Ruminating on the American condition some years ago, I invented a word to describe us as we are. America is a “geophobic” nation, I figured — a people with an aversion to the world’s spaces and populations that manifests as indifference to any genuine knowledge of either. This indifference, this ignorance of other places and people — and Americans’ indifference to their ignorance — is perfectly evident as a thread running through the whole of American history. Americans are, at bottom, a fearful people, spooked by what lies beyond their shores. Has this ever been more so than now, in the twilight of the empire? Geophobia, strange as it may seem, has served America well in certain respects — assuming, this is to say, one has a very narrow understanding of well-being.
Few events have been more politicized than the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. New cold warriors and atrocity propagandists led by the United States did everything in their power to generate popular support for a full boycott of the Games. NED-backed organizations formed a coalition for the cause, the corporate media engaged in a full-scale “China bad” propaganda blitz, and the political establishment got busy crafting several pieces of legislation to respond to the so-called “China threat.” Their efforts failed. To save face, the U.S. implemented a non-consequential “diplomatic boycott” that found support from only a handful of junior partners in the West. However, failure didn’t put an end to the U.S.-led information war at the heart of the boycott campaign.