Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some Myths Never Die

What if the myth of American exceptionalism were linked to an insane idea? According to “A report based on a secret NSA document and published this week in Der Spiegel and the Sydney Morning Herald, has named a number of cities in which Asian embassies have been used for electronic surveillance by a group of intelligence partners known as the "Five Eyes". The US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are bound by a written intelligence-sharing agreement. The embassies allegedly involved in the spying spree are [those in] Jakarta, Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia, among others.

Can spying by five AngloSaxon eyes be explained merely by their geographically justified interest in ‘Oriental’ Asian countries? Or does this juxtaposition hark back to a 150 year belief in ‘Aryan superiority’ as documented in James Bradley’s 2005 book ‘The Imperial Cruise’?

Bradley’s account uses a 1905 Pacific junket organized by then President Theodore Roosevelt as pretext for an investigation into a little-known pillar of American foreign policy, the myth of the superiority of the ‘Aryan’ race. This deleterious idea did not begin with Hitler, as most Americans believe, but goes back several centuries and has played a major role in the foreign policy of both Great Britain and the United States.

You have to read Bradley’s book to get the details, but let me just divulge here that in the early twentieth century Japan set out to prove that it was unlike the other Asian ‘barbarians’ by industrializing and adopting American ways, ultimately being seen by Washington as Honorary Aryans. So strong was his belief that the United States backed Japan in its epic 1904 war with white but non-Aryan and non-Protestant Russia over Manchuria.

One might think this crazy idea would have died a natural death since the second world war, but if it did, why are five ‘Aryan’ countries spying on a list of Asian nations to this day? And for that matter, is ‘the West’s’ battle with Islam partly a prolongation of the old myth of Aryan superiority that was brutally challenged when non-Aryans took on the bastion of White supremacy on 9/11?

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