Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 07, 2022

Remarks on Exceptionalism

Some comments to the previous thread on Kazakhstan mentioned U.S. exceptionalism.

It started with Bemildred:

It is amusing how these "thinkers" ideas about how to undermine Russia or China tend to look a lot getting them to do what Bush-Cheney did, i.e. over-reach and over-spend and engage in little stupid wars for profit, revenge, and to stroke their little egos.

and:

"We'll give them their own Vietnam, Afghanistan, whatever the latest one was." Always fighting the last war, and always losing it again, at great cost, again.

To which Ghost Ship responded:

It's American Exceptionalism and American Projectionism working against Washington.

Washington believes in American Exceptionalism so thinks that the way it does things is the only right way to do those things, then American Projectionism kicks in and guides Washington to project the way it does thing on to others. Washington can't cope when its opponents do something a way it has not even considered and it runs around in circles all flustered while the opponent is so far within John Boyd's famous OODA loop that Washington with all its advantages loses.

BTW, what has become of John Boyd's OODA loop in Washington. At one time, you couldn't move for the paper generated by articles mentioning it. Now there is nothing. But it's still a useful tool to be used against Washington to unbalance a top-heavy regime like Washington. Has Washington given up on it because it's too slow to apply it successfully?

Meanwhile Washington seems to continue with the "My enemy's enemy is my friend" BS which has been brought back from the dead as a zombie idea.

Two days before those comments an essay which Professor Michael Brenner had sent to his mailing list had formulated a similar idea. In it he lamented the loss of a realistic view of the world in U.S. foreign policies:

When Pompey the Great made his triumphant return to Rome in 61 BCE from his stunning conquests in the East, a spectacular ceremony was planned. Pageantry on a grandiose scale was designed both to satisfy his outsized ego and to display superior status in his rivalry with Julius Caesar. The centerpiece was to be a towering throne where a regally costumed Pompey would pass through a Victory arch installed for the occasion. A small problem arose, though, when a rehearsal showed that the throne was 4 feet taller than the height of the arch.

That is a neat metaphor for the uneasy position in which Uncle Sam finds himself these days. We proudly pronounce our enduring greatness from every lectern and altar in the land, pledge to hold our standing as global Number One forever and ever; yet, we constantly bump our head against an unaccommodating reality. Instead of downsizing the monumental juggernaut or applying ourselves to a delicate raising of the arch, we make repeated attempts to fit through in a vain effort to bend the world to our mythology. Evocation of the Concussion Protocol is in order – but nobody wants to admit that sobering truth.

Our engagements in the world over the past 20 years reveal a grim record of failed ventures. Most have been caused by unrealistic goals, blinkered views of the field of action, overweening pride, an ignorance of foreign places and their history, and an unseemly readiness to take complacent comfort in fantasy worlds that exist only in our own imagination. In short, American foreign policy has been misguided – badly and consistently misguided.

This is caused by a mismatch between the view America has of its role in the world and how the world really is:

Americans are struggling to draw into focus their exalted image of themselves and reality. They are not doing a very good job of it. The gap is wide and growing. That is due in good measure to what has been happening beyond the country’s shores as well as at home, and over which it lacks the skills and the means to exercise decisive influence. Our response has been one of avoidance and reaffirmation of thought and deed. We seem to fear that if we stare at reality squarely, we will find reality staring back at us in a discomforting way.

There is a psychological background to this:

Americanism provides a Unified Field Theory of self-identity, collective enterprise, and the Republic’s enduring meaning. When one element is felt to be jeopardy, the integrity of the whole edifice becomes vulnerable. In the past, American mythology energized the country in ways that helped it to thrive. Today, it is a dangerous hallucinogen that traps Americans in a time warp more and more distant from reality.

There is a muted reflection of this strained condition in the evident truth that Americans have become an insecure people. They grow increasingly anxious about who they are, what they are worth and what life will be like down the road. This is an individual and collective phenomenon. They are related insofar as much of our self-identity and self-esteem is bound up with the civic religion of Americanism. To a considerable degree, it’s been like this since the very beginning. A country that was “born against history” had no past to define and shape the present.
...
We are close to a condition that approximates what the psychologists call “dissociation.” It is marked by an inability to see and to accept actualities as they are for deep seated emotional reasons. Those you are dissociating are not aware that they are sublimating on a systematic basis. "Dissociation is commonly displayed on a continuum. In mild cases, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism or defense mechanism in seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress – including conflict." Conflicts of purpose, conflict of aims, conflict of ideas, conflict between idealized reality and actual truth. Dissociative disorders are sometimes triggered by trauma (9/11?).

The ever growing gap between wanting to be exceptional and not being it leads to attempts to act even more exceptional (which will then create even bigger failures):

What do these developments foretell for the United States’ relations with the rest of the world? The most obvious and important implication is that Americans will be ever more dependent on maintaining that sense of exceptionalism and superiority that is the foundation of their national personality. A fragile psyche weak in self-esteem and prowess is sensitive to signs of its decline or ordinariness. Hence, the obsession with curbing China. Hence, the country will continue to exert itself energetically on the global stage rather than become progressively more selective in its engagements and choice of methods for fulfilling them.

Continuity is a lot easier than reorientation. It doesn’t demand fresh thinking and different skills. ...

To change that path would require more qualified people in Washington DC and less of the groupthink (also in the media) which creates failure after failure by its attempts to keep up its illusions about itself.

There is no end of it in sight.

Posted by b on January 7, 2022 at 15:22 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Your write-up on the Kazakhstan convulsion was the best of the lot, b, congratulations, the Rand report was a revelation, how stupid of the MSM poodles to ignore it, again, well done.

Posted by: Baron | Jan 7 2022 15:32 utc | 1

Thank you for pointing out Mr. Brenner's essay, I thought it was well done too. I think it should lead to some interesting discussion.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 7 2022 15:35 utc | 2

At this point the only real question is whether the destruction of the American illusion can be accomplished without the destruction of the world itself.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 7 2022 15:48 utc | 3

I'm calling bull on the psuedointellectual psychological word salad. America's "exceptionalism" is driven by greed, plain and simple. Wealth is power, and if you have ever known anyone with wealth you know exceptionalism. It is celebrated every day in the media where centibillionaires are the brightest stars in the universe.

Self-interest rules, and in self-interest people will stomp others down to succeed. With enlightened self-interest people help and support those around them, increasing the likelihood that when they need help others will respond in kind. This is the practical basis of Karma.

There was a study done on lying that revealed that 1 in 6 people will lie without compunction if it is for their own benefit (which is a clear indicator that their own benefit is their primary - if not only - concern). The scale slides up from there to 1 in 6 or so who are honest to a fault (literally), and who are easy prey for liars as people tend to think that others are just like them.

That is the human condition, plain and simple. It has always been this way.

Posted by: Black Cloud | Jan 7 2022 15:51 utc | 4

hope you heal

Posted by: librul | Jan 7 2022 15:53 utc | 5

I spent time composing a post
to add value to this site
then when it came time to hit the Post button
I discovered that I was blocked.
On again / off again / on again / off again
Wonder who else is not allowed to post and nobody is the wiser?

Posted by: librul | Jan 7 2022 15:57 utc | 6

The USA is unlikely to change its aggressive foreign policies, there's far too much money at stake, with the likes of the Military Industrial Complex needing ever greater amounts of money, and the only way that can happen is if the USA's military budget keeps on climbing, many palms need to be greased for the likes of Boeing to make massive profits.

Bad guy countries must always exist as well, how can you sell a war, (asset raid) without a bad guy country, not only that, civil unrest must also be fomented around the globe, as well as projecting power and influence.

Being European, I'm utterly disgusted at EU chiefs falling into line with US interests even when these interests conflict with their own countries. How can the USA possibly change when capital supersedes policies.

You can read Michael Brenner's article here as well.


https://consortiumnews.com/2022/01/05/lowering-the-throne-of-americas-delusion/

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Jan 7 2022 15:58 utc | 7

Well at least the USA doesn't have a monarch.

Posted by: too scents | Jan 7 2022 15:58 utc | 8

If anyone had asked me I said "Jan 6th was brilliant narrative control". Guess Nancy heard me.

