Rhetoric vs Reality (the patterns)

September 18, 2015

The US loves basking in its social myth of being a country committed to equal justice for all, but it operates in a social reality of being committed to profit for a few through expansion at any cost. It is called “American exceptionalism”. This idea that the US American people hold a special place in the world was first expressed as early as 1630 when Puritan leader John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, sermonized that “the God of Israel is among us…for we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us”.

The US military has intervened over 560 times into the sovereignty of dozens of countries since 1798, and bombed 30 of them since World War II. It has been virtually at war with the world since World War II, building its economy on military spending and the use of military force. Nearly 400 of these military interventions have occurred since World War II! In addition, the US has covertly intervened thousands of times in over a hundred countries since 1947. The US has military ships in every sea space, planes in every air space, Special Forces teams operating in over 140 countries, and controls outer space as part of its proclaimed policy of “full spectrum dominance”.  Its propaganda is so extraordinarily pervasive that it virtually controls most of our inner psychic space – our thought structures and parameters of acceptable critical thinking.

Every component of the US government, including its espoused humanitarian efforts such as the Peace Corps, National Endowment for Democracy, US Agency for International Development, the now defunct US Information Agency, among others, operate to further the US agenda for global dominance that requires a selfish pursuit of geostrategic interests. Policy is guided by a near religious ideology of capitalism and private enterprise.

So, as one can clearly observe, this pattern is overwhelmingly imperial. Why has this happened and what purpose does it perform? Historian William Appleman Williams describes this extremely well in his 1980 book, “Empire As Way of Life”. By the late 1800s, US industrial and agricultural production exceeded the capacity of its domestic consumption. It had to seek expanded markets overseas to assure continued profits for the captains of industry and agriculture. Before Woodrow Wilson became president he was a lecturer at Columbia University where in 1907 he recommended that the United States “command the economic fortunes of the world”. He explained: “Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down…in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused”.

Growing up in US America conditions us to believe in our exceptionalism. We are insulated psychologically and intellectually from the rest of the world, just as the oceans on our east and west have insulated our country geographically. In the United States, abiding by the mythology of the “American Way Of Life” has, at least until recently, generally guaranteed a comfortable material life for Eurocentric people. There’s a reason for our comfort, however, that becomes visible when we are able to look beyond the illusions of the myth. As early as 1948, George Kennan, head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Committee, authored the following, brutally honest internal document: “We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population. . . . Our real task . . . is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. . . . We should cease to talk about . . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization . . . [W]e are going to have to deal in straight power concepts”.

Noam Chomsky has concluded that the United States is really only interested in a “Fifth Freedom” (a take-off on FDR’s speech in which he listed four essential freedoms  -  freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of religion) — the freedom to send in the marines when any group of people or a nation interferes with our ability to steal, plunder and murder at will in order to enhance our way of life and profits.

Though the statistics are a little different from Kennan’s 1948 data, the grotesque disparity continues: The US possesses but 4.6 percent of the world’s population but consumes anywhere from 25 percent to nearly half the world’s resources (depending on the resource examined). In essence, the United States can maintain this grotesque disparity only through force or its threat. This is the way our civilization was founded, and to date it knows no other way than arrogance, violence, and theft, while pretending (deluded by) noble “exceptionalism.”  To this day it has enjoyed virtual total impunity for the millions murdered and maimed in its path. Our “national security” requires maintaining our insatiable consumption in relation to the remainder of the rest of the world, and to assure the obscene riches flowing to the captains of finance and corporations. Ironically, our collective material consumption is a major political force that enables huge oligarchic profits to continue. And the “captains” of money virtually own the political system to assure business as usual. The “Fifth Freedom” is necessary to assure our system’s plunder enabling a few of the world’s people to forcefully maintain their gross disparity.

So, in essence, in order to preserve our USA position of material superiority (insatiable consumption for the masses while guaranteeing exorbitant profits for a few), neoliberal globalism requires what Woodrow Wilson recommended in 1907: that “that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused”. If any political movement, political group, nation or ideology is deemed to be a threat to our “full spectrum dominance”, that threat must be eliminated one way or another. “The doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down”. Thus our belligerence and barbarity continue under the rationale of preserving “American exceptionalism”, the Grand Lie and delusion. It will kill us all and most life on the earth if not arrested. It is incumbent upon us to encourage people to sincerely look at and understand the historical patterns of our national cultural and historical behavior as a pre-condition for attaining our dignity as part of the loving human community.

 


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