The New Ugly Americans

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

The old cultural imperialism was supposedly greedy corporatism like Disneyland, McDonald’s, and Starbucks sprouting up worldwide to supplant local competitors.

But these businesses spread because they appealed to free-will consumer demand abroad. They were not imposed top down.

The U.S. presence in Afghanistan collapsed in August 2021 amid the greatest American military humiliation in modern history. A billion-dollar new embassy was abandoned. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new infrastructure at the huge Bagram Airbase was dumped.

We still do not know how many billions of dollars of sophisticated new weapons were left to the Taliban and now are making their way through global terrorists’ marts.

Yet, in our skedaddle, the LGBTQ flag still flew high from our new Kabul embassy.

A George Floyd mural was prominent on city streets.

And gender studies programs—to the tune of $787 million in American subsidies—were showcased at Kabul University, in one of the most conservative Islamic countries in the world.

Rainbow flags and Black Lives Matter banners have hung from our embassy in South Korea.

Such partisan cultural activism is a diplomatic first.

The woke Left has now weaponized the country’s diplomatic missions abroad to advance highly partisan and controversial agendas that can offend their hosts, and do not represent the majority of American voters at home.

American foreign policy toward other nations seems now to hinge on their positions on the transgendered, LGBTQ acceptance, abortion, climate change, and an array of woke issues from using multiple pronouns on passports to showcasing transgendered ambassadors.

The Biden Administration in January 2022 stopped the EastMed pipeline. That joint effort of our allies Cyprus, Greece, and Israel sought to bring much needed clean-burning Mediterranean natural gas to southern Europe.

Apparently, our diplomats felt it violated our own New Green Deal orthodoxies. So we imperialists interfered to destroy a vital project of our closest allies.

The White House manifesto called the “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” offers a blueprint for how to massage nations abroad to accept our values that are increasingly at odds with much of the world’s.

Do Americans really believe that embracing drag-queen shows at military bases, abortion to the moment of birth, transgendered men competing in women’s sports, and the promised effort to ban the internal combustion engine are effective ways to ensure good relations with the United States?

No wonder the Biden Administration’s new cultural imperialism is proving disastrous for a variety of reasons.

One, these imperialistic and chauvinistic agendas are pushed abroad at the very time the respect for the U.S. military is at an all-time low. It was humiliated in Afghanistan. It is now unable to recruit sufficient qualified soldiers. Its stocks of critical weapons are depleted.

The Pentagon leadership of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, along with Joe Biden, do not radiate competence.

But they do exude woke pieties.

While we offend Middle East oil exporters and Central Europeans, China allies with Russia and Iran. India and Turkey triangulate away from the United States. Sanctimonious hectoring while appearing weak is a bad combination.

Two, these warped standards are incoherent. Is an abortion-on-demand, totalitarian China therefore an ally? How can we damn supposedly non-woke Saudi Arabia as we beg it pump more of its non-green oil before the 2022 midterms?

Some of our most loyal allies are in Eastern Europe—Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania—have experienced traumatic histories on the front lines against Islamic Ottoman expansionism, czarist and Soviet aggression, and German Nazi bullying and invasion.

They are democratic and pro-American. Yet they are now targeted by our woke imperialists because they remain steadfast as the most religious and traditional of our European allies.

Yet these nations would be more likely to dispatch credible forces for NATO’s defense than many of our left-wing, woke, and militarily less capable Western European nations.

Three, most of the 7.9 billion people in the world are not woke. They are aspiring to obtain a modicum of the luxury and affluence taken for granted in America.

The rest of the planet worries whether it will have enough food, energy, security, and shelter to live one more day. For most, the incessant, woke virtue-signaling from affluent Americans comes across as the whiny bullying of pampered, self-righteous—and increasingly neurotic—imperialists.

Four, traditionally the party that controls the State Department does not politically weaponize its embassies with wedge issues that have not won majority support among Americans.

Such abject politicalization rattles and alienates foreign nations. They do not want to be drawn into the American Left’s internal propaganda efforts that they know are bitterly controversial inside the United States.

