The crisis on the Korean Peninsula is gaining momentum in the eyes and threatens to get out of control. Pyongyang conducts new nuclear and rocket tests, the UN tightens sanction nuts, and Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump exchange verbal attacks. The unprecedented aggravation of the situation around North Korea, the deterioration of Russian-American relations with a new force showed a number of systemic fundamental features of the political culture of the United States, characteristic of a long historical period.
They almost do not change over time, are inherited in the minds of generations and are considered "truly American." In a concentrated form, the postulates of the political culture of the USA are set forth by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his work “The Great Chessboard (Primacy of America and its geostrategic imperatives)” (“The Great Zugzwang”). It clearly designates ideas of greatness, exclusivity, indispensability, perfection of the United States in leading the world. However, the authorship of this hymn belongs not to Brzezinski.
Index of narcissism
At the genetic level, in the matrix of consciousness of American citizens, ranging from "man from the street" to the president, for more than two hundred years stories the existence of the United States as a state, several postulates defining relations with the outside world were firmly impressed.
First of all, it is an unshakable belief in universalism, the suitability of American values for all mankind, including the model of government. The basis is the self-perception of the people as God's chosen, exclusive. Initially, the indigenous people of the continent experienced the consequences of such an ideology, then the peoples of Latin America, and today Washington is projecting this vision of its own purpose to the whole world.
The bearers of such an ideology did not get into it more than once, however, according to the bitter confession of US Naval College professor K. Lord, his compatriots clearly "lack both historical memory and the ability to see a long-term perspective." At the same time, according to the just remark of historian A. Schlesinger, Jr.: “Knowledge of the past should give immunity from hysteria, but should not inspire complacency. The story goes along the blade of a knife. ” So far, it seems, the ruling elites of the United States are not aware of the instability of their foreign policy constructions.
Claims on the universalism of the American way of life lead to the reckless denial of the enormous diversity of the surrounding world, to the absolutization of the model of statehood and market economy, which is supposedly suitable for all countries and peoples regardless of their history, culture, religion or ethnicity. The refusal to accept the model of the United States as a model, especially when it comes to a non-Western state, is perceived by the American elite almost as humiliation, denial of their superiority and is considered completely unacceptable. Hence the extreme manifestations of political narcissism. Today it is not just the highest degree of narcissism, but has become a real epidemic. And along with other stereotypes of the American political culture, it generates economic and military crises, destroys interstate relations, puts the world on the brink of disaster.
The epidemic did not start yesterday. Pugh American Research Center conducted a sociological survey of experts on the theme “The Narcissism of US Presidents”, covering the period from George Washington to Bush Junior.
Lyndon Johnson (1,652 rating), Theodore Roosevelt (1,641), John Kennedy (0,890), Richard Nixon (0,864), Bill Clinton (0,730), George W. Bush (0,489) were in the first places. Quite low places in the poll, some with a negative narcissism rating, were taken by the US presidents, who usually went through a hard school of life, many direct participants in wars, not just political battles: Gerald Ford (- 0,492), George Bush Sr. (- 0,399) , Dwight Eisenhower (- 0,240), Jimmy Carter (- 0,220), George Washington (- 0,212).
The time trend of the rating increase shows that the presidents of the United States who held this post over the past decades were most inclined to political narcissism. They are most characteristic of the desire to demonstrate their merits, to use all opportunities to attract attention to themselves, to deny their own weaknesses.
In the sphere of international relations, the seemingly purely medical question of whether narcissism is a painful personality disorder or some kind of harmless personality takes on a practical dimension. Doctors do not have clarity on diagnosis. The American Psychiatric Association recently excluded narcissism from the list of diagnoses that doctors can make; Russian and European experts are not going to follow this example.
At the same time, the painful manifestations of narcissism often cause the persistent unwillingness of many representatives of the American ruling elites to recognize the objective nature of changes in the modern world, cause a chronic inability to search for compromise solutions and negotiations, to restrict the state in international relations.
One of the consequences are bloody wars. So, the main foreign policy event of the period of L. Johnson’s presidency was the war in Vietnam, B. Clinton - aggression against Yugoslavia. George W. Bush and his neocon advisers ignored not only the lessons of Vietnam, but also the most recent experience of the 1990 – 1991 Gulf War and initiated an attack on Iraq in 2003. Today, the inability of the US ruling elite to find a solution acceptable to both sides in relations with the DPRK faces a large-scale conflict. Washington continues to increase its pressure and plans to send a carrier-based strike group headed by the nuclear carrier Ronald Reagan to the east coast of the DPRK.
“Diplomacy of aircraft carriers” confirms the symptoms of yet another chronic illness in America associated with an inadequate assessment of the changes taking place in the world, reckless reliance on strength, inability to flexibly adapt to new political realities, the habit of following stereotypes in assessing the international situation, ignoring the lessons of history. National narcissism and self-admiration do not allow Americans to perceive the outside world in all its diversity, in all its complexity. The straightforward actions of the United States in Ukraine and Syria demonstrate the inherent desire of the American ruling elites to form simplified, universal schemes and doctrines that largely ignore the diversity and complexity of the world. Such inadequate assessments noticeably narrow the possibilities for perceiving the realities of other states, making it difficult to understand the fact that today Washington is not the only or even one of the main players on the world chessboard.
