Category Archives: Exceptionalism

The US Empire Is A Smiley-Faced Serial Killer

Waiting for the results of the US presidential election is like waiting to find out if you’re going to get hit by the mugger with the bat or the mugger with the crowbar.

Dave Calhoun, CEO of top war profiteer company Boeing, said back in July that he’ll be quite happy regardless of what happens on November third.

“I think both candidates, at least in my view, appear globally oriented and interested in the defense of our country and I believe they’ll support the industries,” Calhoun said. “I don’t think we’re going to take a position on one being better than the other.”

And of course, he didn’t take such a position. Why would he? Arms manufacturers have been pouring money into the campaigns of both candidates, and they both know that no matter who wins the presidential election they’re going to reap highly profitable mountains of corpses. Since they know they win no matter who wins, why risk offending a future business partner?

The fact that war plutocrats are happy with either candidate tells you more about the reality of this presidential race than all the billions of dollars worth of mass media reporting and punditry that’s gone into it over the last two years combined. No matter what happens in the election and its aftermath, this is the real headline.

It’s so unspeakably insane that people can become unimaginably wealthy by using campaign donations to help warmongering politicians rise to the top of the political system of the most bloodthirsty government on earth and then selling the weapons used in the wars those politicians start.

Really, just think about that for a second. Imagine if someone said “I’m going to become a billionaire by killing people in the Middle East and Africa and selling their organs on the black market.”

That would be insane, right? That person would immediately be branded the most disgusting person in the world.

But if someone becomes a billionaire by starting wars in the Middle East and Africa and selling the weapons used to kill the same number of people in those wars, they’re considered industrious businessmen and philanthropists.

They did functionally exactly the same thing as someone killing those people and selling their organs, but their evil is completely invisible to the scrutiny of the mass media which informs the way people think, act and vote. War profiteers pour money into political campaigns, think tanks, mass media advertising and other narrative management operations which have the direct result of more mass military violence and more public support for it, but they are seldom even criticized for that depravity let alone held accountable for it.

The more you think about it, the creepier it gets. This is true not just of the military-industrial complex, but of the US-centralized empire as a whole.

There is nothing more creepy than the close power alliance loosely centralized around the United States which functions as a single empire on foreign policy.

Its leaders promote ideals like “freedom” and “democracy” while brutalizing any nation which disobeys its dictates and squeezing its own populace with increasingly authoritarian measures.

They extol the virtues of “human rights” while butchering human beings around the world whenever it is geostrategically convenient.

Their media virtually never point out the fact that their government is never not murdering human beings to fill the coffers of war profiteers and ensure unipolar planetary hegemony, but they will churn out sitcoms and feel-good stories about unity and togetherness like no one’s business.

The reality that they are riding on the parade float dressing of an insatiable death machine is carefully concealed from the denizens of this murderous empire, and instead, they are fed a constant Hollywood diet of movies and shows about how fun and hilarious and awesome their country is.

The US empire is a serial killer with a horrifying grin stretched over its blood-spattered face. A smiley-faced psychopath babbling about civil rights and the importance of inclusive language while chopping a Yemeni child to pieces.

Once you’ve seen it, you can never see the smiling nice guy again.

Survive The Night GIF by THE PURGE: ANARCHY - Find & Share on GIPHY

Despite all the partisan shrieking and melodrama and hyperbole, Trump is not uniquely evil.

Despite all the partisan shrieking and melodrama and hyperbole, Biden is not uniquely evil.

What’s uniquely evil is the murderous globe-spanning empire which dictates the fate of our species fueled on human blood and posing as a nice guy. Our world has never seen anything quite like it. It is a one of a kind monster.

Only deeply depraved people are capable of serving such a deeply depraved machine, and only deeply depraved people will ever be given an opportunity to. Trump and Biden are not unique in their depravity. They’re not even remarkable. They’re just the next in line to serve at the front desk of the smiley-faced murder factory.

