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Despite its instinctual unilateralism, United States is never averse to exploiting multilateral institutions to its ends. It is only shareholder with a veto power in International Monetary Fund (IMF), by now widely considered to have degenerated into a long arm of American administration. The United Nations Security Council, raucous protestations aside, has rubber-stamped American martial exploits from Panama to Iraq.
It seems as though America uses - and thus, perforce, abuses - international system for its own, ever changing, ends. International law is invoked by it when convenient - ignored when importune.
In short, America is a bully. It is a law unto itself and it legislates on fly, twisting arms and breaking bones when faced with opposition and ignoring very edicts it promulgates at its convenience. Its soldiers and peacekeepers, its bankers and businessmen, its traders and diplomats are its long arms, an embodiment of this potent and malignant mixture of supremacy and contempt.
But why is America being singled out?
In politics and even more so in geopolitics, double standards and bullying are common. Apartheid South Africa, colonial France, mainland China, post-1967 Israel - and virtually every other polity - were at one time or another characterized by both. But while these countries usually mistreated only their own subjects - USA does so also exterritorialy.
Even as it never ceases to hector, preach, chastise, and instruct - it does not recoil from violating its own decrees and ignoring its own teachings. It is, therefore, not USA's intrinsic nature, nor its self-perception, or social model that I find most reprehensible - but its actions, particularly its foreign policy.
America's manifest hypocrisy, its moral talk and often immoral walk, its persistent application of double standards, irks and grates. I firmly believe that it is better to face a forthright villain than a masquerading saint. It is easy to confront a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Mao, vile and bloodied, irredeemably depraved, worthy only of annihilation. The subtleties of coping with United States are far more demanding - and far less rewarding.
This self-proclaimed champion of human rights has aided and abetted countless murderous dictatorships. This alleged sponsor of free trade - is most protectionist of rich nations. This ostensible beacon of charity - contributes less than 0.1% of its GDP to foreign aid (compared to Scandinavia's 0.6%, for instance). This upright proponent of international law (under whose aegis it bombed and invaded half a dozen countries this past decade alone) - is in avowed opposition to crucial pillars of international order.
Naturally, America's enemies and critics are envious of its might and wealth. They would have probably acted same as United States, if they only could. But America's haughtiness and obtuse refusal to engage in soul searching and house cleaning do little to ameliorate this antagonism.
To peoples of poor world, America is both a colonial power and a mercantilist exploiter. To further its geopolitical and economic goals from Central Asia to Middle East, it persists in buttressing regimes with scant regard for human rights, in cahoots with venal and sometimes homicidal indigenous politicians. And it drains developing world of its brains, its labour, and its raw materials, giving little in return.
All powers are self-interested - but America is narcissistic. It is bent on exploiting and, having exploited, on discarding. It is a global Dr. Frankenstein, spawning mutated monsters in its wake. Its "drain and dump" policies consistently boomerang to haunt it.
Both Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega - two acknowledged monsters - were aided and abetted by CIA and US military. America had to invade Panama to depose latter and plans to invade Iraq for second time to force removal of former.
The Kosovo Liberation Army, an American anti-Milosevic pet, provoked a civil war in Macedonia two years ago. Osama bin-Laden, another CIA golem, restored to USA, on September 11, 2001 some of materiel it so generously bestowed on him in his anti-Russian days.
Normally outcomes of expedience, Ugly American's alliances and allegiances shift kaleidoscopically. Pakistan and Libya were transmuted from foes to allies in fortnight prior to Afghan campaign. Milosevic has metamorphosed from staunch ally to rabid foe in days.
This capricious inconsistency casts in grave doubt America's sincerity - and in sharp relief its unreliability and disloyalty, its short term thinking, truncated attention span, soundbite mentality, and dangerous, "black and white", simplism.
In its heartland, America is isolationist. Its denizens erroneously believe that Land of Free and Home of Brave is an economically self-sufficient and self-contained continent. Yet, it is not what Americans trust or wish that matters to others. It is what they do. And what they do is meddle, often unilaterally, always ignorantly, sometimes forcefully.
Elsewhere, inevitable unilateralism is mitigated by inclusive cosmopolitanism. It is exacerbated by provincialism - and American decision-makers are mostly provincials, popularly elected by provincials. As opposed to Rome, or Great Britain, America is ill-suited and ill-equipped to micromanage world.
It is too puerile, too abrasive, too arrogant - and it has a lot to learn. Its refusal to acknowledge its shortcomings, its confusion of brain with brawn (i.e., money or bombs), its legalistic-litigious character, its culture of instant gratification and one-dimensional over-simplification, its heartless lack of empathy, and bloated sense of entitlement - are detrimental to world peace and stability.
America is often called by others to intervene. Many initiate conflicts or prolong them with express purpose of dragging America into quagmire. It then is either castigated for not having responded to such calls - or reprimanded for having responded. It seems that it cannot win. Abstention and involvement alike garner it only ill-will.
But people call upon America to get involved because they know it rises to challenge. America should make it unequivocally and unambiguously clear that - with exception of Americas - its sole interests rest in commerce. It should make it equally known that it will protect its citizens and defend its assets - if need be by force.
Indeed, America's - and world's - best bet are a reversion to Monroe and (technologically updated) Mahan doctrines. Wilson's Fourteen Points brought USA nothing but two World Wars and a Cold War thereafter. It is time to disengage.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com