A few years ago, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin responded to journalist Oksana Boyko’s question about whether Americans and Russians could ever really “understand one-another”. President Putin answered by saying that “American civilisation is based upon the individual, whereas Russian civilisation is based upon the collective”. He also stated that Americans have had a democracy “almost from the very beginning.” While, as an American quite used to government officials living in complete ignorance of the outside world, I admire President Putin’s familiarity with United States culture and history, I have respectfully to warn him that he is wrong: the fundamental basis of American civilisation is not individualism, and neither is it democracy.
Viewed with dispassion, American civilisation contains within it no more emphasis on the individual, and no more liberty, equality and popular sovereignty, than a gang of murderous thieves.
Sixteenth Century pirate vessels were called “freebooters”. Crewmembers were crass and colourful individuals, and there was a certain amount of discussion and debate allowed as to choice of targets, subordinate officers, etc. Dissent over the program of piracy in total, of sailing about and sacking innocent settlements, however, was not tolerated in the least. Concern over individual crewmen was also quite scant, because the overall plundering mission eclipsed everything else.
The above is all the United States of America has ever been, a cruel and lowly mission to attack where vulnerable targets present themselves, and then to steal.
Regimentation under the requirements of this cruel project (conquest and plunder) and conformity of mind and soul – these are the truest basis of American civilisation from its advent to this day.
The truest analogue of the American phenomenon, reflecting America’s thinking both during its expansion phase and, currently, during its retreat phase, is nothing other than Nazi Germany’s Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front during World War II. Indeed, the Wehrmacht during the Great Patriotic War is a microcosm of the entire world’s experience of Anglo-Saxon imperialism since Henry VIII.
As is well-established with regard to the Nazis, 1939 – 1942, America’s expansion phase, 1650 – 1967, was characterised by racist and justified-by-religion genocide. An estimated fifty million innocent people, whose only crime was that they had taken good care of their habitat for tens of thousands of years, were murdered by British and European settlers in a mere three centuries. It is emblematic that US President Donald Trump won what popular support he commanded during the 2016 Election by promising to return America to its expansion phase. He pledged to “make America great again”.
This support is a case, in the words of Alex deTocqueville, of Americans inventing “new forms of tyranny.”
The young French observer of America in the 1840s saw the intensifying materialism of New England society. He saw the bourgeois self-interest, the despotic treatment of indigenous peoples and slaves, the hypocrisy, and the mental and moral surrender of all settlers to “Manifest Destiny”.
“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America,” wrote deTocqueville, who also observed that Americans were total in their willingness “to be led in ignorance by a despotic force.”
The Frenchman finally concluded that America was merely good at “talking in noble language about ignoble deeds.”
Scientific measures of religious intensity in the United States place it in the ballpark with Wahhabi-influenced terrorist nations such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Jesus fanatics tolerate little deviation in thought and action; how can a nation whose path is powerfully influenced by such be called individualist and democratic?
Measures prove that American religiosity, which had been on the decline in the early 20th century, reversed direction and started rising once America entered its retreat phase.
This abandonment of free thought and willing acceptance of conformity and friendly fascism has its analogue in the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front during the Great Patriotic War. The German army started its aggression insisting that it was engaged in an indispensable task, the destruction of Jewish Bolshevism and its dire threat to “Western values”. Its actions were animated by the belief in, and placement of value upon, three things: anti-Semitism, anticommunism, and Lebensraum. In an absolutely identical fashion, the actions of American soldiers and pioneers (during the conquest of the continental territory of the nation) were given life by three values and beliefs: Manifest Destiny, free-enterprise as a religion, and violent racism against Indians, Blacks, Chinese, Hispanics (everyone who was not white). All who opposed the plunder were subhuman – untermenschen.
This violence reached its apex in Southeast Asia, where about 500,000 innocent men, women and children were slaughtered by a supposedly individualist and democratic America during the last year alone (1967) of its expansion phase.