This will be the case regardless of who is inaugurated on January 20th. It should remain at the forefront of everyone’s attention above the hysterical partisan fray. Ignore the drama over who gets to be DeathCorp’s secretary and keep your gaze fixed on the smiling killer.


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Pandemic Shifts Geopolitical Balance From West to East

Pandemic Shifts Geopolitical Balance From West to East

American Exceptionalism? | High-def at… | Flickr

Pic added by Tales

May 15, 2020

It is far from clear how the world will eventually transition from the currentCovid-19 pandemic. There are both deep apprehensions and yet also hopeful signs of progress towards a better future.

The World Health Organization this week warns that the viral disease may not be eradicated and could become a permanent threat to human health in the same way that the HIV disease presents.

In any case, global deaths from Covid-19 are bound to increase beyond the current level of 300,000, thereby wreaking further havoc on national economies and societies.

The economic devastation from the pandemic is global in scope but Western economies seem particularly hardest hit. The United States and Europe are grimly looking at abysmal falls in their economies which are being described as the worst since the Great Depression during the 1930s. There is little doubt that the pandemic is bringing about epochal change in the world.

A recent analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that the geopolitical balance of economic power will pivot decisively from West to East following the pandemic.

The EIU comments: “It will act as an accelerant of existing geopolitical trends, in particular the growing rivalry between the U.S. and China and the shift in the economic balance of power from West to East.”

The escalation of provocative accusations from the Trump administration against China blaming the latter for the pandemic are baseless and reckless. But such vilification speaks of the sharper antagonism being expressed by the U.S. towards China, an antagonism that has been simmering for years before the latest crisis emerged. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified American hostility towards Beijing precisely because the crisis has exposed the frailty of U.S. global power and the underlying shift that was already underway away from a U.S.-dominated world order. In short, Washington is lashing out from a fearful realization of its own feelings of insecurity as the world’s presumed “exceptional power”.

In a world confronted by existential threats the emphasis must be on multilateral cooperation and mutual partnership. The story of an invisible pathogen moving swiftly and seamlessly across borders, rendering trillion-dollar security systems futile, demonstrates the imperative of global cooperation.

President Trump’s so-called ‘America First’ policy, and more generally American unipolar conceit that has been around for decades, is being exposed for the dangerous fallacy that it is. Trump’s abandoning of the World Health Organization on the basis of slanderous claims relating to China epitomizes the redundancy of the U.S. model for global power. The abject failings of the U.S. to contain the Covid-19 pandemic stem from not only its baleful foreign policies but also from the bankruptcy of its capitalist economy and monetization of public health infrastructure in particular.

As evolutionary epidemiologist Rob Wallace eloquently put it in a recent interview: “Pandemics are mirrors. They tell a society its status.”

With extraordinarily high death tolls, the U.S. (80,000) and Britain (40,000) demonstrate their socio-economic systems are far from a healthy status. The Anglo-American model of capitalism is a failure. Parts of Europe have done better in handling the pandemic due to wider social democracy, but still the adherence to neoliberal capitalism had done much to exacerbate the damage from the disease in the European Union, as Italy and Spain attest.

China and Eurasia more generally appear to have shown greater fortitude and resilience in managing the pandemic. The death tolls are much less compared with Western nations, despite widespread infection from Covid-19. Part of that success is stronger state intervention and public health services. This is not to claim that China, Russia and others are paragons of economic progress to be emulated by the rest of the world. But one thing to their immense credit is the consistent advocacy of multilateralism and mutual partnership which leaders of these countries have made over many years. Such advocacy is in stark contrast to the zero-sum Cold War mentality of the U.S. and its European allies (minions), which seeks to demarcate the world into spheres of influence under Washington’s hegemony and Western private capital.

There are clear signs that the erstwhile U.S.-dominated global order is actually one of disorder where destructive, predatory relations and endless wars have prevailed. A pandemic disease has merely exposed the sociopathic disorder of U.S.-dominated global capitalism.

