by Frank Li
This is the tenth article of the series: “Towards An Ideal Form of Government.
America is deeply in trouble (read: Diagnosis for America: Cancer!), and Americans are confused – Who the hell would have thought that twenty short years after America won the Cold War in 1989, an immigrant from China would come out and say, to our face, that “democracy does not work and the totalitarian government in China (which he calls ‘autocracy’ or ‘a dictatorship without a dictator’) is, overall, slightly better than the American political system”? Worse yet, he seems to back himself up with history, a lot of facts, and some new theories (e.g. Pyramid Theory I, Pyramid Theory II, and The Loop Theory: Capitalism vs. Socialism) …
In my 3/9/2012 post (Top-10 American Misconceptions about China), I tried to help my fellow Americans understand China better. Now, it is time for me to try to help my fellow Americans understand the world better.
Top line: This is really about America’s foreign policy, on which I largely agree with Ron Paul, especially the non-intervention part! Furthermore, I personally hold two groups accountable for the total failure of our foreign policy:
(1) The neo-cons for the wars of choice (e.g. Iraq).
(2) The politicians for pandering to the defense industry, which is totally out of control now (Military spending).
Misconception 1: America is the greatest nation in the history of the earth
When I heard Mitt Romney say it (“America is the greatest nation in the history of the earth”) repeatedly on TV, I was incredulous, despite the fact that some Americans have stated it similarly before (e.g. Is America still the greatest nation on earth). To me, naming America the greatest nation in the history of the earth is presumptuous. It is like naming Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever. It’s nice for a Chicago Bulls fan like me, but it’s not true. The greatest basketball player ever is, arguably, Wilt Chamberlain. By the same token, China deserves the honor as the greatest nation in the history of the earth for one simple reason: “Among all human civilizations of the past 5,000 years, China led more time than any other nation” (America: What is China, Anyway?), easily more than 10 times longer than America! On top of that, China is poised to again be the largest economy on earth by 2030!
There is little consequence in naming Michael Jordan, or anybody, the greatest basketball player ever. However, there are consequences in naming America the greatest nation in the history of the earth. It’s misleading and it’s brainwashing! Worse yet, it does not help America recognize its current problems and find solutions. Worst of all, we are running out of time while succumbing to brainwashing!
Misconception 2: American troops are needed all over the world
Currently, American troops are present in about 150 countries (How many countries have US troops in them), but why? Should we continue to be the world’s policemen even as we bankrupt ourselves at home?
The Cold War ended in 1989 and the world changed dramatically after that. But we, America, have failed to adapt adequately, resulting in a total failure of our foreign policy. Two examples:
Misconception 3: 9/11 changed everything
America did change fundamentally after 9/11, but mostly in the wrong direction!
The 9/11 attack was an attack on America! We responded decisively and correctly by going after the culprit, Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. But almost everything else went wrong, especially the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. How could we have gone so far astray? Two reasons:
(1) Incompetence: Our leaders were either too dull to know the real reason behind the 9/11 attack or too cowardly to face the truth. It’s time to listen to Ron Paul (Ron Paul on 9/11: Ask the right questions and face the truth)!
(2) Politics: I believe President George W. Bush launched the Iraq war, at least partially, for the sake of his re-election (read: Blogojevich and Pearl Harbor: They are Related!).
Misconception 4: The Iraq war was correct
The Iraq War was wrong, dead wrong! It was a naked aggression against a sovereign nation! It was totally un-American, because America had previously never launched a massive pre-emptive war like that! Whether Saddam was evil or not is totally irrelevant!
Here is a quote from Abraham Lincoln:
“Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose – and you allow him to make war at pleasure.”
Lincoln was right!
Misconception 5: We are winning in Afghanistan
Wrong! As a matter of fact, no foreigner has ever won in Afghanistan, either the British in the mid 1850s or the Russians in the 1980s. They were just the latest two before us after more than one thousand years of strife over there!
Americans are finally awake: Americans to Obama: Get out of Afghanistan!
It’s time for President Obama to wake up with two strong messages:
(1) Stop listening to the generals! History has repeatedly shown that “the wars are too important to be left to the generals” (per Georges Clemenceau).
(2) The Afghan war, any war, must not be part of consideration for the re-election (American Democracy: Massive Falsehoods at The Top!)!
Misconception 6: The war on terror makes sense
The war on terror is a non sequitur, both in name and in content! It’s ill defined; it lasts forever; and it is failing, like most wars of choice (e.g. the war on drugs).
A key difference between America and China today can be easily experienced at the airports: In China, airport security is largely a formality. But in America, it’s almost unbearable (e.g. scanners and pat down). With that alone, I am afraid Osama bin Laden succeeded in disrupting a big part of America’s economy.
Is America safer today than yesterday? No! America has far more enemies today than yesterday!
Misconception 7: Democracy is the best form of government
Democracy is so good that President George W. Bush launched the Iraq War to “spread” it. This argument is only valid in America, thanks to brainwashing!
Democracy is so good that the American government has been actively involved in subverting legitimate governments all over the world, especially in the Middle East. As a result, the people in the Middle East are suffering more, a lot more! Any doubt? Iraq is much worse off today than in Saddam’s days, with no end in sight (e.g. Iraq militia stone youths death “emo” style). Egypt is much worse off today than in Mubarak’s days, with no end in sight (e.g. The Egyptian Revolution: A Year later)! Now imagine: what if America had decided to bomb China on June 4, 1989, to “protect” the pro-democracy students?
Democracy must come from within! The notion that America should support any rebellion against any government in the name of supporting and spreading democracy is simply stupid and wrong! The #1 problem in the Middle East is abject poverty, for which the only solution is capitalism, not democracy! As a matter of fact, there is not a single example of a third-world country achieving prosperity via democracy! For more, read: Towards An Ideal Form of Government.
Above all, democracy, as we know it today, does not even work in the West (any more)! The entire West is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Several European countries are already there, with more to follow, including America! Why did democracy stop working? Because of the rise of China and the incompetence of the American political system, or more generally, of the entire western system of democracy! Any doubt? Just look at this simple fact: China, a non-democracy, is the largest foreign creditor of both America and Europe!
Misconception 8: Russia’s Putin is a bad man
Did Putin win the election recently? Yes! Was the election issue-free? No! How long did it take America to develop its current election system? More than 200 years! Yet, it’s still imperfect!
After the Cold War ended in 1989, Russia made a huge mistake by embracing both capitalism and democracy overnight, resulting in the destruction of their economy and untold human suffering. The Russians must solve these complex problems by themselves, over time. Meanwhile, leave the judgment of Putin to the Russians and history. No American intervention, no problem, at least for us!
Misconception 9: Need a UN resolution on Syria or Iran
Russia will not support it! Worse yet, here is the latest news: Russia Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria.
In principle, let the folks over there work out their problems, over time! After all, they have lived their own lives for thousands of years before American intervention. Are we going to change anything with our involvement? Yes, most likely for the worse only!
For a totally new perspective, read: Nuclear Armed Iran is a Road to Middle East Peace.
Misconception 10: We are the only super power on earth
This claim is arguably still correct. But our days are clearly numbered if we stay on our current course. Read: USA in 2012/2016: An Insolvent and Ungovernable Country. For “Top-10 American Misconceptions about America”, wait for my article in two weeks. Meanwhile, to know what the Chinese have been building at home while we have been busily bombing and nation-building around the world, watch this slide show: China’s amazing bridges.
Always remember this: peace and prosperity!
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.