The World to the American Right: PLEASE TRAVEL!!!


You have to feel bad for so many of the highest officials of the Bush years. Iraq, torture, Katrina, Rovism, etc.  permanently damaged some of the finest resumes in country, including Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and most especially Powell (who should have been the GOP prez instead of the boy-king). For some, like Powell, this is a genuine tragedy, a dirtying of his high reputation to serve coarse politicization. I admire Powell’s willingness to take his punishment and retreat from public life, and his rectitude in the face of Bush’s cold-blooded exploitation of his credibility highlights Rovism’s deviousness even more.

But that must be hard for so many…so what to do when you are an ex-Bush flack, once respected for quality pre-Bush work, but now a known defender/obfsucator of torture? How about writing cloying op-eds, sheltering yourself under the banner of military courage, while insulting the rest of the planet by reciting that most nationalistic, exceptionalist, and self-serving of Lincoln’s comments: ‘America is the last best hope of mankind.’ Mukasey could slide right into the hack neo-con universe of all-too-easy American exceptionalism that flatters rather than challenges the reader.

Like so many other Bush figures, Mukasey was a respected, serious operator. The temptation to reach for power must be so great, the belief that you could change things so high… but in the end, Rove-world corrupted so many of them. Consider that none of Bush’s national security officials have the reputation that Cyrus Vance does. Vance had the courage to resign out of conviction (regardless of one’s opinion of it), and this principled stand has served him well in history. I can’t imagine many Bush officials will enjoy this; speaking truth to power was never a virtue of the W years, and that sullied several, like Wolfowitz or Rice, who could have been truly historic public servants in a Powell administration.

How nice and easy it must be to write for the Wall Street Journal when the simplistic invocation of mawkish Americana plus a Bush-era vita get you op-ed space. I think the right-wing think-tank industrial complex has a machine that simply recombines expressions like ‘America,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘hero,’ ‘greatest,’ ‘unique,’ ‘freedom,’ etc. into ever-changing combinations of pro-American blather. It’s like the music-machines boy bands use, only with hawkish Americana the output instead of junk-pop. I used to read the Journal, because I thought it was a firewall against the populist nonsense of Hannity & co. I figured that the readership – presumably serious, money-making, educated broker-types – had little time for the flat-earthism of the Palin wing. You’d think a journal so insistent on the virtues of international trade would actually care more for the rest of the world than the populist GOP types…

I guess not.

I have said this before, but WILL US CONSERVATIVES PLEASE LIVE OUTSIDE THE US FOR A LITTLE WHILE BEFORE THEY TALK THIS WAY! You have no idea how insulting it is to the rest of the world, when America’s claim the mantle of World Historical Amazing Awesomess so easily and consign the rest of the planet to the ‘Old World.’ All that does it tell you how extreme American nationalism can become, and how little the writer knows about the world beyond the US. Pluralism is an American value too, and that means seeing the rest of the world as more than just a cipher for tired banalities of Americana. Please travel!!!!

12 thoughts on “The World to the American Right: PLEASE TRAVEL!!!

  1. All Americans should travel or live outside the US for a few years. And I don’t mean England either. England doesn’t count. How many Americans have passports?

    “You have no idea how insulting it is to the rest of the world”. Dr. Bob you assume that the rest of the world is reading US neo-con bs? I beg to differ. Are French citizens or the Greeks tuning into the AEI website/or like sites? What about the Algerians or Australians? How about Indians or the inhabitants of Green Land/Ice land?

    In fact, the French generally think that ALL literature coming out of the us is bs. To add insult to injury a couple of years ago (actually maybe 2009), the Nobel Committee for literature bypassed all US writers because they claimed that nothing NEW was coming out of the US; and that US writing was insular.

    I am truly amazed that a world traveler such as yourself can assume the rest of the world has nothing better to do than to read US neo-con bs. Maybe the South Koreans are different, I don’t know. I would imagine that the Chinese are interested, however, I know that Nigerians could probably care less.


  2. I am an American and proud, however, it never ceases to amaze me when my fellow countrymen speak for the rest of the world whether they are on the Left, Middle or Right.


    • This is so perfect. Take a post about the need to experience and understand other cultures and perspectives and act like it’s a piece of chauvenism.


  3. Dr. Bob:

    Could I please challenge you to read French, German, Italian, Spanish, Nigerian, Ugandan or other foreign news publicans for one week to determine how many times they concern with the US. I read a wide variety of foreign publications, and first and foremost, they concern their own domestic agenda. I haven’t read about any real neo-con reporting in a least one year. In fact, when they do write about US foreign policy it is in the context of their country’s relationship with the present administration.

    I think that even the BBC has forgotten about the Neo-Cons (maybe I am wrong).

    However, don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself.

    I will concede that you are right about the South Koreans since the US/South Korean relationship is so unique.

    I do see where you are coming from however. Being in academia you have to inspect these issues.

    Anyway back to Internationalism, Japan just beat Cameroon ONE-NIL in World Cup play. WOW! The East is really doing well this World Cup. It is amazing how the rest of the World gets into this except for the US. This is, after all, the most popular/populist sport in the world.

    Dr. Bob, why do you think that this is the case?


  4. WOW! North Korea did a great job against Brazil. NK only lost by one point against one of the top three BEST football teams in modern times. Brazil won two-nil. The Macon goal was incredible. The angle that he took his shot from was spectacular. None-the-less, those NK footballers should hold their heads up high. They played with dignity and were full of heart. I expected Brazil to win five-nil.

    I was watching France 24 this morning and one of the sports commentators stated that NK’s football team was NK’s best kept secret.

    When did SK and NK get so good at football?


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