Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Name:
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

5.8.05

I'm proud to be anti-Americanism

I don't like Americanism. That's not to say I'm anti-American. Americanism, in my view, is just like any other "-ism," and we all know what Ferris Bueller said about "-ism"s - even though he was quoting John Lennon.

What is Americanism? Well, it's the belief that whatever the United States does is right, simply because of the fact that it's the United States. That annoys me. Here in the U.S., we've turned this nationalistic feeling into a religion. That's what disturbs me about any -ism: it becomes a religion, and religions, by their very nature, resist close analysis. Every country experiences this, I think, once they become powerful. Think about, say, Abraham Lincoln. He often sounded as if he was riddled with self-doubt over the courses he had to take. He did them, and we're better for it, but he was resistant to the idea of Americanism, probably because he knew his country could not impose its will on others easily. We weren't strong enough.

Americanism really began with the Spanish-American War, I would argue. We picked on somebody we could beat, and it was a nice, clean war with lots of benefits for us. These kinds of wars are great for the national identity and confidence. We entered the 20th Century (the American one) on a high note, ready to challenge for a place at the global table. Roosevelt brokered the Russo-Japanese peace accord and won a Nobel Prize for his efforts, Wilson stuck his nose into the Paris peace talks after WWI and really, really screwed things up (not as badly as the British and French did, but still quite a bit), and we entered World War II with a great deal of confidence as well. World War II was another good war for us - a minor attack on some distant island that no one would care about until Steve McGarrett showed up there, and that was it for fighting on our own territories. Europe and Asia paid the price, and the U.S. came out of the war on top of the world.

Americanism really took off after the war, and it continues today. We as a nation have become arrogant, and that becomes a problem. The biggest issue I have with this Administration is their unwillingness to accept that not everything we do is right. Okay, I oppose the war. Fine. But the war doesn't piss me off as much as Bush and his cronies' blindness in dealing with the roots of terrorism. We need to punish these terrorists. I don't know anyone sane who would argue with this. What bothers me about our involvement in Iraq is that Bush has never said, "We accept that Europeans and Americans have screwed up in the past, and now we want to make it right." Bush didn't screw up in the Middle East fifty years ago. Bush didn't overthrow the elected leader of Iran and install the shah, leading to the rise of Muslim fundamentalism (another -ism). It's not his fault. Couldn't he say, "Listen, the United States has ideals and we try to live up to them, but in the past we haven't always done so. Now, we're trying to make up for that." That would not automatically negate what he's trying to do in Iraq. He doesn't do that, though. He just says Democracy Is Awesome. That's not enough.

It's not enough because the terrorists will seize on any justification for their actions. The fewer justifications they have, the less people will tolerate them. Terrorism (another -ism) itself is the strategy of the losing side, but we need to marginalize these people even more than they are already. September 11th united the world behind us because there did not appear to be any justification for it. Our illegal invasion of Iraq (and it is illegal, no matter what anyone says) gives these people a justification for their actions, and we cannot give them that. If Bush were to acknowledge the guilt of the United States in the actions of the Middle Eastern potentates over the past 60 years without backing down his stance on Iraq, we could make a lot more progress with the moderates in the region.

Why won't Bush do this? Because Americanism is his religion. Just as religious folk cannot explain why they don't like homosexuals but think wearing blended fabrics is okay (sorry to harp on that, but they're both right there in the Bible), Americanists can't explain why it's okay for the CIA to conspire in the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh but it's not okay for the Iranians to overthrow the Shah. The only explanation they give is: it's in the national interest. I call bullshit.

I dislike this idea that everything our country does is right. It's the arrogance that foreigners object to, and there's no reason for it. Nations do stupid and wrong things all the time, and although I don't expect Bush to say we were wrong about invading Iraq (it's his raison d'etre, after all), it would be nice if the Administration recognized that the U.S. is not always the good guy. We have ideals, which is why this is a great country. Acknowledging that we don't always live up to those ideals would go a long way toward reclaiming that global cooperation we always say we want.

Or am I just a naïve fool? Probably.

7 Comments:

Blogger Roxy said...

Not naive, not a fool. Eloquent though. And to think I was just contemplating Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the answer to World Peace... you so outdo me.

5/8/05 9:06 PM  
Blogger john sweet said...

Call bullshit, Greg. I will call Shenanigans and, possibly, one of us will get to bang some heads.

6/8/05 8:04 AM  
Blogger layne said...

Who said that line about a true patriot being one who is never afraid afraid to question his country... ?

Anyhow, these things are great; I really reading passionate - not belligerent - pieces like these. I wish I was as inspired.

6/8/05 6:04 PM  
Blogger layne said...

'I really reading'? That's what I get for watching Down By Law today...

6/8/05 6:05 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

First of all, Ms. Roxy, your Buffy idea is AWESOME. And there are people out there who think questioning your country isn't patriotic, but treasonous. I just can't believe that there are people in this world who think that EVERYTHING the U.S. does is right. That's just weird. There's absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that maybe we screwed up in the past.

Does Down By Law make you skip words? I better avoid seeing it ...

6/8/05 9:45 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Looks like someone is showing off their being a history teacher. Though it takes one to know one, Greg, since I am a former history teacher myself.

7/8/05 1:34 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

I bet the blogs back in ancient Rome were having the exact same discussion about the hubris of their leaders.

7/8/05 2:41 PM  

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