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Ten Reasons To Worry About The U.S.  
User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1958 posts, RR: 33
Posted (11 years 6 months 3 hours ago) and read 3500 times:

I had a long discussion during office hours with my geography professor a few days ago. I basically asked him to explain to me why America takes so much criticism from the global community on open forums like this one. We talked for about an hour, and our conversation inspired him to include the following list as part of his lecture to my class the following day. I am posting this for several reasons. For one, I would like to illustrate to non-Americans that these type of discussions do take place in this country, and that we recognize many problems which need to be rectified. I would also like to get opinions from anyone on the validity of these points, and if you have anything additional to add. This is not meant to be be a flame fest, but a constructive discussion on US foreign policy and how it might be changed in the future to better attain a more politically stable global environment.

This is a link to the text of the entire lecture, and the 10 items I have copied below can be found on this page near the bottom. On his webpage, many of his points can be clicked on to link you to various webpages backing up his facts.
http://www.utexas.edu/depts/grg/adams/305/geopolitics/geopolitics.html


Ten reasons to worry about the U.S. if you are not an American

1. The U.S. is the richest, most powerful country in the world

hence when people are unhappy they point the finger at us first
this is particularly easy when the U.S. backs an oppressive government (see 6)
this is also easy when someone is personally affected by conditions outside of their control, like stepping on a landmine left by U.S. forces or losing a factory job because of U.S. trade policies

2. The U.S. has influenced politics in other countries in ways that are disruptive of local values and traditional ways of life

not everyone wants to live the American dream, nor should we expect them to
people often lose their homes and their security when forced to leave the land, move to the city, and become part of a cash economy
once people give up their traditions and their security, there is no guarantee they will find a steady job or be able to sell what they produce

3. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons to kill people, and has used weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations

Hiroshima & Nagasaki, 100,000 people

4. The U.S. has killed hundreds of thousands in direct attacks on other countries since WWII

at least 400,000 children died in Iraq as a result of the Gulf War (UN estimate)
about 3,767 civilians in Afghanistan (769 more than the final Sept. 11 body count)

5. Millions of civilians have been killed or deprived of their rights in developing countries with US knowledge and consent

1,000,000 died in a brutal war in Angola in which we supported Jonas Savimbi
200,000 civilians were killed in East Timor (Indonesia) after Ford & Kissinger gave Suharto the OK
US continued to maintain friendly relations with Argentina during its "dirty war" despite knowledge that the Argentine government was using torture and "disappearances" to suppress political dissent.

6. The U.S. has supported various dictatorial regimes in other countries since WWII ("Baby Doc" Duvalier, Marcos, Somoza, Pinochet, Suharto, Hussein, Musharaf) collectively responsible for suppressing political dissent, killing millions of civilians, and running corrupt regimes

7. The U.S. actively promotes trade and development policies that result in suffering

for example, maquiladora factories in Mexico have been accused of serious mistreatment of workers and pollution of adjacent communities

8. The U.S. is the world's worst polluter & most gluttonous consumer of resources

e.g. we consume 25% of the total petroleum consumed in the world, but constitute less than 5% of the world population

9. The U.S. currently opposes virtually all global agreements and treaties:

treaty on small arms trade (UN estimates there have been about 4,000,000 small arms casualties since 1990) [allies: Latin American and African countries] [domestic pressure from NRA, $10 billion arms export industry]
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [domestic pressure Population Research Institute (pro-life)] [debate blocked by Sen. Jesse Helms] [already ratified by 168 countries]
Kyoto protocol on global warming [70 countries have ratified, including all EU countries] [domestic pressure from Competitive Enterprise Institute and other pro-business lobbies]
Anti-ballistic missile treaty
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [allies: the Vatican, Iran, Iraq, other Islamic countries] [domestic pressure Sen. Jesse Helms, Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the John Birch Society, and others]
Treaty to ban landmines
was forced to give in on Rome Treaty creating International Criminal Court, but displayed strong discomfort

10. U.S. policy of a "preemptive strike" (the privilege to prevent a country from attacking by attacking it first) is clearly not meant as a policy for any other country to follow; it is a special right reserved only for the U.S.


