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The Myth of an American Empire

Without claiming to be an expert at socio-political sciences, Val shares his out-of box impressions about the world's affairs.

Looks are often deceiving

Looks are often deceiving

The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in return destroys the vision and the dream.

-- Azar Nafisi

To quote myself from some other of my articles -- being an individualist, I am terribly against generalizing; so if you asked me what I think about Americans, I would answer with question: "Which ones?"

For in just about any society in the world there is a huge diversity of individuals -- some geniuses, some morons, those successful, and those homeless, law abiding ones, and criminals -- and America is no exception.

However, judging by an average in all that diversity, we could call Americams quite industrious, goal oriented, highly materialistic, but also tending to "think big", which then spreads over the way they see themselves.

"American Dream", which refers to ambitions for attaining prosperity -- and beyond -- doesn't stop at that, but also involves a dream about American "global leadership", "military supremacy", "medical superiority", "best standard of living", the "happiest nation" -- and what not on that scale of the bests.

Now, let's try to do a realistic landing from those clouds, by first examining "global leadership".

In the so called "free world" leaders get elected, not self-appointed, while we don't see any signs of the world actually having elected America as their leader.

Also, in that free world, leadership doesn't mean a self-appointed role of a "global policeman"; nor does it mean coercing nations telling them who may, and may not be their business customers and partners in trade; nor it means sanctioning nations -- which is just another nice name for economic terrorism often resulting with shortages of medical supplies and other essentials -- all justified by what else but -- "our national interests".

So, let's forget about global leadership, at least a fair version of it, and see a little about that "medical leadership".

There is this staggering number of some 350,000 yearly deaths in the US caused by medica; screwups, with many pharmaceutical having been taking off the pharmacies' shelves, because their turned out either lethal or seriously damaging -- while all properly approved by the FDA.

In short, that "medical practice" is so "superior" that people are massively resorting to alternative solutions for their health issues.

Someone even said jokingly: "It's a scary thought that doctors are 'practicing' medicine".

As for the mental health, statistics are revealing that one in every five Americans have some mental issues -- without trying to squeeze that under the classical excuse umbrella of "No one's perfect."

The best standard of living" story? Nope. It's only at the thirteenth place on the list of those with the highest standard of living in the world. While America may have the most rich people in the world, that doesn't hint one bit at the prosperity of the whole nation, with 27 million people with no health insurance, and half a million homeless.

Anybody lately drove through Los Angeles?

Why deceive ourselves? None of the mentioned info is some fabricated crap, you can google it yourself, and all of it comes from American sources, not from some "unfriendly China, or Russia, or North Korea, or Iran" to tarnish the shine of America.

And I most certainly have no interest to do it, while being a political cynic, never taking sides.

Nukes are the best global protectors against arrogant stupidity of a few.

Nukes are the best global protectors against arrogant stupidity of a few.

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I ran in 2006 as an opponent of the Iraq War, and I came to Congress to change overreliance on US military power.

-- Chris Murphy

Number of Nukes in Possession Makes No Damn Difference

Let us go realistic about it, shall we -- I mean, whether you have ten or hundred nukes, if you ever wanted to use them, after an estimated fifth one you have dumped, the whole world would gang up against you for polluting the atmosphere with nuclear radiation.

So it's nothing but a psychological bullshit that no one in the world's military headquarters is taking seriously. All these trillions of dollars used on military advancement -- which could have been used for insuring everybody and for infrastructure -- is practically used only for playing a military boogieman to those who are too grownup to believe in boogieman of any kind.

Nukes are so well distributed around the world that they are The Only True guarantee against a global cataclysm of a World War Three.

Indeed, if it was not for the sobering presence of the nukes, those political hotheads would have already destroyed the planet with nothing but the conventional world size military conflict.

Let's face, folks, this biggest irony in existence -- that we are electing leaders who have absolutely no talent or intention to establish international friendship, cooperation, and harmony.

Think about it. How hard would it be to jointly decide to make our human coexistence peaceful?

Instead, here we see this bunch of paranoid clowns not trusting each other, feeding their nations with fairy tales filled with imaginary enemies, and obviously unable to heal their heads from historical neuroticism. Unable to see into a future that would not be just a repetition of the past.

It doesn't take some genius to figure how nations have nothing against each other, it's our much trusted leaders who keep inventing enemies.

Thus, America somehow needs over 75 military bases scattered around the globe to protect itself -- from whom? In anyone's healthy brain there is no such a scenario of any of the biggies attacking any of the other biggies.

Does it make America "militarily superior"? Come on, folks, those long range missiles are already pointing at every American installation and even city; that potential "enemy" has had enough of their own military geniuses to defend themselves by making a horrible damage to the attacker.

So, who are we kidding here? If China, Russia, India, or even one North Korea can have their satellites in the orbit, they can also have their space weapons there. So, all this is just a myth, all this psychological parading with some "military advantages".

Patriotism is fine, as long as it is not generated by national narcissism

Patriotism is fine, as long as it is not generated by national narcissism

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet and fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

-- Ernest Hemingway

Patriotism Doesn't Define a Country

While patriotism is a noble and virtuous quality, it shouldn't mean a blind mind.

