Why Does America Think it Has the Right?

Five years after “Mission Accomplished,” I still marvel at how Americans feel it is their “right” to interfere in the politics of other countries. And not just Iraq. A number of smaller countries have been subjected to their interference. It seems that if a politician can drum up a case of national security, they automatically get the majority of their citizens on side.

How is this possible?

I can’t tell if they think it’s un-American to challenge their leaders, or if they are simply too lazy to think through the logic. In Australia’s case, it’s an easy call. We’re lazy. Generally folk can’t be bothered to think about the problem unless something like the Haneef case comes up, where lawyers stir up the collective consciousness. Once we feel a politician has stepped over the line, it’s very easy to get us fired up, but you need someone to capture the imagination of the public to get the ball rolling. If it presents as bully boy tactics, then you are home and hosed.

But that doesn’t seem to be the selling point in the United States. It seems the main objection of U.S. folk to Bush’s War is the death toll of their own kids, rather than any ethical view or sense of fair play. Fair enough that they are getting annoyed about the waste of their kids lives, but I’d like to see them question why they get involved in other countries’ affairs in the first place. Otherwise we will be going through all this devastation again in another country for another special interest group under a different President.

Once upon a time we could expect the U.S. media to do the thinking for their citizens, but I don’t think they are filling that role any more, or at least they have been very slow to challenge the thinking of this administration. It reminds me of the disgusting enthusiasm we saw when Maggie Thatcher decided to improve her poll standings by attacking the Argentineans in the Falklands. Some of the old blokes with the comment of “Give ’em a taste of the bayonet,” were quite disgraceful.

The shallow British press was just as bad. Some of their headlines were shockers. They even went as far as to give highly racist coverage of tennis matches played by Guillermo Vilas. I couldn’t believe such a thing from the allegedly sophisticated English commentators. The only saving grace here was that this was an unusual event for the Brits. Although they are not without their sins in interfering in other peoples politics, they don’t seem to get involved quite so often these days.

But the U.S. is a different ball game all together. It seems like they go out of their way to find a country they feel they can rearrange. Regardless of the fact they don’t seem to be able to get it even close to what they want.  U.S. fuel prices would seem to indicate that going to Iraq to keep fuel affordable has been a total disaster.

And I think this highlights a problem with the fuel theory. It looks more plausible that this is a little earner for Brown and Root. Despite his claims of concern for U.S. troops, I think Dick Cheney is more than happy with the whole shooting match. Somehow I don’t see the new “Tricky Dicky” crying himself to sleep as he counts his ill-gotten gains.

The coming election should be an indicator of how American thinking is going. If they sign up for more of the same with McCain, then we’ve a long way to go before U.S. voters decide to demand more of their politicians. If they vote Democrat, you won’t be able to tell if they demand more, or have just got sick of Republicans killing their kids.

What the world really needs is for U.S. voters to simply ask. “Why?” and demand a sensible answer. Counterproductive missions like ‘The War on Terror’ don’t pass the sensible test.

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