45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3414 times:

KAUSpilot,

Thanks for presenting this topic. It is very relevant at this time in history.

I live in Canada, so I'd like to give you my perspective. Since I started communicating on the internet several years ago, I had not before witnessed so much direct aggression from Americans to Canadians.

I have been directly insulted and probed about our culture, language, domestic policy, and our national heritage. Unfortunately, all of the insults were based on ignorance and mis-information.

American politicians love to use Canada as an example of how *not* to do things. Our medical system, gun laws and military history are main areas of discussion.

Most times when I try to discuss topics rationally and provide information, I am more often than not told that "The US could blow Canada up if it wanted to". Then I get told how ungrateful we are for not thanking the US for saving us time after time (and the rest of the world).

I find most of the irrational questions come from people who are ill prepared to discuss international issues. This leads me to the basis of my theory of why Americans are disliked:

Americans don't bother to learn about other cultures or countries. They chose to isolate themselves in a cocoon and shun differences instead of learning about them and accepting that the American way is not the only way. This is all fine and well until the oil runs out. Or the well runs dry. Or some other raw material or service is desired. Then it is found, tapped and secured at whatever cost, exploiting whoever it takes. Anyone who follows George Bush in the media knows that he no more knowledgable about the world than the average American.

I hope some day the US learns to become an global partner and not the self-appointed moral (on the take) police of the world.

I hope it happens before the US bites off more than it can chew. There are billions of people in the world, and even the self described "richest" and "most powerful" country in the world may be surprised just how hard many of these people will resist any threat to them.









User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3393 times:

One more note...

I wanted to temper my last post with a statement about my general feelings of the US.

The USA is one of the few countries (besides my own) where I feel relatively safe. Many of our ideals are shared and generally, our countries look and feel the same.

I have no qualms about travelling in the US on US airlines or roads etc. For the most part they are a good next-door neighbor.


User currently offlineRai From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3366 times:

Interesting post. I think it really depends on where one lives in the U.S. to see if they are more or less knowledgeable about foreign events. If they live in bigger, multi-cultural cities, they have a better idea of what goes on compared to if they live in a rural area. I don’t agree with everything thing that you posed, but I won’t really want to get into it right now.

Airplay:

You make some interesting comments. I moved to Canada 16 years ago from the U.S. When I moved there, I was bombarded with some of the most ignorant and crass statements: “All Americans are stupid,” “all of U.S. is so polluted,” “Crime is out of control,” and such. This wasn’t just a few individuals, but the majority of people I came across. These views didn’t seem to change as I was growing up.

I’m back in the U.S. after 14 years of growing up, education and work in Canada. I have Canadian citizenship as well as U.S. and my family still lives in Canada. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable of that country and I will say with the utmost confidence that Canadians are absolutely no more knowledgeable of the U.S. or the world as Americans are knowledgeable of Canada or the world. Canadians assume they know more than Americans, but they really don’t and much of what they “know” is false and based on ignorant assumptions.

Canadians are guilty of much of what you criticize Americans of doing. I know, you probably don’t believe me and you might get upset for what I say, but you haven’t lived (traveling is not the same as lived) in another country before and you can’t see things from a different perspective. It’s really sad because both countries are so similar and have much the same values and they could really become a more formidable team if the misconceptions (on both sides) faded away.

BTW...AC 320 (not the flight #) from YVR is landing at JFK right now (10:43PM). I'm listening to the JFK tower.


User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3358 times:

I would suggest that readers do their own research. It's not hard to find authoritve support for my views...even inside the US.

http://dir.salon.com/news/feature/2001/09/27/stupidity/index.html

http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/1999/12/13/editorial3.html

http://events.indiaabroad.com/us/2001/aug/21us1.htm

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2001/04/24/state2034EDT0266.DTL

http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/eting28_20010928.htm

http://ptaylor.freeyellow.com/windy/Jul00/windy-20000706-3.html

etc etc....


By the way Rai, I understand that your post is sincere and of course I take no offence of your opinions.


