As always with this blog, the thing that got me started on this post came from a short exchange on Twitter with an old internet friend. We were discussing the US and its belief in its own “exceptionalism”. The limits of Twitter make it hard to fully express yourself, and so I use this blog sometimes to expand on my thoughts for my Twitter buddies. This is one of those times.
American exceptionalism is the claim of a special and unique character of the nation-state called the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and liberty. I have often heard some people say that God himself favors the US because the US is uniquely “good”. Because of this “special goodness” the people of America believe that any action the US does in foreign lands is justified.
Murray Rothbard once observed that the nation-state is a band of thieves writ large. American “exceptionalism” is the idea that the motivation of the state excuses all actions — writ large. This evil idea has been used to excuse all manner of evil actions in foreign policy.
The United States has military bases around the world and is at continual war, both overt and secret, the world over. The US Empire uses its military might to bully other states into doing whatever the US wants. If the leader of a given state does not go along with the Empire’s wishes then “regime change” is in order.
When we consider morality and ethics, we see that any rule must apply to everyone in all situations to be valid. The US government in the 1960s went nuts when it was discovered that the old USSR had put nuclear weapons in Cuba. The “Cuban Missile Crisis” was explained to the US public that it was all about the evil acts of the communist USSR. But the fact was that the US Empire put nuclear weapons on the boarder of the USSR first and aimed them right at Moscow. The agreement that defused the crisis was that the USSR would remove the nuclear weapons from Cuba and the USA would remove the nuclear weapons from the Turkey.
In the USA the whole Cuban missile crisis was presented as a Russian aggression. The USA was said to have every right to put nukes close to Moscow and to do that was no provocation whatsoever; but the Russians did not have the same right and for them to do the same thing as the US did was an evil provocation of war — American Exceptionalism in a nutshell.
There have been only a few years in the history of the US when the US was not at war, or threatening war against some other nation. We must include the “Indian Wars” and all of those secret wars of the CIA and others or one might think the US takes a few years off from killing women and children once in a while. There are also all the proxy wars where the Empire uses the local troops but does the funding and arming of the aggressor. A good example of this sort of war is when the US made Iraq invade Iran.
The US even overthrew the first democratically elected president in Iran in 1952 and installed the Shaw of Iran. The Shaw was a brutal dictator who depended upon American military might to keep his people enslaved. What “exceptionalism” justified that US action? When Iran overthrew the Shaw in a great uprising, the US called Iran “evil” and they became our enemy; but somehow the Media never mentioned the fact that the US started it all.
Justin Raimondo, October 18, 2013 wrote:
A new study shows our noble crusade to “liberate” Iraq killed half a million people. It is impossible to even imagine such a crime: the mind shuts down in the face of those numbers. I can’t even visualize half a million dead bodies – can you? And that doesn’t take into account the sanctions, which killed hundreds of thousands more, mostly old people and children. Nor does it include the number we killed in the first Gulf war – we’re surely up to a solid million dead by now.
Getting away with this is what we call “American exceptionalism.” God (or Nature) punishes evil, eventually – but not us. We’re the exception.
But are we?
Of course the US can not get away with killing millions of women and children decade after decade. There will come a reckoning. The reckoning may already be upon us. The nation’s leaders think that they are bound by no moral or ethical law. Washington’s unrestrained and reckless hubris will destroy us all.
It is easy to see the utter evil of the US as a radical libertarian, but the “common man” has trouble seeing that both of the major parties engage in this wanton aggression against innocent foreign people continually. The Empire also aggresses against the citizens of the US itself. Many commoners think that it is the “other party” that does all the evil. Oh my lord, none so blind as those who will not see.
US military bases: