23 April 2008Team America: World Police |
The greatest single, cinematic critique of U.S. foreign policy ever
By: Matt Fay
Sure, purists will tell you that Dr. Strangelove and M*A*S*H were better satirical critiques of foreign policy, but with Hollywood’s latest offerings to a large antiwar market coming across as self-righteous and preachy, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of South Park, so you can see where this is going) were there to pick up the mantle left behind by Stanley Kubrick and Robert Altman. 2004’s Team America: World Police may seem like a silly or trivial movie with a theme song called America, F*** Yeah and a faux-Broadway performance of a song with a chorus that goes, “Everyone has AIDS!....AIDS! AIDS! AIDS!” And, there is no doubt that there are some more prudish types out there who may find one of the longest and most graphic sex scenes ever, performed by puppets, as somewhat distasteful. It is obvious, though, that this movie was meant to be a deep, insightful, and thought-provoking look at the problems with American foreign policy, and Stone and Parker may someday be looked upon as international relations scholars for the work they did (but probably not).
Parker and Stone – the foul-mouthed purveyors of what my grandmother would have referred to as “toilet humor” – where made famous by Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, as well as subsequent movies like Baseketball and South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. But Team America is, undoubtedly, their most poignant work to date. It is a film that demonstrates the consequences of an interventionist foreign policy in a way that the mainstream media and political elites constantly ignore – and, again, they do it with puppets.
Operating out of a secret base inside Mt. Rushmore, the “Team” is led by a Charlton Heston-like figure named Spottswoode, and informed by a supercomputer called “I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.” who is blamed by Spottswoode for leading the Team to attack terrorists in the wrong country – “Bad, I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E…..that is very bad INTELLIGENCE,” to which the computer could only respond with a hang-dog look and an “I’m sorry” (Which is one more “I’m sorry” than the Bush administration has given for invading Iraq).
The movie takes place in a black-and-white world. Team America represents the good and the nebulously-defined “terrorists” represent the bad. It opens in France where the Team tracked the terrorists and their WMDs. In the process of stopping the terrorists from destroying Paris, Team America manages to destroy half the city themselves – including taking out one of the legs of the Eiffel Tower with an RPG. With INTELLIGENCE pointing to a large “terrorist gathering” in Cairo the Team jets off with new member Gary Johnston, an actor, set to infiltrate the terrorists (and deliver the classic line “I’ll put a jihad on you too”). Once again, Team America stops the terrorists and captures the WMDs, but in the process, destroys the Sphinx – earning a rebuke from the Film Actors Guild (FAG) consisting of Sean Penn, Janeane Garofalo, etc and led by Alec Baldwin. In another part of the world Kim Jong Il is revealed to be evil mastermind behind the world’s terrorists – reminiscent of the theories propagated by former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith about Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to the Iraq War – hell-bent on using Weapons of Mass Destruction to reduce every country in the world to Third World status. Of course, the United Nations attempts to get involved, leading Kim Jong Il to implore Hans Blix to stop “…breakin’ my balls here, Hans, you’re breaking my balls” before dropping the former Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq into his shark tank. The eventual blowback from Team America’s operation in Cairo comes in the form of an attack by terrorists from Derkaderkastan on the Panama Canal and leads to the capture of Team America, the destruction of their base by a suicide bomber in the form of a hot dog double-fisting Michael Moore, and an alliance between the liberal-Hollywood FAG and Kim Jong Il. In the end, Gary rises to the occasion and saves Team America and the world from Kim Jong Il’s WMDs by “out-acting” Alec Baldwin and his liberal-elitist, anti-American sensibilities.
As ludicrous as the plot, dialogue, and puppet-sex are, it is just as ridiculous to look at the world as black-and-white, good versus evil. Looking at the threat posed by terrorists to the United States as a monolithic force in the form of “Islamofacism” only makes Americans less safe. Conflating al Qaeda with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and in particular with Iran (like it did previously with Saddam Hussein), completely misrepresents the enemy. In fact, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second-in-command, has recently said that he hopes the United States goes to war with Iran to basically kill two birds with one stone. Those who want to downplay the threat, like the members of FAG, are dead wrong too, but to take a multi-faceted threat like terrorism – with its many different motivations – and trying to make it seem like a cut-and-dry case of good versus evil is irresponsible, misleading, and dangerous.
A naïve and arrogant foreign policy – like the one pursued by Team America – is counterproductive in stopping al Qaeda. Believing that America’s “inherent goodness” and American good intentions, coupled with American military power, will stop terrorism is a dangerous way to look at the world, and will only cause more problems in the future. While it is only a caricature of the real world, Team America: World Police should be required viewing in the White House of any president (democrat or republican) who believes the United States must be the world’s “policeman,” to expose them to the silliness of their good versus evil, morally bankrupt, imperialist foreign policies. Who knows, they may actually enjoy it (I have a personal hunch that Dick Cheney might get a chuckle out of it, and God knows he needs it).
Troy Camplin said:
opposition succeeded said:
Coach Outlet Online said:
Etoile Isabel Marant said:
Belstaff Jackets said:
Belstaff Jackets said: