Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McCain's nationalistic arrogance

I was really struck by McCain's hyperbolic statement in Tuesday's debate, "America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world."

I think it's safe to safe that a McCain administration would continue the same kind of good-vs.-evil thinking that the Cheney-Bush administration has used to frame their wars, domestic spying, massive military budgets and just about everything else they wanted to do.

I'm not even thinking so much of the hypocrisy involved. Such a comment effectively rejects any notion of realistic limits to American power abroad. And in Christian relgion terms, it's idolatry.

I don't just say that as a snarky comment. McCain's formulation is essentially a religious formulation. It goes beyond even Bill Clinton's favorite hyperbolic version that America is "the greatest country in the history of the world". "Greatest" at least can mean "biggest" or "most powerful", the latter generally understood to be true for the "sole superpower".

Such a formulation is blind nationalism. It doesn't stand up to the most superficial thought. German officials have a standard formula they use in relation to the events of the Third Reich and the Holocaust that says there is no such thing as collective guilt, but there is collective responsibility. It would be sensible for American politicians to adopt a concept along the lines of, "there is no such thing as collective virtue but there is collective responsibility."

It's probably not the perfect formulation, either. But it's infinitely better than, "America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world."

McCain's concept inevitably leads to arrogance, moralization of foreign policy problems that require pragmatic solutions, and an overestimation of American power.

How can even a character like McCain who thinks in Cold War terms and basically purely militaristic ones, at that, make such a statement at a moment like this? When even America's allies see the United States engaged in a war of aggression in Iraq, practicing torture in a Gulag of torture centers, and ripping apart the structure of international law that was a genuine source of moral pride for Americans in decades past? Although he evidently doesn't recognize or care about the hypocrisy involved, one would hope he would have some pragmatic grip of how ridiculous it sounds. But evidently he doesn't recognize that, either.

McCain's statement is an expression of the arrogant, reckless foreign policy we could expect from a McCain administration.

Tags: ,

| +Save/Share | |

Links to this post:

Create a Link


"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • Initial thoughts on the McCain-Obama debate
  • "That One"?!
  • That one?
  • Axelrod: Obama Prepared To Counterpunch In Tonigh...
  • More TW Tips for the Global Recession
  • The Maverick and the Foul Genie
  • Magnitude of the financial crisis
  • Bum Deal
  • Hard Times
  • The Bush Years - The Dow Jones Industrials View



    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    www TBV




    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links



    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory



    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse