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How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 7:07 am

How much does US really know about the rest of the world? I pretty much hear about everything going on around the globe here in my country, Colombia. From personal experience, I see the majority of news information in the US is based on local issues, or the countries involved with them. What do you think about this?

It is not intended to be an insulting thread in any manner, all the opposite I think it is understandable that for citizens living in an eficient stable country it is important to maintain that stability, and thus the focus on internal issues mostly.

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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 7:37 am

People in the US are generally naiive when it comes to international issues, and it's no real fault of their own. Generally, most of our news we see in the States concerns US politics, and US issues. We hear international news when it involves the US abroad, but other than that, we don't hear very much about what goes on in Cambodia, India, or Columbia. Those things don't really have an impact on the US population, therefore it doesn't make the news. It's really easy to accuse Americans of being ignorant, but in all reality, it isn't their fault, it's the media's.

However, I sometimes wonder when people say "People from my country are far more educated about the world than people in the US." I wonder if they are really more educated, or if they just know more about the US. Seems as though the US is ALWAYS in international news, so people from all over the world hear about the US everyday. So people feel they know more about the world because they know a lot about the US, but in reality, they don't know any more about the world than an American does. I guess what I'm trying to say is, people from outside the US know much about the US, but people from the US know little about the rest of the world. So it makes Americans look ignorant. I don't really know if this is the case, but I often wonder if those people who say they know much about the world, really know as much as they say they do.

I'm very lucky to have lived abroad, and been able to study International Relations and economy in school. I tend to feel I know quite a bit about international politics and economy.


[Edited 2003-10-11 01:03:45]
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 8:30 am

Well put Ual747, because the US wields so much power, the rest of the world will have to know much more about it than vice versa. Probably true of Romans during the Empire, also of the British during their empire - I think they even had a reputation for it. Also since the US is so vast, even though there is regional veriation (think of the South vs. New York, vs. the Midwest) it is not nearly so much as Europe, which is about the same size, so in Europe, you have to know more just to get by. Pretty true throughout most of the rest of the world.

But I do see a creeping lack of curiosity in the US today, and people are proud of it, not just about international relations and politics, but about almost anything!!!! A sort of anti egghead mentality. It is scary. so I can't blame the media. I don't think the people are being duped by a chauvanistic media. To a large extent, they give the people what they want. If people clamored for broad international coverage, then that is what the networks would give them. They want to make money anyway they can.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:09 am

All I can say is - thank god for the internet.

I believe that through the myriad of international news websites and forums like these we can ALL learn more about each others countries and the issues they face.

I personally have learned a hell of a lot more about people from other countries as a result of being on this forum for 2 years.

Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:50 am

Thanks guys for the comments. Just as a clarification, my country is spelled Colombia, not with a U. Nothing to get picky about, just a note.

I understand what you guys say about the rest of the world knowing a lot about the US. However, I differ with you in stating that people use the pretext of knowing lots from the US for saying they know more from the rest of the world. I have been in the US several times, and interacting with the locals I have got the general idea that they do not know about much of the things going on on the world (apart from Iraq, Cuba, etc.) It is survey proven that US citizens have poorer geographical knowledge than most other citizens (Again, not to push it against the United States). I personally do know about the United States for a good part, but I do not claim to posess good knowledge overall because of this.

Ual747, information is not only to be aquired from local news. The press in Colombia is probably the lamest in the entire world! However, I do get the chance to watch CNN, BBC, TVE (TV España) and obvoiusly, just as you, surf the internet. If poor news coverage was to blame, then all of us aren't responsible for our ignorance? Just give it a thought.

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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 11:45 am

It depends on the individual. If you want to know about international events, you'll find out, and vice-versa.

Personally, I keep informed.
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 12:31 pm

You'll find people in the US who are more versed in international affairs than anyone else you're likely to meet around the world, and you'll find people who have no clue about the rest of the world. Just like every other country.

Aaron G.
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:10 pm

it's not only the media at fault here, it's the education system as well. kids are only taught the american side of things, thats it!
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:21 pm

I am reminded of the scene from one of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, about the Krikkit Wars.

The planet Krikket is inhabited by a race exceedingly proud of itself, and convinced that it is the only thing of consequence in existance. As the planet is permenantly blanketed by clouds, they can't even see the stars.

One day, Krikket manages to build it's first craft that manages to fly up above the clouds and sends two men up to explore. They look around and see all the stars and other planets and galaxies. They realize that they are not alone after all.

"Isn't it all pretty?" One asks.

"Yep. Pity it all has to go." The other answers, setting course for home.

Krikket then proceeded to wage total war on the rest of the universe.

I would normally put in a disclaimer about "all this is fictional and not intended to blah blah blah...", but it wouldn't be as fun, would it?

The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 5:40 pm

...and that's why you find the American people,with exceptions of course,supporting blindly the Bush band in its foreign decisions.You are dumped with local issues,and media transmit you only the international news that could serve the foreign policy of Washington,unfair and extremist most of the time.

Simply for the anecdote,few Americans know about Tunisia,and it is assimilated to Indonesia.You have to say North-Africa to be understood.
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sat Oct 11, 2003 6:18 pm

Well in 1998, the CIA did not know about India's underground nuke test until it happened. I guess you can subtract that from the list.  Smile

BTW, when you say "US", do you mean 'Americans specific', 'Americans in general', the 'government specific (depts)' or 'government in general'?

Cuz to me, by the events of the last 4 years, a 'US' generally does not exist to me, it appears to act like as a belief (so to speak) in the minds of the citizens.
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
Topic Author
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The US Is Not America

Sun Oct 12, 2003 4:26 am

Lephron, what do you mean? Americans are NOT the people from the United States only, but also from the rest of the continent. It's a shame that even the US president commits such a linguistic flaw when speaking.

"My fellow Americans, at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era"

I am an American, and Bush is certainly not talking about the end of my dark period. We are living the FARC end ELN era, quite dark don't you think?


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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sun Oct 12, 2003 4:43 am

Well, you'll certainly find SOME people in the US that know a bit about the rest of the world...after all, doesn't the US usually show up pretty quick with help after an earthquake, a flood or a famine-in-progress or some other natural disaster? ....jack
all best; jack
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RE: How Much Does US Really Know About...

Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:51 pm

Most countries dont know the full details of what is going on in other countries. The media pick out the more 'sexy' topics and thats it.
It is amazing what can be accomplised when nobody takes the credit

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