Articles like this one drive me crazy because while, in a way, they state the obvious, that yeah, the US is being ignored (kind of), the reasons being offered, our « values » oriented diplomacy isn’t really values oriented. At least not in the sense that something of any value is being presented. The article, written for Bloomberg.com by Leonid Bershidsky and titled The US is Now a Country that Can Be Ignored, contains the following :
« The growing tendency to exclude or ignore the U.S. is a direct result of Obama’s incoherent foreign policy. It has been billed as a values-based one, but much of the world doesn’t share U.S. values, suspects the U.S. of hypocrisy, or accuses it of arrogance. This kind of positioning required consistency and a willingness to put the U.S. military might behind the principles the nation purportedly defended. Both were missing. » (my italics).
It’s no wonder the rest of the world doesn’t share values that necessitate « military might » to defend (or rather, « impose ») them. Or, at the very least, that our traditional so-called allies (pawns, proxies, lapdogs, or vassals would be better terms) might be getting tired of being constantly pushed around by the US, of accepting values that aren’t values at all, so-called values that undermine any sense of true stability, equality, and harmony. Not that they’re showing any real resistance. And that’s part of the problem.
Establishment European politicians are, in fact, tying themselves into knots attempting to hide the strings that tie them to US fantasist foreign policy and monetary diktats to the delight of the far right, whose anti-neoliberal leanings are gaining attention as well as adherents. And while programs like Marine Le Pen’s Front National display a common tendancy to want to relive past glories (similar to The Donald’s « Make America Great Again » but pre-date it by at least a decade), you get the feeling, reading her foreign policy positions, that she appears to be willing to rely more on diplomacy than military intervention ; a position consistent with her Euro-skepticism concerning monetary and political sovereignty. But who really knows ? Presidential candidates, as we have just recently witnessed (and have known for way too long now), will say anything.
Note. I’m aware that any dismissal of the toxicity of the Far Right risks the ire of much of the conventional Left. Especially from the Left who were so quick to characterize the Brexiteers as xenophobes and racists (much like la Clinton’s « deplorables ») and thus obediently falling into the MSM trap of divisive identity politics. I agree that the re-emergence of nazi-like groups is more than a little troubling. But consider, for a moment, the true character of the Neocon/Neoliberal program. What is not xenophobic or racist about the wars in MENA, the demonization of Russia or China or Latin America or Bernie Sanders’ milktoast « socialism » ? The entire point of a true progressive movement is to eliminate barriers to communication while admitting there are differences of opinion on a host of questions, many of which are initiated and maintained by the very powers that are attempting to quiet the rebellion. People who studiously ignore the Class Struggle (I really hate using the word « war ») in arguments, who believe that The System can be tweaked enough to provide a little less inequality, are missing the point. Who wants to live in the homogenous desolation of the US corporate state ? Why bother travelling if you want to drink Starbuck’s coffee or eat Macdonald’s hamburgers ? (Take a look at what Tony Judt had to say way back in 2005 in the New York Review of Books – one of my favorite quotes).
Consider a mug of American coffee. It is found everywhere. It can be made by anyone. It is cheap—and refills are free. Being largely without flavor it can be diluted to taste. What it lacks in allure it makes up in size. It is the most democratic method ever devised for introducing caffeine into human beings. Now take a cup of Italian espresso. It requires expensive equipment. Price-to-volume ratio is outrageous, suggesting indifference to the consumer and ignorance of the market. The aesthetic satisfaction accessory to the beverage far outweighs its metabolic impact. It is not a drink; it is an artifact.
From cultural sterilization to alimentary poisoning to the ultimate crime of initiating war, the US has managed to piss off a lot of people who are beginning to tire of being bullied by disdainful « humanitarian intervention » Lefties or the corporate bought and paid for political elite.
In any case, it’s not surprising « less democratic » countries Russia, Iran, and Turkey, who actually live in the neighborhood that the US is destroying, are getting together to try and piece the place back together.
US military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria (to name just a few) are the primary cause for the refugees streaming into Europe, just as EU support for these interventions can be seen as one of the causes for the terrorist attacks (without discounting any possible false flags). I’ve often wondered why the refugees would want to take refuge in the very countries who contribute, in one way or another, to their countries’ destruction, but then reckoned that they had figured that these same countries probably wouldn’t bomb themselves, that these same countries might some day figure out that following US orders may not be in their best interests. And that far from trying to overrun Europe, they’re only looking for a little relief from the chaos, awaiting the day when they might be able to return home to rebuild and live lives worthy of being lived. Besides, most of the terrorist attacks were carried out by people who were naturalized European citizens, many of whom were already known to the police who, being overwhelmed by a constant influx of useless information on everyone, by the hair-on-fire reactions of their ministers, by a more than useless press and its gullible readers, overworked and undermanned for the enormous task set them, have reacted to the insanity by demonstrating (way too carefully, in my opinion) against the ineptitude of their superiors.
There seems to be competition going on in the US these days as to who can be more patriotic. The so-called liberals want to show their patriotism by supposedly defending the rights of minorities of all kinds while electing people like Clinton or Obama who say all the right things but turn around and do just the opposite. The others, the « deplorables », or anyone who doesn’t know the difference between a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon and who probably don’t have friends on Wall Street, are trying to figure out where their star-spangled country is, considering it’s being « disappeared » from under their very feet. Not that it ever existed in the first place, but that’s another question.
Or is it ?