After the Tet Offensive, just as happened with Nazi Germany after the epochal Battle of Stalingrad, juggernaut America entered its retreat phase. Truth is sacrificed during retreat phases.
Especially during retreat phases.
On the Eastern Front, a German soldier, Horstmar Seitz, wrote, “and yet we stand here for women and their laughter, for beauty, for the homeland, and for ourselves.” A similar sentiment is expressed in America today: in churches, at Trump rallies and in think tanks throughout Washington, D.C. Except in a few densely-populated city centres, Americans are programmed to believe that the safety and sanctity of women, the advancement of Western Civilisation, the integrity of the fifty states, and finally the fate of each American is dependent upon doing violence from ten carrier groups and about an equal number of strategically placed American military bases overseas. Sampling of American opinion proves the overwhelming dominance of this “besieged” mentality.
The truth that the United States and NATO have besieged Iran, Russia and China is not allowed to be thought, much less openly debated.
Like German soldiers, who wrote letters home from the Eastern Front saying, “There forward in my foxhole I was a free man”, America during its expansion experienced a freedom (to exploit, rob and murder) now longed-for in retreat. At Memorial Day speeches throughout the United States, older men (whose accumulated wealth is a by-product of American imperialism) speak soberly about the “sacrifices” veterans have had to make to “defend America’s freedom”. But what “freedom” is actually that which is under threat? It’s certainly not the Four Freedoms that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described during the Second World War (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear). It’s the “Fifth Freedom”, in the biting language of Noam Chomsky – the freedom to exploit, rob, and murder, wherever and whenever desired.
In retreat, German and allied Nazis hesitated at no atrocity “to save their naked lives”, and, so too, has America in retreat done the same. Over a million victims have been added to the global hegemon’s grisly tally since its last drive to make the nation great again, that of George W. Bush (whom no one could call the President); and if Trump makes a single mistake many more millions will be added. Even barring nuclear war, America is now responsible for much assassination, terrorism, aggression, narcotics trafficking, biological warfare, trade in slaves, and even human organ trafficking and paedophilia. Given this, what exactly has it mattered to the world that the United States and not Nazi Germany emerged from World War II the victor? The answer is a sobering suggestion, and one that President Putin should keep in mind when he has to deal with America.
And just as the German Wehrmacht demonstrated a very acute sense of defending another ideal, that of a new society (a society that would redeem Germany socially, economically, and nationally) whose construction began in the 1930s and for which so many had yearned after the First World War; so too America (now in retreat) expresses a desperate sense of defending a new society (liberal, with gender fluidity and a strange transhumanism) under construction during Obama’s Administration, that would redeem America socially, economically, and nationally.
Now not only in retreat abroad but also divided at home, the Obama wing of American society, which controls the mass media, hysterically abandons every tenet of law and rights and journalistic professionalism to drill and drill an anti-Russian jingoism into an unsuspecting citizenry. And just as the German Wehrmacht during the final months of the war deluded itself into believing a separate peace might be made with the West, or that miracle weapons would soon appear to turn the tide, so too America now has Trump to make a separate peace with China (a failure), or Russia (a failure), never Iran (disallowed by Saudi Arabia). The new President’s claims of achievement, a job or two here, a meaningless agreement or three there, only satisfy for a few hours or days . . .
And then the sad reality continues its way-working into the American consciousness: the voyage is over.
The great and gory freebooter has run aground.
America adopted the trappings of nation-state status in exactly the same way that the British marauder Francis Drake adopted the attributes of peerage after he returned to England with his ship bursting with booty.
America became an influential nation-state among a globe-filled bevy of nation-states in the same way that Adolph Hitler became an influential politician in Germany. Was it not through chicanery? America was never truly an Enlightenment republic which sought to bring individualism and democracy to the world. It was essentially a force whose violent mission was to conquer land and wealth for its ultimate masters, the men who brought industrial, hyper-urbanised, and resource-depleted disaster upon an unresisting earth.