The Five Pillars of American Primacy

Greetings Everyday Spy,

Every February 1st, the United States celebrates a National Observance Day that few people know about – Freedom Day.

Freedom Day commemorates February 1st, 1865 – the day that Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery. On that day, the United States became a free nation.

That freedom is something many have fought and died for. And it’s something we will never give away.

My first memories after joining the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are a blur of faces, file folders, and fortified walls.

The process of being assigned a cover identity, learning your alias persona, and getting access to America’s most sensitive computer system is complicated. There is no outside preparation, no common knowledge, no checklists you get before your first day of work.

You just show up… and then you try to keep up.

The men and women serving in the halls of Langley are some of the most intelligent and dedicated people that the world can never know.

I worked with them; served with them; laughed with them and mourned with them.

Because I was one of them.

At the core of every CIA mission was a single objective – American Primacy.

America is a nation unlike any other on earth. A country of free men and women who define their own destiny, volunteer their lives in service, and safeguard their future with blood, sweat, and tears.

American primacy is the unwavering commitment we make to keep America the most successful country in the world.

It is the reason we exercise our right to vote. It is the reason soldiers put their lives on the line in foreign fields. It is the reason parents pour their time, money and effort into raising courageous children.

It is the reason CIA officers accept missions with impossible odds to make history happen in the shadows.

American primacy is something we all share – independent of our age, gender, or creed. It is part of our nature, our identity, our personal fabric.

And it’s based on five pillars:

1. Americans think independently

The French joke that if you ask five Americans the same question, you’ll get five different answers. 

Damn right!

You don’t become the best by conforming to everyone else. American primacy started the day a group of dedicated revolutionaries defeated a global superpower – the British. 

Our roots are based in independence; a refusal to do what we’re told, believe what we hear, and accept what we are given. 

  • If we think there is a better way, we say so. 
  • If we think someone is wrong, we tell them.
  • If you don’t like it, we don’t care.

World leaders and foreign media may call us brash, uncooperative, and selfish. But it is that sense of independence that makes us stronger and more resilient than any other country on the planet.

2. Americans take risks

Americans embrace the unknown in a way you don’t find anywhere else in the world. 

We take risks in business, careers, and even relationships. Where other countries stall or waffle, we take decisive action.

  • 10,000 Americans invaded Mexico in 1847 to win Texas, California, and claim the western United States above the Rio Grande.
  • An underdog US Pacific Fleet squared off against a dominant Imperial Japanese Navy in 1942 and destroyed Japan’s hopes of taking Midway atoll and winning World War II.
  • We lost 620,000 of our own fighting a Civil War both sides believed in, and then found forgiveness and peace building a nation that we all believe in.

Sometimes we lose. More often, we win. 

But for Americans, the risk is always worth it.

3. Americans do more with less

American ingenuity is famous around the world.

We recognize that money is only half of the solution. Creativity is the other half. And our great nation is never at a loss for creative problem solvers.

We thrive on competition and challenge when the odds are stacked against us. In those moments where all seems lost, we innovate our way to victory. And when we do, all of mankind benefits from what we create.

  • Raw passion for the impossible drove American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright to achieve the first airplane in 1903, making human flight possible.  
  • American programmer John Blankenbaker created the first personal computer in 1971 for 1% the average cost of a computer at the time ($4 million), paving the way for the modern day personal laptop.
  • American engineers Robert Elliott Kahn and Vint Cerf invented the internet protocol suite (aka: Worldwide Web) in response to a 1982 US National Science Foundation competition to connect leading American research universities around the country.

Even while the world demands more money, more attention, and more time, Americans pull miracles out of mid-air.

We always have and we always will. 

4. Americans help each other

America is the home of the second chance.

This is the birthplace of the American Dream. We believe anything is possible and everyone can change. 

We believe so strongly in helping others that we permanently carved an invitation to those in need on the Statue of Liberty…

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The World Giving Index named the United States the most generous country in the world in 2019.

Americans gave more than $427 billion to charities in 2019 alone. 

66% of Americans give financial support to non-profit organizations annually. 56% of Americans donate despite financial restrictions like unemployment or fixed income.

Whether we are helping strangers, donating our time or money, or just offering words of encouragement, our willingness to help our fellow man is one of our defining characteristics.

And it makes us great.

5. Americans never give up

America is full of failures that become heroes because they never give up.

Michael Jordan is the most famous basketball player of all time, but he was cut from his high-school basketball team. He claims to have missed 9,000 shots, lost 300 games, and failed to score the game-winning shot 26 individual times. 

But he never gave up.

Walt Disney is the founder of the most iconic brand known to mankind. He was fired from his first newspaper job because they said he had no good ideas. When he tried to launch his animation studio in 1921, it failed. Had he given up, our world would have lost the joy and laughter of countless children – yours and mine alike. 

Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company), Milton Hershey (Hershey Chocolate Company), and even Bill Gates (Microsoft Corporation) all failed before they ever succeeded.

But what makes Americans special is that we do not accept failure. 

We embrace it. 

And then we keep trying.

That is American Primacy.

Godspeed, #EverydaySpy

Author: Andrew Bustamante, Founder of www.EverydaySpy.com. Andrew is a former covert CIA Intelligence officer, decorated US Air Force Combat Veteran, and respected Fortune 500 senior advisor. Learn more from Andrew on his Podcast (The Everyday Espionage Podcast) and by following @EverydaySpy on your favorite social media platform.

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