Memo to Vladimir Putin: America’s “Goodness Delusion”
by John-Henry Hill, M.D.
April 29, 2014
I am an American living in Ukraine offering Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin – and other leaders throughout the world – some free advice regarding his dealings with U.S. government over the Ukraine crisis. I have read and heard a number of political analysts in Europe (including in Russia) state that they cannot understand how the U.S. government can NOT accept the blame for the current political crisis in Ukraine. After all, they argue, the U.S. government planned and funded the violent protests in Kiev that led to the February 2014 coup d’etat, ousting the democratically elected (but very corrupt) Yanukovitch regime and replacing it with unelected oligarchs and admitted fascists. So, they wonder, HOW could the U.S. NOT accept the blame for the crisis? As professor John McMurtry wrote, “Reversal of blame is always the U.S. method of pretext and justification.” (“Global Society Destruction and The Ukraine Crisis: Decoding its Deep Structural Meaning” by Prof. John McMurtry, Global Research, April 26, 2014; http://www.globalresearch.ca/global-society-destruction-and-the-ukraine-crisis-decoding-its-deep-structural-meaning/5379275) However, analysts such as professor McMurtry miss the point: Americans see NO BLAME that can be assigned to them for their actions.
Mr. Obama, like 99.9% of Americans, suffers from the delusion which some writers have labeled “American Exceptionalism”, but which I prefer to call the “Goodness Delusion”. I define a delusion as a rigidly held belief not based on evidence or facts. The “Goodness Delusion” of most Americans consists of the deeply-held and unquestioned belief that: (1) America’s motives are always good and benign; (2) America is inherently morally superior to the rest of the world; and from those first two: (3) America has the moral authority – and even the obligation – to enlighten and improve the world by spreading America’s culture and political, legal and financial systems to the rest of the world, using force if needed.
Remember President George Bush’s statement following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon in which he stated, “They [the alleged radical Muslim religious extremists] hate us for our freedoms.” Many people have dismissed this statement as nonsense, but the fact is that most Americans truly believed it. Even Bush himself may have believed it. After all, how could anyone possibly hate the U.S. government, which seeks only to spread our enlightenment and goodness throughout the world? Similarly was the American phrase used during the Vietnam War of “burning down a village in order to save it” from Communism. To non-Americans, such thinking may seem like a joke – or even insanity. However, that is precisely how most Americans feel. It is what most Americans believe: it is the true American religion – and, like all religions, it requires no evidence or facts to justify it. Would you criticize a parent trying to help her child in ways that will benefit that child, even if that means occasionally spanking that child? As the standard American cliché’ told to anyone complaining about being forced to do something states, “You will thank me later!”
Is this “Goodness Delusion” a strictly American phenomenon? I think not. From my study of American history, I place its origins in Britain and in the British people who migrated to America. As for its origins in Britain, I have no idea. I recall reading speeches by politicians and admirers (past and present) of the British Empire expounding on the many benefits bestowed upon other peoples under British rule. And in America was often defended as being “beneficial” to the slaves; just as the subsequent genocide of the American Indian and later forced internments onto “reservations” where their culture, language and laws were crushed as they were assimilated (taught the “ways of the white man”) were justified. The British and the Americans viewed their actions as being “beneficial” to the peoples they oppressed. Like the mother spanking her child, it was “done for his own good” with no ill intentions. Therefore, how could anyone possibly criticize such actions? (I always found it interesting that the French settlers in North America were extremely tolerant – and often very admiring – of the various American Indian cultures and consequently developed harmonious relationships.)
Any political leader who under-estimates the power of this “Goodness Delusion” of Americans places himself and his nation at risk. For from this delusion comes the determination – some may say “fanaticism” – of the U.S. government in its attempts to “convert” other nations and cultures to the “American way”. And if the U.S. destroys a people in the process of “helping” them, there is no one to blame since its motives were pure. Consequently, the U.S. will try again and again and again to forcefully bestow these “benefits” upon unwilling peoples until it succeeds – or becomes exhausted by the process. The U.S. government will force the post-coup Kiev government and military to use whatever means necessary, including the mass slaughter of its own people, to gain control of the entirety of Ukraine. Mr. Putin, that is why you will need to send Russian troops into eastern and southern Ukraine to protect the Russian people there. So, take heed, Mr. Putin; you have been warned. You will thank me later!