Is America a Malignant State?

imperialism03You probably have noticed that I consistently refer to North Korea, Iran and China as “malignant states”. The aim is to recognize them as operating in a way that destroys harmony between nations.

  • North Korea is plain lunatic, totally apart from rational or kind behavior, even toward her own peoples. A leader who will execute his former girl-friend is more than a tad ruthless. An entire nation is subjugated to power and citizens must like it, or be shot.
  • Iran has been on the warpath against Israel and the United States, stirring up trouble across the Middle East and (some suspect) trying to develop nuclear bombs. Iran wants to be the dominant state in the Middle East. She doesn’t care how many kids are recruited as suicide bombers if her goal of destabilization and conquest is realized.
  • China wants to be the dominant state in the world and is pushing geographically outward in the same old imperialistic vein that got us World War II and a lot of other wars before that. She has become an economic giant and needs resources to keep the good times rolling. She’d rather not buy them.

Furthermore, you have probably noticed that JoeAm has been defending the American NSA “spy” programs as being irrelevant to privacy in an era where privacy simply does not exist. Google has more information about us than the U.S. government. And the spy programs are important to the hunt for terrorists. In other words, JoeAm favors defense over privacy.

The other side of the argument sees unmitigated power in the hands of those who operate under the radar as dangerous in its own right, and we need to defend against THAT.

JoeAm’s argument has gotten wobblier with the latest revelations coming from Belgium and Brazil. In Belgium, the accusation is that America did am internet raid on Belgium telephone company customer and call information. In Brazil, the accusation is that America tapped the phones of the Prime Minister. Furthermore, the U.S. denied some diplomatic visas to Venezuelan leaders, so that got flames into the eyes and speeches of Venezuelans.

Perhaps it is time to refine the arguments a bit by firming up our definitions. To do this, we refer to the handy Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary, which sits worn from overuse on the bookshelf next to the slot where Strunk & White used to reside, and we flip to “malignancy”, definition 11, which refers not to cancer but to international relations.

  • malignancy (noun) 11. In reference to international relations, a numerical calculation representing a nation’s degree of depravity times its economic might, where “degree of depravity” represents extent of separation from international human rights standards and “economic might” is measured by GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

This is a more evolved definition that recognizes a nation with great power, such as the United States or China, can have extraordinary impact on the well-being of world order if it undertakes nefarious deeds.


Telephone data traps may have good justification to help hunt down terrorists, but when that technical skill is abused, it can cause big problems with world harmony. The U.S. may have generally good intentions in most activities, but when her agencies slip up, it creates considerable havoc and angst.

That’s the point whistleblower Snowden made. And that’s why the world is not a harmonious place right now.

It is also true that a small but really nasty state like North Korea might rate high, too, because she brings other states to the brink of war by dangerous and threatening acts.

Another concept that needs definition is the level of rationalization a state employs when caught red-handed in being malignant. It is rather like crooks and senatorial low-lifes justifying their criminal behavior. Or like Enrile’s lawyer splitting hairs by saying authorizing an expenditure is not “command control” of the spending.

But let’s set such refinements aside for now to focus on the simple picture.

I’m just going to sketch out an idea here using some rough estimates of “degree of depravity” and “economic might”. This will get the discussion started.

Here is a table showing the malignancy calculation for six states:

Nation Depravity(1) Economy(2) Malignancy (1×2)
China 7 8.227 57.589
United States 3 15.68 47.040
Russia 7 2.053 14.371
Iran 8 0.549 4.392
Canada 2 1.819 3.638
Syria 9 0.065 0.585
North Korea 10 0.028 0.28
2012; CIA via Wikipedia
(1) Scale 1 to 10, 10 high
(2) GDP; trillions $US

Well, this is rather fascinating, I think. America is the second most malignant state behind China. The reason is her economic might, which extends her reach and HER INTERESTS deeply around the world. So when we get an over-ambitious data-gatherer like NSA, then the potential for creating world unrest is high.

That is what is happening.


