The vagaries of copydates mean that I am writing this review in the dismal wake of the election of George W Bush as President of the United States, following his selection by the Supreme Court four years ago. The civilians of Fallujah are dying in uncounted numbers in the supposed preparation for Iraqi ‘democracy’. In American Dream: Global Nightmare the respected cultural commentators Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies advance the thesis that the bloody Pax Americana being imposed on the world is the result of serious delusions deep in the American psyche.
They propose 10 ‘Laws of Americana’ and structure their book around a discussion of how these laws are sold to the US people and, by extension, the rest of us, through the medium of film, from Drums Along the Mohawk to Universal Soldier.
Much has been made of Bush as a ‘wartime President’ but, as the authors point out, all American elections are wartime elections. The country, bought and sold by a corporate élite, is on a perpetual war footing; fighting actual wars against such mighty powers as Iraq and Afghanistan, and permanently engaged in an endless series of domestic ‘wars’ on drugs, AIDS, crime and the conveniently inchoate enemy ‘terrorism’.
This is a first-rate primer on the myths America sells itself: its presumption of infallibility; its ignorance and indifference to the needs and priorities of the rest of the world. We are all being driven on a mad charge to oblivion and, whoever is President of the world’s most destructive force, this urgently needs to change.