User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1958 posts, RR: 33
Reply 5, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3370 times:

Canada is definitely an important part of this issue. Indeed, the same professor who I summarize above spent several months in autumn of 2001 studying Canadian perception of the US in Quebec. During this time he conducted a study, which I am waiting for a copy of, that indicates the presence of sharp ideological contrasts between Americans and Canadians (especially French Canadians). In particular, he has discussed an apparent lack of sympathy among Quebecers regarding the 9-11 terrorist attacks. I do not think he intends to be critical of the Canadians, but rather wishes to examine why they feel as they do. However, any comments I make on his study at this point are purely speculative, as I have only heard him summarize his results and am eagerly waiting to see the material myself.

Historically, many American dissenters have migrated to Canada in times of crisis. Two examples are the loyalists who migrated from the US to Canada during the US revolutionary war and the Draft Dodgers who headed for Canada during the Vietnam War. It is possible that such trends play a role in the contrast between Canada and the US.

I thank you both for your comments so far.


User currently offlineMcdougald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3377 times:

Airplay:

Speaking as a Canadian myself (once somewhat anti-American, now more concilliatory) it's necessary to draw a line between what the politicians, talking heads and radio motormouths say, and the rest of the population.

Yes, occasionally someone says or does something obnoxious. Then again, the folks you see on TV are desperate for attention, like an addict looking for the next high. They'll do what it takes to get that attention, and won't worry any more about facts or reason than a druggie will about the law or the feelings of the gas bar clerk they're about to rob.

Then again, I've heard the same sneering many times originating from Canada toward the U.S., more than enough to offset any coming from the other direction.

In fact, neither country has much to be smug about. Health care? Neither country is in the world's Top 10 for lowest infant mortality if I remember correctly. Politics? Both have turnout rates in the lower 50s for general elections if the same measurements are used, and both have severely flawed political systems -- one is tainted by concentrated power (read: elected dictatorship), the other by PAC money (read: thinly veiled bribery), both by politicians who aren't rewarded or punished for the quality of their work.

When you get down to the 'man on the street', I think most Americans have a basic respect for the Canadians and most Canadians have a basic respect for the Americans, with the sycophants and bad-mouthers making up the minority.

Don't confuse the few loudmouths that stand out with the many level-headed people who don't.


User currently offlineRai From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3343 times:

Airplay: You pretty much confirm my observations. Anything to criticize Americans...Seems that things haven't changed one bit since I left two years ago.

McDougald: excellent post! I wish I met more Canadians like you when I was living there.


User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3328 times:

The US seeks global domination and unipolar status.

It believes that other powers can be accomodated only within the sphere of American Influence.

Most countries today seek a multi-polar power structure, and a democratic UN with the teeth to enforce this multi-lateralism.

The US doesnt allow the UN to get the teeth it deserves.

The Republican administrations especially have shown a marked tendency to prop up dictators against democratic states as and when it suits their purpose.

This has caused a lot of tension in the regions concerned and has resulted in a lot of anti-US sentiment.



User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3315 times:

The US is not perfect - by any means.

But by and large we are a great country with a great vision for this earth.

The animating vision of America in the world is the defense and distribution of freedom — freedom to speak, pray, trade, and vote for whomever and however one wants.

The world must know that while America might align itself with all sorts of countries for economic or strategic reasons including those that do not share the values that we're trying to defend (much of the Arab world) -- in the end it is those who are "basically pro-freedom" who America will never abandon and with whom America will always share a special bond.

The truth is, our real frends are those that share our values of democray and freedom, and like us are those with the world's greatest societies: the British, France, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan.

It is these countries who we will work to make great and these socieies who we will enrich and be enriched by.

The message to the rest of the third world: Reform your political systems to look a little more like ours, trade with us, and act peacefully with your neighbors and great things will happen to you.  Smile

TNNH


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39477 posts, RR: 75
Reply 10, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3278 times:

Twaneedsnohelp said:
The message to the rest of the third world : Reform your political systems to look a little more like ours, trade with us, and act peacefully with your neighbors and great things will happen to you.


The world must know that while America might align itself with all sorts of countries for economic or strategic reasons including those that do not share the values that we're trying to defend (much of the Arab world) --

You just have to inject your Anti-Arab venom at every opportunity, huh.  Yeah sure


Let's just all hope that was a bad joke on his part.
If not, that comment just shows some of the ignorance and arrogance of the uglier side of the United States.


