Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions: Spring 2001.


6. US Exceptionalisms: 2001.
Elizabeth Young.
(pdf version)

The US needs to rejoin the world as a full member. US Exceptionalism is not recognised outside the US as valid, and, in a globalising world, it is not only a mistake, but destructive and dangerous.

US "exceptionalist" policies include the following:


1. The comprehensively unacceptable military doctrine of "Full Spectrum Dominance". The Pentagon last July issued the most recent update of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff's Joint Vision - i.e. "Joint Vision 2020" - which elaborates their plans for "Full Spectrum Dominance 2020": This involves just what it says - Full Space Dominance, Full Information Dominance, Full National Missile Defenses, and so on, plus the capability to conduct two major wars simultaneously: in the Middle East and in the Far East.

2. Refusal to pay its full dues to the United Nations (the present situation is absurd, with an individual, Ted Turner, part-funding the US dues).

3. The right claimed to use military force otherwise than according to the provisions of the UN Charter.

4. Refusal to join the International Criminal Court (current signature allows participation in organisation, without intending to ratify.

5. Refusal to rejoin UNESCO.

6. Refusal to sign the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

7. Refusal to sign the Anti-Personnel Mine Convention.

8. Refusal to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban.

9. Continued development of sub-treaty level nuclear warheads and dedicated platforms.

10. A history, still only partly acknowledged, of CIA involvement with criminal dictatorships.

11.Proposals to breach the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

12. Claims to a controlling leadership role in NATO (whose original functions were fundamentally altered at the Washington Conference in April 1999) over the level and kind of defence arrangements of both NATO and EU member states.

13. and to carry NATO veto powers over into the European Rapid Reaction Force.

14. Use made of NATO's Partnership-for-Peace programmes for US commercial and other interests (as in the Caucasus and Central Asia).

15. Determination to circumvent "Kyoto" commitments while continuing to pollute at an unparalleled rate.

16. Misuse of the World Trade Organisation:

a. To benefit US Corporations.

b. To continue subsidising them.

c. To increase the scope of its remit in their interests: all at the expense both of other developed countries and of the less developed; together with the export of violence-dominated entertainment and propaganda justified as "free trade" and "freedom of speech".

17. Continuing military occupation of parts of Japan and of South Korea despite local objection (note that North Korea has indicated US Forces might remain in a unified Korea to provide protection against Japan).

18. The development and use of weapons incompatible with international conventions - depleted uranium, cluster bombs, etc., etc.

19. Active political and financial support for Israel's nuclear and other WMD proliferation, for its nuclear-capable platforms, and for its Anti-Ballistic Missile programmes, coupled with real-time space-surveill-ance information.

20. Vetoes in the UNSC in support of Israel's breaches of international law.

21. Unlawful destruction of the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and of "camps" in Afghanistan.

22. Unlawful threats - successfully objected to by neighbouring states - to "take out" North Korea's nuclear plant (as Israel had unlawfully taken out Iraq's in 1981).

23. Requests (all apparently refused) to Central Asian governments for bases from which to attack targets in Afghanistan.

24. Smuggling of weaponry to Croatia, etc., through Albania in breach of UN arms embargoes, and testing by US firms of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, etc., in Albania.

25. Mrs Albright's secret commitments, given in February 1999 to Hashim Thakis and the Kosovo Liberation Army, to US funding of the KLA and to eventual independence for Kosovo (whence today's impunity from UN authority for former-KLA criminality in Kosovo); equally Ambassador Holbrooke's concurrent, according to Lord Gilbert intentionally unacceptable, proposals to Milosevic of March 1999. (Compare these with Ambassador Glaspie's remark to Saddam Hussein immediately before his invasion of Kuwait that "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border dispute with Kuwait", which could have been seen as a "green light".)

26. Establishment of a massive non-NATO US military base, Camp Bondsteel, in Albania.

27. The insertion of US military forces, equipment and funding into Colombia as part of the Anti-Drug War, in despite of all other Latin American governments' objections.

28. "Echelon", the Anglophone intelligence gathering system involving the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which the European Parliament has recently publicised and condemned on the grounds that it is likely to be engaged in commercial and political espionage on European states, firms, and individuals, as well as general military espionage.

Apart from the US refusal to cooperate with the greater part of the international community, many US domestic policies are incompatible with Human Rights, with Democracy, and above all with the Justice that the United Nations was set up to establish at the end of the Second World War.


1. Its Immigration policies denude other countries of their educated elites while refusing any longer to accept the world's poor and oppressed: this amounts to a subsidy to the US from the rest of the world.

2. Its per capita Pollution represents a hi-jacked subsidy from the rest of the world.

3. The practice of capital punishment and incarceration at home, disproportionately of blacks, on a scale unparalleled in other civilised countries, while promoting "human rights" abroad.

All of these policies are based on the belief that in the course of its Global Engagement, the US has an unquestionable right - duty almost - to determine other countries' foreign, commercial and defence policies, including those of the European Union members. It is as if our differing interests were to be accounted disloyalty to the United States. (Surprisingly, the Conservative Party's devotion to Britain's national sovereignty does not lead them to object.)

Clement Attlee's remarks (on the subject of his decision to) when he set up the British Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell - the beginning of the UK's nuclear weapons programme in October 1945 may be recalled:

"We had to hold up our position vis-à-vis the Americans. We couldn't allow ourselves to be wholly in their hands, and their position wasn't awfully clear always"

(Francis Williams, "A Prime Minister Remembers", 1961, p.181. This was after Truman had reneged on two agreements about nuclear weapons that Churchill had made with Roosevelt.)


© Elizabeth Young, 2001.


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Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions: Spring 2001.









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