From the official website of The Speaker of the House:
https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/1622-0
entitled:
Speaker Pelosi Remarks at Moderated Conversation with Historians Event on January 6th

And it is also our duty to establish and preserve the narrative of that day


One year later, it is essential that we do not allow anyone to rewrite history or whitewash the gravity of what took place. It is our duty to find the facts of January 6th, to ensure such an assault on our democracy cannot happen again. And it is also our duty to establish and preserve the narrative of that day, and that is what we are doing today. One year later, I remain in awe of the courage of all of you, our Members, not only on that day, but every day since including now, as you share reflections and preserve the truth.

Posted by: librul | Jan 7 2022 16:00 utc | 9

This coincides well with John Michael Greer's latest post at Ecosophia.

https://www.ecosophia.net/tomorrowland-has-fallen

Posted by: New Guy | Jan 7 2022 16:06 utc | 10

@6 that was almost a poem:

I spent time composing a post
to add value to this site
then when it came time to hit the Post button
I discovered that it was shite

Posted by: RandomHaikuGenerator | Jan 7 2022 16:08 utc | 11

American exceptionalism is the zombie front for the God of Mammon cult.


The elite that "own" the global God of Mammon cult are the true exceptional ones

To the extent they are keeping b and others blind to the curtain that hides their movement of the power levers of society, they have proven themselves to be effective if not positive in controlling our species.


And they laugh at postings and threads like this covering their tracks.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 7 2022 16:20 utc | 12

There is a good interview from Aaron Mate with Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who talks about 'irrational' motivations behind US policy decisions. I don't like this usage of irrational behaviour and want to question that. A big factor in US decision making has been asserting dominance. As in the Dilbert cartoon on parenting, "you have to show them who is the boss", or as Chomsky described it, the logic of the Mafia Don. It is a logic of the domino theory, not any 'commie' domino theory, just an 'insubordination' domino theory: if you let one of them get away with going off independently others will follow the example. Directly dominance is not about interests but indirectly it is, and ideology, like in this case exceptionalism, is tied with a rubberband to interests. It can diverge a bit and do odd things but keeps being pulled on by interests.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jan 7 2022 16:25 utc | 13

"Americanism provides a Unified Field Theory of self-identity, collective enterprise, and the Republic’s enduring meaning. When one element is felt to be jeopardy, the integrity of the whole edifice becomes vulnerable."

I'd make one observation.
The above is the Americanism of 20 year's ago.
The woke progressive agenda that's all the rage in the US these times don't buy it!
Unless the woke are getting the mushroom treatment in a revised format.
There still kept in the dark and fed bullshite.
The American state doesn't care about their views and knows that the progressives don't care about anything outside their narcissism and self absorbed lifestyle's.
Maybe that's why the culture wars are
designed to be so bitter.
Delusional idiots and self absorbed idiots is the state of the Union.

Posted by: JPC | Jan 7 2022 16:39 utc | 14

“Hence the obsession with curbing China.” I’m of the opinion that no one writes American exceptionalist propaganda quite as well as the British. (Must be part of that “special relationship” they like to talk about.) An example would be this documentary about British warship colliding with Russian submarine—
https://www.rt.com/russia/545399-brits-blame-russian-submarine-for/

I’m also of the opinion that the UK is very dangerous unless you are Russia or China.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 7 2022 16:40 utc | 15

@ RandomHaikuGenerator | Jan 7 2022 16:08 utc | 11

Sounds like a Takuboku poem.

Posted by: Leuk | Jan 7 2022 16:41 utc | 16

Re: Posted by: librul | Jan 7 2022 15:57 utc | 6

Well, I can see your posts.

Maybe you just took too long to compose your epic post and got timed out - happens to everyone.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 7 2022 16:46 utc | 17

Is clozapine and either lithium carbonate or lithium citrate soluble enough in water to be put in the water supply?

Posted by: William Haught | Jan 7 2022 16:53 utc | 18

And I just hope it wasn’t a Canadian submarine in the collision with that British warship. Or a Swedish submarine. That blasted UK propaganda machine.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 7 2022 16:59 utc | 19

B,

I think the cited commentators give the denizens of DC far too much credit. There isn't an underlying philosophy guiding these beltway sociopaths, if there were, the motivations and resulting actions would be defensible and thus, more open to the public.

But these "plans" are not open to debate, they are well hidden and even when they are occasionally revealed, they are obligingly obfuscated by an ever compliant media, members of which, take their marching orders from the 3LAs.

Working Americans, through no fault of their own, are kept well ignorant, they are fed an unending stream of lies to the point where even the most informed are confused by the cacophony of misinformation. And God help the poor soul who manages to sift through the augers to discern the truth, platformless, they face immediate unemployment, ridicule by friends, castigation by family and are internally exiled...that speaks to the lucky ones.

No, DC's despicable "plans", those that lead to the death and desecration of whole societies are proffered purely for personal gain; they are done for the accolade of being perceived by their contemporaries and overlords as "the smartest guy in the room" in the hopes of becoming an ever more successful courtier.

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 7 2022 17:04 utc | 20

thanks b... the emperor has no clothes at this point, and no one in the think tanks dare mention this... quoting brenner - "...we constantly bump our head against an unaccommodating reality. Instead of downsizing the monumental juggernaut or applying ourselves to a delicate raising of the arch, we make repeated attempts to fit through in a vain effort to bend the world to our mythology."

does anyone think these think tanks, or people like victoria nuland and etc. etc. are going to change tack here? nope... as i and others have been saying - the usa is a fading and failing empire... lets hope it goes with out in a whimper, as opposed to a bang.. the former would be a slowly eroding collapse, while the later might be quite dangerous for the world... i am hoping for the former - going out with a whimper...

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2022 17:11 utc | 21

@ S Brennan | Jan 7 2022 17:04 utc | 20... what are the 3LAs?? you went over my head with that one!

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2022 17:12 utc | 22

here’s ablyazov, self-appointed leader of kazakh uprising, in 2017, hobnobbing w the head of a private intelligence agency, arcanum (laying for secret), who brags about being a cia asset and knows “everyone” in kazakhstan. board members include a former head of the mossad.

you have to laugh.

https://www.ft.com/content/1411b1a0-a310-11e7-9e4f-7f5e6a7c98a2

Posted by: line islands | Jan 7 2022 17:19 utc | 23

*latin for secret

Posted by: line islands | Jan 7 2022 17:19 utc | 24

I wonder if the RAND corporation is gaming out how NATO would stand up to CSTO right now using Kazakhstan as model?
The United States of America is exceptional indeed.
Exceptionally hubristic.
And we all know where that goes.

Jim Reeves - Pride Goes before a Fall

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 7 2022 17:23 utc | 25

Cognitive Dissonance, how does it work?

Of course, every failing empire goes through this process, seeking to restore old glories by the old means that no longer deliver the desired results, if they ever did.

Posted by: Feral Finster | Jan 7 2022 17:25 utc | 26

"To change that path would require more qualified people in Washington DC and less of the groupthink (also in the media) which creates failure after failure by its attempts to keep up its illusions about itself."

The problem with qualified people is that may be smart of stubborn.

The stubborn ones are sent back to where they belong, like CSU at Stanislaus.

The smart ones learn that joining the group think is enjoyable in many ways.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 7 2022 17:26 utc | 27

One thing that's struck me is how 'expertise' in foreign policy sounds like personifying nations and then narrating little stories about them. Simple tales of good and evil, morality plays that should be animated shows on PBS.

I'm not certain an Ivy League degree (I hesitate to say education) leads you to blur away details when the Deplorables are listening or they really engage in extended pathetic fallacy and call it wisdom. Amy time national interests are seen in terms of domestic factions it sounds more like describing adults. Even the most absolutist rulers have other people to deal with.

Posted by: jhill | Jan 7 2022 17:30 utc | 28

@psychohistorian 12

Hear, hear! It is not only 'US Americans' who feel exceptional. During my wonders, I have seen this mechanism at work in many (most?) places. For example, the Poles think of themselves as the chosen ones. What they are chosen for and why is not so important, I think. Quite possibly in Poland, this is because majority are catholic (it is not only because pope JPII was a Pole, my experiences pre-date his papacy).

To conflate (US) Americans with their elites serves only to muddy the waters, as you wrote. It removes the blame and the spotlight from those in policy-making positions. In the extreme, it could be viewed as 'incitement to hatred'.

