In the windowless rooms of American corporate media, the assumption of U.S. hegemony is echoed on the alphabet TV channels and in the main U.S. government propaganda source—the New York Times.
We are an “exceptional” nation—the underlying narrative goes, repeated recently by President Obama and Vice President Biden at their respective West Point and Naval Academy graduation speeches. We have an obligation to dominate the world because we are the most humanitarian people on Earth. We are the only true defenders of freedom and democracy. Therefore, when we invade a country we live out our destiny. We depose “evildoers,” liberate nations, and generously gift them with our superior way of life.
America’s right to world hegemony is assumed in every foreign policy article in the New York Times, because total economic and military domination is the core mission of American foreign policy. The current administration’s overt and covert military actions—in Africa, Ukraine, Russia, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and now the Far East, in at least 134 countries—are supported without question, mostly because there’s not a lot of journalism going on in corporate media.
The world is jealous of us
As proof of our consummate narcissism and sense of national superiority many of us bought the absurd idea that terrorists attacked us on 9/11 because they were “jealous of our way of life.” The Bush cabal surely laughed themselves sick at how easy it was to manipulate the gullible American public. Of course it’s easy when most Americans, deep down, believe we are the envy of the world—even those of us dwelling in doublewides and living on food stamps.
What is frightening to me is not the jingoistic narcissism, which is bad enough, but that most of us have a seriously distorted and deluded view of our country. We don’t have a clue what our government is doing in the shadows, in our name—and on our dime—and we don’t really care. We are happy to go to air shows and watch a thundering display of military might. We feel good to be associated with, and to be part of, such raw power—the largest and most lethal military in the world. If presented with a detailed history of the violence and bloodshed perpetrated by the United States since the end of World War II, most of us will reject it because it doesn’t support our fantasy of our innate goodness and moral superiority. If we are killing someone somewhere in the world, we argue, it must be for a good reason. Because we are good people—the best.
Our faith based politics
Most Americans have, what I call a “faith-based” politics. They “believe” in their country, and they “believe” in President Reagan, President Clinton, President Bush(s), or President Obama—fill in the blank. When liberal Democrats are faced with the reality that President Obama is using drones to bomb the shit out of adults and children in the Middle East and Africa, including American citizens, they believe he is “protecting us from terrorists,” “terrorists” being the anonymous, politically useful bogeymen invented by the Bush administration and the CIA. Those unlucky children and adults who were attending a wedding are unfortunate “collateral damage.” We ponder for a second and conclude that Obama has made a wise and rational decision. It’s “worth it,” we decide, if we can be comfortable and safe at home, and we don’t have to “put our troops in harms way.” We remain comfortable because we never have to look at a gruesome image of a shellshocked mother holding the bleeding, mutilated body of her child who was alive just minutes ago.
When it is revealed (not in mainstream media) that Obama is backing an illegal, Nazi infested, Neocon inspired coup in Ukraine, and providing the newly installed U.S. puppet government with money and weapons with which to kill its own people, the administration falsely justifies its actions (in the mainstream media) as necessary to thwart Vladimir Putin who is depicted as a madman, threatening to overrun Ukraine and possibly even Europe itself.
The New York Times is the main reporter of these fabrications which depict Putin as an evil cartoon character. The public generally buys these lies because they “believe” in Obama, or they “believe” Russians and Putin are evil, or both. Those who believe in Obama decide “He must have a good reason.” “I believe in his wisdom and judgment,” they say. It’s super easy to sell Americans on the existence of “evildoers” as Bush liked to call them. For White House spin-doctors, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Cut your cable—rock your world
It’s amazing how irrational we are. We filter reality through our belief systems, and reject out of hand any information that contradicts the myths we cling to. Obama understood this well, noting that some rural folks “cling to their guns and their religion.” He was vilified for having this truthful insight. We all, at times, find ourselves clinging to something instead of facing reality, because, often, reality is too overwhelming, too frightening, too difficult to handle.
Our ignorance and myopic view of the world exists in an era when there is a massive amount of alternative, independent, and non-corporate media available online, both within this country and without. If you like to read books, no problem, you can find alternative views at your local library where left leaning librarians still stock the shelves with good stuff.
I cut my cable (best thing I ever did) and have been spending a lot of time learning about current events outside the echo chamber of U.S. mainstream media. I’ve read and watched left-leaning news accounts from within the United States and Canada, and from many other countries, including Russia, France, Australia, Iran and the UK. I’ve been enlightened by credible reporting from scholars, independent journalists, and news sources from areas of the world where the United States is trying to dominate and control. It’s not surprising that they often radically contradict the reporting and analysis in U.S. corporate media.
In corporate media, the massive U.S. military budget, and blanket domestic surveillance is sold to the exceedingly gullible American public as necessary to KEEP YOU SAFE™. The bloated military industrial complex is enriching corporations, and that massive surveillance is being used to keep corporations and banks safe from you—as potentially desperate, angry, unemployed citizens or an anti-corporate, anti-Wall Street, anti-war political activists. Wall-to-wall, domestic surveillance exists to quell domestic unrest, as does the increasingly disturbing militarization of the police. No doubt, with Too-Big-To-Fail, insolvent banks still running amok, DHS is getting ready for the next Big One—a financial meltdown that will dwarf that of 2008.