Maybe the 'U.S.' way isn't the best way for everyone.  Insane

While I stand behind all the good things the U.S. has to offer (I started a thread about that), there are a lot of problems and faults the U.S. has.


The biggest problem our country has is this idiot:









Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1958 posts, RR: 33
Reply 11, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3265 times:

I don't think you can pin all the blame on bush when he still has 60%+ approval ratings and congress consistently bows to his feet in order to feed off his popularity. No, in my opinion the burden lies elsewhere, deep within the power structure of the American political psyche. This surge of anti-Americanism isn't something that has suddenly materialized during the past year and a half. These feelings have persisted in the east (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea) for decades and they have been consistently spreading regardless of which party has control of the executive branch.

Part of the problem seems to be the world's expectation that the President be a global leader, when in fact he has only been elected to lead one nation. Bush's policies seem to be solely geared toward American benefit, while disregarding the effect they might have on other nations. But is this not what he was elected to do? Perhaps the American people need to reassess what they expect out of a president. Can we afford to be selfish?


User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3270 times:

Superfly:

You just have to inject your Anti-Arab venom at every opportunity, huh

Naw dude. First of all- wasn't Anti-Arab at all. It's just a statement that much of the Arab world does not share the same values as our country does - and if you can believe it -- much of Airlines.net thinks thats a good thing!  Laugh out loud And from what I've inferred from your past postings Larry, you agree! So how's that Anti-Arab?

Secondly - I only mentioned the Arab world because quite frankly its topically releveant. Our country is on the verge of going to war with an Arab country only 11 months after 19 individuals from several Arab countries imposed the most destrurctive episode of terrorism on mainland America Ameria has ever seen.

You attempts to portray me as some tireless opponent or disrciminator of all things arab or islamic is getting old and tired. drop it.

TNNH


User currently offlineSean-SAN- From United States of America, joined Aug 2002, 763 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3268 times:

Seems like no matter what college you goto, you run into this kind of stuff.. For me it was last semester and the 3 month long lecture of every bad thing America has done since its infancy.

I'm not even going to bother arguing each point -- I just hope you try to look at the good things America has done in its short life. The ends do justify the means. The world would be a dark place if it weren’t for all the dirty work we've had to do -- the world would almost certainly be controlled by a Hilteresque dictatorship or communism.

If you want to find someone to criticize, just look at imperial Europe during the last 500-1000 years. They were the most authoritarian, brutal, imperialistic nations in history, enslaving and pillaging countless countries including Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and China. Our biggest critics, (the French & Dutch) less then a 100 years ago were brutal authoritarians in Southeast Asia, stealing, killing, and robbing the Indonesians and others blind. Schiphol airport and all those beautiful canals were built on the blood of countless Indonesians.

-Sean


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39477 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3264 times:

KAUSpilot:
I am not pining "all" the blame on Bush. Although he is part of a much bigger problem.
Of course the jerk has a 60+ approval rating when the networks love him so much. Even before he was elected, the networks just ignored all of his wrong doings.

congress consistently bows to his feet in order to feed off his popularity

They are timid and want to win re-election.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineKaiTakFan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1588 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3258 times:

Superfly, I am sure you were saying the same crap when Clinton was in Office and then when Bush Senior was in office and so on. Your kind of attitude will never be pleased by a president. No matter what Bush or the future presidents do in their term, I highly doubt your blame the president attitude will change.

Finally, I think you over reacted in regards to TNNH's post. I think saying "much of the Arab world" maybe be a bit overboard on his part, but a good point is given. Like it or not, the facts stand that many middle eastern men and women dont agree with our way of life. Just because TNNH pointed out that fact, doesnt mean that it was Anti-arab!


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3251 times:

The biggest reason to worry about the US is an innefectual response to the biggest threat facing it right now, namely the threat to destroy the bedrock of freedoms that it was built on.

The United States is a great country built on great principles. Unfortunately, those principles have to be considered absolute if that greatness is to continue and should not be compromised in murky political speak such as "proactive military response" (aka attack) and "alien combatant" (aka prisoner of war without POW status).

