China Kowtow


President Obama has been under media fire for kowtowing to China on his visit there, specifically for not publicly mentioning the host country’s human rights record. No wonder! Hypocrisy is the favored tool in foreign policy diplomacy, and here the President failed to utilize it. He gave it a day off.

It’s possible that some of Washington’s managers take the idea of U.S. moral superiority seriously, a recurring symptom of myth overdose. It’s also possible that the merchants of official state information take it seriously, for the same reason. Even the man on the street is not immune to its pervasive reach.

But a moment’s thought should suffice in ridding ourselves of this notion of U.S. moral superiority. People are basically the same wherever you go. People are not states. States rule over people. States are amoral. States propagandize their people.

Here’s a U.S. propaganda theme with its desired result, illustrating that when used artfully, propaganda goes unrecognized:

Question: Can the U.S. be a pariah nation?

Answer: Only those that resist the U.S. can become pariahs.

It’s only with a blind eye that policymakers and media enablers can trumpet our democracy and moral uniqueness. Thus the criticism of Obama, allowing for an eye that is not blind, is that he has failed to display the customary degree of hypocrisy – call it a dearth of hypocrisy – in dealing with the Chinese.

Behind our democratic facade lies a capitalist dictatorship, devoid of morality. The manager of this capitalist dictatorship is the Republican/Democratic Party, essentially one party in that they both represent the economic interests of big business. Through the hands of either its Republican or Democratic faction, big business is always in complete control of state power. The party apparat is beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, yet it controls all citizens and is not beholden to them other than the ritualistic and periodic seeking of their “approval” at the voting booth.

The citizen (particularly if well educated) looks upon the state, in something closely akin to superstition, as the only entity capable of providing for the common good. Through generations, this long teaching permeates the public consciousness until we willingly place the state, and its political managers, above ourselves. This we do in spite of the fact that the two political factions that alternately take possession of state power have long been, and remain, inherently corrupt.

Oddly, the inherent corruption of political managers is not a subject of controversy. It is readily accepted by the common man. Politics is more popularly regarded as a business, rather than a profession, putting it a level beneath prostitution (Eliot Spitzer’s experience notwithstanding).

The crisis is not one of misunderstanding on the part of the citizen. It is a crisis of impotence. As a remedy all the Republican/Democratic Party can offer is the ballot box, this after controlling the entire election pageant down to the debating commission itself. The continued impotence of the citizen is paramount to the keepers of the status quo, whereby power rests in the hands of the permanent few over the obedient many.

This system will not change itself. Short of a military defeat by a foreign power, or an internal revolution, control will not be wrested from these party interests. There is, however, a modest proposal that will mitigate the unbalanced power that the politician has over the people. A single term limit – one – of suitable length for all offices. The term “reelection” to disappear from our jargon. This will, simultaneously, free up and devalue the politician.

This could come about through a national referendum (We don’t have many of these, do we?). Don’t expect a politician near you to initiate it.

You might think, in a country that huffs and puffs about being a beacon for democracy, that all citizens would be consulted about important decisions (And what national decisions are unimportant?).

There is an argument against this. That it is too unwieldy and time-consuming, and that the public is ill-equipped to make such decisions.

There is a counter-argument to this. Secrecy serves the powerful and the hidden agenda. In a true democracy, it is the job of the state to fully inform its citizens, trust them, and allow them to control their own destinies.

JAMES ROTHENBERG can be reached at: jrothenberg@taconic.net

James Rothenberg can be reached at:  jrothenberg@taconic.net

November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme Park
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability