Every country likes to see its history through rose-coloured glasses, to gloss over the blots on its escutcheon and justify its nastier activities as 'necessary' or 'for the greater good'.
But, in the face of the furore sweeping America over alleged Russian interference in the Presidential election, I am tempted to say, Oh for goodness sake! Or more to the point, As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
American interference in the political affairs of other nations is so commonplace it's barely news.
In Latin America, it is so well documented that at the Summit of the Americas in 2015, President Obama felt it necessary to say that "the days of meddling" were over -- which you have to admit is an admission that meddling had indeed occurred.
Dov Levin (Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie-Mellon University) calculated that between 1946 and 2000, the U.S. attempted to influence the elections of other countries as many as 81 times -- and these figures do not include its support of military coups, or attempts to overthrow the regime following the election of a candidate the U.S. opposed. In the same period, Russia indulged in similar tactics 36 times.
There's nothing new about any of this. Both countries have been playing these games for decades. The only difference -- apart from the methodology -- is that this time, America was the target instead of the perpetrator.
So, I do wonder how Americans justify their self-righteous outrage in the face of their own past history.
The first possibility is that the general population simply isn't aware of its government's less savoury activities. This wouldn't surprise me now that I have accustomed myself to the 'average' American's level of ignorance regarding the rest of the world.
I would have thought the mess the U.S. created in Iraq might have given them pause for thought. But then again, since their view of it came from American rhetoric and American journalists embedded with American forces, it may not have been as objective as one might have hoped.
American patriotism is admirable in so many ways, but lack of exposure to world news, world opinion and global culture is producing an unhealthy introversion that by its very nature, precludes its victims from recognising its existence.
The second option is that the people have bought into the propaganda; the whole 'keepers of the flame of liberty' spin, and the notion that everything America does is justified on the grounds of keeping the world safe and beautiful for us all.
I consider this a load of bollocks for several reasons, the first (and most obvious) being that 'world safety' coincides too often with American commercial interests for it to be credible.
It is also an insult to the intelligence, cultural sanctity and right to self-determination of every other nation, which brings me to my third option.
Does America consider itself so special that it must be allowed to sow stinkweed wherever it chooses, and reap roses in perpetuity? That it should be held inviolate and untouchable, however it comports itself on the global stage, because ultimately, America knows best?
Again, this would not surprise me. American patriotism is admirable in so many ways, but lack of exposure to world news, world opinion and global culture is producing an unhealthy introversion that by its very nature, precludes its victims from recognising its existence.
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However gerrymandered, rigged or otherwise tampered with the Presidential election might have been, and whatever the popular vote might have shown, under the American electoral system Donald Trump won. And, however unfit for the office he may appear, the Electoral College endorsed him and there he is.
So instead of gnashing their teeth, tearing their hair and blaming other people, perhaps it's time Americans set about calming down, growing up, developing a streak of national humility, learning about the rest of the world and taking responsibility for their own stuff-ups.
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