This is what American exceptionalism really means


Lee Fang of The Intercept is attending the gaggle of Republican presidential hopefuls currently attending a party gathering in New Hampshire and strutting their stuff, hoping to win the affection of voters in the state the holds the first primary election, even though it will not be held until January 2016. He rounded up some of their reactions to the suggestion put forth by freshman senator Tom Cotton (R-Israel) that it would be easy to get rid of Iran’s nuclear weapons in a bombing campaign that lasted just “several days”.

I can understand governments having secret war plans to meet any and all contingencies. But it always amazes me how openly American politicians talk in public about bombing or invading or otherwise attacking other countries. They don’t seem to think it at all unseemly or downright weird. In fact they are very casual about it, as if they are discussing what to have for lunch.

Imagine the uproar if the top leaders in (say) Russia at a public meeting openly discussed the merits of bombing Ukraine or top Chinese politicians did something similar with regard to Taiwan.

Our politicians are like a gang of high school bullies talking among themselves in the presence of a victim as to whether they should beat him up or not, secure in their confidence that the victim cannot strike back.

Comments

  1. says

    But it always amazes me how openly American politicians talk in public about bombing or invading or otherwise attacking other countries. They don’t seem to think it at all unseemly or downright weird.

    Article 2, paragraph 4
    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

    Of course, I can’t take the UN seriously because it has never sanctioned the US for its failure to live up to the non-proliferation treaty, and proliferating nukes to NATO. So a small matter like international threat-making hardly signifies.

  2. malefue says

    Weird? Frightening seems to describe it much better.
    I just imagined a german opposition party’s member suggesting to bomb another country. Their career would be practically over. Having a whole generation decimated and your entire country destroyed by war seems to instill at least a degree of hesitation at casually advising the death of thousands of people.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum @ # 2: All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force …

    But that concerns only international relations – it has nothing to do with bloviating, chest-thumping, and dick-swinging to impress the rubes and chumps in the Homeland!

  4. malefue says

    oops, fucked up the quote, here it is:

    But it always amazes me how openly American politicians talk in public about bombing or invading or otherwise attacking other countries. They don’t seem to think it at all unseemly or downright weird.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    malefue @ # 3: I just imagined a german opposition party’s member suggesting to bomb another country. Their career would be practically over.

    So whatever happened to those members of the Social-Democrat/Green coalition who not only suggested but carried out having the Luftwaffe bomb Belgrade (again) under the orders of Bill Clinton?

  6. lanir says

    Meh. The UN is made up of member states, very few (if any) of whom appear to casual observation to be both capable of and interested in making it be the sort of organization it’s intended to be. By and large it appears to be a forum for grandstanding. Sometimes that can be used wonderfully such as Emma Watson’s statements but that doesn’t seem to change the underlying nature.

  7. malefue says

    @ Pierce R. Butler:

    You’re right of course, Greens and Social Democrats supported the military efforts against Serbia. I would say that was an exception though, since it was relatively clear by then that a genocide was underway. Given Germany’s history, it was almost unavoidable for the Bundestag to go any other way.
    Your point stands either way, I wasn’t trying suggest there weren’t any circumstances under which war would have political support outside of conservative or Neo-Lib circles.

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