Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production


©2015, UrbisMedia-Ltd.

©2015, UrbisMedia-Ltd.

It’s perhaps a lame verbal pun.  But at least it gives you a heads-up on where I might be going with this piece and you can jump off the bus right here and get back to playing Fantasy Football or binging on re-runs of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. (Okay, that was a cheap shot and I shouldn’t use intimidation to get you to read my stirring prose.  See how much I can digress when I am not sure exactly where I am going to go with my clever pun-ish(ing) title—yikes! a pun within a pun!)

“Agnes, what time do the Kardashians come on?”

“Look it up yourself, Ralph, I’m reading this fascinating piece on Dragon City Journal, by that handsome, brilliant . . .

“Never mind; I found it.  It’s on now. . . . My God, can you believe the ass on that woman!”

“Whadjya say, Ralph?”

“Nuthin’ dear. Nuthjin’.”

“Don’t let me come in there and find you touching yourself inappropriately again, Ralph . . .”.

“Keep on reading, Agnes.  You can tell me all about it later.  Keep on reading . . .”.

Okay, I know you want to know more about Agnes and Ralph (and maybe there will be something more at the end of this piece), but my pun is beginning to grow mold on it.  So here goes (I think).

 We are now well used to hearing from apologists for America was interventions and military adventures abroad that our intentions are noble, from supporting incipient democratic movements, to protecting our freedoms here on the home front from the evil machinations of jihadists.  Indeed, the sometimes explicit  (and always implicit) explanation for our bellicose foreign-policy is that without the global military activities of the number one superpower in the world there would be international chaos, or sharia law everywhere. It would be the end of civilization as we think we know it on Duck Dynasty and The Surgically-Enhanced Housewives of Dallas.  What holds the world together in that view is a Pax Americana.*

Hey, a countervailing, and I think better, argument can be made that what is abroad on much of the planet is a, finally, Pox Americana. We are turning out to be more of the problem than the solution, perhaps we are turning out to be the genesis of the problem.  We are like a pandemic ideological influenza always looking for a host to exploit.

 Now I know what some of you are going to do: you’re going to haul out World War II and tell me that were it not for American non-isolationism, I would be writing this piece in some corrupted argot composed of German and Japanese.  No way, José (that’s Spanish), you’re not going to play the D-Day card on me (anyway, you weren’t there either).  I’m not talkin’ about WWII; but I will be about what negative externalities our success in that just cause have lead us astray.

Americans seem incapable of putting themselves in the position of the other.  They are paranoid about the presence of unarmed Middle Eastern minorities in their cities, towns and malls, but how would they feel of there were Iraqi, Afghan, Yemeni or Somali military bases scattered around American territory, or missile-armed drones and spy satellites plying our skies? In fact, among the estimated eight hundred military bases around the world there are American bases in every Middle eastern country except Iran (and several American politicians have been pushing the idea of bombing that country).  Indeed, this does not include the often looming presence of U.S. submarines and carrier forces (part of a Navy that is larger than the next seventeen navies in the world put together and a military budget that is larger than the next ten countries in the world put together) off their coasts.

It is not difficult to portray many of the forces that we contend with around the world as bastards who have no respect for human rights and care not a wit for democracy. Too many are. But in fact, many of the leaders of these nations and forces are people that Americans have supported over the years because it suited our interests. There are plenty of photographs of American diplomats amicably shaking the hands of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Hosni Mubarak, among other creeps that we subsequently demonized when turning on them has suited our purposes. It is difficult to portray us as the good guys in this international drama, pitted against barbarians who would make videos of beheadings, when we maintain people in Guantánamo for years without ever charging them, have the ugly photographic evidence of what we did at Abu Graib, and now have a report by our own Senate committee of the torture and renditions of often innocent people.  In the name of democracy we support useful tyrants; in the name of human rights we apply inhumane methods.  In the name of promoting soverign states we invade and install military bases.  We are hypocrites.

When the response of these people is to attack us at home with a very limited means available to them, or abroad in their countries with beheadings, we give no account for the fact that we have given them what we would regard is more than sufficient cause were we being treated by them in the same manner. Our response is to characterize “them” as being fundamentally corrupted by their culture, political ideology and their religion, an easy red herrings to present to a largely misinformed and ignorant American public from the reality that it is we who are primarily at fault by acting as international bullies. It is the same twisted logic that the media buys into that we see when demonstrations against police racism and brutality are pretzeled into a propaganda that it is the police who are being the victims of prejudice.

“They “don’t ‘”hate our freedoms,” as the Bush Cheney propaganda fed to us; rather they hate us, or more accurately our foreign policy. Our media like to portray that “they” are subjected to the brainwashing and propaganda of their leadership, which is precisely the brainwashing and propaganda  to which we are subjected to.

This is to justify that America is in a state of almost perpetual war that is instigated by and for the profits of an immensely powerful military-industrial complex. Ironically that complex was built up for the purpose of fighting World War II, the last War in which this country was a just participant and victorious,  but which has subsequently found it necessary to instigate continuous war  against new enemies in order to ensure its profitability. The formation of the Warsaw Pact in Eastern Europe served the purpose of a necessary “enemy” for several decades and once that disintegrated, the Middle East has replaced it.

Americans will continue to be kept in the stage of low-grade terror, much of it instigated by a cabal of defense industry is, compliant media and financial institutions, and purchased politicians. Volunteer Armed Forces that are universally portrayed as “heroes” as they are hauled out parades and halftime flag-waving extravaganzas that professional football games, for a stance of Lee “protecting our freedoms” that are under greater threat from the American government then any other.  We have reached our Orwellian Days of doublespeak: War is Peace.  And it’s good for business, too.

“Hey, Agnes, Bravo has a new series: “Christian War-Widows Alaskan Survival.”

“Is that the one I read about where they have to hunt mooses and bears that might be fitted with IEDs?

“Yah.  Sarah Palin’s the host.  Gotta watch that one.   . . . Is the plural of moose really mooses?


© 2015, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 1.7.2015)

*Like its predecessor Pax Romana, the American putative creation of an irenic world is founded upon conquest, subjugation exploitation, and enslavement.