The system works. Just give it a chance to do so rather than taking shortcuts that may lead to short term gains to the detriment of the long term.


User currently offlineQatarAirways From Qatar, joined Sep 2008, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3232 times:

I agree with B747-437B, The USA is a nation built on great ideals. The US is the richest most powerfull country in the world thanks to its laws and people. I have only been to the US twice, once as a tourist and once as a medical patient and really enjoyed my time there I loved the country and the people were great and I wish to go to the US (maybe Seatlle or San Diego) next year.

Believe it or not I am actually happy that the US is a superpower. In a perfect world there won't be any superpowers and all countries will be equal in power but in practice there have always been dominating powers since the beginning of civilization; The Roman and British Empires are good examples. Whenever a superpower looses its status another one takes its place.

Now let me go back to the point I made above about being happy that the US is a superpower. Historically there is always a dominant power in the world and if the US isn't the dominant power who would it be today; The Nazi's, Communist Russia, China? The US isn't perfect but I think they have not abused there power as much as other super/dominant powers have in the past? and the US IMO is definitly much better than having the Nazi's or the USSR dominate the world today. I think like all dominant/super powers the US will fall from its current status one day and I am very worried about who will take there place.

Now I am not saying that all of US's problems are justified. The US has problems like every other nation its just that with the status of the US their problems tend to affect other people in the rest of the world while in smaller nations the problems are generally contained which I think why the US gets a lot of un-deserved criticism.

KAUSpilot,

I want to add a point to your list. The American leadership has always looked for the best interests of the American people which is excellent, but something which I think the US does more often that other countries is that sometimes they decision which would be for the best of interest of the American people can in turn be in the worst interest for the rest of the world.

Being a superpower is nice but with that status comes responsability towards the Global Community and so should always make decisions that would be in the best Interests of the US while at the same time be at the best interest to the rest of the world or at least not have any affect to the rest of the world.

Now I don't know if the above point is valid or not and I don't know if I explained it well enough but I hope you understood what I said.


TNNH,

"The message to the rest of the third world : Reform your political systems to look a little more like ours, trade with us, and act peacefully with your neighbors and great things will happen to you.

I disagree with your point, there is no "one size fits all" formula for a nation's success. Each country has a different formula of success depending on economic, social, cultural and geo-political circumstances. What could be good for the US might not work well in another country.

Take a look at this comment by a Qatari taken from this article (http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/292/nation/Boldly_an_Arab_nation_tests_the_limits_of_freedom+.shtml):

''He's giving the people the right to vote, but people are not asking for it,'' said Abdelaziz Almahmoud, chief editor of the Internet site of Al-Jazeera. ''We're the only people in history where the government is giving power which they hesitate to take.''


User currently offlineQatarAirways From Qatar, joined Sep 2008, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3223 times:

KAUSPilot,

I apologise, I see you already raised the point that I tried to explain above.


User currently offlineHepkat From Austria, joined Aug 2000, 2341 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3185 times:

Being an American who lives abroad, I think I have a fairly good understanding of this situation. While living in the U.S., most Americans have a rather misconstrued impression of the world and what the world wants. This is certainly not helped by the fact that we're not taught anything about the rest of the world in school, or nearly not enough. I find it especially appalling that the citizens of the richest, most technologically advanced country in the world cannot point to popular countries on a map.

Wherever I go within Europe, and whenever anyone finds out that I'm an American, I get immediately bombarded by questions of deep concern. People are inquisitive, they're perplexed, they genuinely want to know how can such a "great" country have such glaring inconsistencies? "Is it true that this..., can you really not do that...?", etc.

I think a huge part of the problem lies in our history. The first colonists to the U.S. were religious outcasts, who, contrary to what we were taught in grade school, did not leave Europe for lack of religious tolerance. Noooo...., they were forced to leave Europe because people couldn't put up with their extreme puritanical brand of religion. They were little different from extremist Muslims today.

