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The Masochism Tango

Few people seem to remember the comic genius that was Tom Lehrer, though many have probably heard his greatest hit, "National Brotherhood Week."  But today, we are inspired by one of his many laugh-out-loud tunes called "The Masochism Tango."

What brought it to mind was a pair of well-matched headlines.  One the one hand, the Philippines' president Duterte told Obama to keep his cotton-pickin' nose out of their internal business, and on the other, the US spooks are investigating Russia's perceived meddling in US elections.

It has never ceased to amaze me that America, and by this I refer to both the political and cultural entities, can live with such a stark contrast in thought.  On the one hand, the country has never had a problem marching into and dictating to other nations, but on the other hand, they are constantly shocked when the favor is returned.  It is a classic case of "do as I say, not as I do."

As Joseph Farrell has pointed out many times, it takes two to tango.  The Americans are acting out of complete naivete and self-delusion if they think that their century-long effort to manipulate the world would not/could not come home to roost.  What is good for the goose will cook the gander.

I say self-delusion because for the most part Americans are thoroughly convinced that they are doing good by forcing the world to gag on its political, cultural and corporate hegemony.  Americans think it is quite OK to plaster McDonalds and Starbucks and KFC all over the world's rich tapestry of diversity, but gods forbid Russia or China want to clog US malls with their brands.

Just because the insane form of corporate personhood works for an enslaved and drone American populace doesn't mean the rest of the world wants predatory boards and executives chewing up their landscapes for illusory profits.

It's OK for America to think that 'democracy' is a good thing, and maybe it works for an uneducated and clueless mass, but shoving that brand of insanity down the rest of the world's throats is bound to lead to a violent and reactionary backlash.  Just because America likes lye soap doesn't mean the rest of the world wants to bathe in it.

I have experienced American-style exceptionalism first-hand around the world.  I have seen America's NGOs in action, its CIA puppeteering, its corporate raiders.  Trade treaties, such as the TTIP and TPP are not about improving trade, they are about changing all the rules to suit American interests.  America's exported 'democracy' is not about bringing rights to people, but about installing political systems that the US has become expert on manipulating.  American-style 'diversity' is not about celebrating the world's wonderful differences, but replacing real culture with America's Disney-style fantasies of what culture should be.

There are two ways to fight this kind of manipulation: one is to fight back in a way that destroys the manipulator, and most of the world with it (a la World Wars 1 and 2); or to fight fire with fire, by learning and using the same tactics against the usurper.

When I see articles spouting America's paranoia that Russia and/or China are manipulating US elections and infiltrating its institutions, I am reminded of the tactics used for decades by the American hegemon on those very same countries.

When I see Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, I am reminded of Sen. Thomas J. Walsh (Teapot Dome), Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers) and Woodward and Bernstein (Watergate).  Prying open dirty secrets is patriotism, not traitorous.

For decades, US propaganda media has buried the world in a marketing campaign from hell, making not only the country's own citizen believe the official line about "enemy" states, but duping the rest of the world too.  When RussiaToday turned that same manipulation back on the US, it infuriated the political hacks who had come to believe their own hogwash.

Finally, the US exported its financial system, arguably one of the most corrupt ever devised by Man, to the world, backed up by military strength and space assets.  As the world caught up, it was only a matter of time before Russia and China, along with the BRICSA bloc, would mount a separate-but-equal system to challenge it.  Once again, the US hegemon went into paroxysms of fear-mongering and anti-Russian hype to try to stem the tide, but it may well be too late.

Of the world's great religions, the Buddhist paradigm of kharma is one of the Great Truths that has objectively and overtly proved itself throughout history.  It was only a matter of time before the world got tired of one country doing its utter best to reshape the world in its own image.  It has been tried many times before and with similar results: eventually the world turns the table back on the empire and dines from the privileged setting.

The US is behaving exactly like the neighborhood bully.  After dominating the local kids for years and stealing their lunch money, one kid has stood up to the brute and used his own force against him.  Once challenged, and ultimately vanquished, the bully runs yelping to his mother, saying what unfair and ungrateful beasts those other kids are.

America doesn't need to save the world, it needs to save itself.  It should also be ready for the fact that those who have been bullied in the past will likely want revenge, and when it comes, America should be brave enough and honest enough to realize that its suffering is of its own making.

The world is littered with the graveyards of empires, and their deaths have never been quiet or dignified.    The world cannot expect America to suddenly realize the errors of its ways and contritely retract within its rightful domain.  It will fight and it will drag many down with it.  One does not easily give up the mansion for the cardboard box, no matter how well deserved.

Of course, Tom Lehrer put it much more succinctly:

It's here that I must be.
My heart entreats,
Just hear those savage beats,
And go put on your cleats
And come and trample me.
Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany,
That's why I'm in such exquisite agony.
My soul is on fire,
It's aflame with desire,
Which is why I perspire
When we tango.

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