How The World Sees Us …

We’ve all heard people say that the United States is “the leader of the free world”, right?  We grew up being told that we were that shining example of democracy that other nations hoped to emulate.  Looking back, I don’t know if that was ever quite true, but I strongly suspect that at one point we were respected more than we are today.  Until last night, I don’t recall ever reading anything by Christine Emba, but her editorial hit my inbox and, intrigued, I read it.  I was glad I did, for it was enlightning.  Ms. Emba is an opinion columnist and editor for The Washington Post and a published author. Before joining the editorial staff at The Post in 2015, Christine was the Hilton Kramer Fellow in Criticism at the New Criterion and a deputy editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit.  She recently attended a global conference where she learned some of the international views of the U.S. today, and I think what she learned is worthy of consideration, for it matters how our allies, how other nations, view us …


The world is taking America’s decline seriously. We should too.

By Christine Emba

29 August 2022

HAMBURG — “It’s frightening, what’s happened to you,” a Bavarian civil society organizer shared with me over a stein of German pils. “America has become smaller.”

The theme of this year’s Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance, a Hamburg-based international conference consisting of dozens of young leaders from around the world, was “Facing New Realities: Global Governance Under Strain.” The reality this American observer had to face? That in the eyes of much of the world, the United States’ light has dimmed.

We are still watched intently and remain a major power. But it was clear that to many of the conference’s attendees — hailing from Germany to Mongolia, Ghana to Ukraine — the United States has become shorthand for democratic decline and disinformation, home to citizens who react to dissatisfaction by rejecting reality, and to institutions that are increasingly hollowed out.

“We don’t want the people who lose jobs during the climate transformation to end up as Trump voters or the equivalent,” a European foreign minister said during a discussion of economic retooling amid climate change. My fellow conference-goers looked my way apologetically, pity on their faces.

“I thought about settling in the U.S.,” one attendee, an Ivy League- and Oxbridge-educated internationalist now working for the United Nations, told me. “But I couldn’t imagine living in a place where my children would have to practice” — here, she made mocking quotation marks with her fingers — “active shooter drills.”

The United States’ most famous exports used to be Coca-Cola, Levi’s and jazz — not to mention such ideals as freedom, civil rights and the rule of law. Now, we’re best known for rampant gun violence and gruesome school shootings.

Yet glimmers of respect for what we used to (and sometimes still) stand for do exist.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential run was brought up again and again as an example of the American political system’s openness to outsiders and capacity to surprise. The George Floyd protests of 2020 and the successes of the Black Lives Matter movement were commended as rare examples of truly free expression.

A Kenyan participant reminisced fondly about a year studying in the United States, including a summer spent interning in the local offices of a Republican congressman. He remembered his incredulity at realizing that a government official could campaign door to door without a driver or a bodyguard and would personally return his constituents’ phone calls; direct democracy, not as common in his home region, still seemed possible in the United States.

(Incidentally, that congressman, Fred Upton of Michigan, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Upton announced his retirement this spring in the face of redistricting and a MAGA-backed primary challenge.)

The United States’ reputation has been deteriorating for at least two decades. During the Iraq War, as Bush-doctrine foreign policy was derided across the globe, the trope of American backpackers abroad pretending to be Canadian to avoid shame by association became something of a cliche.

Yet, the past six years have seen an unprecedented acceleration. Our geopolitical rivals have always had ammunition, but the old embarrassments pale in comparison to the new. The idea that credence is still given to arguments about whether the 2020 election was “stolen” — the settled view of the rest of the world is that this is obvious nonsense — is a source of alarm.

After the 2016 election, European leaders warned that the United States could no longer be relied on as a partner in defense and security. More recently, statements such as those from Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance — “I got to be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or the other” — have made their way around the world, reconfirming the United States’ continued unseriousness and withdrawal from international engagement and moral leadership.

Our country is famously self-centered. It’s possible, or perhaps probable, that most Americans, only 20 percent of whom speak a second language — compared with 65 percent of the European Union’s population — don’t care what people in Europe or the rest of the world think.

But they should. As the United States fades, our competitors — a seemingly inexorable China, an unpredictable and aggressive Russia — wait hungrily in the wings.

In 2008, Fareed Zakaria wrote: “At the politico-military level, we remain in a single-superpower world. But in every other dimension — industrial, financial, educational, social, cultural — the distribution of power is shifting, moving away from American dominance.” In 2022, that vision of a “post-American world” has gone from theory to truth.

It might not be too late to effect a reversal. But if we want to preserve our stature, we should begin to act — holding our former president accountable to the rule of law would be a start — and realize that as we do so, the next generation of leaders is watching.

The world is taking our decline seriously. It’s time we did the same.

