Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Ольга Савка

America's view of itself in the world community - 9 September, 2004

America has many opinions about how the world should be run, and we are not afraid to say so either

America also loves a parade, especially when it is our own – and what is the American parade?  It is a national thought pattern that we see America as the center of a world that owes us everything.  All and everything revolves around us.  Everybody wants to be like us we think, or at least we would like to think that.

And, like the medieval Roman Catholic Church, anything that challenges our view of ourselves must be met with stern retaliation, shouting matches, and if push comes to shove – military intervention.  Heretics are not welcomed in the land that we so want to believe were created by the hand of God on the 8th day.

Never mind that our forefathers came from countries that were centuries old and this has shaped America in more ways than one.  Customs and traditions and figures of speech have origins from somewhere else. But we are quick to brand them as American.

We have also misled ourselves into believing it was always somebody else that was at fault, no matter what our contribution to the problem was.  It remains, it somebody else that is the problem, not us. 

And, we really don't feel we have to apologize for anything either.  Take the battle ship Main which blew up in a Cuban harbor.  We declared war on Spain for that one.  We did a complete number of Spain until she sued for peace.  Oops – the explosion was a result of the coal and the powder rooms being too close to the boilers and when things hit critical level, the Main blew up and sank. Never mind that the Main was designed by us and the configuration was a design defect waiting to rear up. 

America wanted the glamour and glory of building the Panama Canal – one problem, the government at the time was not US friendly. We helped launch and finance a coup that exploded into a revolution overthrowing the old and we installed a new, friendlier government, and we got to build the canal. It is not that the canal wasn't a blessing, but it is how we did it that is important also.

I read an article about the US and how we see ourselves. Our opinion of us is more like the Greek astronomer, Claudius Ptolemy, who in 850 CE, declared that the sun, the moon, the planets and the galaxy revolved around the planet Earth.  So remarkable was his thought that it became official RCC doctrine and it was a mortal sin to think otherwise.  Anyone who thought differently risked facing the executioner's axe. 

So righteous were we in 1776.  We officially divorced England and with solemn license, we wrote “All Men Are Created Equal”.  We still kept slavery as an institution well after the rest of the modern world had abandoned it.  We saw nothing wrong with that, and it was an American thing.

The little rascals that we are, we wanted to fashion the world in our own image so that they too could become like Gods.  We taught them our ways, we educated their youths, and we molded the governments.

We made deals and before anyone could get a word in edgewise, we broke the deal.  Complain and bad things happened.  One only needs to look at the treaty violations and the Indian wars of the 19th century.   We taught them our ways, we educated their youth – now, their young have grown, become attorneys and taking the US to court for violations.  And, they are winning.  We really don't want people to see that, and we are not taking kindly to it either.  Somehow, we don't want to recognize that we stole land that did not belong to us and we do not want to recognize the genocide that we made.  And, we gaff it off – as one right winger said: “F*** the Indians, it is our country now.  They lost, get over it”.

We created the Manifest Destiny – a document that says nothing more than if we like it, we take it, and it's ours.  We convinced ourselves that treaty violations were acceptable and if 'they' didn't like it then we took it.  We stole it fair and square is one way of looking at it.  But, we don't want you to know that so we spin doctor a fable about a people in rebellion who threatened us and we had to bring law and order.  It was truly those damn Indians, wasn't it?

In 1776, we threw the gauntlet and the war of independence started.  When it was all over and the treaty of Paris was signed, South Carolina was declared by the treaty as a sovereign nation.  Not part of the colonies as we want to believe, but a separate country.  We signed off on the treaty.  In 1860, South Carolina looked back at 1776 and the looked at the Paris treaty and reviewed their position.  They looked at the increasing pressure to move from an agricultural society to the fast paced industrial society of the north. They did not want that rammed down their throat. In 1860, the government of South Carolina voted to exercise her options as a sovereign nation, and seceded.

There was no law saying they could not secede.  America learned a new buzz phrase – “there is no law that says I can't”.  We convinced ourselves that this was rebellion – never mind it was legal, but Manifest Destiny won out. Ten other states followed South Carolina and seceded because there was no law that said they could not.

Through prodding and a thrown glove, Lincoln got his war.  It wasn't about slavery mind you.  There were more slaves in New York City than in all of Georgia.  Three slave holding states entered into the melee on the side of the north.

We convinced a world that this was rebellion, not what it really was and that is the decision of a people who wanted self rule.  We tried to convince ourselves and the world that this was a war to end slavery – up north, there were people screaming for abolition, but with the added warning: “Don't send them up here”.   We pulled the wool over everyone, to include ourselves.

Britain, unfortunately kept its mouth shut.  When the colonies were still under British rule, the salves had been set free by the crown.   America reinstituted slavery.  How did we do this, because there was nothing that said we couldn't because we were a new country. 

It's interesting to note, that if a group of people take up arms on a country we favor, we are quick to scream rebellion.  The rebellion has to be stopped.  Today, our answer is guns and money to a government that we like but won't allow self rule of the people, by the people and for the people.  Viet Nam is a good example.  Ngo Dinh Diem was our guy and he was not a kindly guy – he was a butcher. But we could not face that and we blamed the government of North Viet Nam, we blamed China and we blamed Russia.

The Shaw of Iran was another one of those guys the US liked and he too was a butcher.  We convinced ourselves that the revolution in Iran was a bad thing because people had taken to the streets with guns trying to over throw a genuinely caring leader (supported by us of course). We convinced ourselves that the Iranian people had no bitch and the revolution was illegal.  We deliberately kept our embassy staff in Iran knowing they would be taken – we simply needed some more twists and turns to convince us that it was Iran at fault.

