By now most of us have heard the story of the “pharma-bro” Martin Shkreli. He is the infamous ex-Hedge Fund manager and founder of Turing pharmaceuticals who purchased the rights to the AIDS drug Daraprim and immediately hiked the price by 5,500 percent. He defended his actions by claiming that drug needed to turn a profit in order to create better medicines in the future. This bad boy of the pharma industry has often been called the most despised man in the world. People became particularly infuriated as the flashy Shkreliarrogantly smirked his way through a recent appearance before Congress and showed absolutely no respect for the institution or its members. He made a boatload of money by shamelessly exploiting people in desperate need simply because he could. He blatantly did this in order to promote his personal interests. It is easy for Americans to despise this man and wonder “how could any human being be so greedy and cruel?” Can we not see a parallel to our nation’s policies as a whole?
Let’s think about a nation that actively supported both sides of the bloody 1980s conflict between Iran and Iraq by supplying intelligence and billions of dollars in arms in order to ensure a stalemate. Of course, the UnitedStates could not allow any one country to become too powerful and challenge it in a region that provides so much black gold to fuel its luxurious, fast-paced lifestyle. All the while, the United States kicked its feet up and smugly claimed neutrality as over 1 million people were needlessly slaughtered.
Let’s also think about a country whose citizens, leaders, education system and media conceitedly drive the narrative about the “Greatest Country Ever” as they talk about how the US must lead the world in the fight against the ruthless terrorism of Islamist extremists that they themselves helped to foster by supplying advanced weapons and even promoting the teachings of radical fundamentalist Islam. This was done in order to once again keep rivals at bay and enrich their own self-interests to ensure that their insular world of big houses and fancy cars would not be threatened.
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We can also think about a nation whose leader received the Nobel Peace Prize and gave an “inspirational” speech in which he mentioned the award as an “affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.” These are extremely haughty words for a country that has proceeded to expand the indiscriminate killing machine of drone warfare around the world and accept the scores of civilian deaths that are left in its wake.
In addition, we can contemplate how this wonderful and peaceful nation has claimed to work so hard to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Syria. Is it not obvious that all the US was trying to do was to emancipate the poor civilians from the grasp of the ruthless Bashar al-Assad? Of course, the US intervention into the Syrian conflict was self-righteously explained as a necessary action to prevent innocent children from being gassed to death. We had no choice but to humanely go in to save the unfortunate masses from this gruesome war that materialized in a way in which we were powerless to prevent. Unfortunately missing from this starry-eyed narrative is the fact that the United States and its allies knowingly supported al-Qaeda and pushed for the creation of an Islamic Caliphate in Syria in order to destabilize the regime and promote their own geopolitical interests. In fact, this plan was in place well before any hostilities even broke out. The UnitedStates pompously declares to the world that it is fighting to rid it of terror while the country’s blatantly obvious intentions are to secure energy resources no matter how many millions of lives are lost in the process.
Finally, we can ponder the fact that the United States, as the self-described exceptional distributor of peace, freedom and justice for all, is viewed as the greatest threat to world peace by the overwhelming majority of the rest of the world.
So as we watch clips of the “pharma-bro” arrogantly thumbing his nose at congress while he rakes in millions of dollars at the expense of people’s lives we should pay extremely close attention to that feeling of rage festering deep within the pit of our stomachs. Then, maybe we can begin to understand the rage that a lot of the world has been feeling towards us for quite some time.