61 thoughts on “How The World Sees Us …

  1. Oh this is a wonderful post and so sad because it’s so true…our time for being looked up to could very well be ending. And all for what! It’s pitiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, thanks for this. America’s decline in a number of comparative statistics and rise in others paint a supporting picture of what has been happening. Here are a few from memory;
    – America’s relative ranking in science and math fell to 23rd and 27th the last time I looked.
    – America annually has more gun deaths than the other top 23 wealthiest nations combined.
    – America has the most expensive healthcare system in the world and ranks around 38th in quality outcomes.
    – America has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world – that is mothers dying in childbirth.
    – America has a distribution of wealth and income disparity that highlights a lack of socio-economic mobility. We also pay out CEOs a staggeringly high ratio of pay to the rest of the workers.

    I could go on, but suffice it to say, America is overrated in its exceptionalism. Yes, we have a huge military budget, but under the previous president, we reduced our diplomatic core to an extent that we made the world less safe. Someone explained it this way – China sends two dozen people to global meetings to work the room while we send two. And, there have been foreign investment deals where America was NOT at the table.

    The previous president pulled America out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and the other ten countries went on without us. The purpose was to compete better with China. Trump pulled us out because Obama started it. He then lamented China’s rise. Then why did you pull out of the TPP?

    Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Although I was aware of the statistics you mention, it’s always jaw-dropping to see them. And tonight I read that life expectancy has dropped from 79 years to 76 years since 2019 … primarily due to Covid, but other causes as well.

      I hear people say that it doesn’t matter how the rest of the world views us, but they don’t seem to realize that whether people like it or not, the world has shrunk and it IS very much a global world today. We need to work in cooperation with every other nation to combat the effects of climate change, to deter the possibility of anyone EVER using nuclear weapons again, and to work toward the greater good to eradicate hunger and poverty around the globe.

      Pulling out of the TPP was letting our allies down, as was pulling out of the Paris Accords and the Iran Nuclear Agreement. We have a responsibility, but far too many in this country are pushing for “America First”, for isolation, for nationalism. I wonder if they’ll be surprised when nobody comes to our rescue when someday we need it?

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  3. No doubt your reality-denying MAGA follower will disagree with this piece, but to me it feels right. The US has always been perceived from elsewhere as ignorant, arrogant and self-centred, and that has become ever more apparent since Numpty became President and took the country backwards. If only I could say that from a position of strength: we haven’t exactly done ourselves any favours in the eyes of other countries in recent years either.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Trouble is … just like with everything else … people are judging 330 million people by the actions of a few, or at least of the minority. There really are people in this country who are kind, compassionate and intelligent, as I just told another commenter, and I think those sort are the majority. But, we are all put into a box labeled by the minority. No matter how much good we do, no matter how much we contribute to people and causes ’round the globe, we are lumped in as “dumb, cruel ‘mericans’. Sigh. Don’t mind me … I’m in a mood. And yeah, I worry for your country as well, since it appears you’re likely to be stuck with Liz Truss for 2-3 years. She may prove to be another Trump!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly, that’s the way your country is seen, though I take your point that there are huge numbers of nice, normal people there too. The problem viewed from here is that that ‘minority’ is getting much larger and dividing your country as a result.

        As for Truss, she is like Trump, but without the brains and charm 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see where you and Clive are coming from. Of course there are decent caring people in America, but perception is everything. The squeaky wheel, or in this case the corrupt lying greedy arrogant wheel, gets the …”grease” and it’s apathy that has allowed this to happen. There are fervent trumpers and fervent liberals, but the vast majority are apathetic..too busy to care, too busy to learn and too busy to make sure we don’t slide into a third world situation with loss of some freedoms, more wealth inequality, religious fanaticism and authoritarianism or downright fascism…

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right, Mary … the minority … the squeaky wheel … are so squeaky and annoying that they make it appear they are actually the majority. Meanwhile, the sane majority are busy doing their jobs, trying to make the world a little bit better for us all. Sigh. And if the Republicans restore their majority in Congress, it will be because of voting restrictions and gerrymandering and voter apathy, though for the life of me I do not understand how ANYBODY can be apathetic at this point.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know why this is a surprise. Has everyone forgotten what the world was saying about the US during the GW Bush years. Or even during the Vietnam years?

    Ya know, some young journalist writes something & it’s like, WOW THIS IS NEW when it’s been said for over 50 F*ng years. Even a pothead like me remembers.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “We’ve all heard people say that the United States is “the leader of the free world”, right?”
    No. Maybe inside America. Rest of the world couldn’t care less.

    “dozens of young leaders from around the world”
    All of them upperclass I assume. That’s why their criticism was so cowardly soft.

    “the United States’ light has dimmed.”
    What light? We adore the USA for surfing, Harley-Davidson, their big fat-ass cars, disco, some of Hollywood, some of their music. hoola-hoops, Levi’s and some other things. Rest of it is nothing but a pita for everybody else.

    ““We don’t want the people who lose jobs during the climate transformation to end up as Trump voters or the equivalent,” a European foreign minister said”
    Of course he doesn’t want that, because those Trump-voter equivalents would kick him off his little post.