I implore everyone to please pick up a book on American history, not a school textbook which is usually too economical with the truth, but a genuine book of scholarly research. You will see that our history runs rampant with overly strict religious laws, draconian contempt of religion laws, thought control laws, speech control laws, you name it, we had it. It is then important to realize that this history has formed our psyche, which explains why to this day Americans, unlike citizens of all other industrialized nations, still believe in their own righteousness, still believe in dogma, still believe a polarized view of the world ("us, good; them, bad", "you're either with us or you're against us"), still believe in divine manifest destiny (we very frequently implore the blessing of the divinity - "God bless America", and we believe we deserve things just because we are Americans). Coupled with the comfort of being free from international conflict on our own soil (we're cushioned by two large oceans, and have tolerably subjugated all our neighbors), and you get issues of arrogance entering the picture. Dogma combined with arrogance is not a very pretty picture, and this, more than anything else, continues to cloud our judgment of the world and draw the ire of enemies and allies alike.

The fact is, we ARE a peace loving nation, we ARE for democracy and freedom of expression, we ARE for the continued liberty of humanity, and we ARE staunchly given to rule by law. On these issues there can be no compromise. However, whenever you get a chance to look yourself in the mirror, that is, by examining your own culture from a distance, you slowly begin to notice things you never noticed before. For example:

  • "America, land of the free and brave!" (as long as your ideas line up with that of the status quo, e.g., Bill Maher vs. Sept. 11)

  • "Equal rights and protection for all!" "Due process!" "Due process!" (as long as you're not a member of the minority, and as long as you didn't "appear" too Arab during the month of September, 2001)

  • "Liberty and freedom to do as you like!" "Pursuit of happiness!" (as long as you don't walk the streets at 3am)

  • "Rule of law, rule of law!" (as long as those laws remain politically convenient, e.g., historic, unprovoked, preemptive strike on Iraq which will set a very dangerous precedent for other countries who will undoubtedly want to follow, continued indefinite detention of detainees at Guantanomo)


  • And many more inconsistencies.

    Now, every country has their share of problems and inconsistencies within their governing system. However, no other country continually pushes their system in your face, or reminds you on an hourly basis how great their particular system is, or forces other countries to accept their own system. When you tout your horn so loudly, then people will justifiably taunt you for your weaknesses. Europeans do not believe their individual systems of governance is best for everyone. You’ll never hear anyone say “I deserve better because I’m Dutch”. In Europe there’re no civil rights written in law, but at the same time there is no culture of castigating a person for their views, even if they go against the status quo. There is no separation of church and state here, but you’d never hear “God bless France”. There are no written laws guaranteeing freedom of this and freedom of that, yet women continue to walk the streets at any hour of the night without fear. Europeans are well aware of their imperialist and warmongering past, which is why they take great care never to impose their views or way of life on any other country.

    It's very difficult for Americans to realize this, but almost every cartoon and most movies produced and exported extols the virtues of American ideals above every other and vilifies the systems or cultures of other countries. It's so subtle, but it's there. Next time, try to observe; all villains have either a German name or German accent, every character in a position of abusive authority has an English accent. Spies? Wicked attachés? Asian or Russian. It goes even further, there are no Jewish heroes. No matter how much it might not relate to the plot, the American hero always gets the girl and lives happily every after. And et cetera, et cetera.

    While a student in school, I was never taught anything about geography. I knew absolutely NOTHING about Israel, Palestine or the Middle East conflict. TV informed me that Israel was an ally and in church they told me the Jews were the chosen people. That was the extent of my knowledge. I only learned about mid East issues after leaving the U.S. When I go back on occasion and quiz my friends, they have no idea where Israel is, they have no idea how it got there; they only know Israel good, Arabs bad. Reminds me of certain sheep on a certain farm.

    I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but lately I've been asking myself, "are Americans purposely being kept in the dark?" We have all the technology, we have all the tools, we build complicated nuclear reactors and routinely send man, woman and beast into space. Why are our children not taught important geography and world political issues in school? Why do even third world countries outbest us in science and math? Why is it that a high school student here in Austria has to study every country of importance, have a knowledge of every region of the world, must be well versed in their own language in addition to English and one other European, while we're given high school diplomas to illiterate students? If you want to know why Americans are so scorned, why we are perceived as being so arrogant and ignorant, then we have to start here.


