WE ARE ALWAYS RIGHT AND YOU ARE ALWAYS WRONG: Destructive Arrogance of the English-Speaking Peoples far-flung and slowly fading Empire

Massacre in PhilipinnesA drawing of American troops shooting Filipino children in Samar in 1901

(This piece is written by an English-speaking Englishman and is not directed at English-speaking people anywhere in the world. Rather it is directed at the leaders of the English-speaking Peoples, and more especially at the leaders of the United States of America and the United Kingdom, who, over the last couple of hundred years, have come to assume they are the only ones who know – and have the right to dictate – how the affairs of the world, and indeed the affairs of sovereign peoples other than their own, should be run.This is a polemic against a contagious arrogance that has caused and may cause again unnecessary suffering, conflict and death in the name of imposing ideals that are themselves suspect. In the 1930s, the western world sighed a sigh of collective relief when the new Soviet Union opted for socialism in one country and stopped actively exporting its form of government as Lenin had declared it should do after the Russian Revolution of 1917. A similar declaration by the heirs of the English and American revolutions of the 17th and 18th Centuries might at last lead to real peace and mutual tolerance, and bring to an an end the dangerous rhetoric that trumpets the English-speaking world’s rightness and threatens conflict from Russia to Iran, from Syria to China. People must change how they are ruled when and how they want to, not be encouraged, subverted or forced into doing so by others. No one, and no one system, is always right for everybody.)

The British called it the spread of civilisation and saw the mission of the British Empire as civilising the uncivilised world. They civilised Australia, Canada and New Zealand by ignoring and killing, or demeaning and corralling, the indigenous populations and then colonising their conquered territories with English-speaking people who were euphemistically called ‘settlers’ rather than ‘occupiers’ – the latter being a negative word reserved for Britain’s enemies who, unlike the British themselves, always sent ‘armies of occupation’ and ‘occupied’ rather than ‘civilised’ and ‘settled’. If they wanted to stay in the new dominions, these colonial settlers from the British Isles and the other countries of continental Europe were expected to spread the use of – or, if needs be, learn – English and English ways.

Once the United States was born, the newly independent, English-speaking Americans did much the same, harassing indigenous people into submission on reservations then declaring their country a haven for the oppressed of Europe and those wishing to make a quick buck. As the 20th Century dawned and the British Empire crumbled, with only a core of English-speaking dominions remaining reliable allies, America took up the standard of English-speaking arrogance, called its mission the propagation of freedom, liberty and democracy and began to harry and hassle non-English speaking peoples into behaving like Americans and doing America’s bidding whether it was in their best interest or not. With brief periods of isolation (and the honourable exception of a relatively altruistic participation in WW2, when two regimes in Europe and Asia, more predatory and oppressive than its own, threatened to dominate the world) America spent much of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries invading and killing in Central and South East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, or subverting and sanctioning viable sovereign states, who, in its opinion, did not live up to the limited democratic ideals that the wealthy founding fathers propagated in 1776.

In short, just as English-speaking ‘civilisation’ was imposed by the Victorians regardless of the cost in human lives and suffering, so America’s founding values have been (and are still)  used as justification for the sanctions, invasions, subversions, bombings and endless regime changes that have been the hallmark of English-speaking foreign policy for centuries. In America’s case, despite a professed opposition to colonialism, the booty in earlier bouts of ‘settlement’ (places such as Hawaii, Puerto Rica and, for a while, the Philippines) was taken and kept as an American possession. Today, in 2014, America has by far the largest military capability in the world, with troops stationed in or occupying one hundred and fifty four countries worldwide and military expenditure in the trillions. The economic and geopolitical agenda in this spreading of light and liberty has always been cloaked (just as it was by the British in the 19th Century) in a veil of arrogant rhetoric that vigorously weaves together vague notions of liberation, moral superiority and the plaintive cry of ‘we are always right’.