How odd that those on the Left who in the past decried “American imperialism” are now proving the greatest imperialists of all.


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25 thoughts on “The New Ugly Americans”

  1. Imperialism is the right word for it! Neo-Marxist multi-culturalists should know better!

    P.s. the idea that Hungary is a staunch ally is laughable. Under Orban, they are officially “Hungary First” and unofficially “Please Let Us Back In To The Soviet Union”.

    1. As, I think, you are fond of asking, please provide [serious] documentation that Orban/Hungary is interested in being part of a reconstituted Soviet Union. If it exists, I haven’t seen it.

      1. That was a hyperbolic jab.

        That said, do you deny that Orban sees his country’s interests as aligned with Russia? Do you deny that Orban is not a reliable U.S. and Nato ally after he tried to block the applications of Finland and Sweden to NATO?I can fetch documentation on that, if you like.

        Are you a fan of Orban?

        1. Best defence is a good offence. Then try to change the subject and reformulate the question. Nicely done. Unfortunately I only possess a 6th grade education so it’s wasted on me
          Orban, Hungary and most of central/Eastern Europe have a very different history than the West. Not a lot of Thomas Jefferson types in the last couple of centuries. On the other hand lots & lots of bad dudes. But you know this.

          That said, a politician that wants to maintain the national and religious character of their native land is not by definition a bad guy. Is he a little too close to Putin-yes. Is he a little too willing to reward aggression? Yes again

          Is he a quiescent communist who yearns for a Stalinist future? Not in a million years. That’s all and you know better than to suggest it even as an exaggerated way to make a point. I would be extremely circumspect before implying any nationalist politician in a former Warsaw Pact country harbours a desire to turn the clock back. I read most of your posts, don’t agree very often but I am pretty sure you know what/who a communist sympathizer is & isn’t.

          As stated in a previous back and forth, I usually do not engage anonymous keyboard warriors, I consider this a fact check and will not be responding to anything other than factual errors/omissions going forward

          1. How arrogant. Orban deserves the jab precisely because of his country’s history. I did not try to distract, but freely owned what I was doing and asked for genuine clarification, which you were happy to provide. Your “fact check” is a disingenuous way of avoiding a debate you know you can’t win. You don’t have to like what I say, but spare us your trolling and obvious vindictiveness.


    Is it just a modern swing of an endless pendulum that humanity rides on? Couple it with decadence, with AI, and gross abuse of information. Its almost worth sticking your head in the sand as a honest senior. Spend the rest of it enjoying the simple things in life

  3. Spot on Dr Hanson.

    Did I miss the part that said “unconditional support for Ukraine is exempt from both woke considerations & democratic institutions because we(you know who we are but you can’t say it out loud)decided a long time ago that Putin got DJT elected and is a very useful distraction.

  4. We need to get 2 the root cause of the sickness in America, which is abusing children by telling them what to memorize before teaching them a proven, dependable, repeatable method they can learn, practice, and master to memorize what matters. Teaching children, Teenagers, Adults, and Seniors A Method 4 Memorizing and A Method 4 Creating is The’ Key 2 CreateaaGreatAmerica.US! -RWK

  5. Keith Roberts

    OK. I got it. After several (endless stream) of your articles listing the symptoms of the collapse of America, I’d like to see your opinion of how to address a fix. I’m sure you have worthwhile thoughts about how to enact a scenario of how to head off the ugly end. Your knowledge of human history must have some precedent you can share. Please, no more $5/mo lists of fails.

    1. Martin driscoll

      I disagree with your statement.
      The importance of providing direct factual evidence for people to fully understand and address problems. In today’s society, people are often confused and need clear summaries to comprehend complex issues. By having a better understanding of these issues, solutions can be identified, and unity can be achieved.

  6. Jim Reynolds

    A poem in the style of Robert Frost:

    In the new age of cultural imperialism,
    we see the ugly Americans rise.
    Their woke agendas and partisan activism,
    offend their hosts and make allies despise.

