in any direct empirical way. We can view behavior and listen to utterances but we cannot observe the actual intent that is attributed to such things. People may profess all sorts of intentions, but they are also capable of outrageous deception, including self-deception. How then can we determine what their actual motives might be? The problem becomes crucial when attempting to divine the intent of political leaders, many of whom make a regular practice of lying about their actions. Some of us maintain that the overriding purpose of U.S. global interventionism is to promote the interests of transnational corporations and make the world safe for free-market capitalism and imperialism.1 Washington policymakers claim that intervention is propelled by an intent to bring democracy to other peoples, maintain peace and stability in various regions, protect weaker nations from aggressors, defend U.S. national security, fight terrorism, protect human rights, oppose tyranny, prevent genocide, and the like. Are we to accept these claims uncritically? If not, how can we demonstrate that they are often false or incomplete, and that the intent we ascribe is the real agenda? How can we determine that U.S. interventionism is engendered by imperialist concerns rather than, say, humanitarian ones?