Being the top dog can be very polarizing. Trust me. I know, ’cause I’m a ‘Murican.
When there is a country that affects the global economy, security, politics, and environment at a rate disproportional to the size of its geography or population, it makes sense that those who benefit from that influence will love the country, and those who suffer from it will hate it. For the time being, the United States is one such country.
Unlike many of the globe-straddling empires that have come before it, however, the United States defines itself by its civil superiority. Sure, it has the largest economy, highest military expenditures, and greatest degree of political influence of any country in the world, but it deserves those things. Y’see, the United States isn’t a simple inheritor of circumstances which have begotten such advantages, it earned them by protecting the free world from the authoritarianism of Nazis and Reds, claiming the role of Guardian of the Free World.
Or so some say.
For a guardian of civil democracy, there are some glaring problems. One of them is the political, financial, and military support the US has given to authoritarian or otherwise not very nice people. It has trained secret police in the use of torture and undermined democratic processes, and often ignored genocides, especially those not involving Europeans.
More recently, one problem is that the United States has not only participated in, but advances the field of government surveillance on innocent civilians. The US has done some pretty dark stuff to completely innocent people already, but the NSA’s activities reveal a brazen and flagrant disregard for basic civil rights on a level so huge that it leaks practically every month.
A number of countries have gathered to suckle at the teat of American prosperity, and the whitest ones tend to make out the best. But lately the United States has, like some sociopath adrenaline junkie, dragged its hanger-on friends into all kinds of dangerous and ill-advised hijinks and then generously shared the consequences. Then, like a creeper, it digs into their handbags and looks through their phones.
It’s beginning to look less and less like a win/win for the symbiotes attaching themselves to the deep-fried aura of American influence, and more like a win/not-exactly-lose. Sure, those countries have expressed their distaste with passive aggression, but for the most part, no one has dared stand up to say, “You know what? You’re really being an asshole. Stop. Seriously.”
Germany, the country that the United States had to “rescue” everyone else from (“twice“). Germany, blamed for two World Wars and regarded as the cornerstone of the Cold War. Germany, who of all the U.S.’s western allies has been demonized, caricatured, and outright treated like shit the most, Germany is the first to really have the guts to stand up and say, “Enough.”
Of course, the Germany of today is not the Germany of 1939, let alone 1914. In a broad sense, the modern Germany is a child of the United States, born from the ashes of World War II, forged from the Cold War’s fires, and now emerging fully-formed as a nation that even leads its immediate region.
Germany has grown out of a dysfunctional home with a morbidly obese father and a drunk mother, gone to work in a troubled office, and has somehow, miraculously, turned out alright. In fact it’s better than alright; if the US isn’t careful, Germany could be the new United States of the western world.
The US really doesn’t have a right to the mantle of Guardian of the Free World. Perhaps it’s a mantle that no one should bear. This is a wake up call.
Well, really, there’s been many of those. The US keeps hanging up.
Obama and the US’s labyrinthine intelligence agencies haven’t responded to Germany yet. Here’s hoping they don’t simply yawn and roll back in bed.