Home | About | Donate

The Superpower as Victim: Three Exceptional Facts About America


The Superpower as Victim: Three Exceptional Facts About America

Tom Engelhardt

Given the cluttered landscape of the last 14 years, can you even faintly remember the moment when the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War ended in a stunned silence of shock and triumph in Washington, Eastern Europe was freed, Germany unified, and the Soviet Union vanished from the face of the Earth? At that epochal moment, six centuries of imperial rivalries ended. Only one mighty power was left.


The USA is an exceptionally foolish nation.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


so, we got the diagnosis back from the doc, terminal...

I think we dissolve our border's with Canada and Mexico and all of us become North Americans, build a new capital in what Kansas? the center of the North America, none of us can live without the other so why not become One? the EU failed this by remaining independent nations with their shoe strings tied together and they are always falling over each other...sure each country has it's problems but being our own hemisphere/country, well, the possibilities are, to me, encouraging...


Engelhardt assumes that the stated goals and objectives for these military campaigns, provided by the military for public consumption, are, in fact, the point of waging these military interventions. Not so. The success or failure to meet these objectives is secondary to the need to keep the war machine operating at full strength, regardless of any outcome. Of course, the idea of making us safer is bogus. It's just another in a long line of justifications to feed the war machine. The warrior ethic that infests Washington will create new villains on an ongoing basis, as needed. Keeping a scorecard on this madness misses the point. As for the author's notion that this is basically a Republicans, only, phenomenon, give me a break. Absolute nonsense.


"Learned helplessness happens when people or animals become conditioned to believed that a situation is unchangeable or inescapable." psychology.about.com


Is it possible? Another long diatribe following the same M.O.--that of the U.S (military) not winning wars? Can Mr. Engelhardt possibly come up with any other angle on his lengthy explanations?

"If you were to isolate the single most striking, if little discussed, aspect of American foreign policy in the first 15 years of this century, it might be that Washington’s inability to apply its power successfully just about anywhere confirms that very power; in other words, failure is a marker of success."

The following analogy is apt. Suppose local sportscasters ONLY discussed a particular football team's lousy playing seasons in order NOT to discuss the type of funding coming in from taxpayers (without their necessary consent) and corporate behemoths aimed at constantly building bigger and bigger stadiums?

By keeping viewers' eyes on the ball inside the playing field, the financial siphoning of major funds is not noticed. There certainly ARE winners, Mr. Engelhardt--they are part of that same military-media-industrial complex you grant mere passing reference to, if you speak of it at all. And IT is the engine that's driving these foreign wars. Winning is not the main ingredient: retaining combat operations in order to move inventory and thus constantly see more and more developed is the TRUER calculus.


I posted before reading your post. You're right on and your perspective aligns with the same criteria that I've often used to gauge the idiocy of Mr. Engelhardt's "analysis" on this matter. I say idiocy because almost everything he writes (over the past year) is generated from this same starting point. It's annoying and misleading. And too many of his "stable of writers" reinforce this same false thesis as they chastise the flaws in the U.S military (and its "failed" operations) without challenging the magnitude and moral failure of militarism, itself.

Some of the forum's smarter political analysts explain how Liberals work to reform the system that Capitalism has built, but oppose putting an end to it. This same "spirit of reform" is my take on Engelhardt's view of the U.S. military. He doesn't express any outrage towards its barbaric and spreading killing fields. Nope. Like a Monday morning quarterback, he and his team of writers just suggest ways to play the game better... you know, by "winning."

Thank you for mentioning the warrior "ethic." As you probably know, this mental disorder can also be defined as "Mars Rules."


This analysis is a cross between a sports caster's analysis and that of a business plan. Throughout its verbiage are constant references to all of the following:

Success, victory, win, triumph, victories, fans, rivals, superpower.

The frame is that of our team--USA--as biggest power, all else--weak.

And since Mr. Engelhardt is a loyal defender of the False Flag's Official Story, this particular paragraph is amusing and its guilt goes to journalists like himself:

"It’s also provided the largely unquestioned rationale for the growth of secretive agencies of every sort, for the careers of a vast range of top officials, for the extraordinary powers granted to what is increasingly a secretive state within a state (as the U.S. military now has a secret military of ever expanding proportions in its midst). Were it to be put in doubt, that state and much else might be put in doubt, too."

Whose unquestioned rationale for the growth of secretive agencies? Since war abroad makes tyranny at home probable, the whole operation and what it would mean for clamping down on liberties here inside the Homeland was planned, fool!

In addition, China's economy may be faltering... but the author is clueless as to how much exposure the U.S. derivatives market has delivered--in the way of absolutely toxic "assets"--to its own financial future "health."


"Or put another way, Putin as a leader has managed to do a remarkable amount (much of it grim indeed, from Ukraine to Syria) with remarkably little."

If this means what it appears to mean, I wonder if Englehardt is familiar with the work of Robert Parry, Prof. Stephen Cohen, Pepe Escobar, and many others on the issues of Ukraine and Syria, vis a vis Russia. I think of Vickie Nuland, the coup, the downing of the Malaysian plane, the burining alive of the protesters in Odessa, and on and on. Yes, grim indeed.


"the United States has been a remarkably protected place " I'd say it, North America, was remarkably unprotected when it was invaded and occupied by the white Europeans in the 16th Century and still going. I guess that doesn't count for anything in Mr. Englehardt's playbook.


As a friend says... if they were a bit smarter they'd be embarrassed.


Tells us what you actually think of Putin? Putin defending his borders>


"what could be more exceptional than significant numbers of Americans living in a fear-based culture of victimhood laced with paranoia and extremism that seems to have captured one of the two major political parties?"

Looks like a bi-product of our "special relationship." Bibi must be happy.


Thanks Siouxrose for your comments to this author's essays. Honestly, I get very confused knowing where to start. Writing doesn't come easy for me and this author frustrates me to no end. He reminds me a bit of Thomas Friedman.


"Consider that a testimony to the wealth and strength of the country. In
many ways -- certainly, in military terms (despite the hue and cry at
the recent Republican debates) -- there is no power that could or would
contest it."

Well, not so many countries have 11 aircraft carrier groups, or are wasting wealth and resources by starting and fighting futile wars, but Cuba certainly beats the USA when it comes to provision of medical services and public health issues, and, per head of population, New Zealand has fewer murders than the USA. So even the smallest powers can "contest" the USA when it comes to social issues.

And at least the British Empire built infrastructure in its far-flung possessions; the USA just bombs it and possesses nothing.


Left wing or right wing, both are part of the same bird! Amerika, the great exceptional, indispensable country, afraid of it's own f***ing shadow! Keep chewing your grass amerika, and bleat softly!


I've yet to see an Islamic terrorist in the Pacific Northwest, but I've encountered my share of white aryans and ultra right wing "Christian" militia members who very vociferously don't share my opinion about the rights and freedoms of ALL citizens. I guess being CHRISTIAN keeps them off the government's Domestic Terrorist watch list, or, at least, keeps them well down the list.


Interesting that with all the fear of losing material goods and power (whether illusory or not), those who live in their paranoid nightmare seem remarkably unconcerned about the perils of climate chaos. Always amazes me how easily they dismiss this very real and ultimately fatal issue.


So I take it you haven't actually read any of the books his website has reviewed and praised (and indeed, published)? Books like Kill Anything that Moves, an unsanitized look at the American war on Vietnam. Or the "Resist Empire" sidebar ad calling for donations?