With the recent arrest of Julian Assange in London with the goal of extraditing him to the U.S. to face charges, I thought I’d revive this article that I wrote back in 2010. Assange and Chelsea Manning helped to reveal war crimes by the U.S. as well as a pattern of boorish, imperious, “in your face” behavior by its officials and diplomats.
George W. Bush claimed that the terrorists hated us for our freedoms — but maybe they simply hate us for our behavior? If we ride roughshod over the “little people,” they might just remember — and bite back.
Anyway, the main sin of Assange and Manning was embarrassing the powerful while shedding light on their behavior. And the powerful know how to hang on to a grudge…
Written in 2010:
Boorish, “in your face” behavior is everywhere. Most of the time, I’m able to avoid it, or walk away from it. Nevertheless, afoot in America is an astonishing sense of imperious entitlement. People are told they can have it all – heck, that they deserve it all – and to hell with anyone who raises an objection. Rugged individualism is not enough; roughshod individualism is the new American ethos.
Now, what has this to say about WikiLeaks? Take a close look at many of the State Department cables and tell me how you would feel to be on the receiving end of roughshod American imperiousness. So what if we kidnap the wrong German citizen and torture him? Not only do we have no need to apologize: We’ll even bully the German government into silence. And we can bully Spain too, if need be, to inhibit Spanish attempts to prosecute Americans for torture or murder. Need more information about the United Nations and its diplomats? Let’s not only spy on them in traditional ways, but let’s steal their passwords, their biometric data: Heck, let’s even take DNA samples from them. If they complain, too bad: They shouldn’t have taken a drink from the cup we offered them. And the list goes on: We’ll even strike secret deals with Britain to hide our cluster bombs.
In these memos, it never seems to be America’s fault. Being a loud and boorish and imperious American means never having contritely to say you’re sorry.
Are we oblivious? Do we just don’t care? Neither question will matter if the resentments we breed overseas find their way to America’s homeland.
Professor Astore writes regularly for TomDispatch.com.
4 thoughts on “Wikileaks and America’s Boorish, In Your Face, Diplomacy”
There was something similar to this that popped up in my Steemit feed (and I wish I could find it), regarding the “religion of statism,” or the cult of personality surrounding the idea that “the state can do no wrong.” Even within the state, between political parties, such sociopathic behaviour manifests. In the US, both major parties are guilty of this, and Bill Maher said it best about the Bush family when he said “we’re the real Americans, we love Jesus and fuck our wives, so whatever we have to do to stay in power (tap your phones, politicise the justice department), it’s justified.” A certain shrill Democrat, whom I refuse to acknowledge by naming, did something comparable when Trump won the 2016 election. There are no more examples I can provide that followers of this blog haven’t seen before, but I will say this: for a state seemingly obsessed with Russian interference in the last election, it is curious that the spoiled children running it are mired in layer upon layer of sociopathy in the name of their career, their party, and their state, like a nesting doll of selfishness. Always accuse your enemy of that which you are guilty.
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A nesting doll of selfishness — how true! And both parties are masters at accusing the other of their own crimes.
There has been an intriguing lack of response to this post. Is this from a general feeling of “W.J.’s on the money. I can’t add anything to that,” a lack of interest in the topic, or approval of the behavior? One cannot help but wonder.
The piece is spot on and even the mindless bandwagon jumpers who gleefully quaffed the establishment’s Assange character assassination Koolaid by the gallon probably realize this at some level and slink away quietly before the cognitive dissonance becomes too uncomfortable.
It is clear to anyone with functioning critical faculties that the United States, and indeed the wider “west”, has a massive Achilles heel called hubris that is preventing it from accurately evaluating geopolitical reality and adjusting its course accordingly. The tone deaf hypocrisy and self-righteous bellicosity offered up by the arrogant, and increasingly totalitarian, champions of the, cough, “rules based international order” is absolutely breathtaking. Julian Assange’s co-defendant at his forthcoming trial(s) is democracy itself.
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