Corporate Patriotism


There’s a serious effort underway to get President Obama to pardon whistleblower, Edward Snowden, before he leaves office. There’s also a new movie about Snowden, by Oliver Stone, that has got me thinking about what it means to be a patriot.

What is patriotism?

Is it mindless obedience to our country, or a healthy skepticism towards the corporate deep state that seems to call the shots irrespective of presidential administrations and our so-called democratic republic?

In my opinion, there has been a corporate coup, in my lifetime. For example, US foreign policy mandarins have conflated our nations interests with corporate ones. They cannot see any difference between the two. These corporations now wrap the flag around themselves and claim that what they are doing is patriotic.

To support corporate aims, our foreign policy is increasingly organized around maintaining a faltering US empire, with an obsession on regime change that borders on psychopathic.

This nexus of corporate and foreign policy was forged in the crucible of the Cold War against communism, but, if anything, has become more pronounced with the demise of the USSR. We had a unique chance to reset US foreign policy with the end of the Cold War, in the early 90’s, but, alas, it was not to be. This lack of change should call into question the reasons given for our aggressive policies during the Cold War–like supporting murderous dictators, and overthrowing 3rd world leaders who put their country before US corporate investments.

Perhaps the real reasons for the Cold War were corporate ones?

Maybe the same logic applies to the new Cold War. It sure was easy to whip up media hostility to Russia at the drop of the hat. Who owns our media? Oh, yeah, corporations.

One might assume that the American people would notice the continuity of US foreign policy, but that never  seems to happen and it probably won’t happen, due to the incessant blaring of the overpowering message of American exceptionalism by our uniquely commercialized propaganda system.

Sometimes, if you’re really paying attention, there will be a picture, or story, or quote that briefly shines a light on our uniquely corporate foreign policy. Here’s leading globalization cheerleader, Thomas Friedman, in a moment of candor“The hidden hand of the market, will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglass, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

To put our system of corporate foreign policy in context, let’s conduct a thought experiment. Imagine that we’d invested the 2-4 trillion dollars used to invade and occupy Iraq, in a post-petroleum economy. A high-tech, energy efficient economy; manufacturing solar cells and wind turbines, constructing bike and walking paths, retrofitting millions of homes and businesses, and most importantly, employing millions of Americans.

Instead, Vice President Cheney plotted with a secret cabal of oil insiders to seize Iraqi oil deposits and privatize their oil industry, after the US invasion.

We all know how that worked out.

Americans are supposed to be the government, as in “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”

This is the America that I treasure, represented by the flag with 50 stars and 13 bars.

Here’s what the corporate flag looks like:

American flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos

Maybe this flag is more appropriate?




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