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145 replies
European-American cultural differences
luv_the_beach
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I came across an interesting (and dead-on) editorial on the BBC Online. I thought that this was relevant to the various discussions we’ve had recently in these boards regarding differences between the US and Europe. For those of you who have never traveled abroad before, brace yourself for culture shock. The author of this article hits the nail on the head. He’s a British tourist visiting the US, and smacked with culture shock…the opposite will also happen to Americans spending a significant amount of time in Europe.

http://news.bbc.co.u…

quote:A recent example which caught my eye, I thought at first it was a joke, that several television stations refused to allow the screening of Steven Spielberg’s film Saving Private Ryan.

Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, is not pornographic, nor is it grotesquely violent. It is a war film with some shooting and some swearing.

Although it would be shown on any television station anywhere in Europe, with no comment and no censorship, the swearing is too much for America.

quote: America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away.

Television coverage of the Asian Tsunami was a case in point. In Europe it was covered as an unrelenting tragedy, in America, one television network promised "incredible stories of lives saved in near miraculous fashion".

The Tsunami example that he brings up is a perfect example. The Iraq war is another instance where you see these same differences, however the United States has a larger stake in positive stories from this war than from the Tsunami, but it’s still a good example (because it’s also worth noting that the UK media’s reporting on the war is closer to mainstream Europe than to the US). Other exmaples include media coverage of similar events such as floods and other natural diasters.


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micahj123
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wow thats really informative. Thanks for the article. We could use some more logical sense on this board sometimes.

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This is so true. The U.S. is neck high in propoganda right now that either (A) is intended to make us so proud to be Americans because of America’s generosity and how wonderful American is and how much we give and help and most importantly how RIGHT we are. Or (B) it is intended to scare us into believing everything the government does is to protect us and we are in imminent danger from Iraq, sex, liberals, and everything except guns and the U.S. government, which are truely the thing most likely to hurt us. Moreover, dissent is now unpatriotic and practically borders on treason. And the worst part is, people are buying into it. (We were dumb enough to re-elect Bush) So if you’re coming to the U.S. any time soon, be ready to think we’re all a bunch of puritanical religion-based conservatives, becasue unless you’re watching Saturday Night Live, the Simpsons or The Daily Show, you won’t see or hear anything that doesn’t contribue to the "American will protect you" ideology that currently permeates the landscape. Just my 2 cents.

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"America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact"

Wow. this article is just spot on.

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quote:
"America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact"

Hasn’t it always been?

luv_the_beach
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These differences that the author talks about, I’ve always known them, moving back and forth between Europe and US while growing up…I just thought it was great that someone else saw it too.

Politics aside, there’s always been a diffence in story-telling. As the guy says, I was always aware of how the European media will just tell the news, fact-by-fact, whereas the US media is fixated on personal success stories. Even in the newspapers: Le Monde or Figaro (major newspapers in France) will tell you what’s going on, even if each paper puts its own polticical spin on it (Figaro is center-right and Monde is center-left.) In the Chicago Tribune or New York Times, by contrast, practically all the major news articles are written like narratives (and instead of a putting a domestic-poltical spin on their articles like European papers do, American papers tend to put a subtle nationalist spin on it, like angie1379 says). Look for it, and you’ll notice it.

On TV: I was in Greece last summer during most of the Olympics, and Greece’s public broadcasting company (ERT -which had the rights to show the games in Greece) showed live Olympic sports non-stop and then Olympic news in the wee hours, on all 3 of its TV channels (NET, ET1, and ET3).

By contrast, in the US, the NBC corporation (NBC, CNBC, etc) all too often showed those cheesy segments about some athlete who battled polio, a brain tumor, and ebola, then escaped from a violent neighborhood, and sold his right kidney to buy his plane ticket for Athens so he can participate at the Olympics (then his plane crashes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, so he swims the rest of the way, fighting off sharks, and he heroicly makes it to Athens on time for the race). NBC cuts time out of the sports events to show these segments! The US media is fixated on these success stories. (Don’t get me started on how NBC botched up the opening ceremony).

This article really hit the nail on the head.


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Rothie
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Hey have you seen those new Dodge Sprinter cargo vans on the road lately? They freak me out. Shouldnt they put neon signs on them that say homeland security, or SWAT?

anyhow, I totally agree with the article and angie1379. This is a changed country and it is quite upsetting. Id love to live abroad for the next 4 years.

Furthermore, I cant stand those news shows like The O’Riley Factor and Hannity and Colmes. These shows are focused to move people along a unified nationalist agenda, and nowadays its feeling like we are entering a new McCarthy era -dangerous.

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The best part of the article :

quote:I am ashamed to say that I used the old line about the castle being built too close to Heathrow Airport and they all nodded sagely and agreed it had been a mistake.

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I think what many Europeans DO NOT really get is this…. MOST American’s do not agree with our Gov’t policy on Foreigne or Domestic affairs. Politicians have been cast (rightly so) as such lying, back-stabbing, self-serving, multi-faced pricks over the last 40 years,,, we feel like we have to pick the "lesser of the evils" so to speak. I imagine it’s similar in other Democracies around the globe. We would like to change the way things are done, and improve our image (except in the eyes of the French – who cares!), but we feel power-less, and have sort of given-up on REALLY changing things since the baby-boomer generation was around 5 to 10 yrs old… Each and every day, we read about our business leaders cooking the books, lying, cheating, stealing, and we believe only about 10% of what these idiot politicians spew on a daily basis… What are we to do?
On the other hand; Europeans make the same mistakes we do – they ASSUME too many things about us. Much of it is not factual, and we are also very guilty of ASS-umption…

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

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First of all, he is not a "British tourist smacked with culture shock", he is the Washington correspondent for the BBC.

Second, if all of you guys think Europe is so much better, why don’t you leave the country (speaking to Americans)? It seems to me, that there are millions of people trying to get in this country everyday (why’s that?)….. I think many Americans are as ignorant as can be, and many stereotypes are much deserved, but no one ever seems to bring the opposite point of view to these boards. For example, the French seem to have a problem with our "class-less" culture, i.e. we ruined Paris with our Mcdonald’s, well why do people eat there then???

I totally agree with the author thinking our censorship is a bit overly conservative (saving private ryan), but to take that one example and now state that we don’t want to hear about the worlds problems! Give me a break…. and all the tsunami coverage I watched was as grim as can be…..and yes we do give more $ and sacrifice more of our own time, and lives, to do good across the world than anywhere else. If you don’t want to hear it its too bad, because it is a fact.

I guess I am saying people read between the lines a little before you jump on the bandwagon.

PS.. Any American who wears a Canadian flag patch while abroad (I’ve heard people advocating this) is utterly pathetic.

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quote:
It seems to me, that there are millions of people trying to get in this country everyday (why’s that?)….. For example, the French seem to have a problem with our "class-less" culture, i.e. we ruined Paris with our Mcdonald’s, well why do people eat there then???

It’s important to note that just because everyone wants to do or is doing something, that does not make it good or right. This leads to the ruining of cultural artifacts/places, natural ecosystems, etc. etc.

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I agree to an extent, you have to have a balance between conserving the past, and embracing the present, I am sorry but all the old world cities in Europe are going to evolve eventually with stores/things that might take away from their cultural authenticity, but don’t go screaming bloody murder if the store happens to be incorporated in America… and I don’t eat Mcdonalds or like it, it was just an example of hypocrisy (mind my spelling)

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quote:
First of all, he is not a "British tourist smacked with culture shock", he is the Washington correspondent for the BBC.

Whatever he is, he was still smacked with culture shock. Besides, he was a tourist when he went skiing.

quote:Second, if all of you guys think Europe is so much better, why don’t you leave the country (speaking to Americans)?

Aw geez…I never intended on spawning a "who’s better" debate. It was meant to be a discussion on cultural differences embedded in the media from both sides of the Atlantic. (and how this ties in to some discussions we’ve had on previous threads).