I've been to the US a few times (not for a while >10 years) and the people I met where (not surprisingly) like 'you or me'. They have been bombarded by propaganda, just like most in the West (think advertising and marketing), but they are not making decisions. We cannot blame this on democracy either, because it does not exist. In the US, it has atrophied a long time ago: two wings of the same business party serving their only constituency which is the 'God of Mammon'. Countless studies have shown that US policies (internal and external) do not reflect the will of the people, but the will of GoM.

As much as I would like the US elites to drop dead 5 minutes ago, so we can get on with our lives, I do not wish this on ordinary Americans. The most they can be blamed for is for falling asleep at the wheel, but they are now in a 'self-driving vehicle' pre-programmed by 'not them'.

Posted by: Idiocrates | Jan 7 2022 17:35 utc | 29

In his book "Tomorrow The World" Stephen Wertheim documents the rise of this paradigm...

Shortly after Germany conquered France and drove the UK off the continent in 1940, the US elites were forced to confront the possible loss of essential raw materials to Germany. The Council on Foreign Relations was organized to develop a strategy to ensure access.

As the war went on... and Germany's defeat became evident, the concern changed to Soviet moves to establish relations and hegemony in it's near abroad, and elsewhere.

The Cold War was born via a confluence of this influential group, and British Elites fearing loss of relevance, in Missouri when Churchill gave his "Iron Curtain" speech.

Without a break this strategy continues to this day..... Regardless, of the metamorphosis of the Soviet Union into Russia and the FSU successor states.... and of the rise of China into the world's largest economy, and largest market.

Useful 80 years ago... it is now a hindrance...

Identically, sanctions... once the tool of subjugation of front line states.... have proceeded to the point where fewer states are not sanctioned than those who are.... and... the sanctioned are welcomed by EurAsia -- Russia -- China... now the world's largest market... and largest economy.. and repository of the world's largest hydrocarbon resources.

INDY

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 7 2022 17:42 utc | 30

james 22,

"... what are the 3LAs??"

My abbreviation for Three[3]-Letter[L]-Agencies[A].

To me, it has a catchy sound and is useful in shortening the phrase. Please feel free to use it.

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 7 2022 17:46 utc | 31

Americans are struggling to draw into focus their exalted image of themselves and reality.

No, they aren't in any way whatsoever. The vast majority of the plebs within the Outlaw US Empire are struggling to make ends meet and know very well their voices are ignored by the pooh-bahs inside the Beltway. That's why a majority flocked to Trump's populist mantra because it appeared that he was keen to their plight.

No, as psychohistorian correctly commented, the Outlaw US Empire's policy has zero to do with anything good when it comes to the status of common folks and everything to do with claiming market share for what were once mostly US-based corporations, particularly the banks as witnessed at the start of the 20th Century and continuing today. It's as if Brenner has never read Super Imperialism or understands anything about Neoliberal mechanisms, or the genuine history of post WW2 Outlaw US Empire behavior, particularly its use of the Cold War as a front for its Neocolonialism. Yesterday, I posted the following paragraphs in two separate comments as descriptions of Big Picture Reality:

Neoliberalism and the related semi-fascist mechanisms required for its implementation and those managing it all are the forces responsible for the past 40 years of global upheaval. What's occurred over the last 15 years on the Big Picture scale is the reaction and pushback against it by nations that escaped being turned into vassals. That such a movement originated in Asia is easy to explain given the genocidal onslaught it experienced, which in some areas continues. The West's portion of humanity is small, roughly 1/7th; and thanks to Neoliberalism, its power on the global stage will eventually shrink to that proportion--a fact Neoliberals have yet to confront. Psychohistorian's label--Civilizational War--IMO is quite apt and becomes even more so when combined with its other component--the 4,000+ yearlong Class War between Creditors and Debtors. Humanity was exposed to the idea of human-centered development being the proper course of action long ago, and the idea has persisted despite being buried only to be revived many times since. That's what Kazakhs want. Indeed, that's what the people inhabiting the entire former Soviet space want. And crucially that's what Asians want. NATO's eastward expansion is all about negating what those people want.

As the Outlaw US Empire's strength and abilities wane, those nations and peoples who have suffered under its boot are in the process of taking full advantage; but the advantages they seek are not those aimed at by Imperialists and their authoritarian associates that were captured both before and after WW2. Rather, what most of the world's people want I've already written about and whose wishes were articulated by an American Aristocratic pair--Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor: The Four Freedoms; International Law as set down in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those ought to be the fruits of free people everywhere and the primary values and guidelines for proper governance with absolutely no room for hegemony from any source. The only allowed coercion ought to be related to enforcement of legal laws--those that are in accordance with what's articulated above. Yes, such an agenda will find itself in conflict with religions that seek to control certain aspects of society, just as it will be resisted by elites insisting they are the only ones capable of leadership--hierarchies thus will use whatever means to retain their existence. But those are finally being seen as at best non-productive means belonging to a bygone era by evermore people. Contradictions have a way of breaking themselves and those that hold onto them. We see that phenomena at work daily within the Outlaw US Empire and its Neoliberal vassals. Overall, the world isn't headed for a grand upheaval; rather, it's those nations that deny its people the opportunity to freely develop their own path forward that will experience roiling from within. Such is the Big Picture in the ongoing Saga: As the World Turns.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 17:49 utc | 32

@ S Brennan | Jan 7 2022 17:46 utc | 31... thanks... not sure if i will use it.. cia and fbi are fairly synonymous where i come from.. what else is there in terms of 3 letter agencies? fda,. faa, and etc. etc. ? lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2022 17:52 utc | 33

"To change that path would require more qualified people in Washington DC and less of the groupthink (also in the media) which creates failure after failure by its attempts to keep up its illusions about itself."

I don`t think that the political leadership of a country can arbitrary change it`s political culture.

Posted by: m | Jan 7 2022 17:56 utc | 34

The USA that I grew up in WAS exceptional. The New Deal had tilted the table away from The Rich, enough to give working-class Americans the ability to support a family comfortably on one hourly income. (Yes, whites benefited more than blacks, but still, all were richer & freer than prior generations).

But The Rich didn't like that, so they got together & fixed it. Reagan was hired to put a happy face on their project to roll back the New Deal & put The Rich back in charge, politically & economically.

It worked. But to break the Unions, they outsourced almost all Manufacturing work, first to Mexico, then China. This almost killed the Democratic Party, which had depended on Unions for campaign money. The Clintons saved the party from bankruptcy & political irrelevance by cutting a deal with some coastal financial elites who had gotten scared that the GOP was being taken over by the Christian Right. That left us with both Parties dominated by Big Money, fighting only about Culture War crap.

Since then, the Rich got way richer; the upper-middle (salaried) class did pretty well (we got to fly around in planes a few times a year!), and everybody else got screwed. But the financialization of the US hollowed out the Real Economy - where People make Thing that other People can use. MBA's perfected "efficiency", eliminating all jobs where an experienced, knowledgeable worker might command higher wages. Engineers work 6-day weeks, while stock-traders bask on their yachts; why bother with STEM?

We WERE exceptional. We won WWII (yeah, I know, USSR deserves half the credit); we invented Rock & Roll, Surfing, Computers, etc; we WENT TO THE FRIKKIN MOON.

But now we are just another historically normal End-of-Empire nation, run by corrupt financial elites, with the rest of us fighting over the crumbs of a shrinking pie, taking psychological refuge in pretending that we're Good because our political enemies are Bad.

Happy New Year.

Posted by: elkern | Jan 7 2022 17:58 utc | 35

Global Dominance
Delusions of self-grandeur
Ensure their downfall

Posted by: ld | Jan 7 2022 18:05 utc | 36

@Feral Finster | Jan 7 2022 17:25 utc | 26

Cognitive Dissonance, how does it work?

It's a psychological mechanism that makes people reject information that contradicts their world view, even when objectively true. They would rather reject provable facts than change their world view.


More On Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance

In this important theory, ‘cognitions’ embrace ‘knowledge’, attitude, emotion (or ‘ambivalence’), belief, and behaviour. Cognitions that contradict each other are termed ‘dissonant,’ while cognitions that agree with each other are ‘consonant.’ Cognitions which neither agree nor disagree are ‘irrelevant.’ The sudden arrival of a new cognition that is dissonant with a currently-held cognition creates a ‘state of dissonance.’ The important issue then becomes how can this disruptive dissonance be reduced, or eased, for the believer.