As the threat of pandemics seem to be increasing every decade, according to this international study by Rob Wallace and his colleagues, it is high time for a new global arrangement and vision of cooperation among nations.

It seems entirely appropriate that this present pandemic is shifting the global balance of economic power from West to East in a way that facilitates a transition to a more viable world. A successful, peaceful transition is far from a foregone conclusion. But it is possible.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

America isn’t just a failing state, it is a failed experiment



April 20, 2020

And the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic is just another proof.

People protest against a state-at-home order issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to curb the coronavirus outbreak on April 19, 2020 in Denver, US [AP/David Zalubowski]
People protest against a state-at-home order issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to curb the coronavirus outbreak on April 19, 2020, in Denver, US [AP/David Zalubowski]

Sometime in the future, maybe two or three centuries from now, when historians and other social scientists begin to write the first books about the failures of the defunct American experiment, they will all confront a basic truth: That despite American proclamations of freedom and equality, the realities of racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and gross economic inequalities as practised in American society constantly belied these ideals.

Future experts will have to consider whether America’s ultimate virtues really ever had a chance to flourish, or were simply myths meant to soothe the American ego.

These future researchers will have a list of events to point to that signaled the death knell of America as a superpower, a nation-state, and as an idea worth pursuing. And that list is long:

The squandering of trillions of dollars from 1945 through the 1980s on the Cold War, Vietnam and the nuclear arms race. The presidency of Richard Nixon, Watergate, and craven government corruption. The disinvestment from the American social safety net and the massive deregulation of corporations that began during President Ronald Reagan’s rule in the 1980s – all while proclaiming “it’s morning in America again” – and continued unabated under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama. The First Gulf War in 1990-91 and the new US commitment to endless, preemptive wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the decades since. The 2008 housing bust and the Great Recession that only further benefitted corporations while grinding millions down into poverty and the gig economy.

All this has led the US to its current calamity, the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, one that at publication, has claimed more than 40,000 American lives and sickened at least 700,000 others. It is an epic crisis which America’s leaders from President Donald Trump down could have blunted by heeding advanced warnings from the World Health Organization, from the Centers for Disease Control, and from the Obama administration, making preparations and taking action.

Trump could have mitigated the crisis but he failed miserably, opting first for denial, declaring the COVID-19 warnings the Democrats’ “new hoax”.

The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted another epidemic that has plagued American society –  American narcissism, a disease that has been growing since the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America, in 1607.

America’s narcissism was and remains more infectious than any virus, as the attraction of presumed wealth and unlimited success has been a salve for many Americans for generations, no matter how fantastical.

Let us look at how the US has responded to the coronavirus since the first reports of patients dying of severe pneumonia came out of the city of Wuhan in China in early January. The federal government never mobilised its authority and resources to provide kits for testing the potentially and actually infected here within the US (but apparently sent respirators, masks, and other medical supplies to China in early February).

Once the virus infected Americans in Washington State in late January, little was done to immediately take its spread across the US seriously. It was all business as usual for the White House, for Congress, and for so many elected officials until the beginning of March, with the impeachment trial now but a blip on this election year’s calendar.

Once it became apparent that American leadership would fail to be proactive in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the nation’s me-first instincts kicked in. Toilet paper, bottled water, rubbing alcohol, liquid soap, surgical face masks, hand sanitizers, paper towels, orange juice, and thermometers all began to disappear off supermarket and drug store shelves. Some Americans thought it a good idea to corner the market in these items as part of an attempt to profit from panic and deadly tragedy. Trillion-dollar businesses like Amazon did nothing to stop the hoarding, the panic, and the exploitation.

The big corporations and the smaller businesses also did little to protect their employees before mid-March, even though every credible immunologist and epidemiologist urged social isolation and shelter-in-place orders days and weeks earlier.

