Continuing in its recent tradition of casting the United States as all that is evil in the world, Salon.com has once again published a piece insisting that the U.S. is the scariest, most dangerous country in the world and that America is what ails humanity, even more so than radical Islam.
For Salon, Paul Torres, a member of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, wrote an article titled, “The United States is scarier than the Islamic State.” The piece firmly blames the evils of the world on the U.S.A., and it features a tagline that insists, “Even our closest allies fear that we are a menace militarily and environmentally. The threat is lethal and real.”
The organization to which Torres belongs, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is a leading advocate of “transhumanism,” or the idea that man can implant enough technological devices into himself to “evolve” into a new—or “posthuman”—species.
Torres’s “America the lethal” piece does pay lip service in one paragraph to the real threat that the U.S. (and the West in general) faces in radical Islam, but he spends 90 percent of the article damning America as the most dangerous nation on the planet, one other nations rightly fear.
After making his brief admission that radical Islam is a great source of strife, Torres quickly gets to his point. “This being said,” he wrote, “when I consider the greatest threats to human civilization, it’s the United States that stands out above other potential risks.”
You read that right. The greatest risk to human civilization—his italics there—is the United States of America.
This “menace” that other nations feel emanating from the U.S., Torres says, means that we need a “reinterpretation of American exceptionalism.”
“Perhaps we are exceptional after all,” Torres says, “but not in the ways we’d like to think. The world is scared of us.”
The author goes on to attempt to explain why the U.S. is a menace to the world by recounting the 1953 overthrow of the Iranian government, our support of Saddam Hussein during his war with Iran, and other instances and policies of which he doesn’t approve.
He then moves on to a condemnation of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq after the attacks on 9/11, damning the U.S. for killing 30,000 civilians when we suffered a piffling attack “that killed slightly under 3,000 people” on that terrible day in September, 2001.
Parroting many who feel that Bush’s invasion created Islamic terror, Torres goes on to say, “It’s virtually indisputable” that the Iraq invasion gave rise to the current reign of Islamic terror plaguing the world. The invasion did this, Torres says, by “convincing a whole generation of moderate Muslims to pick up a Kalashnikov and join the holy fight against the ‘Crusaders.'”
Despite that, at least since WWII, radical Islamists have been teaching the same apocalyptic theology that they are today, the Salon columnist goes on to aver that Bush’s Iraq invasion “convinced a whole generation of Muslims” that the end times are near, “leading to a rise of apocalyptic fervor in the Middle East.”
This Bush-created “apocalyptic fervor” Muslims are indulging is also causing a “feed-back” to the American political scene, Torres says, by “strengthening and consolidating” the “political right” here in the U.S.
Then Torres claims that Donald Trump is essentially just as bad as the “apocalyptic” Muslims by becoming a warmonger in order to gain favor with his supporters.
“Trump’s followers are fixated on urgent phenomena,” the left-wing scholar writes, “from China and ISIS to illegal immigration and economic uncertainty—that together create an apocalyptic climate in which a messianic figure of some sort is needed to ‘save’ the believers.”
Worse, in Torres’s eyes, is his feeling that Trump and his “apocalyptic” followers are further alienating Muslims and continuing the cycle. So, reacting to murderous Muslim terrorism is an evil as great as the terrorism.
But Trump isn’t the only Republican who Torres feels is akin to a terrorist. Ted Cruz also comes in for heavy criticism here. “I would argue that Cruz is no less, and perhaps even more, terrifying than Trump,” Torres says.
And why is Cruz worse than Trump?
“Consider the fact that he’s fostered a close relationship with the megachurch pastor John Hagee, who in 2006 founded one of the most powerful religious lobbies in the United States, Christians United for Israel (CUFI),” Torres says sonorously.
Torres then expounds on his hate for Pastor Hagee, saying he is a “a Christian extremist” because he supports Israel. That support, of course, is “especially apocalyptic” according to the Salon author.
In fact, Torres is so frightened of Hagee that he feels that “any candidate who’s spoken at a CUFI event should make us nervous.” This would include Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, and Jeb Bush, all of whom have spoken before Hagee’s group this campaign cycle.
Then comes the inevitable global warming alarmism as Torres makes the oft-repeated claim that the U.S.A. is the “worst polluter in the world,” second only to China.
The United States, Torres says, is responsible for “extreme weather events, megadroughts, desertification, deforestation, species extinctions, biodiversity loss, ecological collapse, the spread of infectious diseases, rising sea levels, food supply shortages, mass migrations, social upheaval, and political instability.”
One wonders if it might possibly dawn on Torres that his claims of global calamity from global warming are at least as “apocalyptic” as the worries over terrorism that he scolds Republicans for advancing?
Ah, but in the end he ties his apocalyptic fears over global warming directly to terror by insisting that “climate change is also linked to the rise of terrorism” and claiming that a global warming-induced drought in Syria is what caused the outbreak of the civil war there which in turn gave rise to ISIS.
Despite all the world’s ills, Torres concludes, saying, “I find my own country to be the primary source of anxiety.”
Given the mythology of American exceptionalism—our benevolent hegemony and moral superiority, our good intentions and special favorability in the eyes of God—it’s often hard to see just how catastrophic our policies have been throughout the world. But if one imagines oneself as an alien creature hovering over Earth without any bias for one society over another, it would be hard not to conclude that the United States has been, and continues to be, a major source of global distress.
Torres ends his piece, proclaiming that last year, “the world confirmed that we’re the greatest threat to peace, and this opinion appears to be substantiated by the facts.”
“What’s the lesson here,” the author asks. “It’s not to sit back and point fingers at ourselves, but to acknowledge our history of follies and then to try as best we can to be just a little bit more judicious moving forward.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.