The U.S., in pursuit of her own interests, is discarding the interests of a lot of other nations and creating a great deal of anger.

That is the opposite of world harmony.

China may be playing even more dangerous games – staking claims to the territory of other lands – but she is playing them mainly in Asia.

  • “But, but, but Joe” you may interrupt. “Iran or North Korea with a nuke are very dangerous, and the Malignancy index does not account for that.”

Well, it does, in a way. How many nukes does the U.S. have? If the button is pushed from America, North Korea is little more than carbon. Radioactive carbon. The U.S. survives a North Korean attack easily.

But the upshot is, yes, I have reconsidered my stance and found the U.S. wanting.

America, by global standards of human rights and harmony, is a malignant state, and the second most malignant next to China.

That might give many Filipinos cause for a snicker, that JoeAm has changed his mind and slapped down his homeland.

But I wouldn’t get too jazzed. If we put a regional qualifier to the index, the Philippines is facing off against the most malignant beast on the planet. Slavering and growling and pawing with very sharp claws. In Philippine seas.

It is time to cozy up to a malignant mercenary who will help defend the Philippines.

But President Aquino should have his room swept daily for bugs.

And I don’t mean cockroaches.

22 Responses to “Is America a Malignant State?”
  1. The Mouse says:

    Could it be that the spying in other countries came about from some “suspicion” and those countries are very irritated because they are hiding something that are likely…to make the US less trustful of them?

    America can have a weird policy. It pours billions of aid to countries(with exception to Israel) so that they will “behave” (even if they don’t behave really well..but they do get the consequence of severe US spying though) yet some of the countries that receives smaller aid are more successful and even cooperative? Take for example South Korea. Sure there are US bases but Korea has largely been successful in preventing North Korea invading it again but the US Military lets Korea and Japan pay partially for the base expenses and the Philippines has been more successful than Pakistan and Egypt in isolating terrorists (a lot of Philippine terrorists are funded and trained by FOREIGNERS especially ME terrorists) but the aid the Philippines receives is nothing compared to what Egypt and Pakistan get. South Korea even sends some troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I think its this kind of policy is what gets America in a mess. It may have worked in the Cold War but I think other countries have figured out a way to milk US tax payers through these.

    • Joe America says:

      I can understand US mistrust of Venezuela, but Brazil? It would make more sense to build that relationship rather than threaten it. Rather than use spy information behind the scenes, be forthright and on the table and develop close commercial ties, non-political ties. And Belgium? Unless it is a hotbed for the nurturing of extremists, why spy there?

      And I agree, the Philippines receives very little aid, and that is I think an outgrowth of the US being too involved with Marcos, getting tossed in 1990, seeing the Philippines drop out of the “coalition of the willing” at first firing in Iraq, and not trusting Arroyo or the courts or much else here. I think more aid is likely to come, in the way of humanitarian deeds and military support, if the Philippines is not too demanding on things like the VFA. The Philippines for sure has reason not to trust the US. But I think the US also has legitimate reasons not to trust the Philippines. The Philippines should work on the Philippine side of that equation and manage the US side by being clear and authoritative during discussions. The Philippines ought not weep and wail and demand.

      US policy is indeed a bit of a mess, a patchwork put together by various administrations. As an American citizen, I’d like to see the US downscale its military emplacements in Europe and even places like South Korea and Japan. I think a “modest” presence in the Philippines is okay.

      • The Mouse says:

        No weeping for the Philippines perceived lack of aid, just a mere observation of pattern. The US has been hell bent in getting So Kor to pay half of the base expenditures for the sake of reducing military expenditures yet does not even bother reducing/cancelling the aid to egypt (beyond the cancellation of f16) as a consequence of contiuous blatant human rights violation and the fact that per American law, regimes that seized power through coups are not allowed aid. Although Indonesia is not a tradiotional US ally, it has done a good job in isolating the JI too, more successful and less brutal than Egypt, but they get minimal aid…to think of it that Southeast Asia almost became a terrorism front that will rival the Middle East.