Besides, I don’t see why some Americans get so pissy every time they encounter criticism towards America -whether real or perceived. Sensitivities from foreign critism are understandable, but countering internal criticism with a "leave the country" comeback is ridiculous. One can only improve his own country by starting out with constructuve criticism. If you disagree with the idea that is brought up, then use the same democratic tools to counter that point. Don’t ask them to leave the country. You’re doing the exact opposite of the democratic ideals that our foreign policy claims to be promoting. In a democracy, everyone gets to voice their opinion about the country’s institutions, and if they feel something is done better abroad, then by all means, speak out, we’d love to hear that idea and discuss it. Why should the whole world learn from us, but have nothing to teach us…have we become that arrogant and conceited?

quote:It seems to me, that there are millions of people trying to get in this country everyday (why’s that?)…..

Millions of people try to go everywhere. There are millions or people trying to enter the European Union, Australia, Canada, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and so on. Some of the largest immigrant populations in the world are in Africa, where millions of people have packed up and left for a neighboring country in the past 20 years. The largest population of Afghans outside of Afghanistan is in no, not the USA but in Iran. When faced with economic hardship, war, or political turmoil, people will migrate to wherever conditions are somewhat better, and whichever of the better places is closest. It’s no coincidence that the vast majority of these "millions of people" who try to enter the US come from neighboring Mexico. People from Africa and South Asia head for Europe and the Middle East, because these areas are closer to them. If you think that people are only interested in moving to the USA, you’re wrong. And if you think that the USA is the destination for most of the world’s immigrants, you’re also wrong.

quote:For example, the French seem to have a problem with our "class-less" culture, i.e. we ruined Paris with our Mcdonald’s, well why do people eat there then???

The United States does not have a "classless culture," nor have the French ever criticized what’s supposed to be America’s "classless culture." You’re making this up, entirely. France became a republic and abolished legal hierarchies (ie aristocracy, etc) at about the same time as the United States (late 18th century). Yes, France had a brief return to monarchical and imperial systems in the 19th century (if you even knew this), but we can just as easily point out America’s slavery institution which lasted very late: until the 1860s. Obviously, you don’t know anything about French history and contemporary French society.

quote:but to take that one example and now state that we don’t want to hear about the worlds problems!

I don’t think you understood the article. The article was saying that the US media and American culture have created this la-la-land bubble within most average Americans live, psycholigically. It was not a commentary on US foreign policy, nor was he saying that Americans are indifferent to the world’s problems.

quote:and yes we do give more $ and sacrifice more of our own time, and lives, to do good across the world than anywhere else. If you don’t want to hear it its too bad, because it is a fact.

No, it’s not a fact. The US gives a minute amount of money as foreign aid, in hundreds of millions of dollars which is actually a very tiny amount (compared to a GDP of 10 trillion). Almost all of this aid goes to military and geopolitical allies for foreign policy purposes (Israel, Egypt), not to 3rd world countries out of kindness (like Congo). And yes, it’s the same thing with "sacrificing our lives to go acrss the world." We only sacrifice lives where there’s some geopolitical or economic benefit, like Iraq. Not Rwanda.

After the tsunami, the US pledged a very small amount which was called very stingy…Japan had pledged much more, and the US followed Japan’s example (not the other way around). The EU also donated a lot of aid, and so did India -despite being one of the affected nations itself.

No one is saying that the US is obligated to hand out money. It’s not. We’re just asking people like you to stop claiming that the US hands out huge sums to everyone (and more than anyone), because this is not true. It’s American mythology not fact. The United States has ceased paying its dues to the UN for several years now (all countries pay dues to the UN, and the fee is related to their GDP) leaving the world’s second largest economy -Japan as the current largest contributor of money to the UN. Furthermore, Japan and Taiwan offered a huge financial package to the countries affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis (Indonesia, Thailand, etc), but the US arranged so that they accept money from the US-based World Bank instead (Washington threatened Japan and Taiwan with reduced access to the US market if they followed through with the financial aid package to Indonesia and Thailand). The reason Washington did this is because by accepting the World Bank’s package, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea will have to accept the World Bank’s conditions: to enact various economic and financial policies that will unevenly benefit American economic interests.

Not to mention US-imposed embargoes on various countries which affect businesses outside those countries as well, and how countries who host US military bases pay for much of the expenses of those bases (and in some cases as in Japan most of the expenses are paid by the host country).

So before you go on and on about the US saving the world, please stop…read and educate yourself…and realize that this is a multilateral world. What you see/hear on the news is not the entire news. It’s only a fraction of the world’s developments. Your local 9:00 news doesn’t say anything about EU aid to developing countries, because it doesn’t pertain to people in your area…that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

quote:I guess I am saying people read between the lines a little before you jump on the bandwagon.

Ditto. sjutom, you need to stop jumping on the Im-angry-because-America-saves-the-ungrateful-world-according-to-my-local-news bandwagon.

quote:I agree to an extent, you have to have a balance between conserving the past, and embracing the present,

"Embracing the present" doesn’t mean that they have to embrace America’s present.

quote:I am sorry but all the old world cities in Europe are going to evolve eventually with stores/things that might take away from their cultural authenticity, but don’t go screaming bloody murder if the store happens to be incorporated in America… and I don’t eat Mcdonalds or like it, it was just an example of hypocrisy (mind my spelling)

What a childish statement based on mindless generalizations. You’re making the presumption that all 60 million people in France loathe McDonald’s and that they all eat there too. Has it ever occurred to you that the ones who loathe McDonald’s (a fraction of the population) are not the ones who eat there? (another fraction of the population). It’s hilarious that you claim to be worldly, but make such thoughtless conclusions.


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quote:Give me a break…. and all the tsunami coverage I watched was as grim as can be…..and yes we do give more $ and sacrifice more of our own time, and lives, to do good across the world than anywhere else. If you don’t want to hear it its too bad, because it is a fact.

The Tsunami coverage was piss poor on American networks. I know this as I watched CNN every day in Thailand as I was supposed to be in Phuket the next day. What I heard from people returning, my girlfreinds friend who lives there (Thai) and saw on news stations such as Asia News explained the issues, looked at how the local people wer doing and sensationalized very little.

Countires such as Australia and Germnay, as well as Japan I believe, have donated more to Tsunami relief than the US has. Even Canada was almost up there with a much smaller economy and population base.

I would link to the economist but it requires member$hip.

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Sensitivities – Who is the sensitive one here?

Classless, meant without class, not classes as in classes of the feudal sytem. Thanks for the condescending history lesson…Here is some French history I do know. D – Day, America saving France, but wait, where are the French?

Yes, EVERY country chooses to help out where it is to their benefit, thats called politics.

"American Mythology" – Who rebuilt Europe after WWII?

I can’t get into your whole diatribe, as I have a life, and don’t live through a message board….You need to get laid.

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sjutom was owned! Now taking his or her ball and running home!

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Luv, what did you expect when the few choice excerpts you present were very anti-american? You didn’t add in any one that showed liking of america, for ex:

quote:America is strait-laced and earnest, and is getting more so with every passing day.

If all you post is negative impressions, you will get negative and inflammatory responses. The author obviously doesn’t quite understand some american culture either. For example:
quote:Then they abruptly changed the subject to American concerns, where they lived and what they did, as if suddenly my corner of the cabin had developed a bit of a smell.

I can understand why this gentleman might think this, but this is prejudice as well. American’s will naturally strike up conversation about something random when put in a situation where they can pass time and get to know people. Like when stuck in a gondola on a ski resort. People will pick a conversation starter then naturally get to friendship making, what do you do, where do you live, etc. etc. The author had already estabilished where he was from so they naturally need not ask unless they were more concerned with the specifics.
The article starts off with a rather neutral examine the differences feel then promptly loses that aspect. The author then states in a single paragraph, effectively, Europe is freer as it allows X. Which is followed by multiple paragraphs about America being X, Y, and Z more worse because blah blah blah. The author presents it as a character study choosing choice quotes like the 17% who believe the apocalypse is coming during their life.
Then the really heavy rhetoric comes in:
quote:The fact is that Americans have long regarded Europeans as weak-willed, lily-livered, morally degenerate moaners, incapable of clear thinking or resolute action.

Nice choice of words to elicit some massive feelings of negativity towards America, particularly using a old-western term to make it center on Bush as he’s from Texas. Yeah, thats solid unbiased reporting. The author may as well have thrown in some ebonics since we’re also a nation of gangsters, thugs, bling, and who can forget 80’s fashion(which is coming back).
Another of my favorite stereotypes:
quote:At the end of my skiing holiday, I drove my family home in a hired car larger than most tanks and as fuel efficient as the Queen Mary.

