A couple things recently have had me mulling over the problem of the US’s superiority complex. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of things about my country, it can be a wonderful place, just as Spain can be, just as Sweden can be, you get the picture.

So the country’s fine, but the government? “Sigh”…’fraid not folks. Caught this one today via onegoodmove.org:

The US has officially told Britain that it is perfectly legitimate and legal for the US to kidnap British or other citizens suspected of crimes in the US (NOT just terror suspects). They can do this in any territory, not just if the foreign national is within U.S. borders.

Your moment of zen today is brought to you by Alun Jones, CQ representing the US government, while explaining their position to a British court concerning a British citizen who was subject to an attempted abduction (or “rendition” as the cool kids are calling it) in Canada in 2005:

He said that if a person was kidnapped by the US authorities in another country and was brought back to face charges in America, no US court could rule that the abduction was illegal and free him: “If you kidnap a person outside the United States and you bring him there, the court has no jurisdiction to refuse — it goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s.”

Mr Justice Ouseley, a second judge, challenged Jones to be “honest about [his] position”. [sorry, but that last response was mincing words?]
Jones replied: “That is United States law.”

Can you imagine if Britain or China told the US govt that “It’s Chinese/British law that we can do this, you know, like bounty hunting” and proceeded to snatch up US citizens? Unthinkable. Not only would they never make the claim, but no one would pretend for a second that it was a legitimate one.

I mean, “It’s US law” ?!?!?! Ummmm…you’re not in the US – that’s the point!

So, I titled this post as I did because at the bottom of all this is a persistent arrogance about our place in the world.

But beware – while Brits may be horrified by the arrogance of the US government – assuming that people outside of their borders are somehow less deserving of basic human rights – plenty of parties on the rise all over Europe on anti-immigrant platforms exhibit a similar arrogance regarding foreigners.

The difference is that the US arrogance has simply grown to ecnompass foreigners outside their borders as well within them or attempting to cross them – a big step – but founded on the same morally indefensible argument that people who happened to born inside a certain set of geographically boundaries are in some fundamental way superior to those born outside them.

Btw, I like the comment on this article here in Harper’s:

Let’s be a bit fairer to the United States shall we? This is not U.S. law, it is a Bush Administration hallucination as to U.S. law.

Exactly.

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