of lording it over slaves, butchering Indians, and pushing
aside Mexicans have ill-prepared white America to live in
civilized company, much less to act as maestro for the globe.
As Johnny Cochran could tell them, those gloves don't fit.
Easy victories over weak, captive or Stone Age adversaries
served to teach all the wrong lessons, creating a perverse
set of American family values. Unlimited resources, right
there for the stealing; fertile fields, awaiting unpaid labor;
fragile southern neighbors available to be mauled for sport
and profit - a heady brew swilled sloppily, on a mean drunken
binge of four hundred years.
is a word the Bush men abhor. Nevertheless, it is the essence
of their distilled, white American sense of themselves as
entitled to each bloody slab of meat they can gouge
from the baggage or body of the unwary. Ever since there has
been such a thing as American popular culture, predation has
been celebrated. Killer cowboys, killer soldiers, killer cops,
killer business tycoons. John Wayne played all of these roles,
which is why he is the quintessential white American actor.
The parts he played, the ease with which he dominated, reverberate
through centuries of cultural memory and idealization, a birthright
bequeathed in full to the children of more recent white immigrants.
die all around white Americans, an historical fact that is
also reflected in exaggerated popular cultural forms. White
Americans are entitled to live, and live well. Others are
not. Others means non-whites, in the nation that invented
whiteness to subsume into a melting pot "all the races
of Europe" while separating out the Others as non-entitled,
nonwhites. It was only yesterday that these social relationships
constituted the most inviolable laws of the land - capital
punishment was instantaneously imposed on those who offended
the birthright privileges of white Americans.
advantageous traits in biological evolution, the human social
organism - through culture -retains those behaviors and worldviews
that work. Aggression against Native Americans worked
for the European settlers - it brought them free land. Slavery
made them kings and queens and princes and princesses, and
rich. Foreign conquests of weaker, darker people made them
respected among Europeans. Except in the Civil War that they
wished they had not fought and treated until just yesterday
as a great tragedy, relatively few white Americans were killed
in these conflicts. Predation was a good trait. It worked.
and extremely dangerous from the day they set foot on North
American shores for the express purpose of claiming title
to everything within range of their imaginations, white Americans
"learned" that they were admired by the survivors
among the people they preyed upon and enslaved. They gained
this knowledge from each other, the only people whose opinions
counted. Their overwhelming arsenals brooked no objection
to the self-evident fact of their innate superiority and...
goodness. Who would disagree?
this closed, continental conversation a worldview was refined
that has grown so fundamental to white American methods of
thought, so perfect in its affirmation of self-serving assumptions,
so automatically corrective of unwanted information, that
the social organism is all but impermeable to disagreeable
facts. Outside of the centuries-old American cocoon, much
of reality simply does not compute.
by very special circumstances resulting from World War II,
the United States stepped to the center of the world stage
with all of its previous advantages, plus nuclear weapons
and the only intact economy on the planet. (See "Conspiracy
Theories," April 17.) By default, the dollar became
the global currency. Newly tapped oil, priced in dollars,
fueled a world of post-war growth, much of it to the direct
benefit of the United States. By the Fifties, pundits had
declared the 20th Century to be the American Century.
years later, the Bloomberg financial service's Tokyo
Indonesia's state oil company, dropped a bombshell recently.
It's considering dropping the U.S. dollar for the euro in
its oil and gas trades.
war unfolding in Iraq and a mysterious pneumonia spreading
around Asia, few noticed. News that Indonesian government
officials favor the euro also fell through the cracks. Yet
it could have major implications for the world's biggest
rationale: The dollar may be the world's reserve currency
but it has become too volatile. "One thing is for sure,
the adoption of the euro as an alternative means of payments
could be an effective solution to speculative dollar-oriented
dealings,'' Indonesia's Vice President Hamzah Haz said last
month.... What if, for example, the U.S. began setting the
stage for another pre-emptive attack in the Middle East
or East Asia?
so, there's no ignoring Asia's desire to reduce U.S. influence
in the region. Leaders here wonder if scrapping the dollar
might expedite the process. Last September, Asian and European
leaders formed a task force to help Asia boost euro currency
reserves, issue more euro-denominated debt and use the single
currency to settle trade bills.
news from Tokyo, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur is no flash in the
pan, not a temporary case of the jitters, but dramatic evidence
of the growing, global recoil from the United States, a nation
that learned nothing from its half century at the top except
that which reinforced its own delusions. It has fouled the
common well of trust - or at least, some measure of predictability
- among nations.
is even more happening below the surface than is indicated
by the public statements of Prime Ministers. The American
problem is not a case of bad manners, but of unfitness. No
sensible people, of any social sector, will place their treasure
and futures in the hands of a nation formed of people who
see no reality other than their own. Much of the world has
already decided that the dollar is the umbilical that has
become a potential noose, and must be severed.
founder is the Mayor of New York, the financial capital of
the world. The last thing on Bloomberg's institutional mind
is to rattle financial markets. If anything, it is American
analysts who slept the "tectonic shifts," as reporter
William Pesek put it, that may be at work.
great irony is that the Bush men launched their attack on
a world order that had privileged the United States for generations
in order to preempt a politically motivated switch
to the euro by angry Arab oil producers, or rebellious Venezuela.