Have you ever driven the colorado rockies? Do you think driving around in a VW Golf TDI is the smart way to travel on windy roads covered with snow and ice then possibly piliing on some bad conditions on top of it? I sure don’t, I’ll take 4WD anyday over that. Not to mention that he had the ability to go back into the freaking rental store and ask for a different type of vehicle.

Personally I think you’re so willing to believe that America is so wrong you’ll not critically view your own media’s reporting. The US does give a lot of foreign aid, there’s two ways to measure it. First there’s France and Sweden’s favorite way which is per capita or even GDP. By this mark the US would have to give ridiculous sums of money (whlie weakening the already weakened dollar) to seem like a decent people, we’d catch flak for it though or still be told we’re assholes, people love to hate the big kid with money. The other way is by absolute dollar amount, a wholly different picture when it’s looked at but people still find reasons to complain. The world expects us to spread ourselves thin because we’ve done it for decades, it’s almost as if the world wants it that way because they’ll keep us under thumb a bit. America does what it can and what it feels right, I would expect you to think that the sovereignty of a nation allows that to happen.

If we really were the assholes you accuse us of being we’d be bringing more force to the table.

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There was a soldier (returned from Iraq) on NPR today talking about media coverage. He used an example of how the names of the killed soldiers now appear on page 22 of the Washington Post. For USA Today, 40 Iraqis were killed by a suicide bomber the other day (page 5) while a poodle in a pink tutu was the lead story. Sells more papers I guess.

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It seemed a little bit more about middle American culture though…I mean seriously, the thing about how no Americans could imagine how dressing up as a nazi at a party could possibly be funny or forgivable and how Europeans are just so decadent and bad? I don’t really know if you’re going to see that kind of attitude so much in the more metropolitan areas of the US.

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quote:
It seemed a little bit more about middle American culture though…I mean seriously, the thing about how no Americans could imagine how dressing up as a nazi at a party could possibly be funny or forgivable and how Europeans are just so decadent and bad? I don’t really know if you’re going to see that kind of attitude so much in the more metropolitan areas of the US.

Um…the third larges metropolitan area of the US is in "middle America"

The US is slowly becoming more and more conservative merely for the fact that everyone is becoming so darn paranoid about possibly offending people. One of the side-effects of living in a democracy such as the US is that people have the chance to express their opinions freely…even if it’s not necessarily the same ideas shared by the majority. And as a consequence of this freedom of speech, the government, media, etc. must take extra steps in order to try to not offend those with dissenting opinions. One random historical sidenote…some of the first European residents in the areas that would eventually become the USA were the Pilgrims…mostly Puritans and other highly conservative religious minorities who left Europe to escape persecution.

It sucks that some Europeans (and others from around the world)harbor negative feelings towards Americans. In fact just today I experienced being degraded by a student in one of my classes (I’m an American attending a university in Spain)simply because I argued something from an "American" point of view. However, I often can’t help but think that some of these negative views of Americans comes from the fact that some Americans tend to be so darn full of pride that they argue their views and points in a manner that is annoying and offensive to non-Americans.

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"Here is some French history I do know. D – Day, America saving France, but wait, where are the French?"

Do you also remember the part in French history, where without them, we would still be an English colony? Remember that the French were the ones who were ultimately responsible for American Independence. Without France’s navy, soldiers, and arms they gave us, we would’ve lost the Revolutionary War.

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Sjutom,

Don’t get mad just because you can’t make a good rebuttal. Your posts speak volumes in ways you don’t intent. I appreciate your concern about my sex life, but I don’t need your help. And if you want people to understand your posts, you need to make a proper, correct use of the English language. The term "classless" means "without social classes." It does not mean "having no class." The latter is a regional slang term, and has no relation to the term in question.

I guess I can say I "live" through these message boards, to an extent. Do I participate in other message boards? (outside Eurotrip?) No. Eurotrip allows me the opportunity to discuss one thing I really love and know a lot about: traveling in Europe. When I’m not travelling, I’m working to pay my bills, contributing to a travel website (this one), working out, reading, hanging out with friends, and yes, making love. I almost never watch TV. I’ll watch a good documentary on PBS or the Discovery Channel. Don’t ask me to name any of the characters on any season of American Idol because I really don’t know, nor do I give a fuck.

I’m a well-traveled, trilingual, very physically fit, and well-read individual who was lucky to live in the US and Europe during my childhood (my family had moved back and forth) and have a very deep understanding of both sides of the Atlantic. The opportunity to live in a country other than your own is such an eye-opening experience that few Americans will ever have. Like you, I too was shocked, angry, and confused when at the age of 14 I was told for the first time that the American government, our government, had aided and supported dictatorships in other countries. I found it difficult to believe that our country would promote or flat-out engage in undemocratic actions abroad. I was angry at the European man who was telling me this, and I wrote him off as an America-hating conspiracy theorist who didn’t know what he was talking about. I then heard the same thing again that same year and out of curiosity started to seek out more information and have been reasearching American foreign policy ever since. I am now 24.

One of the countries I have lived in (in Europe) is Greece (which is why I respond a lot to Greece threads). We (my family) lived there in 1989-1990, and I have returned many times since, including spending an entire summer there, on my own, when I was only 17 in the summer of 1998. My most recent visit was in the summer of 2004, where I spent most of that time in and around Athens, and going to some Olympic events. One of my days there, my Greek friends and I took a fieldtrip to the town of Schinias (a small beach town north of Athens along the Attica region’s east coast). We had purchased tickets to watch the preliminary canoe/kayak events. So here we were at Athens 2004, celebrating this small, formerlypoor country’s massive achievements, attending all these massively televised international events in amazing multi-million dollar venues…but during our drive to Schinias, we [coincidentally] drove passed a large abandoned complex that was used as a prison and torturing ground for political opponents during the 1967-1974 dictatorship. It was a grim reminder of the not-so-distant past. That dictatorship was -as the State Department finally admitted secretly supported and aided by both the Johnson and Nixon administrations. With help from the CIA, Pentagon, and State Dept, the coutry’s top military colonels of that time overthrew the newly-elected center-left government (who then fled into exile) and imposed martial law on the country for the next 7 years. Political opponents were exiled, imprisoned, and/or tortured. The United States’ role in the dicatorship wasn’t declassified by the US govt until the late 1990s, but people in Greece had always known (before it was declassified, the Greeks were described as crazy conspiracy theorists in the US media).

This is just one example out of many countries, and things like this come as a suprise to Americans, just as it came as a surprise to me 10 years ago. Yes, the US helped Europe a lot during and immediately following WWII and that’s wonderful but does this entitle Washington to do what it did in Greece in 1967? Or Argentina in 1976? Chile in 1974? Iran in 1953? South Korea in the early 1980s? And then we wonder why so many people around the world dislike us, and we jump to all sorts of conclusions ("they’re jealous of us," "they don’t like our culture," and so on.) We want to beleive that our foreign policy is about saving the world. But it’s not. It’s politics, and you admitted it yourself.

If you’re going to travel abroad, you have to accept the fact that you will be carrying this burden with you. People will dislike your government and your coutry’s foreign policy, and they have reason to. Is the US the "Great Satan?" No, of course not. But it’s definitely no angel. You need to drop that childish, naive perspective of world history and American history that they teach us in elementary school, and you also need to crawl out of that ethnocentric shell that we grew up in and realize that the politicians and industrialists who run the United States are not divine, moral do-gooders, and that the American perspective is not the absolute truth. One thing I have realized about the American people is that as our BBC author suggests Americans are wrapped in a faith-based, utopian bubble of denial that ignores reality. While Americans have no problem pointing out the burden that a British traveler may carry in India, or a Russian in Estonia, or a Japanese in Korea, or a German in Poland, or a French in Algeria, they refuse to accept the similar relationship and burden that they will carry when traveling abroad.


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sjutom
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Luv the beach,

"I’m a well-traveled, trilingual, very physically fit, and well-read individual "

You are very insecure, no one asked.

