The Ugly Anglo-American Needs a Makeover

The Ugly American Needs a Makeover

by Dennis Rahkonen / December 20th, 2007
In the late Fifties, an uncharacteristically honest political novel hit the best-seller lists. Later made into a Hollywood film starring Marlon Brando, “The Ugly American” chronicled the self-defeating obtuseness of American conduct in a thinly fictionalized Southeast Asian country called Sarkhan, just before Indochina flared into what we would come to know, and deeply lament, as the Vietnam War.
What was being so counter-productively done there by presumptuous, insensitive U.S. agents and functionaries was also being done worldwide. “The Ugly American” answered, decades before 9/11, why our country is hated all across the planet.
Our insufferable arrogance and foreign policy excesses are garnering us record levels of international opprobrium.
We’re not a true friend or benefactor to humanity. We take much more than we give. We force far more egregiously than we gently persuade, in military, economic, cultural, and ideological terms. Global multitudes have become outraged.
We should nose out of other people’s business, engaging them instead only on a completely fair, equitable, and wholly non-supremacist basis.
But Washington incessantly intervenes to facilitate Wall Street profiteering wherever others simply want to be left alone.
We’ll drive expensive SUVs to our own societal funeral because we’ve kept the rest of humanity so impoverished that when poor children perish from malnutrition in distant hopelessness, their parents can’t afford even a donkey cart to take their bodies to the graveyard.
Think of past empires, predicated on profound injustice, that wound up in history’s dustbin. Think about a country whose industrial base has been outsourced abroad, and whose best known, remaining products are the F-16s, Apache helicopter gunships, and terrible bombs that murder civilian noncombatants as Washington tries to thrust its wayward will on understandably resistant humankind.
We Americans have a grandiosely deluded perception of our own place in human affairs. For even the best aspects about our history and ourselves, there are at least as compelling, negative features that are seldom considered.
Take our “noble” Founding Fathers, for instance. Can’t it accurately be said that they were also elitist white men who tolerated slavery, killed Indians, adhered to chauvinistic views, and didn’t want to pay taxes? Those traits have caused widespread suffering over time. Even the shiniest coin has its less attractive, reverse side.
Furthermore, it isn’t our best features that drive America’s current policy, in places like Iraq. It’s self-serving avarice assuming a plainly neo-colonial/imperialist form.
And who are we to blame others for terrorism? Talk about a kettle calling the pot black!
Wasn’t it terrorism when Native American women and children in a cul-de-sac gully, running and screaming in abject fear, were attacked by Cavalry troopers who savagely cut them down with slashing sabers and repeating rifles?
From Wounded Knee to My Lai and Haditha, with mass-murdering stops such as the Philippine Insurrection and Hiroshima in between, honesty calls for shamefully admitting that we’re the leading killer of innocents on Earth.
We see ourselves in righteous myth, but to the rest of the world — the Third World in particular — we’re their harrowing picture of death.
Death from starvation and disease that could be conquered but aren’t because proper development is thwarted by inequitable, exploitative, corporate-enriching relations.
Death by shrapnel and fire when the U.S. strikes back against rebels, always demonized as terrorists, who necessarily fight to end intolerable injustice.
It’s not that we haven’t done good, or can’t do so again.
We once fought fascism, humanity’s worst scourge, and pledged at Yalta and Potsdam to never allow anything so awful to ever surface again. But we did. And the reborn evil emerged within our own borders, nurtured by ultraconservative extremism.
We have it within our populist power to show the world a picture of America others can not only stand to look at, but actually be inspired by.
During this holiday season devoted to peace, let’s not just redouble our efforts to quickly, fully end George Bush’s catastrophic Iraq war, plus thwart an even worse conflagration with Iran.
Let’s also pledge to hereafter present a different face to long-repulsed humanity.
Had we done so years ago, twin towers might still be gleaming on the New York skyline.
Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. Read other articles by Dennis.
I fixed the title up a little I don't think Mr Rahkonen will mind me spreading the guilt arround a little. Canadians been getting more credit than we actually deserve, crafty bunch of malingering twots aren't we.
I think the author left out GWB trying to force maid Marion to marry him before Richard got back from the crusades...
I am so ashamed. NOT.

Just another whiner.
How'd I know you two would show up and dance. You can always count on dogs to follow a gut wagon what.hahahahah Don't you two get the holidays off or does the empire demand it's shore battery be manned twenty-four seven.Have a nice christmess gentlemen, it could be the last.
I would love to be able to participate in this conversation, but I have no idea what this thread is about. Seems the most active participant in this thread is on my ignore list.

Curiousity hasn't invoked the will to click the "view thread" thing-a-ma-jig. Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera. What will be, will be. You know how it goes...
Quote: Originally Posted by warrior_won View Post

I would love to be able to participate in this conversation, but I have no idea what this thread is about. Seems the most active participant in this thread is on my ignore list.