Amelioration may be achieved by trying either to eliminate one of the cognitions altogether or to create a new, consonant cognition between the two competing cognitions. We should also note that there can be significant degrees of dissonance. The maximum possible dissonance is equal to the resistance to change of the less ‘resistant cognition’. Thus, once dissonance attains a level that overcomes the resistance of one of the cognitions, that cognition will be amended, or eliminated, and dissonance will be reduced for the believer.

In terms of social behaviour, this will cause people who suffer the pain of dissonance either to seek out actively ‘knowledge’ that will reduce the dissonance for them personally, or to avoid/ignore the competing ‘knowledge’ completely. If the latter, then people who are involuntarily exposed to such ‘knowledge’ will do their level-best to discount that ‘knowledge’, either by deliberately misinterpreting it or by denying it vigorously, at least to themselves.

This phenomenon is not limited to US exceptionalism.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 7 2022 18:12 utc | 37

Yes I can see this as a reasonable and logical perspective!

Alternatively, within this echo chamber of self-viewed exceptionalism, perhaps some in the inner circle realize they cannot take over China and sees the only plausible way out of the current economic and power problems are another attempt at collapsing RUSSIA and a covert or perhaps even overt take over of its' resources. This time though, they must complete the job.

China has a GPD and Budget 4X the size of Russia. Perhaps the US strategy for salvation is to bite off something more digestible?

In addition, if Russia was subverted it would encircle China and overwhelm it by sheer control over energy and resources.

They did it to the Soviets(but fumbled the completion), why not the do it again with current Russians? They are susceptible to the same cold war strategy. Internal chaos will open the door for the US to ?Solve? all of its' problems at one stroke by taking over the largest country in the world.

The problem I see with this "strategy" is that the current cadre of woke/snowflake warriors are not upto the job that will be required. You cannot take over Russia with a society who lives inside a iphone and whose only training may be creating chaos and burning stuff with BLM and Antifa. Real warriors will eat the current cohort of iphone addicted snowflakes alive!

Dumbing down and creating a narcissistic, self centered society of weaklings more at home in a fantasy world than a real one will sink any attempt by the elites to attack reality.

Posted by: James Cook | Jan 7 2022 18:12 utc | 38

OT: The petition to rescind the knighthood of the exceptional war criminal Tony Blair has now collected more than 1 million signatures.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 7 2022 18:27 utc | 39

@ karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 17:49 utc | 32 and elkern | Jan 7 2022 17:58 utc | 35 with the wonderful summaries....thanks!

Yes, America once had a 93% tax rate on the rich and went to the moon but Kennedy, like Lincoln, proved who the real control lies with behind the curtain....the global money mafia who are international and don't give a shit about any group but their own.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 7 2022 18:37 utc | 40

@ James Cook 38

In V.V.Putin’s latest meet the press gathering, he actually spoke about the CIA trying to break up Russia. Moscow is well aware of what the west is trying to do and has been trying for centuries and has many strategies in place to make sure it will not happen.

As he has often said to self centered egotists who pose as journalists : “ Why do you think we are stupid? “

The C.I.A. and MI5/6 are fuming that Russia has effectively shut them out but that they have very good intelligence on what is going on inside the west and western plans for meddling in other countries.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Jan 7 2022 18:49 utc | 41

@-Norwegian 39
“The petition to rescind the knighthood of the exceptional war criminal Tony Blair has now collected more than 1 million signatures.”

Actually I have no problem with Tony Blair’s knighthood because it symbolizes institutional rot. It isn’t one rotten apple, but a poisonous tree. It’s there in plain sight for anyone brave enough to open there eyes and look.

Posted by: Moses22 | Jan 7 2022 18:57 utc | 42

@elkern
You really do live in a fantasy, don't you?
You really DIDN'T win WWII at ALL. Soviet Union was about to go into Japan, so you nuked Japan. Soviet Union won against Japan too.USA didn't do much in WWII until it was clear Soviet would roll across ALL of Europeans you had to stop them. You didn't invent Rock n Roll, you stole it (as usual) from the blacks. Went to the moon? Not sure if you did.
As for the famous Middle Class that appeared after WWII, the guy who ran the exile, Mark Amos or whatever his name is taught me a very useful piece of data: The Middle Class was an aberration, and NOT the rule. Nobody in the West/USA will tell you that. Better to remember it.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Jan 7 2022 18:57 utc | 43

As others have indicated, it is silly to blame Americans for US foreign policy because it assumes that the US foreign policy is democratic, which of course it isn't. US citizens do not govern the nation through their representatives (especially in foreign affairs) which is the definition of democracy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2022 19:13 utc | 44

Something interesting within the RAND report was their acknowledgement that Russia's current foreign commitments are compact, contiguous with Russia, and enjoy some popular support. This is in stark unstated contrast to US foreign commitments, which are large, unpopular, and far from US territory

Posted by: Quetz | Jan 7 2022 19:16 utc | 45

13 - "you have to show them who is the boss"

Many of these issues facing the Americans manifest themselves from the elites.

As one of the rubber barons of the roaring (19)twenties proclaimed openly in the media
“We are the rich, We made America and we intend to keep it that way”. The robber barons of roaring 2020s are much more global in that regard.

This 'Learned ignorance', as Prof Pem Buck calls it, has its dna from the early days of the republic where the elites would use it to mobilize the “mob” against the “savages” then the “slaves” and so on. All the while branding their populace as 'free' or 'chosen'. These manipulations seemed to be in place of the institutions of the monarchy or the church hierarchy, just to control the 'mob'.

Pres Biden's Jan 6 speech can be viewed in such context as the 'manged' division of their populace for control. This learned ignorance is further fanned by by that 'great' institution of big projects of arrogance and ignorance (HOLYwood) and their mass media.

Posted by: Rd | Jan 7 2022 19:32 utc | 46

We WERE exceptional. We won WWII (yeah, I know, USSR deserves half the credit); we invented Rock & Roll, Surfing, Computers, etc; we WENT TO THE FRIKKIN MOON.

Sorry to burst your bubble.... no people went to the moon, least of all the apollo astronauts.

1. The high output rocket motor necessary could not be made to work.

2. The Van Allen Belts would have "fried" the astronauts on the way there, and should they have survived the radiation received in and about the moon itself, they would have "fried" them again on the way back.

3. The films of the astronauts were made on a movie set, not on the moon. Note complete lack of the image of the earth in any of the photos.. Note lack of foot prints, tire tracks in the photos.

As for raising a family on one blue collar income... I don't know on which planet you lived, but growing up in Indiana, both my parents had to work, (union carpenter - RN ).

Yes, Reagan / Thatcher bought the Chicago School of Economics theories, but solely to break the unions. The elites could not otherwise cope with the rise in energy prices engendered by Peak Oil. Since debunked, only to rear it's ugly head now..

Yes, matters have deteriorated within the US to the point we are now facing implosion, but the current path is a choice, not a mandate.

INDY

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 7 2022 19:36 utc | 47

@ S Brennan | Jan 7 2022 17:04 utc | 20

A "courtier" implies a court. Who is behind the curtain? That's the mystery of the West.

(James: 3 letter agency (official) social networks (3LAs incorporated)).

Posted by: so | Jan 7 2022 19:54 utc | 48

35,

Please read Al From's book. Al forthrightly explains how he and his right-wing cadre overthrew the Democratic Party leadership and purged the party of the remaining FDRists through political motivated prosecutions and other such prevarications in the early 1980's.

By the way, as anybody who was alive and paying attention will tell you, neoliberal-ism/Friedman-ism/deregulation began with Carter..not Reagan. Who do you think nominated Volker to the Fed?

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 7 2022 19:55 utc | 49

@james, 33

CIA, NSA

Posted by: cirsium | Jan 7 2022 19:56 utc | 50

Line Islands @ 23:

Thanks for that FT link and the heads-up on Mukhtar Ablyazov. I saw a parallel between him and the exiled Russian oligarch and self-styled dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky. I would not be surprised if the two are linked in some way.

Interesting to see in the article that Ablyazov might be linked to Sergei Magnitsky. The article favours Magnitsky as having been against corruption and does not mention Magnitsky's employer Bill Browder and his investment management fund that harvested millions in stolen money from Russia in the 1990s. Any roads leading to Magnitsky would surely also lead to Browder.

