By Norman Solomon / Truthout
Mainstream media and politics routinely assume that the United States is a well-meaning global giant, striving to keep dangerous adversaries at bay. So, it was just another day at the imperial office on July 19 when FBI Director Christopher Wray declared: “The Russians are trying to get us to tear ourselves apart. The Chinese are trying to manage our decline, and the Iranians are trying to get us to go away.”
Such statements harmonize with the prevailing soundscape. The standard script asserts that the United States is powerful and besieged — mighty but always menaced — the world’s leading light yet beset by hostile nations and other sinister forces aiming to undermine the USA’s rightful dominance of the globe.
A fortress mindset feeds the U.S. government’s huge “defense” budget — which is higher than the military budgets of the next 10 countries combined — while the Pentagon maintains about 750 military bases overseas. But victimology is among Washington’s official poses, in sync with a core belief that the United States is at the center of the world’s importance and must therefore police the world to the best of its capacity.
In recent decades, U.S. military power has faced new challenges to retain unipolar leverage over the planet in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. (Heavy is Uncle Sam’s head that wears the crown.) Along with the fresh challenges came incentives to update the political lexicon for rationalizing red-white-and-blue militarism.
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