        As for Brazil and Belgium, there could be reasons unknown to the publication that are unknown to the public eye. I don’t hear Korea and Japan complaining or something similar. Maybe the difference is Japan and Korea dont feel threatened because they have nothing to hide? Maybe if Roh was still president though Korea will react as he had policies that emboldened North Korea.

        • The Mouse says:

          On the other hand, how sure are we that other countries (Phils included) is not spying on other countries that is not America if they have the means to? I suspect that countries do actually suspect spy other countries too (their allies included), they just do it discreetly more than America.

          • Joe America says:

            There is a reason that Europe complaints about NSA spying went quiet. The spy agencies of the U.K., Germany and France had to whisper to their political bosses, “uh, chief, we try to do the same thing; the Americans are just better at it than we are.”

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I agree US foreign policy is rife with inconsistency. America too often thinks good deeds will be rewarded with good deeds (Egypt) and tries again and again to buy allegiances. It is not a very good policy in my opinion, so I can’t argue with you. But that does not make America a malignant state, just an occasionally confused, hypocritical or wrong-headed one.

          I’ve never understood why the US ignores Latin America in favor of Europe, and now Asia. Roots, I suppose.

          And you are right, re Brazil and Belgium. Maybe there are some reasons. I just add up the incidents, one after another, and think this is not a good way to create world harmony.

  2. The Mouse says:

    It just occurred to me… If the US spied on Philippine officials, I think the voters will be very happy! All their shenanigans will be exposed! Hehehe

    I hope the US is spying on our senatongs and tongressman. We need US spying to know who are the real culprit in the pork scam are. LOL

    • Joe America says:

      That’s very funny. Maybe the Ombudsman should have legal NSA-type spying capabilities. Comes with the territory for those wishing to run for public office and be entrusted with the People’s welfare. Rather FOI real time. Good idea.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      HA!HA!HA! The Americans need not spy on the Philippines. Philippines leaks like a sieve. Philippines need not need FOI. Information is there for the taking. Take Napoles for example … Renato Corona … Aling Glo … Benigno Aquino … From unequal share of PDF to violation of banking secrecy … to TRO and presidential blow-by-blow minute-by-minute column what-is-on-the-menu breakfast with Benigno that he claimed that never happened to the picture that he was never there it was all photoshoppped! Gosh!

      With all the corrupts, benigno is the lesser evil. Renato Coorona was obviously corrupt. Aling Glo evidently beyond reasonable doubt is mother-of-all-corrupt. But benigno, is more suave. Evidently he lied but at least he did not steal he is just protecting those that facilitated the ouster of Renato Corona, thru Janet napoles THAT ACCORDING TO KIT TATAD.

      • Joe America says:

        It is interesting, this penchant President Aquino has for being loyal to those who are loyal to him, even if it is to his disadvantage to be loyal (Puno). I have not figured out if it is a strength or a weakness or simply “the way it is in the Philippines, culturally”. I suspect it is one of those mathematical qualities, some pros, some cons, and you add them up at the end of your term. If you get a Nobel prize, you played them for the most part right. If you are impeached, you played them for the most part wrong. Mr. Aquino has played the FOI favoritism wrong, I suspect.

  3. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Spying is one, but you could consider some more to rate America as malignant, just to name a few:

    America and the missionary zeal of Evangelical churches, Mormons, Scientologists…

    America of Monsanto, creating a monopolistic, mono culture agriculture…

    America exporting Macdo’s, Coca Cola and obesity…

    America interfering in mineral rich countries as in oil rich Iraq of Sadam and cupper rich Chili of Pinochet and not in a 2 million people genocide of a mineral poor Ruanda…

    America spoiling natural resources 4 times faster than everyone else…

    America and the commercialization of sports, a steroid infested American football and an Epo saturated Armstrong…

    America and its war on drugs with no progress in 50 years, the opposite…

    America of the Lehman Brothers and rating agencies…

    America as unique, extra ordinary, selected and blessed by God…

    Don’t get me wrong, I love it America, even more than I hate it. Often for the same reasons, as too much of a good thing can be bad.

