Team America: World Police blatantly satirizes these American attributes and the modern day actions reflecting them. From liberal and conservative viewpoints on foreign affairs to national pride, Team America attacks all sides of the issue. The film’s satire of American themes begins in the title. The film’s main subject is the American government’s hubristic assumption that because America is the last remaining world superpower, it is America’s responsibility to maintain order and guard freedom in the world.
The United States’ emerging unilateralism since the Cold War is highlighted and mocked. Team America’s military actions, such as destroying the Eiffel Tower and half of Cairo in reckless and bullish assaults on terrorists, exemplify the U. S. A. ’s pervasively destructive foreign policies. Americans and American government have an international reputation for a cocky, yee-haw attitude. This is on full display in Team America. The known penchant for xenophobia in the US is mocked in the film by portraying other cultures as simple stereotypes.
America’s hegemony has not always been so selfishly nationalistic; during previous administrations, foreign policy was more based on instituted policies and relatively benign. However, The United States is seen as a nation whose very reason for existence is to maximize freedom. This widespread notion, one that has come into more intense scrutiny under the current American administration, is a core them satirized in Team America. The Bush Doctrine has led America’s unilateralism and imperialism to its extremes. Team America, while not directly naming or portraying George W.
Bush, identifies and mocks the jingoistic regime. The blind and unquestioning self-justification with which Team America operates is intentionally reminiscent of the Bush administration’s Iraq-WMD fiasco. Also satirized is the left wing approach to the war in Iraq. Sean Penn, actor/activist, is portrayed as one of the radical left wingers, and says in reference to Iraq, “Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles. This satirizes the liberals’ reaction, and the hollowness of their peace movement. The film, however, is not merely a direct skewering of modern day political events; its satire is more broad and sweeping. The prevailing American attitude of having moral high ground due to its stated values and form of government, and the belief that America’s position of power and ethical superiority designates it the world leader and justifies any and all political and/or military action, is attacked in the film.
This attitude dates back to colonial times, and has puritanical roots. John Winthrop’s vision of America as a “city on a hill,” a shining beacon of light serving as a model of Christian society above all others, is a theme that has lingered in American national identity to present day, and has extended to hubris on some levels. Team America: World Police’s portrayal of Americans seeing their way as the only way and having an over-the-top sense of pride is based off of these original American themes.
Team America certainly ridicules all sides of American politics, and America itself, without remorse or regard. The recurring themes of unilateralism and jingoism in particular are satirized through Team America’s incompetence, disregard, and general bullheadishness. American foreign policy has long been controversial with its imperialist parallels and sense of righteousness, especially under the Bush administration, and stems from its puritanical roots. America as “World Police” has connotations rife with controversy, something Trey Parker clearly embraces.