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Narcissistic Nationalism

By The Reverend Published: June 17, 2009


Referring to American exceptionalism-believing neo-cons, Digby riffs....

These people really believe that the way to keep America on top is to behave like a crazed, hysterical bully lashing out at every slight and insisting that everyone acknowledge our moral superiority even though it is patently untrue. Exceptionalism means never having to say you're sorry.

Although Digby's context was the current Republican talking point which calls Obama's mentioning of American involvement in the overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian goverment in 1953....a continuation of his "apology" tour......I will apply her comment to the advice now being offered up to Obama by elected Republicans concerning the current Iranian election dispute.

First...Obama's explanation about his administration's stance on Iran's election and it's aftermath....

" The easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it's the U.S. who is encouraging those reformers. So what I've said is this... it's up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling...and ultimately the question that the leadership in Iran has to answer is their own credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people. And when you have 100,000 people who are out on the streets peacefully protesting and they're having to be scattered through violence and gunshots, that tells me the Iranian people are not convinced of the legitimacy of the election."

The 'America-is-right-about-everything' crowd in the Republican Party (including neo-con Joe Lieberman), using American exceptionalism "reasoning", launched their "We should meddle" meme beginning yesterday....

Mike Pence (R-IN), "The American cause is freedom, and in this cause the American people will not be silent, here or abroad. If the president of the U.S won't express the unqualified support of our nation for dissidents in the streets of Tehran, this Congress must. Today I'm introducing a resolution that will do just that. It will condemn the violence against demonstrators by pro-government militia in Tehran in the wake of the elections. It will affirm our belief in the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections. And lastly, and most importantly, it will express the support of the American people for all Iranian citizens who struggle for freedom, civil liberties and the protection of the rule of law."

Eric Cantor (R-VA), "We have a moral responsibility to lead the world in opposition to Iran's extreme response to peaceful protests."

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), "I think they (Iranian leaders) should be condemned, it's obvious this was a rigged election. Depriving people of their democratic rights is really a sham they pulled off and I hope that we will act."

"He (Obama) should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election. The Iranian people have been deprived of their rights. We support them in their struggle against a repressive oppressive regime."

To many Republicans, and to all neo-conservatives, everything that happens in the world is about America. In this tunnel visioned understanding of the world, America has not only the right to dictate the terms for the ultimate destiny of other nations, we are obligated to dictate those terms. The U.S, alone, is exceptional in all things.....and because we are.....we, alone, should instruct other countries on what they should do and how they should do it.

The American war crime in Iraq is a case study in that misguided national narcissistic thinking.

The Iranian election is not about America, and therefore it should go without saying that the U.S. has no right to instruct Iranian leaders on what to do about their nation's disputed election.

In 2000, when America was experiencing their own disputed election, was it any other nation's right to condemn the undemocratic decision by 9 black-robed men and women to decide who would be America's president? Absolutely not. And isn't it true that if any other nation's leaders would have condemned the 2000 election as undemocratic, flawed and corrupt, Americans would have been justified in telling those critics to go pound salt?

Why would that same basic rule not apply to the Iranian election?

American neo-conservatives, and most Republicans, have lost all self-awareness on international issues. They are hopelessly enamored with their own unrealistic view of American exceptionalism. Contrary to the views of these national narcissists, America doesn't have all the right answers. As Digby said, America is not morally superior to other matter how many American-mirror-gazers stamp their feet insisting otherwise.

Obama's response to the Iranian election is the proper response. Republicans and neo-conservatives would have us side, loudly, with Iranian street-protestors, giving current Iranian leaders the justification they need to kill and imprison many more reformers in the name of protecting their country from outside influences.

Republicans and neo-conservatives don't much care about any of that. As they admire their reflections in the America-is-exceptional mirror, they tell themselves, over and over, that American exceptionalism means you never have to say you're sorry.....about anything.

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