Reprinted from Strategic Culture
America is exceptional alright. It is the most frightened nation on Earth, subjected to hysterical propaganda over decades warning about foreign enemies and ideologies. No wonder its supposed democratic freedom is in so appallingly bad shape, when the preponderant population is imprisoned by their rulers in a virtual cage of fear.
Paradoxically, though, the dissonance of supposed freedom could not be more abysmal. At a press conference at the Cannes film festival last week American screen actor George Clooney digressed from his latest movie to talk about Republican presidential contender Donald Trump. Clooney, who is well known for his liberal brand of US politics and a big supporter of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, predicted that rightwing business tycoon Trump would not win the forthcoming November presidential contest.
Clooney dismissed Trump as a demagogue sowing fear and divisive tensions along racial and xenophobic lines. Which is fair enough. Of interest here is not so much the actor's views on Trump's chances of political success. Rather, it is Clooney's premise that Americans would not succumb to reactionary fear peddling.
Seated at the press conference alongside his American co-star Julia Roberts and film director Jody Foster, Clooney told his Cannes audience: "Fear is not going to drive our country... we're not afraid of anything."
Well, sorry George, but you are dead wrong on that score. Fear is the paramount emotional driver in American politics since at least the Second World War, and probably decades before that too.
Contrary to Clooney's bravado, Americans are very, very afraid.
The biggest bogeyman for the US public was the Soviet Union, whose specter dominated American politics for nearly 50 years. This specter has been conjured up again through casting Russia and its President Vladimir Putin as intent on resurrecting the Soviet Union .
It was Hillary Clinton -- Clooney's political champion -- who made the ridiculous and historically illiterate charge that Putin is the new Hitler. Many other senior US political figures and Western news media have since stampeded like a herd in likewise demonizing the Russian leader.
The unquestioned consensus in Washington, from President Barack Obama to his foreign secretary John Kerry, and from senior Congressional figures to the Pentagon chiefs, is that Russia is an existential threat to global security.
America's new NATO military chief General Curtis Scaparrotti has warned that the US-led alliance must be prepared to go to war against Russia at any moment due to alleged Russian aggression towards Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.
The Cold War has thus been rehabilitated a quarter of a century since the Soviet Union dissolved. As in former times, fear is once again fueling American politics. Consistently, there is negligible objective basis for this mass phenomenon. Russia today is not a threat to the US or its NATO allies, just as the Soviet Union was not a threat.
Bombastic claims about Russian annexation and invasion of Ukraine are factually tenuous, spurious or devoid. The claims don't stand up to scrutiny. But that's hardly the point. The point is that the false narrative -- propaganda -- of alleged Russian malevolence is amplified and repeated over and over again in Western independent media, not unlike the Big Lie technique of Nazi spinmeister Josef Goebbels.
US and Western allies, with the help of pliable news media, in effect are able to construct their own false reality. It is not objective reality. It is a subjective, delusional reality one in which Western nations are portrayed to be under threat from a stalking, salivating enemy in the form of Russia.
Fear is a powerful lever for control over populations, as English author George Orwell keenly perceived. Get the public to fear for their lives from an external enemy, and they will be easily manipulated into accepting authority, no matter how draconian and illegitimate that authority is. Fear is the key to surrendering democratic rights and submitting to a cage.
From the end of the Second World War in 1945, the West immediately needed the Cold War with the Soviet Union as a bulwark against more progressive, democratic development within their own countries. American writer David Talbot in his book, The Devil's Chessboard, clearly depicts how Wall Street, the Pentagon and ideologically inclined politicians were able to construct the monstrous military-industrial complex and its gargantuan consumption of economic resources for the enrichment of an elite ruling class -- based on Cold War angst and trepidation about the evil Soviet Union.