Hubris, avarice, over-consumption ....what's not to love?
America 's Corporatacracy is leading the human race down a path of global extinction. Representing only 5% of the world population, the United States consumes 25% of the world's energy and possesses approximately 27% of its wealth. Through lobbying efforts and major campaign donations, the major oil companies ensure the implementation of government policies that ensure continued dependence on fossil fuels, a non-renewable resource (for more on this, study the theory of Hubbert Peak theory at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/peak_oil). Despite being a significant contributor to the greenhouse effect, the US Plutocracy has spent millions of dollars to create junk science (look to efforts by the Cato Institute) to "debunk" the notion of global warming, and has refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty. The United States innovated, tested (on hundreds of thousands of human beings), and possesses devastating nuclear weapons. Yet with blatant hubris and hypocrisy, our ruling Oligarchs attempt to dictate which nations can and cannot develop nuclear capabilities. America 's allies, like Pakistan, India, and Israel have developed nuclear weaponry with America's blessing, while countries like Iran are forbidden to even acquire the technology to generate nuclear power. The ruling Aristocracy of the United States has long exhibited a flagrant disregard for international law, world opinion, and most recently, for the United Nations (consider the appointment of John Bolton as America 's UN "ambassador").
While the rest of the world has many reasons to hate the United States, perhaps their most compelling motivation is the mayhem, abject poverty, and murder resulting from the imperialistic endeavors of the US military industrial complex, which includes the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Energy; the intelligence community; and the myriad private corporations which have incestuous relationships with the government (i.e. Halliburton). Spending $500 billion per year on the perpetuation of the world's largest and mightiest war machine, the US (with a mere 5% of the world's population) accounts for half of the world's military spending. Regardless of which half of the Democratic/Republican Duopoly has been in power, the ruling elite has perpetuated domination of the rest of the world through direct military intervention (think Iraq), economic warfare (i.e. the persistent yet failed policies toward Cuba), and overt or covert support of ruthless totalitarian regimes which advance the interests of US corporations (i.e. the Shah of Iran).
Despite the ruthless devotion of our aristocratic leaders to unrestrained capitalism, the perpetuation of a majority of the wealth remaining in the hands of the few (the wealthiest 20% of Americans possess 83% of our nation's vast wealth), and the reduction of the civil liberties of "commoners", the brilliant Constitution drafted by our forefathers has maintained a semblance of a liberal democracy in the United States. The fact that I am writing this essay for publication is a testament to that fact. However, before celebrating too hard, remember that throughout American history there has been an ebb and flow of social justice, and the tide is clearly ebbing. Need evidence? Consider the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, the declaration of a perpetual state of war on terror (increasing the authority of the federal government), higher regressive taxes, lower progressive taxes, a growing concentration of political power in the hands of legalistic Christians (the Religious Right), legislated discrimination against gays, an erosion of affirmative action, and a significant decline in funding for social safety net programs (i.e. Medicaid) coupled with increases in defense spending. As Americans, we still enjoy many of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, but we enjoy them in spite of the true nature and intent of our leaders. We are taught and programmed to believe that we enjoy these freedoms because of the imperialistic endeavors of our elite leaders (like the "War to End All Wars"), which "keep the world safe for democracy". The reality is that Americans remain free because of the ongoing vigilance of many amongst us, and to some extent because allowing a degree of freedom amongst their own subjects enables the American ruling class to engage in aggression against other nations under the pretext of "spreading freedom and democracy".
Like Capra 's Potter, these "warped frustrated old men " view people as cattle ....
Concerning America 's current leadership, Noam Chomsky wrote:
For the political leadership, mostly recycled from more reactionary sectors of the Reagan Bush I administrations, "the global wave of hatred " is not a particular problem. They want to be feared, not loved. They understand as well as their establishment critics that their actions increase the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and terror. But that too is not a major problem. Higher on the scale of priorities are the goals of establishing global hegemony and implementing their domestic agenda: dismantling the progressive achievements that have been won by popular struggle over the past century and institutionalizing these radical changes so that recovering them will be no easy task.
While both parties of the bloated, corrupt Duopoly ruling the United States are guilty of blatant violations of international law and crimes against humanity throughout history, the current administration has operated more brazenly and with more impunity. Kennedy had Cuba. Johnson and Nixon shared the culpability for the deaths of over 3 million in Vietnam. Reagan bloodied his hands in Nicaragua. Clinton's bombing campaign killed thousands of innocents in Kosovo. Yet somehow, these presidents managed to maintain the United States' image of an aloof and perhaps even benevolent super-power. America's current administration has not maintained this facade nearly as well, and has led the United States down a path entailing a much more blatant disregard and disrespect for international law and the rights of other nations. There are numerous historical examples of the immoral, illegal, and repulsive US imperial dominance of other nations achieved through a variety of means, perhaps the most inclusive, perpetual, instructive, and relevant example is that of Iraq. Recognizing a nation rife with political instabilities and virtually incalculable riches through its oil reserves, the US Plutocracy has been targeting Iraq for years. Bush II finally bagged it, but got more than he bargained for in the process.
Today, staunch ally ....tomorrow, sworn enemy
One of the most disturbing aspects of US involvement in Iraq has been our government 's schizophrenic relationship with Saddam Hussein. Donald Rumsfeld, an influential member of the Reagan, Bush I and now Bush II administrations made the following statements that demonstrate the gross inconsistency of the US Oligarchy 's position on Saddam and Iraq (explained by their shifting loyalties based on their shifting needs for more money and power rather than a commitment to their self-proclaimed Higher Purpose of spreading freedom):
- Donald Rumsfeld, 1983
"This is a regime that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people."