Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
Give the World a Break!

America the Pest

by MIKE WHITNEY

The United States is the world’s biggest pest. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, the US will find some excuse to poke its nose in your business and make your life miserable. That’s why the US has so many enemies, because its the world’s biggest budinski. The people in Washington just can’t stand the idea  that someone, somewhere might be having a normal, happy life without getting bombed to death in drone attack or shunted off to some black site where the CIA can rip out their fingernails or beat them black and blue. That’s what this whole global war on terror-thing is all about. It’s about sticking your big fat nose in other people’s business 24-7. Some people just get a kick out of that. Why?  Because they’re obnoxious people, that’s why. Like the drunk who shows up at your dinner party and slops red wine all over the rug. That’s the US in a nutshell, a first-rate pain-in-the-ass.

Everyone knows this is true, even the flag wavers. They know we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan or Iraq or Somalia or Yemen or wherever. We just go to be annoying, because that’s who we are, The Irritating States of America.

I get tired of leftist writers droning on and on about the Empire-this and the Superpower-that. It’s all baloney, and it misses the point. In fact, it dignifies US behavior as though it was all part of some grand plan. It’s not. There is no plan. The plan is to hector people until they can’t stand it anymore. That’s not really a plan at all. It’s just being a pest. It’s like the brat who keeps kicking the back of your seat when your flying across country or the wasp that shows up at the company picnic. Are you going to tell me the wasp has a plan? No. The wasp has no plan and neither does the US. The US is just doing what it does best; making a first class nuisance of itself.

So now the government is going to shutdown, right? And all the liberal pundits are wringing their hands moaning that the world’s going to come to an end because this lumbering, annoying giant is going on holiday. Is that it?

Let me tell you something: The world needs a little breather from the US, you know, nothing permanent, just a five or ten year sabbatical so we can all chill out and catch our breath. Does that sound so bad?  I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to get a break from all the killing, the spying, and the meddling.   Can you imagine that? Can you imagine what life on this planet would be like if you could just snap your fingers and “poof”, the US vanished for a couple years?

Who knows, there might even be some cooperation on the big issues, like global warming, or environmental destruction or global pandemics.  Then again, maybe there wouldn’t be. Maybe relations between countries would be as fractious as they are today. Either way, things would be a lot better than they are now because there’d be a heckuva lot less killing, a heckuva lot less maiming and a heckuva lot less troublemaking. Because the world’s biggest pest would be out of the picture.

Call me crazy, but I can’t see the downside to that.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. Whitney’s story on declining wages for working class Americans appears in the June issue of CounterPunch magazine. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.