Indeed, the English-speaking Peoples – with the honourable exception of Ireland since independence and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand, with its no-nuclear-weapons-in-our-ports policy and occasional refusal to join in with US military escapades – have been an arrogant, belligerent and bellicose lot in the world for much of recent history. They have also, at key moments in modern times, been instrumental in blocking possible constructive solutions to situations that have developed into costly conflicts. The British (along with the French) refused to ally with Russia in the spring and summer of 1938, a move that might well have saved Czechoslovakia, hemmed in Hitler and (had he persisted in his invasions) led to his defeat in a much shorter time. They feared egalitarian Communism more than racist Nazism and wished to contain the Russian bear in its communist resurrection, as they had the Tsarist bear during the Crimean War. In March 1952, Soviet Russia proposed creating a re-unified Germany that would be neutral, disarmed and a buffer between East and West – a model already functioning well in Austria. Again the US and UK’s suspicion of Russia and the wish to contain and control post-war Germany – a desire still apparent in the joint approach to Ukraine policy today – meant the offer was written off as phoney and (West) Germany was shepherded into NATO, where, despite its natural affinity with Eastern Europe and Russia, it was bound to the Anglo-Saxon, English-speaking sphere of influence until this day.

This English-speaking sphere is an exclusive club, however, and those like Germany who do not have English as an official language or mother tongue are kept at arm’s length. SIGINT, the most subversive security set up in the world, is an elite club of five English speaking nations: USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It gathers confidential information, on friends and enemies alike, and circulates that information between the core English-speaking members rather in the manner of a close friends-only Facebook post. It is part of a network of treaties between the world’s English-speaking Peoples that also includes the 1958 US/UK Mutual Defence Agreement, updated in 2014 to extend nuclear weapons cooperation for twenty years. Australia is locked in as the United States’ English-speaking poodle in Asia – Australian PM Abbott’s recent immediate participation in the bombing of ISIS shows how symbiotic that relationship is – and Canada, despite an attempt at an independent foreign policy under the French-Canadian Trudeau, is now more than ever the trusty ally of America as well as being its satellite and northern neighbour. If Russia ever made an attempt to detach Canada from America in the way the US is now trying to detach Ukraine from Russia, the English-speaking hounds would bay for the Russian bear’s blood.

The English-speaking Peoples (less Ireland, and perhaps, soon, Scotland) are a tight-knit club bound together by a common and chequered colonial history and, in many cases, the fighting of common colonial wars – WW1, the most competitive colonial war of all, has been co-opted as a core part of the white Australian, Canadian and Kiwi identities. The ruling class in those three countries, and in the United States, are often the children of the original occupiers or settlers and are bound to the mother country (as well as the surrogate English-speaking, American mother) by family ties and a common colonial guilt, or original sin: all of England’s English-speaking offspring nations were reared on the backs of indigenous peoples in conquered territories.

That those same English-speakers have managed to convince the world they are the saints and not the original sinners is, perhaps, why they have got away with such arrogant and domineering behaviour to this day. ‘We are always right and you are always wrong’, they cry and anyone who contradicts them is branded a tyrant, a rogue or a conspiracy theorist.

Rule Britannia, Rule Americana – but not for much longer we must all hope. Because the ability to genuinely talk and compromise, to sow peace and harmony as opposed to division and destruction is not in Perfidious Albion’s gene pool, not part of the English-speakers’ ruling class repertoire  – they are, and have always been at heart, marauders, privateers and wheeler dealers. Since the late sixteenth century only the presentation has changed: now we have smooth talking, smart suited deviousness that passes off a lone hostage taker as a terrorist conspiracy and uses a group of rebels that it helped create as a reason to impose draconian laws at home; makes weapons of mass destruction out of thin air; pulls, at will, the rug from underneath foreign economies that do not bend to its will; refers to its use of torture as enhanced interrogation then has the gall to preach to others about the rule of law.

How has this state of affairs come to pass?

Perhaps, because, in a world where neither Britain, nor America, nor Australia, nor Canada, nor New Zealand has ever been occupied or lost a major war – and, therefore, never had to question their country’s foreign policy, or the double standards in their modus operandi as a cosy post-colonial club, never had to reflect on a sometimes authoritarian approach to liberty at home – they, the English-speaking Rulers, have always been right, and we, the English and other language speaking Peoples have always been wrong. Only once in a while, if admission of wrongdoing happens to suit the rulers’ plan, do they admit we were right, pat us on the head, then send us back to the padded nursery of repressive tolerance, and lock the door.

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.