If we invade other countries, the official line goes, it is because we have a “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” those who are being oppressed by evil “bogeymen.” The “humanitarian” R2P is to liberal democrats what the Project for the New American Century is to Neocon Republicans. Both are cover stories for attacking another country to achieve economic and geopolitical hegemony.
We label these countries “rogue nations” because they refuse to accept U.S. corporate and military dominance, and—more importantly—they refuse to accept the dollar as their reserve currency. And of course it doesn’t hurt that those “rogue nations” may be sitting on a shitload of oil or natural gas. Up until its recent failed attempt to eject Russia out of Crimea, the US has invaded, raped and pillaged and taken what it wants around the world—in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Now we have our sights set on Africa, Eurasia and China.
That the current rogue dictator du jour might oppress his own people is really of no concern to this administration or any other, whether Republican or Democrat. But it provides good cover and plays well at home. In reality, there’s never been a compliant dictator that the U.S. didn’t like—Suharto in Indonesia, Saddam Hussein (before he was non-compliant), both Duvaliers in Haiti, Noriega in Panama, Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Phillipines, King Abdullah of Saudia Arabia, Karimov of Uzbekistan, Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, Déby of Chad, Hosni Mutbarak in Egypt—you get the idea. The big secret is that the United States government really doesn’t like democracy. We prefer iron fists who keep the people in line, while the nation’s wealth is siphoned off for the price of a generous monthly deposit in a Swiss or London bank account.
We are told we have a massive military and hundreds of bases around the world, because we have to protect “American interests.” But, we are never quite sure what those interests are, so we mentally fill in the blanks. But it’s not our interests that are being protected, it’s their interests—the tiny fraction of the population, the elites, who choose our presidents, and run our country (and often, as we have experienced, run it into the ground).
The dangers of psychological projection
We have a human impulse to belong to a family, a community, or a tribe in which we feel safe and secure. We long for benevolent, wise leaders. If we like our president, if he or she is in the right political party, and says the things we want to hear, we project those qualities on him or her. Because we have a psychological need to be loyal to our president and our party, we deny the massive evidence, including recent academic studies, that both parties serve, not us, but the elite.
All presidents in the past decades have been more or less, “Manchurian Candidates,” vetted and chosen by a collection of multi-billionaire Wall Street and corporate elites. Citibank’s Robert Rubin and his friends chose and groomed Obama for the job. Presidents are never independent actors, even if they are billionaires themselves. They are primarily beholden to a relatively small cadre of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals and financial cartels. They are personally comfortable with serving those individuals and groups, or otherwise they wouldn’t be chosen, and they wouldn’t get elected.
When you finally figure this out, it’s kind of like realizing your partner is having an affair. It’s a punch in the gut. You feel like a fool because you believed his lies about how much he loves you and is devoted to you. But the good news is that, come the next election, you will be less likely to be taken in by the smooth talk of campaign rhetoric, and to project qualities and motivations onto that person that simply aren’t there. You will have a reality-based understanding of the candidate and of the deeply corrupt Madison Avenue packaged, American political system.
The old, venerable rock band “The Who” said it best: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” “I’ll get on my knees and pray, we don’t get fooled again.” Words to contemplate as you enter the voting booth.
It’s time to grow up
By staying in that windowless room of mainstream media, all of which is now owned by just five mega-corporations, we have a highly distorted view of the United States and what we are doing around the world. Given the very dangerous times we are living in, it’s important to have a truly three-dimensional view, and a more truthful and nuanced perspective derived from a wide variety of credible non-corporate sources of information and analysis, even if the reality they depict is unsettling and disturbing, shatters our treasured identities, and the comfortable fairy tales we’ve told ourselves.
Abandoning our adolescent assumption of our innate superiority will help cure us, as a nation, of our insufferable, and ultimately dangerous narcissism—and that can’t be a bad thing on a personal and collective level. For the health of our country and the rest of the world, we also must abandon our equally adolescent desire for U.S. hegemony—for world domination.
Like the bully it is, the United States is currently trying to isolate Russia, intimidate Europe, and threaten nuclear war by beefing up weapons on Russia’s border— but it is the United States that will end up isolated. The world has had it with us—with our bloody sanctions, punishing IMF-sponsored austerity, and our newly sophisticated, Obama-style “soft wars.” As a result, many nations, including the BRICS and its over 80 associate countries, are collectively working to dump the dollar as reserve currency. Russia and China just signed a $400 billion dollar energy deal to be settled in Yuan.
All empires must end. The era of U.S. hegemony is coming to a close, and with it will go our cheap goods. Whether we like it or not, we will be humbled by the joint powerhouses of China and Russia. It’s not unlikely that Germany and Saudi Arabia will soon join them in abandoning the Petrodollar. Frankfurt is already setting up to become the global Yuan (RMB) hub for Asia and Europe. The United States/NATO clumsy and desperate attempt to disrupt the growing Eurasian alliance by fomenting a violent coup d’état in Ukriane will fail. The party is over. We can go down in flames and take the world with us in one big deadly temper tantrum by starting a nuclear war with Russia, or we can learn to coexist, and be grownups in what will be an increasingly multi-polar, and perhaps healthier, more stable world.