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Alphuris,

Your paragraph about financial aid and contributions isn’t very clear. What I did understand is an emphasis on total contribution amounts over per capita contributions, thus the United States should be considered as outperforming other countries. If we take this perspective, your argument is still flawed because as I said in a previous post, and perhaps you missed it the largest financial contributor to the United Nations in total dollar amount is Japan, not the United States. By UN practice, it should be the United States who makes the largest contribution. However, the United States has stopped paying dues to the UN since the late 1990s at the latest. Furthermore, Japan has voluntarily offered more financial assistance for the tsunami disaster, as well as for the Asian financial crisis of 1997. The crisis-affected countries of 1997 could not accept this aid, however, for reasons I stated in a previous post.

Thus, through this widely-unaccepted rule of judgement that you’re promoting, your argument still loses. The more widely accepted measure of financial contribution (and a more fair one) is per capita contributions. And you already know the results here.

Yes, the United States is sometimes asked to spread out financially, but so are Japan, and Germany, and France, and Italy, and other prosperous nations. The US is very rarely asked to spread out militarily, and if it is, only in coalition with other countries, and often times with major international opposition. Americans like to think that the United States is constantly burdened with requests for military assistance, but they quickly forget world opposition to US military intervention in Iraq, and the UN’s efforts to prevent that invasion. Again, Americans are wrapped in a bubble that ignores reality.

One widely held belief among Americans is that "everyone comes to the US for help." This is untrue. While many do turn to the US for help, many also turn to Japan, the European Union, Russia, and other major powers. African leaders usually turn to Europe for political assistance or financial matters, not the United States. (And often times, when foreign leaders meet with American government leaders in order to negotiate various bilateral issues, many ordinary Americans misinterpret this as "a foreign leader asking the US for help&quotWink The ironic twist is that Washington wants to be the one that everone turns to, not the EU, or Russia, or Japan; and Washington’s foreign policy tries to pursue this type of world order. Washington unsuccesfully tried in the 1960s to make the United States a component of the European Union. If Washington had succeeded, it would have created American dominance of western Europe, and European dependency on America: the very thing you don’t want. More recently, Washington has been successful in derailing Asian attempts to create either a Japanese-Korean or Japanese-Chinese leadership for the Asia-Pacific region in favor of a system in which the region is dominated by the United States. That’s because when "America spreads out," Washington benefits. It’s not a kind-hearted moral burden, but rather a political strategy for a self benefitting economic and geopolitical outcome. As sjutom said himself: "it’s politics."

Now, going back to the article:

Your criticism on the article is certainly welcome. A thorough discussion should include both praise and criticism. However, I’m under the impression that you didn’t understand the article very well. The author whom you misinterpret as someone who deeply dislikes the United States is simply a journalist who sees a foreign culture through his own culturally-shaped lense. Americans do this all the time, without thinking much of it. That’s because they do it subconsciously. American journalists and correspondants abroad write similar articles trying to interpet a foreign society. Sometimes they hit the nail on the head, and sometimes they’re way off. This article is no different.

I have read and heard European perspectives of American society that I disagree with, but this particular one is one that I agree with. The Rockies may present "difficult" terrain, but Europeans manage to drive thought the Alps in regular cars. And no matter how difficult the Rockies may be, they are still a well-developed region in a well-developed country. SUVs are advertised on television as vehicles that can climb cliffs and drive through deep mud. Aspen is perfectly accessible by paved roads. And the vast majority of SUV drivers don’t ever plan on driving off a paved road.

Further east of Colorado, half the cars on Chicago’s expressways are SUVs. Illinois in case you didn’t know is as flat as Ally McBeal.


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luv_the_beach
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sjutom,

You’re pathetic.


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I think when one goes to what they consider to be a "similar" country they can have the most "culture shock." Expecting things to be just the same wakes you up to the reality that things are not.

Last year I found myself in Atlanta airport. As a Canadian, I found that place to be very strange, very different – and I never left the airport. I can certainly see what the author is talking about.

"So close, yet so far" sums it up very well.

Just to put that in perspective, I was living in Korea and had just spent two weeks in Japan at that time. When I first went to Korea, and travelled throughout Asia (as well as Europe) I expected things to be VERY different. And they were, so my beliefs were confirmed and nothing noticed me as unusual – just different.

I think the big thing is what expectations you bring along with you in your travels.

That said, as an outsider to both, I can agree with many things that the author of the article has pointed out.

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This article illustrates nicely that we all have trouble understanding other cultures. The author gives us an interpretation of American culture through the eyes of european intellectual. A person’s iterpretation of another culture is always clouded by our own. Living for a long time in another culture doesn’t necessarily help you to explain the differences; you just know that things are very different in a very deep way and you can’t quite put your finger on it. Often when we do try to explain what is different, what we say is patently provincial, as with this guy.

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quote:
Alphuris,

Your paragraph about financial aid and contributions isn’t very clear. What I did understand is an emphasis on total contribution amounts over per capita contributions, thus the United States should be considered as outperforming other countries. If we take this perspective, your argument is still flawed because as I said in a previous post, and perhaps you missed it the largest financial contributor to the United Nations in total dollar amount is Japan, not the United States.

I wasn’t trying to emphasise that as more important, just that the tables don’t make the US look as bad in that respect. I’m not surprised that Japan would be out spending the US on a disaster that hit so close to home, but being number two in that category doesn’t hurt.

quote:
Thus, through this widely-unaccepted rule of judgement that you’re promoting, your argument still loses. The more widely accepted measure of financial contribution (and a more fair one) is per capita contributions. And you already know the results here.

This is subjective since there will never be a hard fact rule stating which is morally and ethically right. There’s so many factors in this that developing a system of weights and measures to rationally come up with a ranking system is best served by an Economics Grad student working on his/her final. Even then I expect it to be slanted.

quote:Yes, the United States is sometimes asked to spread out financially, but so are Japan, and Germany, and France, and Italy, and other prosperous nations. The US is very rarely asked to spread out militarily, and if it is, only in coalition with other countries, and often times with major international opposition. Americans like to think that the United States is constantly burdened with requests for military assistance, but they quickly forget world opposition to US military intervention in Iraq, and the UN’s efforts to prevent that invasion. Again, Americans are wrapped in a bubble that ignores reality.

Fabulous critique until the rhetoric. Personally I, and many who are interested about the subject, think the UN is a facade for power hungry individuals and countries. There’s so much under the desk type money changing in the UN it’s hardly worth using it as the counterweight for measuring injustice.

quote:One widely held belief among Americans is that "everyone comes to the US for help." This is untrue. While many do turn to the US for help, many also turn to Japan, the European Union, Russia, and other major powers. African leaders usually turn to Europe for political assistance or financial matters, not the United States. (And often times, when foreign leaders meet with American government leaders in order to negotiate various bilateral issues, many ordinary Americans misinterpret this as "a foreign leader asking the US for help&quotWink The ironic twist is that Washington wants to be the one that everone turns to, not the EU, or Russia, or Japan; and Washington’s foreign policy tries to pursue this type of world order. Washington unsuccesfully tried in the 1960s to make the United States a component of the European Union. If Washington had succeeded, it would have created American dominance of western Europe, and European dependency on America: the very thing you don’t want. More recently, Washington has been successful in derailing Asian attempts to create either a Japanese-Korean or Japanese-Chinese leadership for the Asia-Pacific region in favor of a system in which the region is dominated by the United States. That’s because when "America spreads out," Washington benefits. It’s not a kind-hearted moral burden, but rather a political strategy for a self benefitting economic and geopolitical outcome. As sjutom said himself: "it’s politics."

I can’t really weigh in on this because I honestly loathe history and don’t see the relevance in studying it since it doesn’t benefit me in the real world. You can appropriately label me as ignorant but that would be fallacious as thoughts I can contribute on the modern aspect of things are still valid. I stand neutral on this topic though.

Now, going back to the article:

quote:Your criticism on the article is certainly welcome. A thorough discussion should include both praise and criticism. However, I’m under the impression that you didn’t understand the article very well. The author whom you misinterpret as someone who deeply dislikes the United States is simply a journalist who sees a foreign culture through his own culturally-shaped lense. Americans do this all the time, without thinking much of it. That’s because they do it subconsciously. American journalists and correspondants abroad write similar articles trying to interpet a foreign society. Sometimes they hit the nail on the head, and sometimes they’re way off. This article is no different.

I started with praise by quoting his praise of America. As low key as his praise was suited my praise just as well.

quote:I have read and heard European perspectives of American society that I disagree with, but this particular one is one that I agree with. The Rockies may present "difficult" terrain, but Europeans manage to drive thought the Alps in regular cars.

