MAPA’s board and working groups have been discussing several questions arising from our work. This working paper presents our thinking so far on one of them. It will be discussed at Part 2 of our Annual Meeting on May 3, 2022. We invite members to comment.
MAPA focuses our criticism on US wars, interventions, occupations, arms sales, and sanctions on other countries for several reasons. The US is the world hegemon and forcefully intervenes in global affairs far more than any other country. Also, our primary influence is on what the US does; we work to change U.S. policy through the U.S. political process.
We have a range of views on whether to criticize the governments of countries under attack by the US. Some of us think it’s hypocritical or undercuts our credibility if we only criticize the US – they point out that other countries also start wars, violate human rights, and commit war crimes. Others don’t want to criticize other countries’ governments – whether because they support the policies of those governments as liberatory, reject criticisms of them on specific issues, or fear that by echoing criticisms made by dominant circles in the US, we would lend support to US interference.
Both views are and should be part of MAPA and we pro-actively seek to express both. Self-determination of nations and non-interference in nations’ internal affairs are central to the UN charter and are sound principles for the US peace movement. We’re united on calling for a peaceful U.S. foreign policy, and we generally do not comment on how other countries should govern themselves.
In some situations we may decide on a majority view. We did this in the Russia-Ukraine war in which we both condemned the Russian invasion and also blamed US/NATO enlargement for setting the stage for the crisis.
See In Opposition to US Interventionism and Sanctions which we issued in July 2021.