It took the shutting down of face-to-face classes at Harvard and the NBA postponing the remainder of its 2019-2020 season before other universities, the sporting world, and other institutions began to shut down en masse. And that was mostly because both academia and professional sports are global in nature, an advantage and a liability when it comes to a pandemic.

America’s 50-plus states and jurisdictions, and Washington, DC have had 50-plus separate responses to the crisis, from a general lockdown in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and California to barely any precautions at all in Alabama, Florida, and Texas until well into the pandemic’s impact on their states.

Even so, many Americans have violated even the most basic rules of social distancing, frolicking at beaches and attending public gatherings as if this crisis is one big national summer vacation.

In March, some, like Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, went into amateur eugenicist mode, opting for despair over government action. Patrick’s message on FOX News? “Let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”

The lives of the elderly are apparently less important than the American economy’s stability. Trump, Patrick, and other government officials have declared people rendered vulnerable by ageism, ableism, sexism and racism exploitable and expendable.

Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi for his part signed an executive order that temporarily rescinded local bans on opening non-essential businesses and on social distancing, essentially ordering most state residents back to life as normal.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell Jr, the president of Virginia’s Liberty University and its evangelical leadership thought it wise to reopen for face-to-face classes again as the numbers of infected climbed by the thousands every day.

The need for profit over protecting the citizens of Mississippi? Jerry Falwell Jr’s blind evangelical faith over science and the welfare of thousands of students? Seriously?

But, just like with American narcissism, American racism has grown from the same toxic soil that combines greed and a craving for power with a total disregard for whole swaths of humanity. America’s narcissism and racism work hand in glove. Why else would Trump deliberately scratch out the word “corona” in his talking points and replace it with the “Chinese virus” for a press briefing in mid-March?

Why else have there been over 1,100 anti-Asian and anti-Chinese incidents and attacks in the past month in the US? How could there be any other explanation for hacking online classes and disrupting them with racist rhetoric?

Without a doubt, the penchant for narcissism and racism and the othering of so many as exploitable and expendable are interconnected, both historically and in the COVID-19 crisis in the US.

All the while, America’s most vulnerable have hardly been given a thought. The patchwork nature of the US healthcare system means that millions living with poverty, homelessness, incarceration, disabilities and psychological illnesses will likely be exposed to the coronavirus in the next weeks and months.

They will represent a disproportionate number of the 200,000 experts predict will die from the virus in the next 12 or 18 months. They will not have the benefit of medical care necessary to keep them alive. They will not partake in the $2 trillion Congressional stimulus package mostly meant to shovel more money down the throats of the nation’s corporate monopolies.

For so many who are not immediately vulnerable, the pittance of funds from this stimulus meant for ordinary Americans will be way too little and come way too late. So many more will join the ranks of the unemployed, the underemployed, the permanently and temporarily homeless, as well as the jailed, the sick and the dead.

America’s lack of leadership at home and abroad during this pandemic has been stunning. But its populace’s denial of these facts is simply gobsmacking.

The truth is, many Americans barely care about other Americans, especially those who are black and brown and especially during this pandemic. This is what 400 years of racism and narcissism have led to. Most Americans either do not care that much of this allegedly natural devastation stems from globalisation and climate change, or act as if there is nothing that can be done about it. The COVID-19 crisis is yet another log on the stack of America’s enduring shame as the world’s most powerful and yet most do-nothing nation.

Is America really over? Yes, it will remain a superpower and a rich nation for the foreseeable future, but with so much of that power and wealth ever more consolidated into the hands of rich whites and the corporations.

The coronavirus pandemic will not plunge the US into darkness. But this crisis is an omen, a truly horrifying sign that the US as both a stable nation-state and a symbol of freedom and goodness is a bald-faced lie.

Anyone who believes otherwise or who fights for such ideals while also hoping to preserve America as it currently stands is not only promoting American narcissism and racism but also guaranteeing future calamities. They will ultimately be as responsible for America’s failure to fulfill its fanciful experiment as every president since Lyndon Johnson.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.