6.22.2006

So they hate us.

Just read this article.

So Europeans hate us. Granted, this is one article, and one perspective. However, I can say it's substantiated, as I saw firsthand some of the anti-Americanism while in France and Switzerland.

So what do we do? While I recognize and support the need to have a president who is aware of global politics, and who attempts to play nice with our neighbors, I can't condone letting fear of reprisal and disapproval from other nations to influence my decision on whom to elect to run my country. A fine line, yes, but there is a separation between making sure the new commander-in-chief appreciates the global role of American interests and attempts to harmonize them with world interests as best as possible.

As an example, I was lectured one day in a parking lot by a gentleman who told me that Americans should know better than to let the nation support Israel, and until we change our stance on supporting Israel, he'll never like or support any administration that comes to power.

I don't like being intimidated. You don't approve of Bush? Great. Has anyone taken a look at Lukashenko in Belarus? Does anyone see what's going on in Russia with Putin and consolidation and takeovers of oil businesses? What about how Air Force servicemen can't take their Bibles and crosses into Saudi Arabia during temporary tours of duty? What about the Sudan? What about corruption all over Africa? Iran enriching uranium? Radical Muslims demanding that sharia law be observed worldwide (Remember those Danish cartoons? Many people called for the EU to pass blasphemy laws.)

I don't approve of everything President Bush does. I don't have the answers. I just get a little agitated when people accuse the U.S. of being the #1 threat to global security.

Side note: I'm a bit reluctant to share this post, and I know there's a lot of issues and perspectives I've either overlooked or simplified. Perhaps I'm afraid of being guilty of the accusations that Europe levels against me as an American. Maybe my nationalistic pride is going to get hurt.

2 comments:

Shaun said...

I agree almost exclusively with you. I see a lot of anti-American, or even anti-anything, sentiment as being largely a social thing. Especially being anti-Bush at the moment. It's simply popular and most people just jump on the bandwagon without being remotely informed. In fact, if you don't say you hate Bush, you are much more likely to be ridiculed.

Another facet of it is political, I think. I realizing by saying this that it sounds egotistical, but America has a lot of power. A lot of power. Sometimes this makes other countries downright nervous and many countries (governmentally) sort of support anti-American sentiments in order to distinguish themselves from the US (the Canadian government is infamous for this) or even to try and claim themselves as watchdogs over the US.

Now this isn't to say that we aren't at any fault. Sometimes the US has run roughshod over other countries diplomatically because it can. Obviously this would had a negative impact in other countries. One good example would be in pollution emissions where most of Europe has adopted fairly rigorous standards, but the US doesn't want to play (something I think we need to work on).

But the biggest problem from all of this is that people honestly believe that all Europeans are snobby or that all Americans are fat and stupid. It's one thing to label a government as ineffective, to to claim that all of the people are bad is just plain ignorant. In that regard, just about everyone in this ridiculous flame-war needs to grow up and be mature.

You don't change someone by telling them you hate them or constantly nagging them. You change someone by being their friend and working with them.

sixline said...

Well, I personally think that the way things are going (myself included... stupid fast food) Americans *are* fat. The stupid part, well, I'd more call it lazy. But that's another can of worms.

It is too bandwagonish. It scares me to think that the motivating force behind political change could be fostered by simple popular sentiment.