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Empire - America and the future

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JimD:
We talk constantly on the Forum about American motivations and intentions.  There is often a big divide between what the non-American posters think is going on here and what those of us from the States think about what motivates Americans and what we intend to do in the future.  Or perhaps it would be better to say what the folks who make the core decisions for America intend to do in the future as I don't think they are listening all that much to what we us peonos have to say.   There is huge frustration on the part of most posters here with the intransigence of American policy and decision making at our leadership levels.  I offer a partial explanation.

I argue all the time that most US actions can be best explained by examining them in the light of what it takes to run and maintain our empire.  Below you will find an example of what I am talking about.  In the lead paragraph an author/historian named Chalmers Johnson is mentioned.  If you find the article interesting and want to learn more about this subject I would suggest (as SH did earlier) that you visit your library and check out a few of his books on this subject.  They are excellent from my perspective of a former cog in the gears turning that empire wheel.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175568/

ccgwebmaster:

--- Quote from: JimD on October 23, 2013, 06:13:58 PM ---I argue all the time that most US actions can be best explained by examining them in the light of what it takes to run and maintain our empire.  Below you will find an example of what I am talking about.  In the lead paragraph an author/historian named Chalmers Johnson is mentioned.  If you find the article interesting and want to learn more about this subject I would suggest (as SH did earlier) that you visit your library and check out a few of his books on this subject.  They are excellent from my perspective of a former cog in the gears turning that empire wheel.

--- End quote ---

I think the US comes in for a lot of attention as not only is it a major carbon dioxide emitter, one of the highest emitters per capita (right at the top if you rule out small nations), a major historic emitter - but also it's currently enjoying the later days of a role as the worlds eminent superpower (much as the country from which I originate did before my lifetime).

I find the US fascinating in many ways - it's a large diverse country, with all sorts of views and opinions. The thing that stands out the most to me though, is not the military strength of the US (which seems rather poor if you consider the cost gone to in order to achieve it), or the territorial control wielded through alliances (if such term applies to much weaker partners like the UK), or the economic strength (which is considerable) - but the brilliance of the American propaganda machine.

So many of the people there believe it is a bastion of freedom and individual rights, and yet it has the highest incarceration rates in the world:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

So many Americans believe the role of the US in the world (and hence of all those bases referred to in your link) is to spread freedom and democracy, but yet I'm fairly sure the US is one of the only if not only nation on earth willing to mass kidnap citizens from other nations as a matter of top level policy and imprison them for decades without charge, trial or due process - and to add icing to the cake to torture them to boot (I grant numerous other nations are complicit in the rendition and torture network, and the UK is certainly not exempt from involvement in torture).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wech_Baghtu_wedding_party_airstrike

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/22/uk-support-cia-rendition-flights

http://www.policymic.com/articles/23174/guantanamo-bay-detainees-most-are-cleared-for-release-but-remain-in-gitmo

Americans believe they are most of the world, and the rest is just little places that don't matter (though I imagine the people who really run the show know better, or they wouldn't bother with interfering with the rest of the world).

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/stories/9-of-the-stupidest-geography-gaffes-by-politicians

They believe they are a leading nation in just about any indicator you care to measure, despite the fact academically other nations are climbing fast - from a position of leadership.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/education/us-students-still-lag-globally-in-math-and-science-tests-show.html?_r=0

Another reflection of the brilliance of US propaganda is the insidious spreading of memes from the nation to the rest of the world. You see this with some people in Russian cities today, who despite living to a standard at least as good as many in America, continue to believe they are poor and deprived and the streets of the US are paved with gold. It's ironic that America spends so much time and effort shouting about it's prosperity (for the few) and values (smoke and mirrors) and then complains when so many people believe it and try to move there!

This same effectiveness of propaganda is seen in the enthusiasm with which other cultures and nations have embraced the American idea of progress - the basic idea of which seems to be the sustainability equivalent of smashing down the door to your childrens room, taking all their things, using what you can and destroying what you can't - then returning to cut their throats for good measure when there's nothing else left (I refer to resource depletion and climate change and the way the attitudes of those who make decisions in every day life really will hurt those in the future or younger).

And there I realise perhaps I've succumbed to the propaganda somewhat myself - because it is really the American idea of progress? Or was it inherited from the British empire - which Gandhi described thus:


--- Quote ---Back in 1928, Gandhi warned about the unsustainability, on a global scale, of western patterns of consumption. "God forbid that India should ever take to industrialisation after the manner of the west," he said. "The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom [UK] is today keeping the world in chains. If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts."
--- End quote ---

And just rebranded and claimed by America, as it grew out of the ashes of the British empire?

Regardless, I perceive propaganda as being the unique strength of America (the British empire tended to go in for more slaughter, arguably). The level of development of this technology can also be seen in the ability of so many people there (compared to other nations) to deny basic science (note belief in creationism and climate change denial).

