The Falsehood that Ate the Earth

(Sharing and extending thoughts I had in reply to CK MacLeod re: the “argument between “America First” and the status quo in the US)

There is an emerging discussion since Donald fucking Trump won the presidency about expected changes to US foreign policy due to assumptions that what he said during the campaign whether (blatantly, obviously TERRIBLY) bad or (accidentally) reasonable sounding reflect what indeed would be attempted, rather than the brainfarts of a more blatant oligarch who will now know what it’s like to be a dog who chases cars that actually catches one. That discussion centers around a wrestle between a deliberate nationalist self-interest that ostensibly answers all issues with “what would be best for America?”, and a dedication to maintaining the existing status quo of the world — “America First” versus globalism.

Well, to my understanding, this argument — “America First” vs globalism — rests on false grounds to begin with. It leaves the starting gates leaving a trail of horseshit.

The assumption that both start with is that the conduct of the US abroad has been selfless & for the greater good of the world as whole, whether they think the status quo is good and should stay or they think that the US is somehow getting a Raw Deal out of it & should renegotiate more favorable terms. A lot about how the world reached this point and the motives of those who drove it here is either omitted or outright lied about for most people. The narrative writes off what maintenance of that status quo has actually meant. It has meant coups. It has meant right-wing death squads funded by the CIA. It has meant assassination attempts at foreign political figures who have dared question that status quo. It has meant bombs and missiles.


As if the means didn’t say enough about how terrible this maintenance has been, the ends don’t escape at all. Contrary to how it is portrayed at the elite levels of opinion, this has not been conducted on selfless grounds at all. No, the real point all along has been Western centered transnational capitalism & the maintenance of such, including trade terms & security of resource extraction: Capital First, more like.

What the “America First” crowd is doing (even if they don’t specifically intend to) is using the existence of common people in the US who have not been sharing in the spoils to say “you’re losing because America is losing”, sliding what could’ve mushroomed into a class issue into the blanket of nationalism. This is why the orange oligarch got what he needed from the Rust Belt, he was able to speak to them and their desire for The Jobs to come back due to their death grip on Protestant Work Ethic and the idea of work as defining the value of a human being; while indifference to racism and consistency in the typical irrational partisanship were clearly also factors, enough areas that previously supported that black dude that ran against doing shit like Iraq only to leave office with US forces fighting in Iraq & several other countries while helping the Saudi royals commit genocide went for that white oligarch who thought the black guy was both Not a Real Merkin & Actually a Hippie Peacenik to suggest maybe they heard something other than Let’s Piss Off The Nigger. That the reasoning behind their choice misses how the world actually works — if they insist on The Jobs then they don’t want Trump, they want guild socialism —  isn’t all that relevant.

The default “globalists” meanwhile see America First nationalism as merely vulgar — The maintenance of Western power & transnational capital needs to keep cosmopolitan makeup on its face & eloquence on its tongue in order to do the job. Neither actually brings up who in the grand scheme of things has filled the Winners & Losers boxes in the context of Why.

The still dominant international order has worked great for a few people in the world beyond ones wildest dreams — these people are known as “capitalists”. It has at times placated some others to varying degrees by way of how the wealth extracted from it has been distributed (see the upswings in the national economy in western nations when they feel the need to fight off left-wing conclusions about it all by breaking open the Keynesian Stimulus box). But it has been willfully brutal to the periphery, in continuance of what they faced from foreign powers prior in all but name.

When people in other nations talk of putting their country first, unless their proposal for such happens to not particularly undermine the current global system much, America (or rather its political elite) tends to frown upon that. The body count says as much.

Honestly, I’m sick of hearing the narrative of America supposedly rediscovering a national interest long held dormant vs the Serious Person paens to globalism. They have no relation to what actually exists and has existed for decades: Capital as it’s own nation, pursuing its own interests, the rest of humanity be damned. Let’s discuss the world as it actually exists.

BTW: whoever chooses to define American interests as synonymous with overriding the interests of others by force or subterfuge, here me out loud & clear on this: FUCK AMERICA


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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