For a little metaphor which should say it all, I love my wife, and after 57 years of marriage I sometimes dream about arranging for our second, Golden Wedding on a Hawaiian beach, with all those romantic, colorful props.

But I don't see her, even from her best young age, as -- by everyone's taste -- a most irresistible female human specimen on earth. Just like I see millions of women out there who wouldn't give me a second look at times when I looked my best.

Are you seeing where I am going with this?

It's O.K. to have dreams, as long as we are not expecting others to share them with us, because -- hey! Surprise! -- they prefer dreaming their own.

However, we are not hearing about any other country in the world making such a big deal of their ambitions generated by those dreams. It's almost as if American folks are perceiving themselves as being "God-chosen" , or something.

I have been in America some dozen times, even lived and worked there for a while (as a legal immigrant with a proper green card and social security number) -- but in all that time I was not lucky enough to encounter a single of those "American avatars", or even find anything out of ordinary about those, otherwise fine folks.

Yes, many people move there, but it's all very relative, as we are talking about many of those desperate ones who might even move to Russia or China if they could -- while many also leave America. We have many born-Americans here in Canada, just like there are many born-Canadians in America.

Like I say, it's all very relative, and nothing to generalize about, surely not enough as to say how "everybody wants to live in America". As a matter of fact, many of those doing-well Americans would gladly leave America if they only had guts for emigrating, which is a huge step. Ask me, I've done it twice, to start all over from a spoon on.

Back to patriotism.

Let us be totally honest about it: So many American folks are simply compensating for their mediocre life achievements by trying to see themselves as a part of something that's "best and superior" in every aspect imaginable.

So they fancy themselves as a part of the glamour of all those rich folks and that imagined "most powerful military". And they passionately involve themselves in politics, simply because there is more going on there than in their own households.

Then they glorify their people, in the mass in whom they only know relatively few, and many of which they wouldn't even like, let alone proudly call "fellow-Americans". It's an ordinary realism about an enormous diversity of people living in any country, not only America, where we can't generalize and see them all as worth our patriotic love.

So we actually dignify an abstraction, in many ways created by those who would have the most to lose if we, the people, wouldn't be ever ready to protect their precious asses with our naked lives.

So it has been since the beginning of civilization -- with tribal chiefs, with kings, and with state leaders and the rich whose puppets they are.

Indeed, in some instances of meeting some of them, I just couldn't help getting a scene from the "Looney Tunes", with Duffy Duck running amok and yelling: "I'm rich! I am filthy rich!"

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.

No supremacy, no competition, but harmony and mutual support benefit all

No supremacy, no competition, but harmony and mutual support benefit all

Finding Friends -- Not "Followers"

That myth of American Empire, as experienced by those stubborn dreamers, wouldn't even be so bad, but the problem arises when, during their sleepwalking, they start bumping into reality.

Like, here comes China as a new serious competitor on the global market. No tariffs seem to have helped to weaken them economically, as they rapidly spread their markets to Africa and South America. A metaphor pops up with a balloon being squeezed at one side making the other side bigger.

"How dare they compete with one mighty America" -- goes the outcry of the patriots, instantly branding them as an "enemy of America". Of course, patriotism is strong enough to contaminate some simple logic, where China is not really "plotting anything against America" while simply advancing themselves.

Unless of course, America is the only privileged one to look for ways of bettering themselves.

So, for a little metaphor (I love metaphors, unless you already noticed), here I am, let's say, successfully losing some extra pounds, looking good -- and there is a bunch of my friends who believe that I did it to make them look fatter and less attractive.

Or, I am reading a shitloads of smart books about human nature, and there go my friends (hmm.. let's drop in some family members as well) who somehow believe that I did all those studious efforts "just to make them look stupid".

I guess, no one has any problem getting the point of these two metaphors -- but then it becomes something altogether unforgivable with China in the equation.

Maybe we could stop being so obsessed about what others are doing wrong, and try to see what we are doing wrong.

Like maybe, just maybe, that much trumpeted image of a "superiority" and "global leadership" is not really working for us. Maybe, just maybe, people don't really appreciate political, economic, or even military bullyism.

And maybe, just maybe, the European NATO allies are not too happy -- with a reason -- to participate anymore in American adventurism in the Middle East catering to their friend Israel.

Could it be the time to start making friends instead of unwilling followers? After all, in these times when the word "freedom" seems to be so popular in American slogans, could we fathom that the world would also love to be "free" from anyone bossing them around?

After all, being called an "empire" doesn't even sound all that flattering. All empires had one thing in common -- they crumbled down of their own weight.

Which brings to mind -- after the American politicians of that era dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, someone in Japanese headquarters allegedly asked: "Should we plan a retaliation?" -- upon a general replied: "No need for that. They will destroy themselves".

For the final words here -- hey, folks, if a scholar of Noam Chomsky's caliber may sound in his assessments like he might agree with the most of what has been said here -- maybe it shouldn't be bluntly scrapped as "just another piece of anti-American crap".

For it ain't that. Not one bit.

In the eyes of those more sober folks it will be properly interpreted as a friendly reminder -- nothing else.

© 2021 Val Karas

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