No doubt, but they also grew up driving that way. Most of the people who venture to the rockies to ski don’t deal with that weather regularly, thus the dependence on what they think will make them better drivers under the circumstances. I hate American’s for the SUV revolution even though I own two SUV’s myself. Then again I grew up driving normal cars up hills SUV owners would cringe at, and I still drive up those hills, I just do it with a rig of my own choosing and modifications.

quote:And no matter how difficult the Rockies may be, they are still a well-developed region in a well-developed country. SUVs are advertised on television as vehicles that can climb cliffs and drive through deep mud. Aspen is perfectly accessible by paved roads. And the vast majority of SUV drivers don’t ever plan on driving off a paved road.

Aspen is also pefectly capable of being bombarded by a blizzard and terrible conditions. Any road becomes unsafe when you can’t see more than 20 feet ahead.

quote:Further east of Colorado, half the cars on Chicago’s expressways are SUVs. Illinois in case you didn’t know is as flat as Ally McBeal.

Please see my prior loathing of these people.

For someone who claims the best article discussion would include both praise and criticism of the subject, you sure do stick to criticism.

Switching subjects slightly, Europeans blaming younger American’s for past administrations blunders is about as valid as blaming them for whats wrong with any country besides america. Until their prejudices of American’s based on past events are removed they are just as at fault as we are for having an administration that doesn’t appear to be in control representing us. Everyone is wrong in one way or another, the author presented a little slice of American’s on vacation and offered an opinion based on his beliefs. While valid I don’t think it rings true except in the "view from personal bias" category. Spot on as it may be by some’s standards, it’s really not a well written piece.

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quote:I wasn’t trying to emphasise that as more important, just that the tables don’t make the US look as bad in that respect. I’m not surprised that Japan would be out spending the US on a disaster that hit so close to home, but being number two in that category doesn’t hurt.

Try fourth.

Australia and Germany have surpassed as well. Canada is almost up to US levels.

Of course, the US has done a lot with its miltary forces, so I am not slagging off America, but I feel like shit that everytime I say this, I have to add such a disclaimer.

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quote:
quote:I wasn’t trying to emphasise that as more important, just that the tables don’t make the US look as bad in that respect. I’m not surprised that Japan would be out spending the US on a disaster that hit so close to home, but being number two in that category doesn’t hurt.

Try fourth.

Australia and Germany have surpassed as well. Canada is almost up to US levels.

Of course, the US has done a lot with its miltary forces, so I am not slagging off America, but I feel like shit that everytime I say this, I have to add such a disclaimer.

The US still gets blamed if it’s not first. The US would be blamed if it was first for trying to have influence.

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quote:
"American Mythology" – Who rebuilt Europe after WWII?

my grandparents did, together with millions of other now old people. they worked their ass off. and yes, they got support from the us, but please dont act as if your the worlds superhero.

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On a more profound note, Americans eat themselves silly, dont care, dont realize, dont notice that they are obese until they get to Europe and see how much the Europeans eat & ENJOY their meals while staying trim.

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This really turned into a name-calling contest, eh?

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Clearly it hasn’t.

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quote:
This really turned into a name-calling contest, eh?

Name-calling no, pissing yes.

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when u talk about american media, there are numerous sources to get the news from in america,if u’r seriously interested in finding out about about the world. check out wbia, if u can get it in u’r neck of the woods. if most of u stay in u’r little community or don’t have contact with people of other ethnic groups. than u will never
understand what’s going on on the local level.
when it come down to it,its mainly about what’s going on locally.
its the same the world over. people vote for the local stuff, not international affairs.

u don’t have to live in europe to get unsanitize news.
i didn’t have to come to europe to learn about america dirt.
i learned about it in america.

if the u.k want unsanitize news, why are they always warn about the graphic pictures they are about to see and can turn away(bbc).

from day one in europe, what i heard and still hear from most euros,is the dirt america did/do in the world.
i don’t mind talking about the dirt america did/do.
i do mind when the euros don’t want to talk about their dirt.
its ok to moralize if u’r clean, but they are dirty,too.

where was the media and government of europe when rawanda( mainly tutsi)was calling for/needed help.
the same place american media and government was,nowhere to be heard or seen.
they left the people to die(helpless babies and children).never again,happened again4/04.

why did the euros cry out about iraq, but didn’t shed a tear for rawanda.
they said american went in for the oil. i told them it wasn’t for the sand. the reason their government is pitching a fit, has to do with the $ they had tied up in iraq and they need the oil more than america in the long run. america have the largest supply of reserve oil in the west. i ask them, who would u rather control the oil the moderates or fundamentalist, they don’t reply.
oil in the west in general has decease greatly, much isn’t coming up.

why is the world not doing anything about sudan, while genocide is going on in sudan this minute. oil,oil,oil is the main reason. china is doing most of the blocking during voting in the UN. i don’t see any euro opposing the chinese. protesting about their govrnment interest in ending the arms embargo against china.

what good is the U.N if the peace keeper are raping girls or trading food for sex with young girls.
if the euros get the news that the americans don’t get, than why don’t they care to do something about it(demonstrate).i don’t hear much about the 5million killed in the congo in the news in euroland.

as long as the west,china need more resources(oil) the longer the continent of africa will suffer. the west and china will remain
silent

i don’t hear the media or public talk about the africans drowning by the hundreds trying to get to europe. but,they do talk about the
mexicans,south-americans and cubans who die trying to get to americans. how many of u(during u trip to europe) have heard about the africans drowning, trying to get into europe through spain or italy. both are closer to europe, than cuba is to america.

the west(which include europe)missed a golden opportunity to come together after 9/11.
the euros(french/germany)want to be the top dog again on the world stage and want to counter america power. which is to late, since anerica is the only superpower in the world for now.

on 9/11 most euros who said something to me, didn’t ask how my family/friends was or how i was. instead they insinuated or out right said america(ns)brought it upon themselves or deserved it.
then they tried to verbally beat me down, because i didn’t agree with them that america shouldn’t attack afghanistan. i held my own, and they became more verbally abusive.
most euros think america is more of a threat to the world than china or russia. if i had to chose between america or the euros, i would chose america without a doubt.

i don’t hear the euros talking about each other countries dirty laundry.there is a lot of dirty laundry they haven’t aired.
they think their officials personal life isn’t a matter for the public,especially the french.

most euros who have something to say to me,think americans are stupid,racist.they think america have no history or culture.
what i find strange is that many americans agree,especially, so call euro-americans. do any of u agree?.

americans didn’t kill and enslave the indians and africans.
ensalvement of other people to the americas begun with the euros. only when some enslaved people begun to revolt(haiti) did the euros understand they no longer could control from afar.

the dutch was one of the main transporter of africans.
the dutch went back to indonesia after ww2 to claim it to be theirs.
if it wasn’t for the american, who told them to get the hell out, they would have continue to oppress the people.
the dutch think their government didn’t enslave the indonesia.
although the largest immigrant community are the germans and indonesia,the dutch think its the morocans.

when americans became americans they did continue the evil treatment of the indians and africans, they inherited from their fore-fathers/mothers.
the french probably helped the patriot to get back at the brits and gain a foot hold in america. since they had their butts kicked by the brits.

i think most americans are still carrying on the racism they inherited from their fore-father/mothers, although in a different covert way, and still benefit from the privilege of institutional and social racism(white supremacy) directly/indirecetly. its one reason the kkk and its like exist and continue to grow.
but,i think the most euros are far more deeply racist than most americans.
most think there is no institutional racism in europe.
most think racism is about dark skin only. tell that to the roma of europe,they treat them like dirt. the albanians are blamed for everything by the greeks.

just like all americans benefit from being americans as long as they are not in the lions den. i should know, since i live in europe. when i’m with other nationalities, and our passports are checked. i’m always given back my passport in sec.the others are scrutinize, some longer than others.

most euros still think america is what it was in 65.
when i’m home and talk to ny’er. they will ask me question about europe. when they make stupid statements and i call them on it, they do fes-up to their ignorance.

its the opposite with euros,they think they know america and won’t admit they are wrong.
when i ask euros from western europe are they europeans, i mainly get no. many wish the wall was still up, now that they realize they have to share the $.

