Daily Show won’t let me center this, their website kinda sucks.
This Daily Show episode highlights America’s foreign policy piece de retardance – the Israel-Palestine affair. Now the US is cutting off funding for UNESCO (largely humanitarian work) because they dared vote to recognize Palestine. That sucks, but the Daily Show has fully and hilariously called them on it. That’s what’s great.
One major thing wrong with America is its willful and ignorant foreign policy, an issue Julian Assange has discussed with some intelligence. His basic point is, well, here:
The U.S. saw the French Revolution and it also saw the behavior of the U.K. and the other kings and dictatorships, so it intentionally produced a very weak President. The President was, however, given a lot of power for external relations, so as time has gone by, the presidency has managed to exercise its power through its foreign affairs function. If we look at what happened with Obama and health care reform, we see this extraordinary situation where Obama [indecipherable] can order strikes against U.S. citizens overseas but is not able to pass, at least not easily and not in the form that he wanted, a health reform bill domestically.
Assange is talking about the Presidency, but it applies to the government in general. As Stuart Reid wrote: “The game becomes much easier if foreign policy decisions are obscured from the domestic audience.”
A lot of US foreign policy is enacted upon people that can’t vote on it, backed by taxpayer funds of people too busy to lobby or care. So you get a lot of policy that’s bad for the US, the people its purporting to help, and generally everybody. That sucks.
What’s great, however, is that American people are uniquely mediated and that makes them quite powerful, if they pay attention. For example, I learned about this UNESCO through a US TV program (The Daily Show) filmed in New York, publicly accessing and making fun of US representatives. That’s what’s right about America.
In this report, John Oliver totally ridicules the US policy, going so far as to travel to Gabo, probably putting significant pressure on the government and getting US citizens involved in a dangerous foreign policy largely ignored by their population, and thus largely immune to democratic oversight. And it’s fun to watch.
That’s what’s great about America. It has better TV than the Chinese. And it’s a functioning democracy. I think the two may be connected.