    • Joe America says:

      No, I disagree with most of that, unless you consider the freedom to prosper itself malignant. Americas missionaries are diverse and none carry guns. Agriculture is competitive, but indeed big. Macdos, Coke, those belong to the shareholders and again are an outcome of success; they are not inherently villainous. Interfering with mineral rich countries or Apple manufacturing in human rights abusive China? Well, we need to discuss solutions because that is pretty complex and does not involve America having her way. Genocide? America? I think we are mixing our arguments mightily.

      Every ill of the world ought not lie at the feet of America and we ought to decide, if it is malignant to prosper, what the constructive alternative ought to be? Eating off of trash piles?

      • Joe America says:

        Also, we ought to put a time dimension to it and recognize when we are talking about history versus current attitudes and acts. One of the great positives about America and her freedoms of expression and representative government (and bastions of lawyers) is her ability to wrestle with conflicts and move to a higher plane. She is indeed a pioneer in human rights practices and laws, some of them emerging from great historical wrongs (racism). The spying malignancy to which I refer is a government practice, today, occasioned by a recent development, the internet and data processing power. It needs to be brought back into control in the constructive way that is the hallmark of American practices.

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        It is not the freedom to prosper I dislike, it is the urge to force everybody else that that is the only way.

        Why is the free market the ultimate measure of everything? Why not happiness as in Buthan or cheese and wine as in France? Or family relations and fiestas? Why are the Americans entitled to have a larger share of the earth limited resources? Why do extreme Christians (and extreme Muslims) have to convince me of their correct interpretation of who God is and what he wants? Why do Americans believe that there is only one best way of organizing society? Coke is not the better drink, it is sugar rich, appealing to undeveloped tastes, but Coca Cola has a unique marketing apparatus, lobbying power, financial sources to invest and compete. Why exporting inequality even to more inclusive states? Why only measure the bottom of the bottom line, shareholder return and not include average working hours (30/40% higher in the US than in Germany), why not the contribution of companies to general health care, pensions, unemployment insurance….? But according the Golden Rule, the one with the gold sets the rules.

        Where is the fine line between malignant bullying and convincing? Where is the fine line between accumulating foreign debt and malignant stealing money (via financial instruments) because you have the strongest army (nobody dares to complain)? Where is the fine line between prosper or accumulating wealth and malignant exhaustion the earth resources?

        Next time I’ll write about my perception of the non-malignant traits, or everything I admire in America.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, those are questions best attended to by Edgar, I think, but I’ll take a shot. The “urge” to dominate is driven by the capitalist energies, the very energies that create jobs and make a McDo franchise holder in the Philippines one of the riches Filipinos around. The government acts to protect her citizens and corporations, which is my point, that the US is EVERYWHERE, and therefore becomes malignant with the smallest of transgressions.

          The Philippines is free to nationalize McDonalds franchises if she, like North Korea, chooses not to participate in this prosperity model. You can’t lay decisions of other nations on the U.S.

          Happiness is a fine measure if you can figure out a government model that uses that as its currency. Right now, they use money. I don’t have a problem with someone trying to build and sell a happiness model. I think churches largely do that, asking us to submit to the will of Our Lord. I just don’t know how to trade in it, or have it not fall to one sect to determine what the correct mix of lifestyle and wealth ought to be. That is, I don’t know how we avoid becoming slaves to someone’s confining morality.

          You need to provide a realistic model that can be set side by side with capitalism if you don’t think these forces are good. America is not a dictatorship and is not driven by one man’s choices. She is drive largely by businesses and a few good principles about free expression and the like. ”

          Also, “Americans” don’t harbor thoughts of conquest. Mostly they just go about their work, earning their own piece of prosperity. So I think you need to distinguish between the acts and principles of individuals, and those of government. Many Americans disagree with their government and say so daily, through letters, opinions, monetary support of candidates, and lawyers.

