Actually, “new American patriotism” may not be the right description.

What may be occurring is a new American realism, or American identification, forced by a recognition for the scale of the challenges facing the US economically and through technological competition. Civil libertarians will battle the government over privacy protections – as they damn well should – but these same civil liberatarians will recognize that there are real threats out there to the kind of freedom that he or she values. He only has to look at Russia, at China, at Iran. The power of the internet is being used against a nation’s own citizens in a way that is foreign to Americans. Inside the US, the openness of the internet which has spawned much innovation is being used – systematically – to undermine Americans’ economic interests.

Now, the critics and detractors not just of the excesses of American power but of the US itself, are just a click away, for even the civil libertarians to see.

In as much as the internet remains borderless, against the human psychological which needs some borders, Americans are a clump of humanity online, as are the Chinese, the Russian, etc. How this clump of humanity defines itself online is slowly being articulated. The expectation of a culture law is slowly colliding with other forces out there.

And that possibility, in the face of that, Americans are going through a renewed phase of self-indentification in this new world. It’s a place where, when the White House’s interests, match the Academy Award’s interests, which match – for a sec- the US clandestine communities interest, which are also inline with the US public’s interest, it will express itself unabashedly in a Star Spangled Plug by the First Lady.

Already images are being deployed more strategically in this way. The picture of Obama and Romney shaking hands in the White House after the election sends a powerful message to nations where power transfers often involve violence or intrigue.

The new fluid rules of engagement in the Argo announcement

The White House’s decision to announce that Argo won best picture at Academy Awards sends a veiled message to a global audience about a new American stance.
No one can miss the optics of the First Lady calling out the award for a movie about US clandestine work against a hostile country. And they shouldn’t. But the willingness of the White House to fuse its glow with Hollywood’s when it serves a purpose underscores a new strain of post-globalization (for lack of a better term) patriotism, in which members of the US establishment will increasingly step into each others spheres of influence in this wired, interconnected world. Other examples: without a doubt there was message coordination between US government, NYTimes and Mandiant around the stories and release of the report on PLA hacking. Google likely helps research and advise on internet policy with the US government. In fact, Eric Schmidt’s co-author Jared Cohen is an ex-US State Department official. This marks a change from the era of unbridled freemarket fundamentalism which held govenment and private industry remain separate. The fact is: the long term, more existential threats to US power and US industry are increasingly coming into focus. Methodical state sponsored hacking is a threat to both. Therefore, they are driven into each others’ arms in a recognition of the limits and linkages of power. The irony of course is that what this is a recent resurgence, it’s not a new trend. It would have been common during much of the Cold War.