if the euro media is more superior than america, why are they not schooling their people on the e.u. why are most euros ignorant of what’s going on in the e.u, what’s it about. i was told by many euros in the 80’s that greece is not apart of the eu and albania is not in europe.

how many of u know that the brits are made to paid for their t.v and if they don’t pay for the license, the cop come a knocking. it was the same in holland until some years ago.

there are so many things americans doesn’t known about europe, because their media in america don’t write about it or by those americans, who think they know much about europe because they visit once or 2 time a year.

once u start living among them, than u realize how deep the ignorance/dislike is of each other, of america. how ignorant most are of things in general about each other and america. its a small 0/0 of them who think for themselves. most are like sheep and follow what the left write about america. which has been going on since america came in to excistence. they might go to each other country for the summer mainly, but there isn’t much contact because they do the package trip.

how many of u know about the racism in europe towards the soccer player who are black from the so call fans. if what went on in the stands of europe, were to happen in america. there would be alot of whup-ass happening across america.

most africans with a college education i meet in holland want to go to america.in the past few years 20,000 somalies have left to the u.k, because they can start their own business and live a better life. what they didn’t know before they left is tht the brits don’t want them either and blame immigrants of taking and not giving anything in return. which is a load of bull.

america wear their religion on their sleves,but they are not killing each other like the scotts or irish do. americans don’t have to carry a card stating what religion they are, like they have to in greece. the euros are just as religious as americans are, but they are born into it and see it as their birth right.

it does depend on the country,the northern euros are less into practicing their religion and the southern euros are more into practicing their religion. both fill thier churches less than americans, south americans or africans do, or muslims do their mosque.

there is only one race, one planet. which one do u belong to,live on?

for those american who deny they are americans to europeans and say they are canadians, they shoot canadians and europeans,too. when they are in the lions den or go after the soft target.
if u think euros are not being anti-americans, but just anti-bush.
u’r kidding u’r self. since the iraq war, i hear f**k americans,mainly,not bush.come 08 they’ll still be anti-american or anti-whoever is in the white house.

if u think euros or the rest of the world have america self interest as their #1 concern. u’r living in la la-land.

when they ask me where i’m from, i say with a smile, from AMERICA.
before the iraq war many use to say i wasn’t american or from their.
now they don’t, maybe they think u have to be nuts to say u are american.

the euros are afraid of the change happening right under their nose,
so they made america their punching bag, instead of their own
system. they want to maintain their welfare state and have everything their parents had. which isn’t possible,anymore.
they are not having the babies needed to increase their population
and they don’t want foreigners coming to their country. they say europe is not a land of immigration(america is)although its filled with immigrants since the early 60’s and have the 2nd-3rd gen.

the difference between americans and europeans immigrants. in america they become americans, in many european countries they don’t become euros, even if they are born there they are still seen as immigrants.

if any of u americans posting here want to give up u’r american bright right and become european. u’ll find u can’t get a green card, because u gave up u’r american citizenship.its not greener on the other side.

most europeans would rather live in american than each other country, especially the brits.

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americanwoman,

There is so much negative information in your post that I don’t even know where to begin. In fact, I am only going to respond to one portion of it.

quote:

on 9/11 most euros who said something to me, didn’t ask how my family/friends was or how I was. instead they insinuated or out right said america(ns)brought it upon themselves or deserved it.
then they tried to verbally beat me down, because I didn’t agree with them that america shouldn’t attack afghanistan. I held my own, and they became more verbally abusive.

I can’t speak for your experience on 9/11, I can only speak of my own. I too was in Europe during the devastation of 9/11. Not on the exact day, but shortly there after. While there I traveled to many different countries and met many people not only from Europe, but from all over the world including Australia, South Africa, Japan, etc… and not once did I ever encounter a negative remark from any of them. Instead, I was overwhelmed with sympathy and encouragement. Many wanted to know how I was and how things were back in "The States" and they really seemed genuine. My uncle, an American who has lived in Europe for the past twenty years, conveyed the same message to me when I spoke with him during that time. Friends and co-workers of his in Europe were very sympathetic to him and his family. I am not naive in thinking that some felt it was "deserved", but many were just as shocked and saddened as we were. Let’s not forget that even though it happened on American soil that many nations lost people on 9/11. Three months later, in December of 2001, I had the chance to visit New York City and chose to visit Ground Zero. While there I observed many people from different nationalities, that I can only speculate were tourists as I was, visibly shaken, remorseful, and upset at what happened. Even several months later in July of the summer following 9/11, I was in Europe again with some friends traveling around with people we had met as we were going through Europe and again I was pleasantly surprised at the goodwill felt towards me as an American. In fact, and again I can only speak on the experience I had in St. Goar and Lucern, and not in all the cities/countries of Europe, but on July 4th and the days preceding, there were many signs of celebrations for Americans and The Fourth of July (United State’s Independence Day). I had a very positive experience from everyone I met not only in Europe, but from all over the world in respect to 9/11. Again, I only speak for my experiences.

I also want to add that I am also not naive in thinking that if I went back today that I would have the same experiences. I am not saying that I would have negative experiences, but I also know that a lot has changed in the 3 ½ years since 9/11.

As for the rest of the posts that I have read, I agree and disagree with a lot of what has been written and thankfully I have that right. I am an American and I am very proud to be. I have no problem letting anyone know where I came from (and before anyone “reads” between the lines, I am not insinuating that anyone who has posted on this website is not proud of where they came from). I love my country, but I am not arrogant enough to think that I, or any one else, is better than the other. Do I think that The United States is the “greatest” country in the world? I think it is one of the greatest, but there are also many other great, wonderful countries in the world. That is what is so awesome, there are so many wonderful places in this world. I love the fact that there are because I can experience many different cultures when I travel. I have been to many places around the world and every where I go is different than all the others. I love my country and I would probably never live any where else, but I would also never assume that anyone would rather live in America than where they are from.

I realize that I am way off topic from the original post, but the original topic got off track many posts ago. To answer a question that gets my post somewhat back to the original subject (and yes, I do realize noone flat out asked this question, I just wanted to put my two cents in, whether they are wanted or not) Do I feel that the news reports in America are “sugar coated”? Maybe. I also know that I have a choice of what I choose to believe and where I choose to get my information. That is one of the wonderful things about the world we live in today. I can be in Italy, Chile, Japan or New Zealand and still get USA Today, or go online and visit CNN or MSNBC. I can also go down to Barnes and Nobel (a bookstore for those who are not familiar with the name) and get papers from all over the world, or go on to the website of news organizations from around the world. Of course, many may not be in English, nor do I think they should be, but my point is that I can choose what I want to watch or read.

Lastly, to May, do you really think that people in America who are obese don’t realize they are obese? Really, I am sure they don’t need to go to Europe to come to the conclusion that they are overweight. I guess it is a good thing I am “trim” because I might not notice I was overweight if I was. Was that post even necessary? There was nothing “profound” about your post.

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quote:
I wasn’t trying to emphasise that as more important, just that the tables don’t make the US look as bad in that respect. I’m not surprised that Japan would be out spending the US on a disaster that hit so close to home, but being number two in that category doesn’t hurt…..

….This is subjective since there will never be a hard fact rule stating which is morally and ethically right. There’s so many factors in this that developing a system of weights and measures to rationally come up with a ranking system is best served by an Economics Grad student working on his/her final. Even then I expect it to be slanted.

Nice save, alphuris….but very obvious. You’re only now pulling back your emphasis on what is widely considered a flawed table of judgement, albeit subjective, but still widely unaccepted.

quote:Fabulous critique until the rhetoric. Personally I, and many who are interested about the subject, think the UN is a facade for power hungry individuals and countries.

Exactly, alphuris, each country looks out for its own interests. And that’s where the UN comes in: it is designed as an institution of checks and balances that prevents a country from walking all over other countries in pursuit of its economic and political interests. It is not supposed to be an extension of US foreign policy. This is where most ordinary Americans get confused.

You suspect other countries of using the UN for alterior motives. Fair enough, of course. But don’t rule out the probability of the US doing the same thing…and being far more effective, since it is after all the most powerful country. In fact, the United States is the country that is most suspected around the world of taking advantage of the UN for its own alterior motives. To put it plainly, the UN is considered America’s puppet by many people in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and especially the Middle East.

