Some Thoughts on Irrational Jingoism


 

I think most people know what irrational means. But perhaps not jingoism. It is not a featured word in our collective vocabulary though maybe it ought to be.
 
Jingoism is extreme nationalism marked by a belligerent foreign policy. It is patriotism rallying around aggression. Think of "Good Germans" cheering their precious Stormtroopers as they siege the Warsaw Ghetto or Imperial Japanese troops being hailed by their citizenry for the rape of Nanking. Now think of CIA predator drones dropping bombs on wedding parties in Afghanistan and obliterating entire families in Pakistan, or the slow deaths of Iraqi’s plagued with the dust of the depleted uranium shells we dropped on their heads, or their bodies burned up by white phosphorus.
 
I would define irrational jingoism as being jingoistic for no understandable reason. Not that belligerence is acceptable, but in a state of fear or panic due to existential threats displays of jingoistic behavior can at the very least make sense.
 
But the people of the United States do not have a reason to fear Afghanistan or Iraq. With our military dominance, bordered by allies, and two vast oceans separating us there is no threat from two of the most defenseless countries in the world. They fear us, the technical engineers of our weapons companies and the arrogance of our leaders for legitimate reasons. They also fear the strategic assets their countries provide.
 
The empty slogans about "fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here" is total nonsense. It is irrational jingoism. Afghanistan and Iraq has no desire to fight us, especially not here. Not even Russia or China could carry out a successful invasion. The idea that people who struggle through their own daily lives could mount a threatening invasion thousands of miles away against a massive country armed to the teeth is beyond ludicrous.
 
Some irrational jingoists might say that Iran and North Korea are threats. Again, this is completely irrational. Outside of Korea’s civil war, I would be interested in seeing who either of these states has attacked or invaded in the last century. The issue is not whether we are truly threatened. The issue is conjuring up justifications for our belligerence and we have nothing but irrational figments of our imagination to cling to.
 
We are more threatened by our foreign policy than those of any other nation on this planet.
 
We are more threatened by our neighbors and their barking dogs than any pissed off person on another continent.
 
We are more threatened by our own health care system than any "terrorist."
 
In fact, every year nearly 20,000 Americans die from a lack of healthcare. In one year we kill more of our by the refusal of care than every soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since our illegal, immoral and completely unjustified wars began.
 
Because of our health care system our newborn babies are more threatened than a Cuban baby born into a world under siege by the Colossus to the North – us.
 
We are more threatened by congestive heart failure than al Qaeda, Iraqi resistance fighters, the Taliban, the Supreme Leader in Iran or North Korea, Beijing and Moscow combined.
 
We need to wake up to the fact that we are not threatened, and what safety is threatened is due to our own making. Belligerence begets belligerence. Irrationality begets irrationality.
 
Our foreign policy is criminal. We are not being protected by it. It does not enhance our safety and security. It’s not that we are lawless brutes. We have laws but we ignore them. We use our dominance to impose our immunity. Our behavior, at home and abroad, depletes our society of its moral fibers and is turning us into irrational jingoists. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It suffices to resist.

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