Instead, their bald, openly declared policy of global hegemony
has accelerated a trend that might have taken decades to unfold.
Shock and Awe, in the form of threats to global stability,
has caused nations to seek safety from, rather than safe haven
in, America. As we wrote in, "They
Have Reached Too Far: Bush's road to ruin, for himself and
his Pirates," March 13: "Every plan and project
of individuals and nations will be shaped by having witnessed
a racist America raining fire on a weaker people - and reveling
in the crime."
is not as though the U.S. had been a fit guardian of capitalism,
prior to the Pirate's ascension to power, January 2000. As
rulers of an entitled nation, American governments
abused their world currency trusteeship for short term political
and economic ends, oblivious to the interconnected fortunes
of other countries, including allied elites. Washington derides
Malaysia's Prime Minister as "unstable," when the
opposite is true. Pesek continues :
reason leaders like Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia favor the
euro: It lacks a domestic agenda. Washington has proven
quite adept at steering the dollar up and down depending
on economic needs. In the early 1990s, a lower dollar was
favored to boost growth. Later in the decade the White House
favored a rising currency to attract foreign capital. Since
12 countries use Europe's single currency, it may be less
susceptible to unpredictable political agendas. Also, the
European Central Bank, not politicians, manages it.
Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan regularly huddles with
the political honchos of whichever administration is in charge,
fiddling with the world's currency to make the occupants of
the White House look good to the American elite and electorate.
behavior, consistently self-consumed, has long bedeviled the
global trading system. However, national planners and central
banks crave stability most of all. No one relished the dislocations
that even a modest break with the dollar might bring, much
less the prospect of American retaliation - the U.S. is known
as a nation that kills simply to eliminate inconveniences.
became increasingly untenable as it dawned upon the world
that the Bush men were really serious about The New
American Century, that the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crew were
not just another brand of bullying, oafish American cowboys,
and that the frenzied American behavior following September
11 was more like civilized inhibitions giving way than a cry
of national pain.
became more commonplace after Bush's growling "with us
or against us" speech in November 2001, followed by the
war declaration-like "axis of evil" 2002 State of
the Union address. International bankers who considered themselves
reasonable and cautious spoke of oil transactions in a "market
basket" of currencies. But the U.S was intent on enshrining
the dollar as a monopoly currency - forever. The Pirates believed
that seizure of Middle Eastern oil fields would ensure continued
denomination of oil in dollars, and that the ritual mauling
of Iraq would teach the world not to mess with the dollar.
Pirates were wrong. World revulsion is near universal, beyond
emotion, and fast translating into concerted action in collective
defense against the madman. Indonesia and Malaysia are simply
speaking more frankly than other nations. The Bush men cannot
comprehend that their systematic, transparent assault on international
stability is unpardonable. And they don't know what it feels
like to be hurt. This, too, will come as a surprise - their
Shock and Awe.
France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia," urges Condoleezza
Rice, thereby guaranteeing that these potent powers will deepen
their conspiracy to facilitate the isolation of the U.S.
"psychological leverage" in the breathing space
before the next armed assaults, barks Founding Pirate William
Kristol. Keep up the "political attack" on Syria
and Iran, screams Michael Ledeen, of the Pirate incubator
American Enterprise Institute.
Bush men think this is diplomacy, a gift that the world should
appreciate as a respite from Washington's wrath. The international
community - in which the U.S. is no longer a true member but,
rather, a dangerous presence - struggles to work around the
Americans as new structures of trade and cooperation are created.
Pirates believe they hold the trump card: half the world's
military under one, super-tech command. It is a blunt instrument,
with a narrow range of uses. The real bomb ticks under America's
porch, and will devastate the dollar in a spasm of millions
of individual and institutional decisions to run in the other
is what attracted the world's capital to the United States.
Now, the Bush men have transformed the U.S. into a dreadful
engine of instability. The Pirates scream threats at the snow
bank on top of the mountain. Delusional, they will be amazed
when it comes down on top of us.