Is this "conspiracy theory" outrageous? Well, consider that for 55 years, from the UN’s creation to the end of the 20th century, the United Nations agreed with and enforced virtually every aspect of US foreign policy. Either that, or it remained silent. The UN either agreed with Washington or remained neutral during this entire period. It wasn’t until the Iraq war of 2003 that ordinary Americans with little background knowledge on international relations started to accuse the world and the UN of the same things the rest of the world had been accusing the US all along.

quote:I can’t really weigh in on this because I honestly loathe history and don’t see the relevance in studying it since it doesn’t benefit me in the real world. You can appropriately label me as ignorant but that would be fallacious as thoughts I can contribute on the modern aspect of things are still valid. I stand neutral on this topic though. [regarding Asia]

This isn’t history, Alphuris. It’s current events. For the past 20 years, the Asia-Pacific region has been dominated by Asian attempts to create an East Asian equivalent to the European Union, as well as Washington’s heavy involvement to stop this, and financial negotiations between the Federal Reserve, World Bank, and Asian national banks that brought about the Asian financial crisis of 1997 (from which some of these countries, especially Indonesia, are still trying to recover). This is an ongoing issue, not long-ago history like how the "US saved Europe during and immediately following WWII." And you can bet on it that the concept of an Asia-Pacfic econimic bloc that does not include the far-flung US will only gain more momentum in the years to come.

quote:No doubt, but they also grew up driving that way. Most of the people who venture to the rockies to ski don’t deal with that weather regularly, thus the dependence on what they think will make them better drivers under the circumstances. I hate American’s for the SUV revolution even though I own two SUV’s myself. Then again I grew up driving normal cars up hills SUV owners would cringe at, and I still drive up those hills, I just do it with a rig of my own choosing and modifications.

Do you think that every European driving through the Alps is from the Alps region? You don’t think that residents from Rome or Paris or Vienna ever visit the Italian/French/Austrian Alps?

quote:Aspen is also pefectly capable of being bombarded by a blizzard and terrible conditions. Any road becomes unsafe when you can’t see more than 20 feet ahead.

And an SUV will increase your visibility?

quote:Switching subjects slightly, Europeans blaming younger American’s for past administrations blunders is about as valid as blaming them for whats wrong with any country besides america. Until their prejudices of American’s based on past events are removed they are just as at fault as we are for having an administration that doesn’t appear to be in control representing us.

That’s a very good point, alphuris, but consider this:

There’s a reason why people easily find fault with ordinary Americans for the various negative aspects of US foreign policy, past and present. The reason is that Americans today still fail to acknowledge the mistakes of their government’s recent past, and they still claim their foreign policy as a burden that is beneficial to the world, when to people around the world all evidence points otherwise. This is why the world seems to ordinary Americans to be fixated with the US and not with Russia, or Germany or Japan, or France, or Britain. Unlike these countries, the US still is a superpower, and in combination with this unique status the US continues a similar foreign policy only more agressive. Thus people will cite examples from the recent past in order to argue against Washington’s current foreign policy.

These events are in no way obsolete. These events that people bring up are far more relevant, and far more recent than WWII which Americans love to bring up all the time. And -as you just did Americans interpret criticism of US foreign policy as &quotrejudice and hatred."

It doesn’t occurr to these ordinary Americans that this "hatred" of the US is driven by fear. People are afraid that one disagreement between their government and the US government will result in reduced trade with other countries, sanctions, UN santions, indirect sanctions (various political rhetoric that will effectively reduce trade/tourism/foreign direct investment to a certain country from other countres), and worse case scenario war. And this is why people believe that their country is always bending over backwards for the US. You may disagree that this is happening, but please understand this perspective before accusing the world of "hating" or "being prejudiced" towards the US. And current US foreign policy isn’t doing anything to alleviate these fears.


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quote:
quote:
quote:I wasn’t trying to emphasise that as more important, just that the tables don’t make the US look as bad in that respect. I’m not surprised that Japan would be out spending the US on a disaster that hit so close to home, but being number two in that category doesn’t hurt.

Try fourth.

Australia and Germany have surpassed as well. Canada is almost up to US levels.

Of course, the US has done a lot with its miltary forces, so I am not slagging off America, but I feel like shit that everytime I say this, I have to add such a disclaimer.

The US still gets blamed if it’s not first. The US would be blamed if it was first for trying to have influence.

No, alphuris. People are only trying to disprove your arrogant claims that the US is 1st or 2nd. No one is blaming the US for not being 1st. They’re just sick and tired of Americans assuming that the US is 1st, and then flaunting it.

Do you have a short attention span?


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Americanwomon

quote: where was the media and government of europe when rawanda( mainly tutsi)was calling for/needed help.
the same place american media and government was,nowhere to be heard or seen.
they left the people to die(helpless babies and children).never again,happened again4/04.

You have entirely misunderstood the point with Rwanda. No one is blaming the US for not intervening in Rwanda. Certainly no one in Europe. Many Europeans blame themselves for not doing anything to help. The reason Rwanda is often times brought up when discussing US foreign policy is to point out the inconsistencies in Washington’s claims. While Washington (and those Americans who support Washington’s foreign policy) claim that the reason that they are in Iraq is for democracy and peace (rather than geopolitical and economic reasons), people legimately ask why then Washington didn’t intervene in Rwanda, which certainly needed more immediate attention. Where was Europe during this time? In Europe, But Europe is not the one who claims that it’s saving the world.

quote:the reason their government is pitching a fit, has to do with the $ they had tied up in iraq and they need the oil more than america in the long run. america have the largest supply of reserve oil in the west. i ask them, who would u rather control the oil the moderates or fundamentalist, they don’t reply.

I‘ll reply to that question.

It certainly is not up to America or Europe or anyone to tell them who should control their oil, and what they should do with it. It’s their oil. Not America’s, nor Europe’s nor anyone elses. And no matter who’s in control in those countries, the only benefit they could possibly ever get from the oil is by selling it to the outside world.

It also seems that you are in confusion about Middle East politics. Your use of the terms "moderates" and "fundamentalists" proves this. Washington won’t openly admit this, but the political situation in the Middle East is FAR more complex than the black-and-white portrait you get on sugarcoated CNN. Saddam Hussein’s anti-American regime was religously moderate, while Saudi Arabia’s pro-American government is fundamentalist on religious matters.

quote: why is the world not doing anything about sudan, while genocide is going on in sudan this minute. oil,oil,oil is the main reason. china is doing most of the blocking during voting in the UN. i don’t see any euro opposing the chinese. protesting about their govrnment interest in ending the arms embargo against china.

Reason being that Europeans don’t really see a difference between the US and China. To Europeans, both the US and China are overgrown superpowers with their own interests in mind. Only difference is that China is a very sleepy country when it comes to foreign policy. They are not as preoccupied with the outside world as the US is, with the exception of trade.

We can argue against China’s domestic policies, but no sanctions or emargo is going to fix that. Only naive Americans think it can be fixed. The only way out on issues of democracy is for China to continue the course it’s taking now. The country has opened up tremendously to the outside world, following the classic paternal Asian capitalist model, and eventually, when the middle class is large and affluent enough, democratic reforms will come. Until then, people are more interested in having enough to eat, and having a roof over their heads, than free speech and freedom of religion.

This process has already started and is irreversable. Outside (ie American) intervention will only fuck things up. This includes international isolationsim against China. No one, neither ordinary Chinese, nor the world can afford this…despite what some American Congressmen on the fringes of the right-wing want you to think. The last thing we need to do is to listen to some xenophobic ethnocentric morons and fuck up the constructive course that China has been taking these past 25 years.

quote:i don’t hear the media or public talk about the africans drowning by the hundreds trying to get to europe. but,they do talk about the
mexicans,south-americans and cubans who die trying to get to americans. how many of u(during u trip to europe) have heard about the africans drowning, trying to get into europe through spain or italy. both are closer to europe, than cuba is to america.

First of all, Italy and Spain are in Europe. Learn some geography.

Second, I don’t know about the Netherlands, but in France and Greece (where I have lived) immigration stories on the news are dominated about Africans and South Asians trying desperately to get into Europe.

