Paul Krugman’s Remarkable Blind Spot—A Brief Reply



Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, has been playing a good role in calling out the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Trump/Pence regime. But like many other liberals, Krugman has a blind spot on the U.S.’s role in the world. We have this remarkable statement in his latest column, “Pax Americana,” warning against Trump’s effect on the U.S.’s standing in the world:

Our government’s behavior was by no means saintly; we did some terrible things, supporting dictators and undermining democracies from Iran to Chile. And sometimes it seemed as if one of our main goals was to make the world safe for multinational corporations.

But we weren’t a crude exploiter, pillaging other countries for our own gain.... And we were a country that kept its word.

First, America’s founding was in slavery of Black people and genocide of Native peoples. The government made and broke hundreds of treaties with the Native peoples as it expanded westward and seized the land, contrary to Krugman’s belief and illusion that “we were a country that kept its word,” a falsity from its founding.1

Second, since the dawn of the 20th century, America has been an imperialist power, ravaging and dominating whole parts of the world, from Central and Latin America to the Middle East to Southeast Asia—as part of its rise to global superpower, controlling resources, markets, and whole regions. Go here to learn more about the ugly history of U.S. imperialism’s crimes around the world, from Mexico, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Zaire, Guatemala... and the list goes on and on. Not “saintly” doesn’t even begin to describe the horrors wrought by the U.S.

Third, America sits atop the global capitalist-imperialist system, super-exploiting hundreds of millions throughout the world in an Empire of Exploitation. Where do you think the profit of companies like Apple, Amazon, and Walmart come from? Go here for that.

Trump and his fascist regime are a product and response to challenges faced by U.S. empire—domestically and internationally. This fascist section of the ruling class has a different approach and worldview—concentrated in their slogan, America First. They subordinate traditional alliances to raw U.S. power and interests, militarize U.S. foreign policy even more, and adopt a much more aggressive stance towards countries they consider competitors and threats, like China, Iran, etc. This makes the world a lot more dangerous, especially with the finger of the demented bully Trump on the nuclear button. Liberals like Krugman yearn for a return to the “normal” of Pax Americana, the more “normal” role of the U.S. in the world represented by the more liberal imperialists like Obama, Biden, etc. As we unite this side of the political barricades in the struggle against the Trump/Pence regime, we challenge and invite Paul Krugman and those who share his view to confront and learn more about the actual history and role of the U.S. in the world, and to shed illusions of the U.S. as primarily a force for good.


1. See, for example, “The Oppression of Black People and Other People of Color,” by Bob Avakian; “BA on the genocide of Native people, broken treaties, and ‘peculiar’ development of capitalism in the U.S. See also “It’s not just Trump. The US has always broken its treaties, pacts and promises,” Quartz, May 12, 2018.”  [back]

America’s founding was in slavery of Black people and genocide of Native peoples. Here a coffle of enslaved black people being marched to the auction block in Washington, DC.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

America sits atop the global capitalist-imperialist system, super-exploiting hundreds of millions throughout the world in an Empire of Exploitation. Workers in an electronic technology company in northwestern China's Shaanxi province. Photo: AP



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