I would be curious to know if Ablyazov and his connections lead also to Ruslan Tsarnyy. Tsarnyy was once married to the daughter of CIA agent (maybe ex-CIA now) Graham Fuller. Fuller assisted (sponsored?) Fethullah Gulen in applying for a visa to live in the US as an exile from Turkey. Tsarnyy's nephew's Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were implicated in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing attacks. Tsarnyy may also be connected to a group of Kazakhstan business people who raised the money to help buy British royal Prince Andrew's Sunninghill estate. The estate was bought at a higher price than it was worth at the time (well over a decade ago).

For its physical size, Kazakhstan does not have a large population (about 20 or 25 million, same as Australia) so it would not come as a huge surprise if Ablyazov and Tsarnyy turn out to be connected to each other through many links.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 7 2022 19:59 utc | 51

@norwegian, 39

The petition is run by change.org, a data harvesting operation. No account will be taken of it. If the signatures had been gathered on the UK parliament petition site, it would have occasioned a debate which would probably have been voted down by the MPs

Posted by: cirsium | Jan 7 2022 20:02 utc | 52

Posted by: Piotr Berman @ 27

Who wrote:

"To change that path would require more qualified people in Washington DC and less of the groupthink (also in the media) which creates failure after failure by its attempts to keep up its illusions about itself."

"The problem with qualified people is that they may be smart or stubborn.

The stubborn ones are sent back to where they belong, like CSU at Stanislaus.

The smart ones learn that joining the groupthink is enjoyable in many ways."

Good observation Piotr, as usual I learn much from barflies and an abundance from our host.

Perhaps 'the stubborn ones' are akin to the rebel volunteers, ".. who volunteered [and] went to war of their own accord, and were wholly unaccustomed to ao acting on any other than their own motion...But they were not used used to control of any sort, and were not disposed to obey anyone except for good and sufficient reason given...," George Carey Eggleston, " A Rebel's Recollection", 1875.

Once the qualified and independently minded are purged, that leaves the groupthink types to run the shitshow, despite the lack of 'good or sufficient reason given' to guide their decisions and actions.

They are commonplace and anything but 'exceptional.'

Posted by: Paul | Jan 7 2022 20:03 utc | 53

Oh, please, every people think they are exceptional. The Americans are not so exceptional in this case.

The us has always been selfish and brutal. This is a nation built on stolen land after all. But at least the elites back in the days came with brains. What is happening is that it's getting more and more into a caste system where there is no social mobility at all. This way, the nation does not get to tap into its best and brightest talents. The likes of Blinken and Biden have had it easy all their lives despite being mediocre. A fossilized society without social mobility create simply dumb elites which results in dumb policies.

Posted by: Cindy6 | Jan 7 2022 20:04 utc | 54

No picture of earth from moon?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_first_images_of_Earth_from_space

Posted by: blah blah | Jan 7 2022 20:35 utc | 55

@Posted by: Julian | Jan 7 2022 16:46 utc | 17

"Well, I can see your posts."

How do you know that? How do you know that you see all my posts?

They were not posting for a period of time, then I became unblocked.

How do you know what you can't see?

Who else is being blocked?

Posted by: librul | Jan 7 2022 20:39 utc | 56

bureaucracies run on bureaucrats who are incapable of thinking even a vowel that is contrary to the mission statement of their offices and depts. one only rises thru the hierarchy by affirming without equivocation or the slightest hesitation the stated values, beliefs, practices, etc., of the bureau.

that ain't gonna change cuz we get more better Yale grads running the show. the educational institutions are producing the kinds of ambitious brain-dead lovers of Big Brother that they are meant to produce. this includes sciences and medicine, no less than law, econ, etc.

so just where are these people going to come from to alter the course of the ship of state? if not the Hoover Institution or Wilson School or whatever at Hopkins? when attempting to change anything is anathema to the only goal that matters: successful participation?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Jan 7 2022 20:44 utc | 57

US officialdom, and many Americans, got a simpler problem 1st: denial of death. A more appropriate analogy than this story about Pompey is the final speech of pericles in thucydides. try telling your average American, much less any politician, that, because "all flesh is grass", empires like everything else fade. try telling them that the "plague" might be their undoing. get ready to get stoned. and not in the good, plant-based way.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Jan 7 2022 20:52 utc | 58

"A fragile psyche weak in self-esteem and prowess is sensitive to signs of its decline or ordinariness."

Identity politics is built from this fragility.

Does one fixate on one's femur if that femur is healthy and functional? When was the last time anyone here thought about their femur at all? The normal person only fixates on some aspect of self when that aspect is broken. Healthy people don't fixate on their identities. For the healthy individual an identity is just something they happen to have, like a couple thigh bones or a pair of nostrils. The only reason to fixate on it would be if that identity were shattered.

You read that correctly: The Identity Politics crowd are damaged goods. They are literally psychologically ill. These people are already dissociated from reality to varying degrees and I cannot see any way back to sanity for them. On the other hand, if everyone had shattered identities that their attention was in constant orbit around like a broken tooth, then such fixation would be normal, wouldn't it? Identity fixation would no longer be a mental illness if everyone was afflicted with it, or at least that is the logic behind the mad insistence that everyone embrace Identity Politics over the last several years. When queried about their identity the healthy individual might, after some thought, reply "Fishing enthusiast", or "Railfan", or "Drummer", but for the identity-fixated this kind of reply is a clear indication of "privilege" and must be demonized and forbidden. Valid identities can only be based upon grievance; that is to say, the only valid identities are broken ones.

My belief is that Identity Politics is just a symptom of the overall decay of western culture and not the cause. The cause for the dissociation from reality in the West is good ol` fashioned Marxist alienation. The rise of Identity Politics among a portion of the population is nothing more than individuals who are already damaged and distanced from material reality clinging to what remains of their fragmented identity when their societal bonds are lost.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 7 2022 21:18 utc | 59

@47 - like in that movie with OJ, right?

Posted by: ptb | Jan 7 2022 21:21 utc | 60

Hoyeru | Jan 7 2022 18:57 utc | 43

I understand your frustration. The Russians took the biggest hit, sacrificed the most combatants and civilians, making the "winners" of the war the Americans who were protected by two oceans, and coming out industrially on top with the ability to dominate the planet for the next 70 years. Imho, the primary contribution the Americans provided was sinking enough Japanese tankers coming from the Dutch East Indies, (Indonesia), to starve the Japanese of oil. The Americans gained so much more.

Speaking of exceptionalism, Consortium News has reported a new poll showing that Americans have other issues in mind, beyond military adventures. Hint! It's not about wokism, but survival as human beings.

https://consortiumnews.com/2022/01/07/73457/

Posted by: Michael.j | Jan 7 2022 21:22 utc | 61

Look at what Craig Murray wrote about this:

"Knowledge of Kazakhstan in the West is extremely slim, particularly among western media, and many responses to events there have been wildly off-beam."

"The narrative on the right is that Putin is looking to annex Kazakhstan, or at least the majority ethnic Russian areas in the north. This is utter nonsense."

"The narrative on the left is that the CIA is attempting to instigate another colour revolution and put a puppet regime into Nur-Sultan (as the capital is called this week). This also is utter nonsense."

"The lack of intellectual flexibility among western commentators entrapped in the confines of their own culture wars is a well-established feature of modern political society. Distorting a picture into this frame is not so easily detectable where the public have no idea what the picture normally looks like, as with Kazakhstan."

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2022/01/what-kazakhstan-isnt/

Posted by: Aaron Al | Jan 7 2022 21:31 utc | 62

Once the qualified and independently minded are purged, that leaves the groupthink types to run the shitshow, despite the lack of 'good or sufficient reason given' to guide their decisions and actions.

They are commonplace and anything but 'exceptional.'

Posted by: Paul | Jan 7 2022 20:03 utc | 53

There is a real problem: can we identify competent thinkers on international strategy or economy that a reform minded member of Congress or a President could invite as advisor or for an executive position. On international strategy, I guess there exist "realists" that are not entirely realistic in my opinion, but at least they try, on economy, healthcare and justice, I am not sure, but I may be ignorant. Of two contenders that were raising hopes, Gabbard and Sanders, the first lacked experts that would be visible in her following, and I just do not know if Sanders had anyone other than a lighter shade of "lesser evil", meaning, having some reasonable well argued statements on record, but with possible doubt that they add to something coherent.

