Saturday, July 28, 2007

"America is back" -- kinda like Jaws

A New York Times article today details the depressingly tepid foreign policy "debate" between the Hillary and Barack camps. It seems the Senators are in disagreement about how best to regain the U.S.'s lost prestige on the world stage. Hillary, trying desperately to appear as hard-headed as any man, insists that there should be preconditions on any diplomatic contact with "dictators" like Ahmednijad or Chavez (Chavez was, unlike our own prez, *elected*, but never mind that for now). Obama, playing good cop, says:

“Our standing in the world has diminished so much because people think that the United States wants to dictate across the world instead of cooperate across the world. When we start sending a signal that we are ready to engage in serious diplomacy, then we’ve got the opportunity to stand before the world and say: We’re back. America is back.”

This ostensibly open-minded approach is what has liberals loving Obama, I suppose. But "'back' to what?", we might ask. We've heard a lot lately about America's diminished prestige. But I've got bad news, folks: America's "standing in the world" has never been very high. Why not? Because we *do* want to "dictate across the world".

We're a country full of mofos who petulantly demand our SUVs and Nike shoes regardless of the cost to the rest of humanity or the planet. None of the Democrats (excepting perhaps Kucinich) is proposing any sort of challenge to that mentality. The "difference" in the philosophies of the candidates -- Democrat and Republican -- amounts to the difference between stealing from the rest of the world with a smile on our face or with a scowl. As Malcolm X once said of liberals vs. conservatives, “One is the wolf, the other is the fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”



Kelly said...

America is back? Back to quietly doing horrible things in East Timor and Central America? Yikes. I almost prefer the above-board overt oppression.

Mel said...

They're going to bring 'America' back?
I'm still waiting for Timberlake to bring sexy back.
waiting. . .
waiting . . .

Annie said...

Americans still don't seem to realize how the country is perceived in the rest of the world, and why. American exceptionalism is alive and well.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a mistake to conflate the US ruling elite with the American public who supposedly are willing to stomach an Empire that bankrupts them just so they can purchase Nikes or SUVs. Nikes and SUVs are sops fed to various demographic sections of an overall American public that knows damned well that its interests aren't in play, but has little idea how to move collectively to change the collective circumstance.

Its a mistake to claim that the American desire for SUVs drives elite policy. It is, in fact, quite the other way around.

PS I was directed here by Kelly Yoyo. My name is Doug. Glad to meet you.

Saladin said...

Thanks for your post, Doug. I half-agree with you. My fiery rhetoric sometimes leads to oversimplification.

You are quite right to point out the near-impossiblity of 'opting out' of the American lifestyle that's been forced on us. I myself eat out too often, love my Adidas, want a Wii, etc. etc.

I guess the point of the post was to say that even the "liberal" presidential candidates (again, excpeting Kucinich) aren't offering us a lot of real choice when it comes to our aarogant, parasitic relationship to the rest of the world. And I will say that there is a disturbingly high percentage of Americans who aren't ready to question that relationship either.

The depressing truth is probably best summed up by Morpheus (Larry Fishbourne, not The Sandman or the God of Sleep):

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

Again, thnaks for the post!

Anonymous said...

We're definitely coming from very similar perspectives. I'm glad Kelly introduced me to your blog. I'll be dropping by again.