Sunday, February 10, 2008

That Was Them, This Is US!

Our nation, after 9/11, believing we are unique, surreptitiously evaded the laws we hold other nations accountable in our effort to seek justice for all those who died that horrific day. We knew that other countries have endured what we experienced on 9/11 and much worse, however, that was them, this is us! We are radically distinctive and without equal. We have every right to do whatever it takes to hunt those who viscously attacked us down, even if that means one thousand innocent victims for every one innocent American killed on 9/11.

It's our "Super Power" status that interferes with and threatens what makes this country so great.

Fred Kaplan, War Stories Columnist for Slate Magazine and author of Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power believes the end of the Cold War and 9/11 changed America. Mr. Kaplan claims it gave those in power the feeling that the old rules no longer applied. America defeated the only other super power, the Soviet Union, and because we were attacked on 9/11 that the Bush Administration in particular, could dismiss every lesson of history especially when those lessons applied to policies they were endorsing.

Mr. Kaplan goes on to explain the end of the Cold War and America's emergence as a super power gave many people, including George W. Bush that we no longer needed alliances, that we, America, reined supreme. What Bush did not understand was that the Cold War paradoxically provided a system of international security because at that time the world was divided into two spheres creating a default western coalition. Our allies at the time depended on us for their security therefore went along with our policy without too much question. When the Soviet Union disappeared, the common enemy disappeared hence the default mode of international relations disappeared. Diplomacy now would be even harder and even more important.

Our "we don't need anyone attitude" after 9/11, ruined what was at the time a perfect chance to revitalize the alliance when the European nations wanted to invoke article 5 where an armed attack against one or more the NATO countries shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them will be there to help the other.

Since the Cold War ended and especially since Bush took office almost eight years ago, we have basked in American Exceptionalism. Rightfully so, we were horrified by the attack on 9/11, but instead of reacting the way we would expect any other country to act if attacked, "we the people" reacted as if our superior status in the world, earned by our "irreproachable behavior" over the last two centuries, somehow gave and gives us the right to bypass the lessons of history, the treaties, the charters, and all the rules and regulations we expect other countries to follow.

As Howard Zinn said in his article Removing America's Blinders,

"our inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.
We conveniently forget the atrocities that have occurred in direct connection to the actions or inaction of our great country. There is no doubt that our country is exceptional, however "we the people" cannot afford to live and act as if we deserve special treatment, for it is our belief in equality and that no one deserves to be "specially" treated based on gender, race, creed etc. that make us exceptional.

1 comments:

jorge 19:28  

The resentment of the United States is as high as it's ever been and I think refusing NATO help started the ball rolling.

It was an insult.

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