A litmus test: USA has shown their hegemonic mettle by ruining Venezuela with "maximum sanctions". Was there ANY benefit in it to Americans of any kind, and if yes, to whom? Doing sh.t just because you can has some demerits after all.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 7 2022 21:32 utc | 63

Michael.j @61--

Excellent observation. Your comment is one of several reasons why I reference what was promised during WW2 to the Allied Nations that was never allowed to occur at the war's end and is only now coming into view as a distinct possibility. It's also important to stand up and notice what nation impeded those promises and the political-economic forms it put into place in the areas of its control. Hint, look at Ukraine, the Baltics and Poland for current examples. That same Empire fought a genocidal war for control of East Asia that it ultimately lost; but 47 years later, few of its citizens know the genuine--hideous--story, and not one person who perpetrated the overall atrocity was ever held to account, unlike Hitler's minions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 21:42 utc | 64

Speaking of the topic to hand, this book is worth a look-

“American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News―From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.”

A little bit verbose & repetitive at times, no book is perfect, but lays out the case very effectively from a racist/class war trajectory of USA colonial history up to the present day (2019). The tie in with “innocence”, is a very useful & clever cultural contrast instilled into the “settler/cowboy myth” by the power elite, as a foil to the more well known “exceptionalism” & is an excellent propaganda counter-balance I hadn’t considered so much before.

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/41953443-american-exceptionalism-and-american-innocence

Posted by: pSi | Jan 7 2022 21:48 utc | 65

Piotr Berman @63--

Nice idea but before anything like that can become reality the Duopoly and its Oligarchic backers must be purged. Trump had the correct saying--Drain the Swamp--but never intended to follow through as his actions proved. Currently courtesy of Jan 6, 2021, the masses are now a feared entity, particularly by D-Party Neoliberals. Even reactionary R-Party members have that fear as displayed by their attitude toward Trump. As Don Bacon commented above, there's no democracy at the national level where it matters most.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 21:50 utc | 66

There is a gossip website the uses the word "exceptional" for people acting very very stupid. Kind of describes the US's elites perfectly in the foreign policy area.

Posted by: A random Jim | Jan 7 2022 21:52 utc | 67

Karlofi @32

Michael Brenner begins his discussion of the psychological basis of some of America's delusions with the comment that "fading prowess is one of the most difficult things for humans to cope with--whether it be an individual or a nation. By nature we prize our strength and competence: we dread decline and its intimations of extinction. This is especially so in the United States where for many the individual and the collective persona are inseparable."

Your analysis/summary makes it sound like you don't suffer from the condition of "fading prowess."

How is that possible?

Posted by: Gulag | Jan 7 2022 22:02 utc | 68

pSi @65--

Thanks for linking to that open preview. As Zinn and others have long noted, the Establishment Narrative of US History omits a great mass of information crucial to accurately understanding what the Outlaw US Empire is in its essence. Unfortunately, very few of those really needing to read such a book won't because they can't afford the time and expense to do so. And that's the #1 problem I constantly confront, plus the fact that most of those with megaphones are liars extolling false narratives. Just look at the effort mounted to sell Russiagate. Again, thanks for pointing to that book!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 22:16 utc | 69

I was watching this Afghani hidden camera show where the main guy talks to these 2 young guys in a tea shop to make them an offer.

The offer: there are 2 dead Americans who fell to their death while skydiving and their bodies needed to be washed before presenting them to their families who will be arriving the next day. All they had to do was hose them with water. The guy started from $500 per body and reached $5,000....this is in a country where avg salary is around $150/month.

The boys refused...saying if they were Muslims they'd have to do it (religious duty) without any money...but dead bodies grossed them out.

All US had to offer in Afg was $. And it only attracted the opportunist and the lowlives...hence their failure.

Since everything in the US is about money, they think that is also the case with the whole world. And herein lies the reason for their failure

Posted by: nme | Jan 7 2022 22:17 utc | 70

many wise words in this thread - i think that most of the ideas are less mutually exclusive than they seem.

i was inspired by k to re-watch the 1927 film Metropolis. this 81 second clip is a great visual for appreciating the vast age of the shitshow: https://emalm.com/?v=dpoIo

Posted by: Rae | Jan 7 2022 22:17 utc | 71

I agree with the assessment but a handful of robber barons, lucky winners of the capitalist lottery and their hangers on are not America.
Most Americans greatly disagree with US foreign policy and its murderous intent in spite of a formidable propaganda machine. They greatly resent the wealth they create being handed out to cheats and grifters in the war industry and despise the crimes committed in their name.
Our government is no longer ours but a victim of a hostile takeover.
We need deep and fundamental change if we are going to get out of hole the 1% dug for us. If we are not going to descend into being a third rate, bad tempered world problem we need to reclaim our nation.

Posted by: CD Waller | Jan 7 2022 22:18 utc | 72

WOW! A terrific discussion about a concept I have as a worldview for some years now. It was summed up by: The United States does not have a history as much as it has a mythology. Congratulations to you all. I think the essay and comments show a remarkable understanding of the problem that the United States and its members of empire have with the rest of the globe.
Regards,
L.

Posted by: Larry Paul Johnson | Jan 7 2022 22:19 utc | 73

Another hidden video clip

This out-of-work actor was offered a role in an American movie, a few thousand dollars, and the promise of a trip to the Oscars for a 1-minute role.

He was to be a driver for an NGO that rides a SUV and splashes folks on the street and someone yells 'You motherfucker'

The guy refused....asking for another role even if he is paid a few hundred dollars but one where he is a teacher or a positive role.

'I can't take the money while my dear mother who is dead is associated with wrong words. I have lived with utter respect in my community all my life and am not gonna throw that away for money' lol.... I am paraphrasing

Posted by: nme | Jan 7 2022 22:23 utc | 74

Gulag @68--

You ask: How is it possible that I "don't suffer from the condition of 'fading prowess'"?

Oh, I could very easily become a complete cynic, clam-up and withdraw from it all, becoming a recluse who doesn't give a damn about anything or anybody. But that would cost me my marriage to the rock that keeps me from sliding into the cynic's abyss. Then there're the many years I cared for my mom as she slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's with essentially zero help from my siblings. Yes, that took a great deal of personal fortitude and sacrifice; so, I carry on in case I suffer the same fate knowing that she would cheer me on if she could. I could say the same of my Aunt who told me to stick it to the bastards, and not to surrender regardless as fighting for Truth and Humanity were extremely noble goals that all too few attempt. And I do it for my daughter since she employs all her time fighting for herself.

I suppose the easy answer is to admit I have no prowess to fade from--at this time that is--since I never made it as a professional sports star or GM of an international hotel chain or some other sort of what might be seen as an exalted position. But, if I had followed those paths or some other, I would've failed my mom, my aunt, and likely my daughter--and I would never have met the outstanding woman I wedded.

I might ask the question: When did the USA--now known as the Outlaw US Empire--have any claim to prowess? As an historian, I would answer that it has never been in a position to honestly make any such claim.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 22:47 utc | 75

Exceptionalism covers most of the anglosphere. The majority of the anglosphere believe what has been in their lifetimes and recent history can never change and cannot envisage any other culture leading the world or even sharing in this. History says this will change.
US and the anglosphere have crossed Russia's red line and are very close to crossing China's red line in our attempts to pull them down.
Any agreement with US has to be ratified into law in the US rather than simply signed by a president as seen with the Iran nuke deal and that simply wont happen until Russia has nuke tipped hypersonic missiles pointed at the US so call lawmakers and decision makers from just outside their borders.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 7 2022 22:49 utc | 76

From time to time I'd like to introduce some geopolitical perspectives as viewed by people whose views are not generally uploaded onto the global stage due to dominance of western MSM and their contempt of opinions that do not follow theirs. But these perspectives are often signs of developing global trend and perhaps of interest to informed audiences such as barflies of MOA. Here is one commentary on today's op-ed at Oriental Daily News. Not being a translator by training nor trade, I'll just translate the gist of the commentor's views instead of his article verbatim. This commentor is the head of a Hong Kong think tank and an editor of the Oriental Daily newspaper of Hong Kong. The comments in italics blow:

I originally thought America and NATO would instigate disturbance on the Balkan Peninsula and Bosnia to contain Serbia and Russia, in aid of Ukraine in their offensives against Russia. But perhaps due to EU's reluctance, America found it difficult to incite NATO to be the bad guy. Instead, while retreating from Afghanistan and Central Asia, they putsch a color revolution in Kazakhstan to attack Russia and China. America's cultivation in Kazakhstan has been a while. Kazakhs adopted a balanced relation strategy and maintained good relationships with all sides. Their oil/gas resources and geographic location place them at the top of economic developments in Central Asia. Even though non-democratic, their people enjoy high degrees of freedom, and looks likely to continue stable development and to benefit from China's BRI.

