Thursday, January 29, 2009
Two Americas: Bad America and Good America: The Red, Blue and Purple
The business of America not having a "colonial legacy" and thus being somehow more natively attractive to Muslims, misses the point, misunderstands reality. . . No, America is not liked for the same reason that the European former colonial powers are not liked, and for the same reason that Hindu India, for that matter, is and will remain a target of Muslim hostility and, whenever possible, aggression. For these are all Infidel lands.
—Hugh Fitzgerald, commenting on Obama’s recent interview with a Muslim news agency, in which he bases his pledge to have a better more respectful relationship with the Muslim world in part on his claim that America does not have a “colonial legacy”.
And here is one of the Obama quotes to which Fitzgerald responded:
“America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that. And that I think is going to be an important task.”
This is Obama’s appeal to the Good America in his pro-Islam Glasnost in a framework that cleverly seems pro-American because it is claimed to harmonize with certain historical American tendencies, which he also buttresses with the revisionist history that implies that 20 or 30 years ago, America and the Muslim world were getting along copacetically.
The other point that Fitzgerald misses, however, is that America isn’t liked by millions of Americans, too. And not because America is Infidel. It’s because, in the PC MC paradigm (and all the more virulently so in the Leftist paradigm from which PC MC draws much of its substance), America has been singularly inept, corrupt, and/or evil in its lust for power and in its geopolitical “interference” in the world, most particularly that extra-sensitive part of the world, the Third World—even more especially in that most sensitive part of the Third World, the Muslim world, with Bush America the most egregious of all.
Obama here, then, must be assumed to be operating within the specific type of paradoxical incoherence characteristic of both PC MC and Leftism with regard to America: simultaneously vilifying America insofar as it has engaged in crypto-imperialism, and at the same time proffering a “true America” that is not the “bad America” hijacked by the far Right, and which one can rescue and rehabilitate by “steering the proper course” toward progressive (if not radically Leftist) ideals. One must assume that between the lines of Obama’s presentation in this interview (and elsewhere) of the “good America” which he is rehabilitating and refurbishing through his Presidency, there is also intended the other half of the paradoxical incoherence just adduced—for his personal and political associations and friendships over the decades have had a profoundly Leftist, even radical Leftist (if not positively revolutionary) underside, an underside for whom anti-Americanism is de rigueur. One way to try to rescue the incoherent (not to mention irresponsibly parasitical, if not also reckless and treasonous) paradox of American anti-Americanism that goes pathologically beyond constructive criticism, is to split America into two, a Good America (or “Amerika” to radical Leftists) and a Bad America. Thus, the Good America is the one of which the Leftists dream and which they wish to use as a template for their reconstruction, or transfiguration, of the Bad America that apparently more often than not throughout its history (if not always) has been the actual America—an America in need of “change”.
In this context, Good America has never had a colonial legacy, unlike Europe and Great Britain. Bad America, however, has pursued a crypto-imperialism, which is a de facto neo-Colonialism, and it has done so with unprecedented power and global reach as the most comprehensive superpower in history, for a while somewhat restrained by competition against the Soviet Bloc, yet at the same time exploiting that competition in order to justify its crypto-imperialist “intereference” in the Third World. And in the last quarter century since the collapse of Soviet Communism, its crypto-imperialist ambitions and interference became largely unrestricted, and then reinvigorated and amplified by evil neo-cons since 911 with a largely fabricated “War on Terrorism” (whether or not the person indulging this cynical view is a 911 “Truther” or not).
(A somewhat mirror-image split of America into two is found among many self-styled conservatives, and has its own problems and incoherencies, including either an exaggeration of Leftism as the main cause and vehicle of most of America’s (and the West’s) ills, or an indulgence in conspiracy theories about how America has been hijacked by an evil cabal of one sort or another. Sometimes these two postures are mushed incoherently into a single mass of emotionally charged oatmeal in the mind of a given “conservative”. At any rate, since this mirror-image of our primary topic is not mainstream and dominant, as is the PC MC paradigm which draws much of its substance and even some details from the Leftist paradigm, and therefore plays a negligible role in America’s (and the West’s) ongoing irrationality when faced with the global revival of Islam, it is not of central concern here.)
With regard to America’s alleged crypto-imperialism, let us examine the irrational logic of the Leftist (and to some extent, though more incoherently and less virulently expressed, the PC MC) paradigm:
1) Although Western Colonialism ended its approximately 300-year career officially after WW2 (though it took a couple of decades to fully concretize that dissolution), it continued as a crypto-imperialism pursued by the USA, involving among other tentacles the dastardly CIA, and facilitated by a largely manufactured (or at least exaggerated) Cold War against global Communism, which Cold War enabled this American crypto-imperialism to “meddle” in the Third World and prop up and depose their governments and economically ensnare them in symbiotic relationships with America that has kept them in a perpetual quasi-servitude, exploited by our “globalist” Capitalism. Thus, not only is it misleading, according to the Leftist paradigm, to say that America “has no colonial legacy”, it obfuscates the fact that America has become in the post-WW2 decades the sole Super-Colonial-Power in terms of crypto-imperialism.
2) As the sole crypto-imperialist Super-Colonial-Power, America has, as noted in #1 above, “meddled” in Third World affairs and thus by propping up dictators and repressing good leaders, has made life worse for Muslim people in Muslim countries and has either directly or indirectly stirred up “resentments” among Muslim populations and thus “radicalized” many of them, leading to the creation of a jungle of groups and associations who pursue what some people would call “terrorism” but what others would call “resistance movements” or even “freedom fighters” against the messes that America’s crypto-imperialism has wrought. If many of these “resistance movements” use Islamic language in their manifestos, it is only because that is their cultural way of expressing themselves and their political “grievances” and does not mean that Islam is bad. So when we see Muslims pursuing political “resistance” in the Philippines, in Indonesia, in India, etc., one must probe deeper into the “source causes” and see that, of course, it has been America’s global “meddling” for the past 60 years that has disturbed the geopolitcal eco-systems of these precious Islamic Noble Savages which would have remained in harmonious ecological balance had not we “interfered”.
I have little doubt that when the appropriate context comes around—and it will—Obama will have recourse to this paradigm, if he does not indeed go further and embark upon the project of assiduously laying the institutional groundwork, both national and international, for its more prounounced and profound entrenchment. For, Obama is not merely PC MC, as Bush was; Obama is positively and virulently and radically Leftist, if his decades of influential political associations and friendships reflect his own substance. And so it is reasonable to assume that he believes the above paradigm in spades, though he is clever enough to smooth it over with a slick and palatably reassuring pseudo-Centrism.
P.S.: The maps above were borrowed from this interesting site.