According to Russian ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the US, Sergei Kislyak, who recently completed his mission in Washington, “they are convinced that they should rule everyone. Instead of sitting down and working out a single line together, they are trying to lead the entire planet. This is one of the typical difficulties in dealing with Americans. Being in a politically overstrained, electrified state, they made so many formal decisions that interfere with the cooperation that it would be very difficult to overcome them even in good conditions. Such a state, unfortunately, for a long time. ”
The combination of such qualities in the ruling elites involves the use of a wide range of methods of power and non-force influence of Washington on countries seeking to pursue an independent foreign policy. At the same time, the United States carefully camouflages the real, first of all, economic reasons for interfering in foreign internal affairs in order to de-sovereign states and transfer them to external control.
Finally, an extremely simplified black-and-white perception of the external world, where all nations and states are divided into “their own” and “enemies”, is an important feature of the American foreign policy consciousness. At the same time, the United States acts as the embodiment of "universal good", while the opposite side is just as "universal evil." Hence the “USSR is an evil empire” by Reagan and the current demonization of Russia as the source of all the troubles in the modern world.
Americans managed to divide even international terrorists in Syria into “good” and “bad”. And this is no longer the innocent theorizing of “egghead” intellectuals. As a result of the irresponsible actions of the illegitimate coalition supporting the terrorists headed by the Americans, our servicemen are dying, the number of civilian casualties is growing.
Aries and goats
The criterion for dividing countries into “good” and “bad” is chosen to adhere to the values of democracy and a market economy formulated by Americans, which, according to the authors of this approach, are themselves capable of playing the role of a stabilizing factor in international affairs.
In accordance with such a home-grown ideology, the Pentagon’s Institute for National Strategic Studies has developed a classification of states depending on the level of development and stability of a democratic system: core states, transition states, rogue states, and Failed states.
The degree of conformity of a state to a certain ideal in the form of the US political system was chosen as a criterion. It (degree) determines the strategies to which the US administration resorts in relations with each of the states. The range of relations is wide enough - from allied and partner to extremely hostile, up to the use of measures of violence in the political, economic, information, military and other spheres. The “cores” are those that have a developed democracy and market economy, work closely with the United States and accept American leadership. At the beginning of the XXI century, the Washington administration attributed to them the whole of Western Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, and Turkey. “Transitional” states are those who have embarked on the “right path” of democratization and a free economy and are moving forward. These are countries of Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia (Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia); Middle East (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait). It is believed that in Africa, Latin America and a number of CIS countries, the movement towards the “core” zone is just beginning.
A special place in the US strategy is given to China, India and Russia, which are also referred to as “transitional”. At the same time, the prospects of China and Russia joining the “core” zone are rather restrained, since both countries are opposed to American influence. To subordinate these and some other countries, Washington uses economic, political and ideological influence, and when necessary it does not stop at trying to use force. On the coordinated application of various forms and methods of influence on the target state, a strategy of hybrid warfare that the US is waging against Russia is built.
When the “outcast” sounds proudly
The list of "rogue states" at the beginning of the twenty-first century included Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Iran, the DPRK, Sudan, Nigeria and some others. The US political strategy regarding the bad guys envisaged a wide range of actions to subordinate them to the will of Washington, which implied the right to act independently, without UN sanctions, using all means - from economic and political pressure right up to the military. As a result, some of the listed states disappeared from the world map or turned into a field of war of all against all. Thus, the US-NATO aggression in 1999, undertaken under the pretext of "strengthening democracy", put an end to the existence of Yugoslavia, in 2003, Iraq was destroyed by the US attack, which has become a chaotic space today. Subsequently, a similar fate awaited Libya and Syria.
The United States, in principle, is ready to help the “failed”, but primarily those that are important for the interests of the “core” zone. Today, this list is headed by Ukraine, Moldova, some Balkan countries.
Thus, Washington forms a kind of pool of states, relations with which are aligned depending on the degree of approximation to the “ideal” proclaimed by the Americans.
The American law on the spread of democracy explicitly states that its absence, ignoring the most important human rights in a number of countries constitutes a threat to “US national security, because in such countries extremism, radicalism and terrorism can flourish.”
Referring to the inconsistency of Russia with the proclaimed standards, the United States and NATO openly declared our country one of the main sources of threats to the international community and are trying to build relationships on a Russophobic confrontational basis.
In this context, along with the buildup of military preparations, modern hybrid technologies are being actively used to loosen the internal situation against Russia, a “color revolution” is being prepared, and targeted measures are being taken to undermine the country's unity.
Confronting the entire spectrum of hybrid threats is of particular relevance as we approach the presidential elections of the Russian Federation. There is every reason to predict the growth of attempts by the United States and some other Western countries to destabilize the domestic situation.
Judging by the statements of Trump, he personally is ready to abandon the traditional policy of interfering in the affairs of other states under the pretext of promoting democracy. However, reality shows that he says one thing, and the team imposed on him, often independent of him and controlled by anti-Russian forces in the ruling elites, is ready to take the exact opposite steps. In such conditions, an important task is to carefully monitor what is happening and develop measures to effectively counter the destructive line on interference in internal affairs, which will remain decisive in US policy in the Russian direction.