  4. JM says:

    I’ve been reading comments from different sites about the likelihood of America getting involved when China takes the Spratlys and Scarborough. Most Americans opted not to get involved. I really think that Americans wouldn’t get involved. I also doubt that the UN tribunal would have a lasting effect if it would have any to begin with. I am beginning to think that “bilateral” negotiations is the only way. I hate it but I have to accept that we as a nation are powerless and nobody out there will help. It sucks that I can’t do anything about it. What I don’t understand is that there is oil there, the US can protect the area, get the oil and pay the tax = mutually beneficial. Well America is really behaving strangely, like Mouse said, pouring billions to countries that hates Americans and investing in a country that does not believe in democracy making it more powerful as time passes. In a way, US created the most malignant country.

    1. When I was taking a break from work, I looked outside. It was raining hard again. This country is battered by typhoons half of the year. I was thinking how can we turn this weakness to an advantage? I searched the net and noted that my idea has already been made in another part of the world. Oh well

    2. I read something entertaining while surfing the web. Well, its more like something that came from a religious fanatic, it made me wonder what if this was true (I am open-minded). The basis is the bible but I still don’t understand why God in the author’s description prefers other people based on race/beliefs when he supposedly created everyone. Makes me think that the author’s God is an alien race.

    • Joe America says:

      I think you have to distinguish between American government, which can’t jointly explore the Spratleys, and an oil company, which can. If the companies which won leasehold rights wanted to bring in an American company for the expertise, they could. I’ll write about King-king mines next week, and that is exactly the model being followed. Filipino principals, Canadian and American mining expertise. That’s how much of the “malignancy” that you, JosephIvo and the Mouse cite arose. Private ventures. The U.S. today is nearing self-sufficiency in energy and no longer has the drives of the 1970’s for international oil. That’s why I say we have to be aware that history is not applicable to today.

      If America is commercially malignant it is because capitalism is a malignant model, and a viable alternative has to be offered. Communism did not work. Religion or morality based?

      Your off-topic links are highly interesting. It is beyond me that the Philippines is not grossly self-sufficient in energy and busy exporting her resources. Water pours from the skies and is not harnessed. Geothermal potential is everywhere and is not harnessed. Wave power? I don’t know about the math on that. I see wind farms are being developed. If she generated electricity from all the sources available, and exported her oil, think about how rich she would be. Meanwhile, the billions in the “Ampalaya” fund, which are supposed to be used for energy projects, sit unused or subject to theft by the Napoles scam ring.

      I feel a blog coming on.

      China indeed seems to be pursuing a form of world conquest, with the journey of thousands of steps being pursued one step at a time. I wrote a number of weeks ago that China is an inherently racist nation, which is why the Philippines needs to be very wary. People who advocate for their private God to be THE supreme God are of the same ilk. Ruthless and unkind.

      • JM says:

        Actually, this country utilizes a lot of geothermal energy.

        1,904 MW Installed Capacity, 27% National Energy Production

        Only America tops the power production but she only utilizes a very small part in total production

        3,086 MW Installed Capacity, 0.3% National Energy Production

        Only Iceland beat the Philippines in terms of % of Energy production.

        575 MW Installed Capacity, 30% National Energy Production

        As for the 2nd off topic, I find it curious that America was not mentioned.

        • Joe America says:

          I’ve noticed that there were several geothermal projects in the pipeline. I didn’t realize it was such a large share of production. That’s good. The stability of electricity remains woeful, and the price is high. I think oil/gas OUGHT to be an export sector of some significance. Rather akin to Venezuela or Middle-east oil producers. Maybe in 20 years that will be the case.

          I would include America as a “center of the earth” aspirant only if you considered her commercial enterprise to be a free-form kind of intended earthly dominance alongside the Islamic or Chinese racial aspirants. The government has proved quite conclusively over the past century that America is interested in the health (commercial, political, social) of other nations, not in imperialistic conquest.

        • Joe America says:

          Ha ha, you are filling me up with blog ideas today. The three-horse race for world domination: American commercialization, Islaam and China. Thanks for the inspirations.

  5. manuel buencamino says:

    And American exceptionalism renders your malignancy table inapplicable. 🙂

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