Racial Tension in US Foreign Policy
|Professor Nikhil Singh
What role did the American history of racial conflict play in setting
its post-9/11 foreign policies? Is racial tension in the United States
responsible for American actions abroad? Professor Nikhil Singh of the
University of Washington attempted to answer those questions and others
in a lecture entitled, "Race and Empire in the Logic of US World
Power." Sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz
Al Saud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), the lecture
was held in West Hall on March 28.
Singh began his talk with a brief history of racism, beginning with the
American Civil War (1861-65) and continuing with the civil rights era
in the mid-twentieth century. But despite advancement in the struggle
against racism, he said, prejudice against black Americans has not yet
been completely eliminated.
Professor Singh pointed out what he perceived as racist intentions behind
the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and also
indicated that racism may have been behind the war in Vietnam. Touching
on the ongoing war in Iraq, Singh pointed out that the American wardens
in Iraq's Abu Ghraib military prison had once been discharged from service
for being "too violent" or for cases of torture. He concluded
by arguing that the racist nature of US foreign policy is the reason why
the most influential American diplomats in times of war have been colored,
including current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor
Singh is associate professor of history at the University of Washington.
He received his PhD from Yale University in 1995, and he is the author
of Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy
(Harvard University Press, 2004) and co-author of the upcoming The Afro-Asian
Century (Duke University Press). His most recent research focus is on
post-World War II fascism and modern US imperialism.