Presently they are in the midst of power transfers at the top leadership level, so there are internal rivalries. The protests arose from imported global market inflation and gave America a chance. External interference is a certainty for the protests to so quickly turn into a nationwide insurrection. The attack on government and the demands for resignations are hallmarks of color revolution, American style. Then there was the influx of USD to paid for the expenses, just as was in 2014 at Maidan.

America is not shooting for this revolution to succeed. There were two at Kyrgyzstan already but America still not gaining political control. Kazakhstan would not be different. The success in Ukraine in 2014 was Putin's miscalculation. He was still hopeful of amicable relationship with the west and did not want a total breakdown. Today is different. CSTO has announced sending troops, and Kazakhstan is determined to use military force to suppress the upheaval. This will be over with in a matter of days. The west will condemn and sanction; MSM will demonize. Would America take advantage of this opportunity and push Ukraine to militarily invade Donbass?

The Russo-American conflict is deepening. It's a chance for China to actively support Russia instead of watching on the sideline. America's color rev in Kazakhstan is to encroach on China's border, and if Russia loses, China cannot survive alone either. Perhaps, while US is using Kazakhstan to help out Ukraine, China should use its military might in the South China Sea, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Guam to divert the American.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 7 2022 22:55 utc | 77

too scents #8

"Well at least the USA doesn't have a monarch."

HRH Fauci I is close then there is HRH William Gates I

Regardless, it has a royal court totally obedient to its masters voice, ridiculous in its thought and behavior, clearly in late stage syphilis, and absolutely dismissive of the needs of the people. It is something like all the royal courts of history in a single package - a collective absurdity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 7 2022 22:56 utc | 78

- William Gruff | 59

The rise of Identity Politics among a portion of the population is nothing more than individuals who are already damaged and distanced from material reality clinging to what remains of their fragmented identity when their societal bonds are lost.

I tend to agree with this, since I've noticed that a lot of Identity Politics centres around trying to create some sense of connection. One doesn't just have an identity, one is part of a "community" of those who share that identity. But these aren't communities in the conventional sense of people who regularly interact with one another, have shared history, and shared social bonds.

Rather it's a community based on a shared adjective. Now, this makes sense in certain contexts, like authors having a common interest in royalty rates, or left-handed people having a common interest in where to buy left-handed tools. But beyond such common concerns, the members of such groups may have little to nothing in common.

Not so with Identity Politics, where those who are part of an identity community are assumed to have more in common than just an adjective. And, those who share the adjective and common concerns, but otherwise differ, get ostracised and denigrated as not really being whatever the adjective is, or being < adjective > on the outside, but not on the inside.

It all seems to be a desperate attempt to impose social bonds where there are none. An artificial substitute for something that should be organic.

Or, as I like to say: it's not about your adjectives, it's about your verbs; not what you are, but what you do. Identity is for those who lack character.

Posted by: Kukulkan | Jan 7 2022 23:17 utc | 79

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 7 2022 22:55 utc | 77

"The attack on government and the demands for resignations are hallmarks of color revolution, American style. Then there was the influx of USD to paid for the expenses, just as was in 2014 at Maidan."

This is an example of why I read MoA... if I can wrap my not-so-gifted brain around the above, my understanding is that Oriental voice translated this report/comment from Chinese (cantonese or mandarin? what do I care?) to english which gives people like me insight into an informed perspective that very few deplorable USAians can get.

Thank you. thank you again!

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 7 2022 23:35 utc | 80

Oriental Voice @77--

Thanks for providing that op/ed! One of the key shared points of Russia and China's international behavior is adherence to the rules as laid down in the UN Charter. Both nations are initial members of the Friends of the UN Charter organization, the point being to make as great a distinction as possible between their behavior and the continual lawbreaking by the Outlaw US Empire. Within the statements they make with other international groups and individual nations, they always emphasize the requirement to carry on relations within the confines of the Charter. That policy is there to draw a very overt distinction between law abiding and outlaw nations, which IMO is clearly Ideological. You'll also note that in their diplomatic language they're always inclusive of all nations the vast majority of time, welcoming one and all to join their endeavors. And then there're the two very different political-economic philosophies employed by the two blocs--UN Charter-based people centered development aimed at championing Common Folk--and the hybrid combination of Neoliberalism and Neocolonialism that aims at the exploitation and domination of Common Folk to the benefit of a small international ultra-class.

It's been delayed, but Henry Wallace's Century of the Common Man he envisioned emerging out of WW2 is finally on the march on a global scale with the vanguard in Eurasia aiming to spread the Movement to Africa and South America. It appears the Neoliberal Bloc is being ignored, but that's not genuine as any nation can join provided to get with the overall program, and that's where we see the people's lack of choice displayed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 7 2022 23:38 utc | 81

Some music to exorcise the UKUSAi demons.

Percussion and didgeridoo for 8 minutes utoob.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 7 2022 23:41 utc | 82

@11

this is the way

when summer turns to fall
come the winter rain
the eagle will call
to the folded crane
wait for me at waters edge
till we meet again


Posted by: mcohen | Jan 7 2022 23:54 utc | 83

At this point the only real question is whether the destruction of the American illusion can be accomplished without the destruction of the world itself.

WJ | Jan 7 2022 15:48 utc | 3:


We'll find out eventually. However, I don't believe the World would be destroyed but will not be walking away from this unscathed.


Well at least the USA doesn't have a monarch.

too scents | Jan 7 2022 15:58 utc | 8:

Yet. I'm half expecting someone to officially declare the Republic needs to be reorganized into an Empire with an Emperor.


James @33: I believe there's about 17 three letter agencies. Of course, we all know the infamous two.


Beibdnn | Jan 7 2022 18:49 utc | 41: Honestly, Putin needs to give the order to take these pond scum out from the 3LA's.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 7 2022 23:58 utc | 84

Regarding an increasing (it seems to me) practice that is an enigma to me. . .
Why do Americans like to display their flag so much?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2022 23:59 utc | 85

When I see discussions like this dissecting US "exceptionalism", I instinctively reach out for old dog-eared notes I made years ago from Morris Berman's book "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of America" to see how much what Berman had to say is still relevant. What he said then nearly 20 years ago is still frighteningly relevant. Among other things he discussed what American character is, its characteristics and obsessions, its lack of stability and restlessness, and the consequences of those characteristics and tendencies: self-aggrandisement, extreme individualism and the inability to work with others or to work through problems that need collective action and solutions (what Russians might call the non-agreement capability).

Also relevant is Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies' "American Dream / Global Nightmare" which details 10 interlinked characteristics of US society that the authors saw as feeding and being reinforced by US exceptionalism, including the role that Hollywood plays in promoting and projecting US power and exceptionalism, and in working with Wall St and Washington (and the Pentagon especially) in feeding the myths Washington has about itself and US power.

These books were written years ago and Davies passed away several years ago but they may still be useful reading.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8 2022 0:03 utc | 86

George W Oprisko | Jan 7 2022 19:36 utc | 47:

Sorry to burst your bubble but the US did go to the Moon. IIRC, the Soviets had launched a spy satellite that followed Apollo 11 just to confirm that the US really made it to the Moon. The Apollo 11 astronauts caught a glimpse of it, reporting it as an UFO because none of them knew what it was. After confirmation, the Soviets forced the spy satellite to crash on the surface of the Moon. IF the Moon landings were faked, the Soviets would have wasted no time in debunking it.

Today we have both China and India with their own Luna orbiter's and they must have looked for the Apollo landing sites to test their equipment. Again, IF the US Moon landings were fake, the Chinese would have spoken up by now. They certainly have the motivation to do so.