Noriega, former president of Panama, was a US friendly.  Only this time, we turned on our guy.  There is some still interesting things surrounding the man, but one of them is he wanted a bigger piece of the pie in the drug trade that was feeding the American appetite.  He was a butcher.  But he was too greedy and so we convinced ourselves he was a bad guy and we took him out.  

There are countless others.

We had learned a new buzz phrase “There is no law that says I can't”.  Even after Nazi Germany proved her true colors, we had American businesses doing business with Nazi Germany.  I don't want to mention names, but there is a big one in Texas whose wealth is implicated with partnerships with Hitler's Germany.  Nobody, nor no law, said they couldn't.  Not a lone incident either – a power company in the mid-west is quietly replacing water values that have the Swastika molded on them. High quality values that have lasted 60 years with no sign of wear are being replaced, and the replacement cost is being past on to the consumer. 

There is a family in the northeast that made its money through booze during prohibition.  Why, because there was no specific law that said they couldn't put cases of whiskey, from family owned distilleries, on a boat, shipped it to Canada, loaded into fast cruisers and run down the great lakes.  The law only said you couldn't drink alcohol during prohibition or make it on our shores. 

Fast forwarding, Eron and Worldcomm – there were no laws against what they were doing.  If there is no law that says you can't, then you do.  Regardless of who it hurts, you do it.  And we have convinced ourselves that this is right and proper.  Ethics mean nothing in America, not now, and looking at 1900's America, not ever.

We see ourselves as saviors of the world, America honestly believes that.  We, under the guise of 'helping', move in and we take over.  See: The American Civil War. We go into countries, we change their ways for ours, and we escalate their society and make them a trading partner – a nice fancy word for we have them by the shorts. While Americans drop over with heart attacks from stress, we push things even harder. We dangle money over their heads.

We allow companies to defer income, more their headquarters over seas and jobs over seas.  Why, because “Nobody told me I couldn't”.  And we have convinced ourselves that there is nothing wrong with that.

I have seen a country and a people use the excuse that we won't even let our 5 year olds get away with. And, we see nothing wrong with that.

Our leaders use phrases such as “In my definition of the word” and we see nothing wrong with that.

We lash out at our kids when they get caught cheating at school, but we praise Vince Lombardy who said: “Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing”.  Our country motto.

When we move into a country, we convince ourselves that we are bringing them democracy. We are bringing them the hand of God and we are morally right. But when a country such as the Soviet Union did the same thing we convinced ourselves they were wrong. The United States condemned Hitler when he began lebensraum, but there was nothing wrong when we took the Philippines, Guam and countless other smaller countries for our own. 

The world calls the United States imperialists, and we hate that. But what else can we call it? 

We can't bear the thought that we are not the center of the world, nor will we hear of anything like that from anyone. Not internally, nor externally. The US will not be told the truth about itself. There are those in America that are calling to the US to pull out of the United Nations – why, because the American mindset says they are wrong and we are right. 

The real reason is because we do not want to have to face the growing number of critics we have in the world now. We have convinced ourselves that it is they who are wrong and obviously we don't want to associate with anyone who disagrees with us. 

We can't stand historians who use factual information that does not follow party line and our own delusions about what we are. Why, because we don't want to see the truth about us. We want to condemn others and rewrite our own history to prove we were right to ourselves. So we can say to our critics, you are wrong for here is our text book.

In the Middle East, we support Sharon – a man who is also one of the major stumbling blocks to peace. The world says to us, rein him in and we won't hear of it. We are contributing to the conflict in the Middle East and we see nothing wrong with that.

Bush has already won the election and we have not even voted yet, and we see nothing wrong with that. But we sure had a nasty word or two about how the Soviet elections were held.  We even had an opinion about how Putin got into office. We saw a lot wrong with that. We screamed fixed election. 

We have people in American who are calling for revolution – armed violent revolution because they don't like what they see. They might be a little wacko, but the point is that there are Americans who don't like what is going on.  And advocating armed revolution used to be against the law.  We see nothing wrong with people who say buy guns and let's revolt. We see nothing wrong with a one million armed march on the nation’s capital that was advocated in 2002.

We have people in America who back powerful lobbies so that we can, and will have, guns – and we can't do anything for We the People.  Liberal ideas about national health insurance, jobs and a balanced budget are subordinate to liberal ideas that tell us buy more guns and we will make it easier for you to do so.  We don't have a problem with the confused right wing liberals who scream Second Amendment.

We have journalists who are writing as I am, and America can't wait to see us dead because we hold up a mirror and we say look at your image. Look at what you have become; look at what you have done.

We are branded as liberals – step back a bit, it was liberals who suggested things like free elections, and land ownership and self government back in 1776. It was liberals who wrote the amendments abolishing slavery. It was liberals who ended the 60 hour work week. It was liberals that have been saying everyone should have health insurance. It is liberals that speak of Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech. 

Now, our liberal ideas are being branded as something disgusting and vile.  It will not be too long in America where the freedom to say what one thinks will be outlawed. The ability to voice an opinion will be gone forever.  Why, because America cannot face the truth about herself.  What we are is too ugly and we have to run away from anything that will upset our delicate condition. 

Anything that speaks of truth in America is branded as liberalism. And liberalism is how we got our start as a country. Now, those very same ideals are being branded as treason. 

We've grown up wrong. When Bush is reelected, Americans won't have to worry about journalists that don't follow party line or the ministry of propaganda – we'll all be in prison or dead. Which should make the right wing happy for awhile, but soon the words of dissent will surface again. 

Michael Berglin

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