Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Saturday that the government under Venezuela’s recently re-inaugurated president Nicolas Maduro is “illegitimate”, and that “the United States will work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country.”
Pompeo’s remarks, which were echoed by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, are interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is because Venezuela’s presidential election in May of last year (which incidentally was found to have been perfectly legitimate by the international Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America) was actively and aggressively meddled in by the US and its allies. The second is that while the US government is openly broadcasting its intention to keep interfering in Venezuela’s political system, it continues to scream bloody murder about alleged Russian interference in its own democratic process two years ago.
What is the difference between the behavior of the United States, which remains far and away the single worst offender in foreign election meddling on the planet, and what Russia is accused of having done in 2016? According to a comment made by former CIA Director James Woolsey last year, it’s that the US interferes in foreign democracies “for a very good cause.”
And that’s really the only argument that empire loyalists have going for them on this subject. The US is different because the US has moral authority. It’s okay for the US to continue to interfere in the political affairs of foreign nations while it would be an unforgivable and outrageous “act of war” for a nation like Russia to do the exact same thing, because the US is countering the interests of the Bad Guys while Russia is countering the interests of the Good Guys. Who decided who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are in this argument? The US.
This “What we do is good because we’re the Good Guys” faith-based doctrine was regurgitated with full-throated zealotry in a recent speech given by Pompeo in Cairo, in which he cited “America’s innate goodness” in making the absolutely ridiculous claim that “America is a force for good in the Middle East” which has been “absent too much” from the region previously. America’s nonstop deadly interventionism in the Middle East is “good”, because America is “innately good”.
America’s constant military interventionism, election interference and other nastiness are painted as Good Things done by Good Guys to fight the Bad Guys. The argument, when you boil it right down, is that if America wasn’t constantly starting wars, invading sovereign nations, staging coups, sponsoring proxy conflicts, arming terrorists, bombing civilians, torturing people, implementing starvation sanctions on impoverished populations, pointing nuclear weapons everywhere, spying on us all with a globe-spanning Orwellian surveillance network, interfering in foreign elections, and patrolling the skies with flying death robots, the Bad Guys might win.
Sort of makes you wonder who the Bad Guys really are, huh?
Things our foreign policies are not about:
* human rights
Things our foreign policies are about:
* Wall Street
* natural resources
* global economic dominance
— Lee Camp [Redacted] (@LeeCamp) December 30, 2018
The theme of Good Guys fighting Bad Guys resonates with a population that has been raised for generations on Hollywood films featuring a handsome action hero emerging victorious after a ninety-minute struggle and karate kicking an ugly villain off a cliff before kissing the pretty girl, but it doesn’t accurately reflect the reality we actually live in. Our world is dominated by extremely powerful people who are motivated not out of interest in good or evil but a drive toward power and profit which is completely disinterested in morality of any kind, and the empires they build for themselves have their foundations on the backs of ordinary people who are just trying to get by. The majority of those extremely powerful people either live in the United States or have formed alliances with US power structures, and all their agendas in Asia, South America, the Middle East and elsewhere have nothing to do with “protecting democracy” or being a “force of good”, and everything to do with amassing more power.
Even among those who recognize that the US-centralized empire isn’t a shining beacon of virtue in our world, the notion remains prevalent that if American power ceases to be a unipolar dominator then someone worse will take over the world. This fear-based mindset ultimately underlies all establishment manipulation and all educated support for it: the idea that someone needs to rule and dominate the world to prevent someone else from doing the same. But what are the fruits of this mindset? A corporatist Orwellian dystopia hurtling toward climate collapse if nuclear war doesn’t kill us all first.
We can’t keep doing this. We literally can’t; we’ll evolve beyond this fear-based dominator paradigm or we’ll all perish beneath its feet very soon. We are now in a position where our irrational fear of being invaded by China has pushed us to the brink of extinction, so it isn’t even a gamble to step off that train and try something else instead.
It is entirely possible that the US is capable of functioning like a normal nation and simply defending its own shores and sustaining itself without interfering in world affairs. It is entirely possible that the threat everyone imagines of some foreign power stepping in as the unipolar dominator should America vacate that role is the product of fearful imaginings with no bearing on reality and a fundamental misunderstanding of humanity. It is entirely possible that we are capable of creating a world where nobody dominates anybody, and no iron-fisted world leader of any kind is needed. Either way, the train we’re on is headed for a brick wall, so we’ve now got nothing to lose by stepping off.