exhaustive international survey shows conclusively that the planet
has a great deal to fear from the people of the United
States. By this we mean the majority of the white people of America,
a group so alienated from the rest of humanity that they represent
a collective threat to the survival of the species.
are awakening to the danger. In nearly every corner of the globe,
perched or crouched in niches high and low, humanity hears the
hounds barking and the master’s voice in the distance, shouting
to the horizon, “This is all mine, and everybody in it!” It would
be comforting to believe that Massa Bush’s men are tearing around
the planet on a private spree, without the blessing of the good
folks back home. But such is not the case. Between 70 and 80 percent
of Americans heartily applaud the general military role played
by the U.S. in the world. They are the living, breathing, popular
mandate for, not just George Bush’s adventures, but also those
of other Presidents who follow.
week the BBC unveiled the results of “What
the World Thinks of America,” a survey of 11,000 people in
eleven countries, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Brazil,
France, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Russia, South Korea, and the
United States. The survey, conducted in May and June, provides
both useful and ambiguous data on attitudes toward U.S. cultural,
economic, political and military influence. At times maddeningly
murky, involving questions and answers that require the reader
to have some knowledge of conditions in the various nations, the
survey does succeed in revealing the vast chasm that separates
American public opinion from every other nation polled – with
the dramatic exception of Israel.
key questions relating to world security, only Israel and three
other nations can
be considered part of the American political conversation: Britain,
Canada, and Australia. One is the “mother country,” the other
three began as European settler states. And, leaving aside the
Israeli “special relationship,” even the English-speaking nations
only barely agree with much of what they hear from the Americans.
the question of whether the U.S. is a “force for good in the world,”
positive responses were: U.S. 79 percent, Israel 44 percent, Canada
34 percent, and Australia and Britain, 20 percent. Public opinion
in the other nations surveyed was negative.
the U.S. a “beacon for hope for the world?” Positive answers:
U.S. 85 percent, Israel 51 percent, Canada 46 percent, Britain
20 percent, Australia 14. Every other country registered negatively.
the U.S. “reaping the thorns planted by its rulers in the world?”
(A question Americans must have found unfamiliar and disturbing.)
Every country tallied majorities in agreement – except the U.S.
percent of Americans think that other countries do not appreciate
how much America does to avoid civilian casualties in Iraq. In
no other nation does a majority feel that way.
Thirty eight percent of Israelis agreed with the American
supermajority, 37 percent of Australians, 36 percent of Canadians,
followed by France and Britain at 22 percent each. In the rest
of the surveyed countries, only percentages in the teens and single
digits thought the U.S. did enough to avoid hurting civilians.
percent of Americans agree that the “U.S. military presence around
the world helps bring international peace and stability.” Fifty-one
percent think people living in countries where the U.S. military
are based support that presence. Except for the English-speaking
club and Israel, only South Korean majorities agree. (South Korea
also thinks the U.S. is a bigger danger than North Korea – evidence
of the South’s schizophrenia.)
the question, was the U.S. right to invade Iraq, 74 percent of
American respondents answered, yes. Bare majorities in Australia
and Britain agreed (54 percent each), only 44 percent of Canadians
approved the invasion – but Israel is more pro-invasion than the
U.S., at 79 percent. In keeping with the clear pattern, the rest
of the survey is opposed.
stood in for the Arab world. Only 7 percent of Jordanians supported
the invasion. Interestingly, Jordanians also dearly wished that
their nation could emulate the U.S. in military power – 68 percent.
If sarcasm can be found in a survey, this is it.
the strangest American response involved multiple choices of “dangerous”
states. Americans believe that Syria is more dangerous than the
U.S. (73 percent), as are Iran (78 percent) France (57 percent),
Al Qaeda (83 percent), Russia (66 percent), China (78 percent),
and North Korea (83 percent). However, it then dawns on the reader
that Americans would consider Switzerland and Swaziland to be
more “dangerous” than the U.S., because they believe that the
U.S. presents no danger to anyone.
requires only a few minutes of reading the non-security-military
responses to the survey to conclude that supermajorities of Americans
believe the U.S. is superior in all aspects of material, cultural
and spiritual life.
the other end of the American spectrum is the lonely 15 percent
or so of Americans who refuse to join in the national boosterism.
No racial breakdown is available, but experience teaches us that
at least half of these Americans are Black.
crisis of disintegrating order that is gripping the globe, although
initiated by the Bush Pirates and materially rooted in the contradictions
of multinational capital, is made grotesquely more complicated
by a cruel trick of history. The population of the superpower
that seeks to subdue and reorder the world is cognitively damaged.
Americans appear to be incapable of perceiving the social realities
of other peoples and nations. It is a brain-lock so profound,
so nearly perfect in its insulating mechanisms, as to be described
as a society floating in a bubble.
those on the outside, the bubble is transparent. From the Himalayan
peaks of Bhutan to the jungles of Indonesia, humanity stares into
a corporate television presentation of American life. It is much
the same version as Americans watch. However, viewed from inside
the bubble, the surrounding world is distorted, disconnected,
chaotic, menacing and – most importantly – an inferior
this is the world that the Bush men wish to conquer, sanctioned
and empowered by a population of blind, deaf, dumb and deluded
American opposition to the Iraq war and U.S. military adventures
of the last 40 years is well documented. The American “bubble”
is a mostly white place, where fantasies of supremacy are passed
around to justify privilege and aggression. Many, if not most, of the denizens of the bubble
do not need to be tricked or manipulated by corporate or government
propagandists. A survey taken in May by the Program
on International Policy Attitudes (ZPIPA) revealed
that 34 percent of Americans believed that the U.S. had already
found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – a lie that the Bush
men haven’t even told. Another 7 percent were “unsure” about the
discovery of WMDs.
social scientists have always jumped through hoops to depict white
supremacists as less malevolent than they are. Here’s a diagnosis
of the WMD poll data from Steven Kull, director of PIPA:
some Americans, their desire to support the war may be leading
them to screen out information that weapons of mass destruction
have not been found. Given the intensive news coverage and high
levels of public attention to the topic, this level of misinformation
suggests that some Americans may be avoiding having an experience
of cognitive dissonance.
offer a related, but somewhat different interpretation: The desire
to support the war is a desire to kill Arabs, which requires the
justification of WMDs. In the same manner, white American failure
to recognize the humanity of Blacks and Indians was a convenient
psychological device to make their extermination and enslavement
less troubling to the mind.
is quite obvious – unless you’re in the bubble.