    User currently offlineOA412 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 5225 posts, RR: 25
    Reply 20, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3121 times:

    I'm not even going to bother arguing each point -- I just hope you try to look at the good things America has done in its short life.

    No one is going to argue the good that America has done because, honestly, America has done a great deal of good both for itself and for many, many countries but your attitude, frankly, is quite frightening. Stating the "dark side" of American history is never meant to wipe out the good that this country has done. Conversely, just because America has done a great deal of good doesn't mean that we should say that the bad (and much of it was unspeakably bad) should somehow be condoned.

    I make no secret of the fact that I am very critical of many US policies both today and in the past. I am critical because I believe that many of the US's cold war actions as well as some of today's actions do not fit into the stated goals of this country. We cannot, on the one hand, claim to be a beacon of democracy and freedom and on the other support brutal dictatorships, etc.

    The ends do justify the means. The world would be a dark place if it weren’t for all the dirty work we've had to do -- the world would almost certainly be controlled by a Hilteresque dictatorship or communism.

    I am sorry but I really don't believe that the ends ever justified the means. How, for example, can one justify the slaughter by Suharto of 500,000 Easter Timorians suspected of communist activity with tacit US support? How can one justify "saving" people from popularly elected leftist regimes by installing brutal right wing dictatorships that decimated society and were no better than the dreaded communists that they were trying to save them from? One does not install dictatorial regimes in order to save people, plain and simple.

    If you want to find someone to criticize, just look at imperial Europe during the last 500-1000 years. They were the most authoritarian, brutal, imperialistic nations in history, enslaving and pillaging countless countries including Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and China. Our biggest critics, (the French & Dutch) less then a 100 years ago were brutal authoritarians in Southeast Asia, stealing, killing, and robbing the Indonesians and others blind. Schiphol airport and all those beautiful canals were built on the blood of countless Indonesians.

    I don't think that anyone is going to argue that Europe doesn't have a bloody and shameful past. But, saying Europe was worst does not negate the bad that the US has done. We shouldn't blind ourselves to our own past by trying to find others who did worse than us. The French and the Dutch have a lot to answer to in West Africa and Indonesia respectively. Then again, we also have a lot to answer to in Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Iran, etc. Just because the Europeans committed massive crimes in their colonies doesn't mean that this should somehow justify our own crimes in some parts of the world.

    Just my 2 cents...



    Hughes Airwest - Top Banana In The West
    User currently offlineLufthansaUSA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 188 posts, RR: 3
    Reply 21, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3125 times:

    Hepkat-Just because you had a childhood in which you never learned enough to be knowledgeable about world affairs doesnt mean that a) most Americans share your plight and b)the rest of the world is any better.

    I personally know as much as any teenage world citizen does about world affairs, geography, world history, etc. Most of the people I know are knowledgeable in these areas to some extent, thought there are some people who exhibit the unfortunate ignorance labeled on all Americans. Although you may have had a sub-par education, that doesnt not mean that most Americans have the same experience.

    More importantly, the concept of the "stupid American" is just a stereotype. Just as Americans portray bad guys as having German accents, so does the rest of the world portray Americans as stupid. The truth is, neither is true, and just because non-Americans show the stereotype doesnt mean it's any more relevant than the idea of evil Germans. Moreover, education in other countries, though perhaps better in such testable subjects as math and science, is no better in liberal arts than America. The same forces that cloud many public high schools' history curriculum also distort the truth in other countries. Just as American culture says "We could annex Canada", Canadian culture says, "America is a drug-ridden land full of ignorant criminals" Stereotypes abound all over the world, and are no closer to the truth outside America than inside.

    Please, remember that your enlightened viewpoint from Europe is subject to European distortion, just as your education was influenced by American forces.


    User currently offlineRai From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 0 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 22, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3109 times:

    LH747: Completely agreed! If I believed all the shit that spewed out of my European cousins' mouths, then I'd probably think that every European was, as Hepkat says, "purposely being kept in the dark". People accuse us of having bad stereotypes, but it's OK for others to have it. Double standard?

    As for OA412's comments on Suharto, remember, Islamic fundamentalism wasn't a problem in Indonesia with him at the helm. Not to say that he's a good man, but if he was still around, we wouldn't have had the Bali massacre.


