MLK Jr’s anti-war legacy remains highly relevant

Tam Hunt
2 min readJan 16


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a great reminder to look at his anti-war legacy. This is a nice essay from the Quincy Institute, a new outfit in Washington DC trying to highlight a progressive anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist foreign policy that is more in keeping with MLK’s legacy.

While Biden is to be lauded for finally (after 20 years) getting the US out of Afghanistan, and for not starting any new wars in his first two years in office, his administration and Congress just approved the biggest military budget in history, at $858 billion — which is more than HALF of the discretionary US budget.

And the US maintains about 800 military bases in almost half of the countries around the world.

The US also sells arms to over half the countries of the world and is by far the world’s biggest arms dealer.

The US empire is strong.

I’ve long been anti-war and anti-imperialist and have written for many years about my experience in the US Army and how it made me a pacifist and very very skeptical of US military actions around the world.

My views have been complicated in recent years by the rise of an extremely oppressive China and the need to contain Chinese military power as the hawks come to the fore in China.

But I remain staunchly critical of rampant US military spending and waste, even as I have come to recognize the need to maintain a strong US military presence to counter China’s rising power.

Here’s the meat of the essay linked above:

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States supplied weapons to 103 nations between 2017 and 2021 — more than half the countries in the world. For many citizens of the world, their first association with America is a U.S. soldier or a U.S.-supplied weapon in the hands of their government or one of their adversaries.

This U.S. record of wide-ranging military intervention and runaway arms sales is a far cry from the “diplomacy first” foreign policy that the Biden administration has pledged to pursue. To its credit, the administration stuck to its commitment to get the United States out of its disastrous 20-year engagement in Afghanistan. And in some cases, as in Ukraine, U.S. arms have been supplied for defensive purposes, to help Kyiv fend off a brutal Russian invasion. But on balance, the United States still adheres to the kind of militarized foreign policy that Dr. King warned us about well over 50 years ago.



Tam Hunt

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