Whatever else an American may or may not be, an American is an American first and foremost: socialist, Nazi, Radiohead or Beyonce fan, liberal or paleoconservative, each and every one is an American.
What this means for people outside America is that there is no effective internal or domestic resistance to American cultural imperialism, to American economic imperialism or, and most obviously, to American militarist imperialism (which is arguably little more than a wing of the economic variety but kills a lot faster).
Americans go to work and pay their taxes, and no matter what sort of personal “branding” they engage in on social media, in the pages of mid-to-main-stream media or simply over a glass of merlot with like-minded friends, they support the national project. Dead bodies lined up after an airstrike in Iraq or farmers lives and livelihoods destroyed by Monsanto in India and beyond are not brought back to life by sarky Tweets about what an evil clown Trump is or whether a presidential candidate believes America is in decline or is doing just fine as the globally indispensable nation.
One of the more offensive absurdities of the utterly American identity politics “left” is the tendency to label all white people as essentially racist and to deny the possibility that non-whites can be racist. There are, of course, any number of intellectual strategies that can be used to circumvent the bald idiocy of such a position- and the export of the “American Model of Racism” to destinations all around the globe is one of the more pernicious elements of American cultural imperialism- but there can be little doubt that this article of identitarian faith is one of the most powerful conditioners of how Americans see themselves and how they conduct themselves through all the various forms of media at their disposal, from the New York Times to Twitter and Facebook.
But there are ways a white American can wriggle out from under the racist label: by calling other white people racist on Twitter or by liking everything Beyonce does and never mentioning black-on-black crime; by shouting that everyone white that isn’t you should STFU and listen whenever a PoC has anything to say about just about anything; and if you are an administrator or a faculty member or a graduate adjunct on a university campus, you can organize and/or submit to unconscious bias sensitivity sessions where you will learn the truth of your own iniquity and how you can behave toward your moral betters to begin to atone for the sin of “whiteness”. And given the flaccidity of contemporary political language, you can, pace Orwell, just start calling everyone who disagrees with any tenet of the SJW creed a fascist.
In reality, the number of ways Americans can shop and preen on social media to deny their default Hitler-clonism is literally limitless. What many non-Americans would just love to see, however, will almost surely never happen: hundreds of thousands of video clips of white Americans proclaiming their racial/genetic guilt and then punching themselves in the face until they bleed profusely then fall unconscious. Or better yet applying booster cables to their own genitals and really really screaming their heads off, just like countless folks around the globe have done when their American-trained and -funded security forces have defended Coca-Cola and Pizza Hut so that young Americans can continue to buy their Chinese-made iPhones in peace.
American “socialists”, to give them their due, are naturally opposed to all this, and some are even aware of the joke involved in invoking international solidarity using a phone made by a worker making $6 a day while also calling for a fight for $15 on the same phone. Unlike many of their compatriots, some socialist Americans can actually find Myanmar on a map and are pretty certain the war in Vietnam was a “bad take”. What these “socialists” appear to be unwilling or unable to do for various reasons is make a clean break from their inevitable association with the identity politics people who all the varieties of the American right just revel in calling “the left”.
So while identitarians and antifa with the blessing of “socialists” will no doubt be out there bravely tearing down statues of racist slave-holding white assholes from 150+ years ago, not one of the whining bitches will have the nerve to go and smear shit all over the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. They are Americans after all and, you know, support the troops. Or excuse the troops. Or turn the troops into the good guys by invoking victim status for the troops. Some of them were, after all, black, so any suggestion that Vietnam was a racist imperialist war that the racist imperialists have yet to acknowledge or apologize for is just silly.
It is, after all, important to remember that 58 thousand Americans died killing those 4 million “orientals” who, as General Westmoreland (who was never tried as a war criminal) famously said, “doesn’t put the same high price on life as does the Westerner”.
African-Americans are quite rightly up in arms about police abuse and the systematic disenfranchisement and murder of black citizens by the American justice system, but they are also up in arms as members of the military whose primary purpose (besides deploying expensive weaponry so the American arms industry can keep on keeping on) is the calculated murder of people of colour outside the American homeland. The American ideology doesn’t really have a handy term to describe what is made manifest when a black American jarhead calls Arabs “camel-jockeys” and takes a few bucks from Uncle Sam for kicking in their doors and killing them since racists is what white people are. By default.
It’s painful to think that it might have been the black son or daughter of parents who marched in Selma that operated the drone that killed Anwar Awlaki, his 16-year-old son or his 5-year-old daughter. Black soldiers helping a black president to normalize the extrajudicial execution of American citizens of whatever ethnic or racial heritage has just got to be a major victory for diversity and surely a harbinger of the day when white Americans will be able to stop bashing themselves in the name of equality because Americans of all colours and creeds are out there killing the shit out of people of color in really poor countries.