By the way, of the poeple who risk their lives to get into the United States, very, very few come from South America. Most come from Mexico and Cuba. Mexico and Cuba are North American countries.

quote: most euros who have something to say to me,think americans are stupid,racist.they think america have no history or culture.
what i find strange is that many americans agree,especially, so call euro-americans. do any of u agree?.

I definitely do not agree that the United States has no history/culture, but in all fairness, America promotes itself as a cultureless society without history. This is one major reason why I think there’s a conservative backlash going on right now within the United States.

quote: the french probably helped the patriot to get back at the brits and gain a foot hold in america. since they had their butts kicked by the brits.

The Americans also had their butts kicked by joint British-Canadian forces in the 1810s, and again in Vietnam in the 1970s.

quote:how many of u know that the brits are made to paid for their t.v and if they don’t pay for the license, the cop come a knocking. it was the same in holland until some years ago.

You’re being very ethnocentric here.

In Britain, there is a tax paid by owners of television sets. It’s just the way things are done. Every society has their own ways of doing things. It’s not some policy of a dictator…it’s a law that was created in a democratic country. Just because it’s different from what you are used to back home does not mean that it’s wrong.

quote:america wear their religion on their sleves,but they are not killing each other like the scotts or irish do. americans don’t have to carry a card stating what religion they are, like they have to in greece. the euros are just as religious as americans are, but they are born into it and see it as their birth right.

Regarding Greece, you have it all wrong. In Europe, your Drivers License does not also function as an I.D. card. There is a separate I.D. card. In Greece, there was an outdated practice of also stating one’s religion on his/her I.D. card. This practice was officially stopped a few years ago. Some right-wing Bush-types didn’t want it to end. But it came to an end nonetheless, and now it seems everyone’s forgotten about it.

In Northern Ireland, the troubles between Protestants and Catholics have nothing to do with religion. It is an ethnic matter just like race relations in the USA. The Catholics are indegenous Irish, while the Protestants are of British (mostly Scottish) descent. Ireland was colonized by Britain, and when Ireland gained independence, the Protestants (who were descended from British settlers and were concentrated in the northeast of the island) wanted to remain part of Britain, thus the "6 counties of Ulster" comprising of modern-day Northern Ireland, remained in the UK. However, Northern Ireland has a large Irish Catholic minority seprated from their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.

quote:the euros are afraid of the change happening right under their nose,
so they made america their punching bag, instead of their own
system. they want to maintain their welfare state and have everything their parents had. which isn’t possible,anymore.
they are not having the babies needed to increase their population
and they don’t want foreigners coming to their country. they say europe is not a land of immigration(america is)although its filled with immigrants since the early 60’s and have the 2nd-3rd gen.

The babies-vs-foreigners is just one argument…it’s not the absolute truth, and it happens to be the solution that American-style capitalists are promoting. There is no evidence that the welfare states can’t be sustained, only globalist theory predicts this…the same thoery which is being used to create a globalized economy. It’s all a gamble, not hard science, nor is it based on any previous world experience.


quote:most europeans would rather live in american than each other country, especially the brits.

Of course I would imagine some Britons prefering to live in the US as opposed to Germany, because of the language issue. But they would probably want to live in New York, Chicago, Boston, or California. Not Alabama, Kansas, or Texas. And they would still be subjected to culture shock.

That doesn’t mean that all Britons abroad head for America. 100,000 of them live in Greece, and several more of them live in other [sunny] southern European countries. Your claims that Britons would rather live in the US than other European countries is false.

That said, you really need to avoid generalizing 700 million Europeans. By all means, you do not speak for any of them


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America(ns)the good ,the bad, the beautiful and the ugly is like any other country/people. she/they just do things differently.

Self interest/preservation is what matter most to all countries.

What america does, good or bad, is for self interest/preservation. The same is fact for countries the world over.

To think that most europeans are more informed about the world and care much more about the people,they are suppose to be more informed about, is wishful thinking. out of sight, out of mind is the name of the game in america, and its the same in europe.

Musical chairs, friends and foes play with each other. friends and foes become friends, friends and friends become foes, foes and foes become friends when it’s beneficial to their interest.

No matter how informed individuals think they are, there is much they are not informed about. being informed doesn’t = caring or acting.

What matter to people who don’t have clean water to drink, food to eat, a safe place to be/feel safe, is to have it.
Not the difference between how europeans and americans media report their suffering.
They sure don’t care if europeans think they are more informed than americans.

Think of how the world might be in 50 yrs( thats if old smoky don’t get us 1st)if the rich countries/people get richer.The poor countries/people get poorer.Will there be riots nationally/internationally. how will the media in eash respective country report out breaks of riots, if it happens.
Or will the past 3 generation have change the world for the better.

what will happen when the oil is gone and water start to run out.
will europe and america be friends.

the so call special relation that exist between america and europe will fall faster than a ny minute.

Either we see ourselves as one race,living on one planet and began to trully care about eash other,the planet. The children of the future are doom to the S.O.S

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I really hope that English is not the native written language of Americanwomon.

quote:What america does, good or bad, is for self interest/preservation.
Precisely why it is nauseating that it constantly claims the moral high ground when in reality it is simply about self-interest.

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The BBC link in the first post is typical of the British. I’m a Canadian but have lived in the UK and it never ceased to amaze me how great the gap was between what the British thought they knew about America and what they actually knew – most of which comes from TV! Despite being Canadian I experienced some truly neanderthal anti-Americanism and British/European ignorance about my country was every bit as bad as American ignorance of foreign countries.

This statement from the link is particularly stupid: "America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away." Virtually every country is guilty of that in its own ways. For instance a lot of European countries refuse to acknowledge their problems regarding the integration of immigrants most of whom seem to be shovelled into suburbs that resemble ghettoes – though Britain isn’t as bad continental countries in this respect. Then there’s the Kyoto Protocol which is merely posturing and will do nothing about global warming but to Europeans, and now our Canadian government, it’s all about appearing to do something then getting on a moral high horse about it.

The Americans are often wrong about things and yes, they are often ignorant. But my experience in the UK made me realize they are far from alone in these respects.

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No one cares, or needs to care about Canada. Seriously, what does Canada do?

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Leach off america and brew mediocre beer.

quote: Think of how the world might be in 50 yrs( thats if old smoky don’t get us 1st)if the rich countries/people get richer.The poor countries/people get poorer.Will there be riots nationally/internationally. how will the media in eash respective country report out breaks of riots, if it happens.
Probably the same way they did in the past 50 yrs.
quote:what will happen when the oil is gone and water start to run out.
will europe and america be friends.
I recommend seeing Kevin Coustner’s The Postman/WaterWorld
quote:Either we see ourselves as one race,living on one planet and began to trully care about eash other,the planet. The children of the future are doom to the S.O.S
Oh the planets fucked already. I say pilfer through the rumble now and make sure you get your fair share of the spoils.

oh yea, wayyy to many long ass posts here.

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How about everyone agree’s to disagree?

And Luv, WTF? Where did I imply that either, only the swiss drive the alps (ROFL), and even better, driving a SUV will improve your vision?

Can you say jump to conclusions?

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I am interested how Canada "leaches" (sp) off of America.

Oh wait, I don’t give a shit what Nadrazi thinks.

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Quote:

Leach off america and brew mediocre beer.

Quote:

Whoa whoa whoa… say what you will about our two countries trade issues, political diverences, or differing ecomomic/military/cultural importance… But lay off the beer.

Budweiser? What the hell?

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quote:
Quote:

Leach off america and brew mediocre beer.

Quote:

Whoa whoa whoa… say what you will about our two countries trade issues, political diverences, or differing ecomomic/military/cultural importance… But lay off the beer.

Budweiser? What the hell?

Labatt’s aint much better, but you could easily have taken a stab at the 1500 other beers brewed in america. Buttweiser is even a joke to us.

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Looks like sickboy forgot to take his Midol today.

Just calling it as I see it SH, but the knock against canadian beer was in no way shape or form an allusion of support for Bud. I don’t really even classify that piss in a bottle as beer, and its sad that people mark it as the staple of american beers. There’s plenty of good regional beers in the states but not many as widely available.

Bud is to real beer, as boy bands are to real music.

Congratulations Canada on your National Igloo
http://home.comcast.net/~wwwstephen2/arkansas.mpg

And your new 24 hour Day!
http://home.comcast.net/~wwwstephen2/iowa.mpg

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Look, he thinks he’s edgy!