Can “Our National Interests” Justify Our Behavior In the World?

In the Soviet Russia the formula for redeeming “our” often violent behavior inside the country and abroad was reduced to a silly syllogism: “what is good for Communism is also good for humankind, therefore if our destructive behavior serves Communism it is moral, noble and justifiable!” Another simple sample of justification for inhumane behavior was produced in the Third Reich – if my behavior as a patriot and a soldier is good for Germany then it is moral and heroic because “my/our great country” is a natural leader of other nations. Germany is uber alles (above all)! But for the author of this article who was born from the angry and hungry womb of socialism and who was fed by the milk of communist belief intended to nourish the future planetary warriors, it was shocking to recognize a similar justificatory formula used in U.S. during the Bushmerican years.

The Bushmerican corporate power in the name of American democracy proclaimed that its private profit making is number one American national interest. That’s how the Soviet Communist party identified its desire to be in power in Soviet Union and the ideological leader of the world with the interests of all the Soviet people and even “whole humankind”. Under Bush Junior’s administration it became again the spirit of the times to ignore the interests of the larger world. “The American interests are uber alles” slogan/slogun, like its Russian and German precedents, points to a deeply distorted relationship with otherness – a psycho-ontological disturbance that can be called otherness-phobia. This mental condition has, simultaneously both, agoraphobic and claustrophobic aspects – the extreme fear of geographic others (leading to self-aggrandized and aggressive postures) and of the internal otherness (postures of standardization and conformism).

Even if to imagine that the “American national interests” are identical with that of the American corporate elite (and not, as it is in reality, in most cases, oppose the interests of the majority of the American people) it cannot justify the ideology of dismissing the interests of the other side – of multiple international otherness. Our National interests alone cannot define our foreign policy, like “my” private interests cannot alone define my behavior with other people. The essence of democratic world view is to leave some space for others to also participate in defining our mutual life in the world.

In this sense the syntagma “our national interests are exclusive basis of our foreign policy” is naively cynical expression of our inability to address our own and the international otherness. Without otherness there is no wholeness (wholeness always includes the unknown element: otherness’ contribution cannot be controlled in advance). In megalomaniac delirium we want the world to be a total projection of “us-ness” and “me-ness”. The ability to accept otherness as a collaborator and co-creator is too much for us, the creatures of fear/ suspicion/panic worshiping our crushing power, the Bush-Cheney kind of creatures. We still unconsciously feel that to follow the code of morality is a weakness; we still instinctively perceive immorality as strength. And we create an absurd hybrid of morality and immorality by accepting immoral behavior under the banner of “our national interests”.

We must be oriented on the interests of the world as a wholeness, and this is different from the Soviet identification of Communist ideology (or Bushmerican identification of corporate interests) with what is beneficial for the world. We have to be able to include the otherness into our judgments. We have to learn how to share power with otherness, how to accept the otherness of the world.

Our own spiritual freedom will only start when we will get the ability to grant freedom to the otherness of the world outside and inside ourselves. But we don’t know what spiritual freedom is. We only understand our right and freedom to push on to the world our religious and ideological beliefs, to make profit, to consume and call monopolistic domination over the markets free market.

*Sloguns – slogans of aggression and hate calling for our “armed unity” intended to solidify our belligerent stance toward the world.