The first thing many people from the country will do when a non American says things that sound critical is to attack their basis for knowing about the nation. I have spent several years of my life (cumulatively) in America. I used to be married to an American. I've taken the time and trouble to examine the constitution somewhat (and various other areas of legislation but mostly specific subject areas) and discuss politics at length with people there. I have friends there (some of whom would even agree with my sentiments above). I've had my fair share of negative dealings with the US, just as with the UK (of which I also hold just as many negative sentiments but voice them less often here as the UK is no longer especially significant globally). After the UK, I can confidently say the US is the country I know the best.

I also would grant that my views have been changed by experience of the US, though perhaps not in stereotypically consistent directions. On gun control I've moved from roughly neutral to firmly pro gun. On healthcare I've moved ever more firmly in favour of public healthcare along European lines (I mean, call yourself the land of opportunity - and can't provide basic universal healthcare?).

If my general views on both nations (US and UK) are becoming more negative, that would be because my ongoing experience of life as influenced by both nations is becoming more negative - as well as the destruction of my future and any expectation of ultimate quality of life as I grow older.

Additionally with the recent spying revelations from the US, I can be pretty confident I'm under surveillance (despite not having exactly done much wrong). Given that innocent until proven guilty is a dying concept in these nations, I feel personally threatened (one is on shaky ground merely being prepared to challenge the status quo).

Anyway, that's the perspective of an outsider, which is all I am anywhere.

ggelsrinc:
Permit me to take an alternative and perhaps minority point of view and I'll try to keep it as simple as I can!

The American people don't want an empire and they had the sense to know from the first days of their foundation, that the days of empire are gone. Did the Brits know that at that time? It's an illusion that the American people have it so good or have ever had it so good. Our world is just as unkind to us as it is in most of the nations of our world, so enjoy what life you have.

I hear a voice of disinformation echoing around my world and it's always in the English language. Since it comes from places like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, I can figure the rest of our world must have grown up enough to not behave so crudely and that "shut the hell up" day has never dawned in those English speaking places I identified.

Bitter grapes are better to make wine and not whine, during our dust to dust lives. Death visits the elite the same way it visits the poorest of mankind, so it all equals out in the end.

Is that doomsday enough to suit the palate?   

ccgwebmaster:

--- Quote from: ggelsrinc on October 24, 2013, 09:16:08 PM ---I hear a voice of disinformation echoing around my world and it's always in the English language. Since it comes from places like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, I can figure the rest of our world must have grown up enough to not behave so crudely and that "shut the hell up" day has never dawned in those English speaking places I identified.

--- End quote ---

Do you speak many other languages and fluently conserve often with other speakers of those languages? If English is your primary language and almost all you use for discourse, of course you'll mostly hear English speaking perspectives...


--- Quote from: ggelsrinc on October 24, 2013, 09:16:08 PM ---Bitter grapes are better to make wine and not whine, during our dust to dust lives. Death visits the elite the same way it visits the poorest of mankind, so it all equals out in the end.

--- End quote ---

The same way?

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/15/lady-thatcher-funeral-arrangements-criticised

http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/vulture-stalking-a-child/

ggelsrinc:

--- Quote from: ccgwebmaster on October 25, 2013, 12:54:30 AM ---
--- Quote from: ggelsrinc on October 24, 2013, 09:16:08 PM ---I hear a voice of disinformation echoing around my world and it's always in the English language. Since it comes from places like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, I can figure the rest of our world must have grown up enough to not behave so crudely and that "shut the hell up" day has never dawned in those English speaking places I identified.

--- End quote ---

Do you speak many other languages and fluently conserve often with other speakers of those languages? If English is your primary language and almost all you use for discourse, of course you'll mostly hear English speaking perspectives...


--- Quote from: ggelsrinc on October 24, 2013, 09:16:08 PM ---Bitter grapes are better to make wine and not whine, during our dust to dust lives. Death visits the elite the same way it visits the poorest of mankind, so it all equals out in the end.

--- End quote ---

The same way?

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/15/lady-thatcher-funeral-arrangements-criticised

http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/vulture-stalking-a-child/

--- End quote ---

I've only had Latin and Spanish in High School and German in college, because I was a Chemistry major and 4 years of only one language was the requirement. German helps in Chemistry. Latin was removed after my two years. I wish they still had Greek, but it was gone when I went to High Schools offering it. I was a Sputnik child, when our government actually tried to finance education for national security reasons.

English is a major world language and I was pointing to countries and not the language itself.

The snake knows how to speak English fluently. I know because I'm about thirteen sixteenths English and learned the speak the language back to it's German heritage. We are the ones working to deceive our world in terms of language. A blowing viper is a two legged snake blowing smoke up people's asses, just ask anyone from West Virginia and they'll tell you about it.

The media language is definitely English, but I suspect the real power using that media to deceive involves old money interests in Europe and not the US.

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