Curiousity hasn't invoked the will to click the "view thread" thing-a-ma-jig. Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera. What will be, will be. You know how it goes...

Thanks warrior, I was trying to remember those words last week, Que sera, sera. Where were you then, better late than never I guess.
Thanks, dark beaver, for leaving us Rahkonen's article to read. I see it very much the same.

We Canadians have to be more on guard and not be tempted and prompted into war by the United States of America.
I had a dream the other night, and as a consequence I decided to try and reconnect with the Spiritual. Coincidence or not, I found the following article which corresponds very much along the lines of Rahkonen.

"The United States has been given the opportunity to be the teacher for the world, but much is expected of those to whom much has been given. The United States has been given more of everything than any country in the history of the world and it has failed to be generous with the gifts. If the United States continues to exploit the rest of the world by greedily consuming the world's resources, the United States will have God's blessing withdrawn. Your country will collapse economically which will result in civil chaos. Because of the greedy nature of the people, you will have people killing people for a cup of gasoline. The world will watch in horror as your country is obliterated by strife. The rest of the world will not intervene because they have been victims of your exploitation. They will welcome the annihilation of such selfish people. The United States must change immediately and become the teachers of goodness and generosity to the rest of the world. Today the United States is the primary merchant of war and the culture of violence that you export to the world. This will come to an end because you have the seeds of your own destruction within you. Either you will destroy yourselves or God will bring it to an end if there isn't a change."

It seems to me the United States can hardly get worse! The torturing they engage in shows so clearly the little respect they have for human life!

I'm glad I found this tucked-away corner!
I wish I could agree with you when you the say"it seems the US could hardly get worse" many people including myself believe we have seen nothing of the horrors to come. I'm not talking about hacks like me I'm talking senior analysts, retired military, economists, specialists and professionals of every discription accross the political spectrum predict disaster. The American economy is nearing collapse, detention centers have been or are under construction, private paramilitary personell numbering in the tens of thousands on American soil waiting for the roundup to begin.
The legislative orders have been signed, the bill HR-155 will be used to arrest and detain a wide range of people, activists, dissenters, intellectuals, writers anyone who disagrees with the fascist state. All of this is a matter of record. Starvation on a global order is forseen, grain reserves are at three months a level not seen for decades caused by the bio-fuel scam among other more sinister reasons. Crisis compounded into chaos.
So don't look for the good times they have all gone, personally I expect we will witness carnage on an unprecedented scale with every depravation imaginable. Weapons will be revealed that belonged to science fiction only a decade ago, those in combination with chem and bio agents will be used to clean the world of it's underclass, you and I, and billions of others as the ruleing elite builds thier utopia on the bones of the poor majority. They will starve and murder the men women and children of this planet without mercy untill it is emptied of all and any who would oppose them. From near space they will inflict death arround the globe sparing only the elect, only those deemed worthy or usefull, of course the wealthy need not worry, thier Kapital will protect them. We are finally to be destroyed utterly by the Capitalist monster as Marx feared and warned against two hundred years ago. You see they will not give up thier ivory towers and share the wealth and would rather depopulate to save themselves and begin the dirty cycle again with a freshly scrubbed planet, cleaned of things like socialist and dissidents and the meek and the gentle. There is no crime that they have not already committed and will not commit again.
Canadians, what does that mean anymore Dancing-loon? We are the sixth largest dealer in weapons in the world,we have sold our souls long ago to the capitalist pigs , we are not enough different from Americans to exonerate us, we consume and pollute even more than they and we live off the misery and poverty of others with the ease and attitude that puts the lie to our sanctimonious belief in who and what we are.
This is just my opinion you understand and I'm generally understood to be insane here at Triple C so don't worry about it, maybe it won't happen at all and flowers and grass will cover my ass and my mind will float in a jar. It isn't just them they just stick out more than the others. Follow the money and you'll find the bad guys.
Last edited by darkbeaver; Jan 5th, 2008 at 10:32 PM..

We anglo-Americans are the best looking people around...
lone wolf
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro View Post


We anglo-Americans are the best looking people around...

Around what?...

I must say, I do like the Latins though.

Toro, she'd wrap you arround both her little fingers whisper in your ears till you heard nothing but her breathing and empty your accounts and strip the shirt off your back, you'd be left sitting on the curb drooling on you're bare feet wondering where you went wrong.
And it wouldn't matter if the curves were green, pink or shocking blue.
It would be worth it.
You need one of them robots, think of it temperature control, cruise control vibration, beer and food serving, permanent youth and a shut off button, you could take her/it/the thing along to the club as caddy she/it could drive do the lawn and the books.
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro View Post


We anglo-Americans are the best looking people around...

I thought everyone knew that. And Texans are the best looking among the states. The modeling agencies come here where the women are gorgeous to recruit.

"American Woman,Stay Away from Me" Burton Cummings was a wise man.