BONFIRE OF THE INSANITIES

A heartfelt request for the USA to review its outdated revolutionary rhetoric and submit to therapy for a persistent case of bi-polar disorder and delusions of grandeur

As another presidential election with two candidates effectively united in their view of the outside world approaches, this is a call to the United States and its incoming president to abandon revolutionary rhetoric, show humility and come to its senses before it destroys itself and the world. Instead of watching American flags being burnt around the globe, this potentially benevolent, but currently, especially in terms of its foreign policy, often malevolent country should build a bonfire and throw all the insane attitudes, hypocrisies and archaic assumptions that makes it such an unsettling, predatory and inflammatory force in the international arena onto the flames. It should start anew as a benign presence rather than persisting with the schizophrenic and scary persona of an evil and abusive uncle masquerading as goody two shoes. The people of the United States would be better off, the people of the world infinitely so.

On the biggest bonfire ever would go:

  1. The core insanity that the revolutionary values of an elite group of ex-pat property owners in 1776 are still of incontrovertible, self evident and universal relevance and should be preached and exported to the rest of the world in a never-ending process of so-called democratisation that masks aggrandisement and self-interest. The revolutionaries of 1789 in France and of 1917 in Russia learnt to limit their aspirations after the adventures of Napoleon and the Soviet introduction of strategies of socialism in one country and peaceful co-existence. The USA, except for short periods where it has been faced with an effective counter balance, has never given up its misplaced and disruptive role as an evangelist and apologist for a particular form of property-based capitalism.
  1. The insanity that such values are better and more profound than anyone else’s when they represent – both in their aspirations and execution – the views and interests of a moneyed oligarchy intent on preserving its power and legitimacy and right to be hyper-rich by allowing ‘the people’ to vote once every four years within a very staged and demagogic election, where those with money and vested interests in the existing system set the agenda, pay the expenses of their puppet politicians and reap the rewards of legislation (or lack of it). When exported, these democratic values lead to societies with vast wealth gaps, the rule of the rich, and persistence of the pernicious myth that those who can vote now and then are free.
  1. The insanity of saying “we will create the biggest military capability the world has ever seen” – not Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, but President Obama in 2012. For what? The imposition of the revolutionary values of 1776 on others? Maintenance of America’s ailing status as Earth’s top dog by force? Certainly not to defend a homeland that does not remotely require the biggest military capability ever. The knock-on effect of this insanity is that other powers, such as China, are compelled to spend more on arms just to be able to ward off the predatory evangelism of the USA, which might well turn more violent when a new ‘enemy’ (post Soviet, post Islamic Terrorist) is required to feed the insatiable appetite of the US military industrial complex (against which President Eisenhower so cogently railed in the 1950s) and provide an external scapegoat to deflect attention from domestic woes.
  1. The concomitant insanity of continually criticising and cajoling countries from the old Soviet Union to present-day China thus encouraging them to develop more conventional and nuclear arms as the only sure form of self defence against  unpredictable Uncle Sam when their money could be better spent on eradicating poverty; the arrogant insanity of not letting these different political systems develop and go through difficult phases as the US was allowed to do, without outside intervention, in its own historical development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is as if no other system – communist, Islamic or whatever – can be allowed to develop organically as the US did, but must conform to the norm here and now or face destabilisation from inside and out.
  1. The insanity and hypocrisy of supporting counterrevolutionary dictatorships in places like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen whilst ousting or trying to oust (sometimes less oppressive and certainly more secular) dictators in Iraq, Libya and Syria and going all out to destabilise the much more democratic state of Iran. The insanity of supporting (albeit reluctantly) an Arab spring in a country like Egypt and then castigating the subsequently elected Muslim government if it does not toe the US line. The insanity of replacing stability with chaos to ensure American (and ‘western’) economic interests are better served in the short term and pretending that this is being done to further democracy and the rule of law.
  1. The insanity of wondering why people in Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan (to name but a few) are so anti-American when robot drones regularly kill innocent people alongside people who the US claims are terrorists, but who have not been tried for any crime. The revolutionary bounty hunters and cavalry of the 19th Century who uprooted, herded, and tried to ethnically cleanse the indigenous peoples of North America now roam the world as robots killing when and where they please. Not a jovial policeman patrolling his beat as the US would like to us to believe, but a vigilante seeking vengeance and wreaking havoc way beyond the havoc originally caused by 9/11 or by any other attack on the US and its citizens.
  1. The insanity of treating Israel as a spoilt child rather than an adult country, of allowing it to be a neighbourhood bully and virtual occupier of Palestine rather than compelling it to co-exist peacefully within agreed borders. The hypocrisy and dangerous insanity of turning a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear arsenal while castigating Iran, who dares to develop nuclear arms in self-defence. The parallel insanity of not insisting Israel go non-nuclear in return for a non-nuclear Iran.
  1. The insanity of assuming that only you are right and that anyone who does not do things the way you do will eventually have to face the inevitable consequences.
  1. The insanity of holding the world at gunpoint and saying: ‘Do as I say – or else!’
  1. The insanity of busying yourself with everybody else’s business, of trying to cast out motes in the eyes of others without tackling beams in your own; the insanity of maintaining dominance at the expense of your own well-being and sanity – of not checking up whether it is your values that are in need of an update.
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