-------------

The Russo-American conflict is deepening. It's a chance for China to actively support Russia instead of watching on the sideline. America's color rev in Kazakhstan is to encroach on China's border, and if Russia loses, China cannot survive alone either. Perhaps, while US is using Kazakhstan to help out Ukraine, China should use its military might in the South China Sea, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Guam to divert the American.

Oriental Voice | Jan 7 2022 22:55 utc | 77:

I believe that analyst may be a bit overconfident on China's naval strength. Yes it's certainly on it's way to become the next biggest Navy but they haven't reached that point. IMHO, at best they can enforce their hold onto the SCS and maybe achieve air superiority over Taiwan. A ground assault on Taiwan is a bit dicey. But there's no way China today can do anything useful against South Korea, Japan and Guam at the same time.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 8 2022 0:07 utc | 87

Dissociation = Mental Dysfunction = Zombies

Little chance then of those pesky genocidal bastards suffering the fate of Raskolnikov in Crime & Punishment.

They've come full circle from the Wild West. Last night I had this epiphany whilst background watching another US Hollywood propaganda movie, let's call it. We Came, We shot You In The Face, We Won. Yes, 7 of us took on those 14 thousand Savages, who'd never read the Bible and refused to allow us access to the minerals on their land. Even Batman has become some sinister occultist, Policemen portrayed as normal folks and not badged outlaws, The little girl on the Yellow Brick Road will blow you for a score.

Still, their influence is on the wain. In a few years they'll hopefully fall off the map, like Greece did, will no longer be centre of attention exporting fake news, money, more expensive gas & WMD's.

Posted by: WTFUD | Jan 8 2022 0:20 utc | 88

@ Jen 86
. . .lack of stability and restlessness, and the consequences of those characteristics and tendencies: self-aggrandisement, extreme individualism and the inability to work with others or to work through problems

Perhaps that's why so many flags are being displayed, to honor the "freedom" of being a selfish jerk?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 8 2022 0:22 utc | 89

Paul Robinson's op/ed uses several sources to point out the lack of Russian government attempts to prepare its citizens for an invasion of Ukraine whereas the media and most politicos of the Outlaw US Empire, its vassals and fellow travelers continually bray to anyone who'll listen that Russia's about to invade or already has invaded and will do so again while equivocating Putin with Hitler. As Robinson notes:

"In the case of war, one indicator is efforts by the state leadership to prepare its people. It’s rare for a state just to jump into war out of the blue. The political groundwork has to be laid first so the population accepts it. So, if you spot a ramping-up of state-driven war rhetoric, you have grounds for suspecting hostile intent."

His sources and himself note the complete absence of the above. However, such preparation is exactly what we see coming from the mouths of the Anne Applebaums within Neoliberalstan:

"As Radzikhovsky concludes, 'All the presidents, senators, political science professors, famous publicists and journalists cannot lie so brazenly! Of course they can. Lying is their craft, and if they don’t lie, what will they say?' What indeed?"

Facing such garbage on a daily basis, it's no wonder that Solovyev thanked Lavrov for becoming more aggressive diplomatically.

Radzikhovsky's essay that Robinson cites can be read in Russian here. Yes, it provides a very different take on Putin.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2022 0:26 utc | 90

I'm in agreement with these comments:

Valid identities can only be based upon grievance; that is to say, [they're] broken ones.

William Gruff | Jan 7 2022 21:18 utc | 59

Identity is for those who lack character.

Posted by: Kukulkan | Jan 7 2022 23:17 utc | 79

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 8 2022 1:07 utc | 91

@migueljose, #80:

Thank you for your reply. I too learned from your frequent reports of what's going on in Latin America. We benefit from reading each other. In written form, there is no difference between Mandarin and Cantonese. But yes, the comments I posted was written in Chinese, which few in the Americas are familiar with.

@karlof1, #81:

Thank you too for adding comments to mine with respect to Sino-Russo collaboration at the UN to advance multipolarity on global issues. I am kind of disappointed at the feeble role that UN often plays on important issues, partly due to politics that carries the Empire's remnant soft power, partly due to many UN officials themselves being brainwashed and compromised by Empire's rhetoric and narratives. But over time, I think, this will change, and Russia/China will have louder voices at the UN.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 8 2022 1:14 utc | 92

Here's a report on massive foreign funding for foreign backed NGOs in that country.
Of course no relationship to the outbreak of violence.
Note that the original Tiananmen protest was also because of livelihood issues and supported initially by young communists.

https://sputniknews.com/20220107/coincidence-us-foreign-ngos-may-have-played-key-role-in-social-unrest-in-kazakhstan-expert-says-1092101738.html

Posted by: Surferket | Jan 8 2022 1:21 utc | 93

Black Cloud @ 4 said in part;

"America's "exceptionalism" is driven by greed, plain and simple. Wealth is power, and if you have ever known anyone with wealth you know exceptionalism. It is celebrated every day in the media where centibillionaires are the brightest stars in the universe."

Nailed it BC. Almost from the "get go".

Great rant b, thanks.

With her books, elevating greed as one of humanities highest virtues, we can also blame one Ayn Rand for the U$A's infatuation with greed.

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 8 2022 1:22 utc | 94

@ Oriental Voice | Jan 8 2022 1:14 utc | 92 who wrote

"
I am kind of disappointed at the feeble role that UN often plays on important issues, partly due to politics that carries the Empire's remnant soft power, partly due to many UN officials themselves being brainwashed and compromised by Empire's rhetoric and narratives. But over time, I think, this will change, and Russia/China will have louder voices at the UN.
"

I have a little insider info that says that the existing UN is too much a High Court for Empire and must replaced rather than revitalized.
Given the existence of the SCO, BRICS and other trade related groupings, birthing a new "UN" would be a good process to go through for humanity at this time, IMO.
Those other organizations can be looked at to see what is working and what is not and build consensus from there.

Again, IMO, nothing will change in the West unless/until the God of Mammon cult is dealt with on a social contract level. The existing social contract in the West would become very stark with a "Build a New UN" sort of global effort...lets make it happen!!!

Again, thanks for adding to the conversation.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 8 2022 1:27 utc | 95

@Ian2, #87:

Well, you'll have to argue with the analyst I quoted on how feasible it is for China to take on the Empire. Here is an Op-Ed on today's Global Times. China seems quite confident on that endeavor, I'll say.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202201/1245382.shtml

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 8 2022 1:33 utc | 96

@psychohistorian, #95:

I don't think China and/or Russia are interested in spinning out SCO or BRICS into a rival org. vis-a-vis UN. That would split the world into two camps, at loggerhead at each other. The global status quo has not evolved to such a stage that this situation would be desirable than the present one.

In any case, I myself don't really advocate for an all-powerful UN. The preset one will do for now :-)

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 8 2022 1:39 utc | 97

Posted by George W Oprisko @ 47

I have to agree with Ian2

Apollo11 did go to the moon. If it was staged in a film studio Australia's CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope would have needed to be a part of the charade.

https://csiropedia.csiro.au/Parkes-radio-telescope-and-the-Apollo-11-moon-landing/

A late friend of mine worked there.

As an aside, when he went to the US he made it to the fence of Area 51, just to have a look. He visited the local fire station and flashed his NSW fire brigade badge but couldn't get them to say anything. The 'aliens' were most likely deformed humans, used for experimental purposes.

Posted by: Paul | Jan 8 2022 1:48 utc | 98

@Ian2 [87]

I don't know if the USA went to the Moon (I am pretty sure they didn't) but there is a third outcome that is rarely considered. Imagine spending vast sums of money, labour, effort and political capital on a project that was supposed to dwarf all human achievement. It was the greatest scientific and engineering accomplishment in history on the par with the pyramids and other Wonders of the World.

What would you say if 50 years later, most people (except us old or middle-aged witnesses) do not really care to the extent that they are completely blase about it and large percentages simply do not believe NASA's story. No primary records remain, the wondrous technology has been lost and the supernova that was Apollo programme is rapidly fading into deep oblivion. In another 50 years, hardly anybody will have known about it. How's that for a fate worse than death?

Posted by: Anubis64 | Jan 8 2022 2:02 utc | 99

cindy6 @54 said;"A fossilized society without social mobility create simply dumb elites which results in dumb policies."

Yep!!!

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 8 2022 2:06 utc | 100

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