    User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
    Reply 23, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3102 times:

    "More importantly, the concept of the "stupid American" is just a stereotype. "

    Yeah and the fact that in most kids in US highschools, around 70-80% of students, do not go on to college. College graduates are not better than those with diplomas from HS, right?

    And why the hell do we even have a "homeless population"?? Yet we brag about Wall street and the economy being either in a slum or doing well and on the rise? 90% of Americans are of the working class and dream of capitalism, exactly who benefits from this capitalism? Americans? hahahaha. :-

    We may be good in social skills but not anything outside this glass bubble we call home.



    The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
    User currently offlineDelta-flyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 2676 posts, RR: 7
    Reply 24, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3103 times:

    Come now, Hepkat, aren't you being a tad too critical? You keep pointing to the extremes.....but that's not where the bulk of Americans are. And what "unprovoked, preemptive strike on Iraq"? ... I've been traveling outside the US during the last 4 weeks and was not getting the news regularly, did I miss something?

    Pete


    25 Rai : And why the hell do we even have a "homeless population"?? Lephron: Homelessness is a problem even in the "perfect" societies of Europe and Canada. If
    26 Toda,Reisinger : 3. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons to kill people, and has used weapons of mass destruction on civilian popula
    27 LufthansaUSA : Lehpron, you say that 70-90% of Americans don't go on to college? Where do you get these statistics? That's way off. MUCH more than 10-30% of American
    28 Rai : Yeah and the fact that in most kids in US highschools, around 70-80% of students, do not go on to college. College graduates are not better than those
    29 OA412 : As for OA412's comments on Suharto, remember, Islamic fundamentalism wasn't a problem in Indonesia with him at the helm. Not to say that he's a good m
    30 Rai : OA: You are reading incorrectly. I didn't even mention the 500,000 killed under Suharto. I just pointed out that he kept Islamic militancy in check...
    31 Twaneedsnohelp : toda,Reisinger's post was absolutely fantastic. No country is "perfect", and no country acts against its own interests; there's a degree of hypocrisy
    32 Lehpron : "Lehpron, you say that 70-90% of Americans don't go on to college? Where do you get these statistics? That is way off. MUCH more than 10-30% of Americ
    33 Post contains images KLAX : Being an American who lives abroad, I think I have a fairly good understanding of this situation. While living in the U.S., most Americans have a rath
    34 Mika : I'll leave as a Conservative Euro critic. You haven't seen it all my friend. Europe is way more than France.
    35 Andreas : It is rather sad that many people seem to concentrate on grossing up unfairness, crimes...against each other in order to justify that USA is not worse
    36 Toda,reisinger : Fanaticism, hatred and extremism has nothing to do with education and poverty. The horror of September 11 has illustrated this point in the worst mann
    37 Andreas : Guys like bin Laden are so extremelx dangerous because they gather a large following, that in the end is willing to follow his ideas to the very end.
    38 Ts-ior : -We do not envy you for your wealth,after what it is not completely yours and God knows how you get it ? -There is no American nor French or Tunisian
    39 Toda,reisinger : Because it is war-torn poor country giving him all the people he needs to fanaticize and carry out his ideas. Thousands of al-Qaida terrorists were co
    40 Andreas : Education means learning to read and understand, too. Both things you clearly refuse to do... well, believe what you like! It doesn't get more right o
    41 Post contains images KLAX : Andreas, we are looking at the facts. The facts are: -9/11 hijackers were well educated -9/11 hijackers were from wealthy, well respected familys -9/1
    42 Andreas : Clovis: I was talking about fanaticism, terrorism as a general phenomenon, not about september 11th. and Afghanistan was an example.
    43 Post contains images Toda,reisinger : Education means learning to read and understand, too. Both things you clearly refuse to do... ...then please elaborate on the direct link between pove
    44 Andreas : Hmm...pluralis majestatis...quite revealing! See answer to Clovis/Klax. Look at world, wherever there is religious fanaticism going on...keep in mind,
    45 Post contains images Toda,reisinger : but, having read your threadopener about the suicide bombing in Israel...well never mind! forget it... You didn't like it?...What was wrong? It is not
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