Spooks and American Exceptionalism

well, that and the whole king-decapitating malarkey. Always admirable, that.

I guess that depends on your view of monarchy. I’m more inclined to agree, but some conservative peasant being pushed into factory work might prefer a monarchy to keep the greedy nobles in line…

But, on point, I should read more on late-medieval/early modern England and Ireland. Not my area of scholarly interest, but it’s interesting stuff, none the less. I know some about the Tudors, but then I’m kind of lost for a bit after that (Stuarts, etc).

Is it just me, or does the part where he is describing professor Brenner’s core traits of imperialism sound remarkably like the description of a socio-path? Lack of empathy, having to control things, etc?

A tangentially related thing I saw an hour or so ago: “Two-Decade Review Yields History of Covert Action in Congo.”

Short bit:

“In August 1960, the U.S. Government launched a covert political program in the Congo lasting almost 7 years, initially aimed at eliminating [Prime Minister Patrice] Lumumba from power and replacing him with a more moderate, pro-Western leader…”

My immediate reaction to which was, * Surprise! Yet another region that is fucked up and suffering because of, it turns out, deliberate U.S. intervention*.

It kind of boggles my mind when folks can’t (or won’t) put these things together. Like: CIA overthrows Iranian Prime Minister Mossadeg -> installs Shah -> sets stage for Revolution & rise of Khomeini -> aaand here we are still dealing with the consequences 60 years later.

That - and every other damn thing we’ve done in the Middle East and its surrounds since the end of WWII - rests firmly on the same But We’re The Good Guys exceptionalism that motivates the CIA. And that, in turn, is rooted in Western exceptionalism. It wasn’t the Americans who nipped off Iraq’s access to the Gulf in 1922, it was the British (Churchill and Lawrence, specifically), and there’s a direct line from that post-colonial map sketching to two wars with Iraq and a crater in downtown Manhattan.

Crap, I’ve wandered a bit. Anyway: with our drones and our blowing up of High Value Targets along with the occasional wedding party, we’re setting the stage for the same bullshit another 60 years from now. In fact, the bullshit will probably be much worse, and will probably happen much sooner than that. Information flows faster, and thus so does outrage and resentment.

I wonder if, as the British wound down their Empire, there were those who snickered in private as America puffed out its chest and took the reins. Idiots. They have no idea what they’re in for.


In what is arguably the most over-policed country in the world, the police see themselves as the good guys and us, “the civilians” (as they call us), as the enemy. Why do they get away with constantly shooting innocent people? Because the police are the good guys and it’s just an honest mistake. Prosecutors who put innocents away for years or decades with no repercussions? Good guys, honest mistakes. Exceptionalism.


It’s a mistake to attribute Lumumba’s assassination entirely on the CIA. Belgians were heavily involved, likely including the murderers themselves. This is why the Belgian government apologized for its country’s role in his death. This apology came shortly after a movie about his was released (terrific, I might add). Also, the Congo is a mess only in part because of US intervention. (The Rwandan genocide, by contrast, is largely attributable to Belgium, which instituted a rift between Hutus and Tutsis, and giving them identification cards of different colors.)

Didn’t he also ban Christmas? Anyway what I do know is that he wen berserk and lost it, his rule descended into something truly horrible. Those words however are still true

Yes this is true but there are many many other examples, most of south america for example. Chile especially was very brutal.

Both the UK & US have got everything we deserved from our meddling. We essentially create terrorists.

… But this isn’t American exceptionalism, it’s “our tribe” exceptionalism. We’re far from the only ones who use this justification; it’s sorta necessary if you’re going to have spies and such at all.

I do agree that it would be nice if America held itself to a higher standard than that common one.

Let’s not let the Soviets off the hook, eh? It takes two sides to wage a proxy war.

If you’d like to see that deranged worldview in action:

Not so much a “but” as an “and.” I was already wandering, post-wise, and cut references to Central and South America (and elsewhere).

True, and it then fits under the larger umbrella of “Western exceptionalism,” of which American exceptionalism is a smaller subset.

Absolutely, any empire building, Soviet / Russian, British, US, Belgian, let’s not forget uncle Leo:

The wrong people nearly always suffer.

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