    From Kabul to South Korea, rainbow flags fly,
    and George Floyd murals adorn the streets.
    Gender studies programs funded by the sly,
    while billions in weapons the Taliban meets.

    The Pentagon leadership exudes woke piety,
    while our military stocks are depleted.
    Yet our imperialistic agendas lose society,
    and our allies remain unconvinced and defeated.

    Eastern Europe, pro-American and democratic,
    are now targeted by our woke nation.
    While Middle East oil exporters remain problematic,
    we beg them to pump more oil with resignation.

    Most of the planet aspires for luxury and affluence,
    while affluent Americans whine and bully.
    To the rest of the world, the woke’s nonsense,
    Is as useless as a cordless pulley.

    Thus, the Biden Administration’s new cultural imperialism,
    proves disastrous for a variety of reasons.
    As they weaponize their embassies with partisan cynicism,
    and contradict American voters’ values and seasons.

  7. The LGBTQ flag waving on the US Kabul embassy; a George Floyd mural painted of the well-known criminal with US State Department tax dollars on foreign streets; obnoxious, useless gender study programs—to the tune of $787 million in American tax dollar subsidies — disgustingly showcased at the Islamic Kabul University, “present” as deliberately offensive and sophomoric to nations that already question our values and intention. There, many recognize such aberrant traits as indication of moral decline and would more than likely gravitate toward the more traditional value system of a neighbor nation. IF the sophomoric are not removed the trend will likely grow with the traditional finally replacing the outlier. IF Navy leadership believes use of a drag queen will improve enlistment, what do they believe will be necessary to win a knockdown drag-out fight with China?

  8. Robert VanBuhler

    Imagine if the USSR had put huge posters of Joseph Stalin on its embassy and consulates in the USA. Then compare that image with the USA putting their antithetical imagery on the outside of out embassies in foreign countries. The hubris.

    1. Yes, it is sophomoric.
      Great point.
      Quite a few in China are ingrained with the belief that hubris naturally precedes a fall. In fact, such is that belief that they deliberately use flattery to install hubris in order to bring about the sequential fall.

  9. I have to believe that part of the reason why the U.S. won WW2 and became the shinning light to the world was because there were so many impoverished and suffering citizens during the decade before December 7th. I know in talking to those who lived through the Great Depression that the spirit of the American people never waned in hope and belief in their nation. Can a pampered, self-indulgent, effiminate, self-centered and gluttonous nation do the same when the Chinese cross the Formosa Strait?

    1. The Greatest Generation indeed became so because of their earlier poverty and struggle to merely exist. This gave them humility that led to a sense community oneness that led to patriotism to fight to survive. Multiple poor uncle farmers and loggers fibbed about their age to join the fight to save the nation. Their grandchildren and great grandchildren mostly are in no way prepared to face those with the attitude of their own grandparents, the poor, oft hungry humble youth of WW2, and those of similar backgrounds in China today.

    2. Sadly Sir I think you are correct – it feels like we are doomed. The bravery shown by previous generations was born of hardship and deprivation they learned endurance which, as it turns out came in very useful.
      But this time it is not like 1939 when Churchill made a stand against an external enemy this time the enemy is within.

  10. Political correctness – the trans birth-parent of woke – “first appeared in the 1930s, when it was used to describe dogmatic adherence to ideology in authoritarian regimes, such as Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.” from Wiki, ref. WaPo 2016

    Fifty years ago US psychiatrists considered homosexuality a mental disorder (DSM-II). Then they classified it (after gays lobbying?) as a sexual orientation (DSM-III) and the alphabet nomenclature grew, LBGTQ+

    The world believes that inmates from asylums escaped and took control of the USA in a hallucinogenic, media-wide flash.

    1. Perhaps because most of the world understand that the alignment of chromosomes, xx, xy, xxx, xyy, etc., et al, in fact, is not a social construct.
      Fact is, their self-defining social construct is merely an artificial and superficial social construct that denies reality.

  11. Odd, ironic . . . and potentially tragic. Hope stems from astute and cogent commentators such as yourself, as well as rising political leaders savvy to dangerous woke absurdity and strong in the fight against it.

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