    ““I thought about settling in the U.S.,” one attendee, an Ivy League- and Oxbridge-educated internationalist now working for the United Nations”
    Those conference attendees are not a valid representation of what people think of the USA. 65% of Germans would vote for Putin if he was an eligible candidate as federal chancellor. That’s the reality our high and mighty industry-capitalist politicians fear the most.

    “The George Floyd protests of 2020 and the successes of the Black Lives Matter movement were commended as rare examples of truly free expression.”
    This only shows how far removed the conference people are already removed from the people. As soon as a really huge uprising starts to take form, the same people will use every instrument available to them to suppress any movement. Yellow Wests, American and Canadian trucker protests, international anti-Covid protests, and just now the Dutch farmers fighting for their survival, these are the things they don’t want anyone to see. And that’s why our “free” press doesn’t report about them.

    “A Kenyan participant reminisced fondly about a year studying in the United States, including a summer spent interning in the local offices of a Republican congressman.”
    You have any idea how rich and powerful the parents of that participant must be in order for their youngling to attend such a conference?

    “Our geopolitical rivals”
    With such a stinkin’ view of your fellow intl businessmen it’s no wonder nobody likes you and your country. And the whole world comes running to Russia/China. They are just the besterer friends and awesomerer and reliablerer business partners.

    “our competitors — a seemingly inexorable China”
    Not competition, it’s just business. Nothing personal. And please don’t talk bad about your new owners.

    “unpredictable and aggressive Russia”
    Neither unpredictable nor aggressive. They are straight, yes, and uncompromising, as well. And superduper pissed off with us! Doesn’t make them aggressive. When Putin drawed a fat red line in the sand, and said “STOP RIGHT HERE!” he was straight and honest. Unlike the Nuland, Kagan, Kagan, Kagan & Biden jr gang, who instigated the Maidan coupe d’etat and started the Ukraine upheavel. Despicable people, now acting surprised.

    “wait hungrily in the wings.”
    LOL. That time is over. As soon as Putin’s very capable administration took office in the Kremlin, Russia’s economy skyrocketed and they, together with China, showed the West how true capitalism looks like.

    ““At the politico-military level, we remain in a single-superpower world. But in every other dimension — industrial, financial, educational, social, cultural — the distribution of power is shifting, moving away from American dominance.””
    Shifting away? LOL. It’s gone. Buhbai! 🙂 Taken from you by people who don’t even think in your competitive ways. Russia and China have presidents who deeply care about their populations, not just for their super rich industrialists. They just want as many people as possible to be employed and have jobs. And the pensioners to receive their pension. They’re doing the jobs they were elected for and won’t think much about dominance. That’s what makes a good country.

    And the single military superpower? We gotta talk about that as well. :/

    “But if we want to preserve our stature”
    Why would you wanna do that?

    “holding our former president accountable to the rule of law would be a start”
    Bullshit!! Nobody cares.

    “and realize that as we do so, the next generation of leaders is watching.”
    Again, who cares about some ominous future leaders? These pathetic little powerhungry worms will always find their way into power and give a fuk about what previous generations did right or wrong. Our great and wise leaders are the sole reason why humanity doesn’t evolve as it should.

    “The world is taking our decline seriously.”
    Serious Schadenfreude. 🙂

    “It’s time we did the same.”
    Naaw. Stop struggling. The Wests’s time is up. We had the last couple centuries to fuk it all up, now it’s the East’s time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your opinions, Orca. I think you’ll find, though, that yours are NOT, in fact, shared by everyone in the world. Some people outside the U.S. actually DO care. And some don’t see us all as this mindless evil that you apparently do. Believe it or not, some of us here in the U.S. are kind, compassionate and intelligent people. I’m sorry you aren’t able to see that, as well as the other.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “yours are NOT, in fact, shared by everyone in the world.”
        But by roundabout 80% of the world.
        I know you won’t believe me but just look at the very simple comparison populations in the EU vs BRICS. BRICS member states make roughly 2/3 of the planet, the EU + US, OZ, UK and whatnot calls themselves The West is just a piece of dogshit under BRICS boots.

        “And some don’t see us all as this mindless evil that you apparently do. Believe it or not, some of us here in the U.S. are kind, compassionate and intelligent people.”
        I know that as well as the next girl, Jill. But believe it or not, neither those people nor you or me do count in the grand scheme of things, so I dismiss us all as weak anecdotal voices, which I tend to ignore on principle. With hapless sayings like “I know a rather nice guy in the USA” we won’t change intl conflicts. Because I know some rather nice people in Russia as well, even in Poland and Israel. And I know some choice assholes in SouthAfrica and in Germany, too. And I know for sure that not all Ukrainians are manslaughtering nazi monsters. Most are not. No reason to support the shithole country and send more weapons for more murder. But as already mentioned none of them do count. It’s the actions of their military and politicians I judge them by.

        And just judging by that standard the USA, Canada, EU, Australia, NATO countries don’t look so good.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Jill wrote:
            “I have no doubt there are many nice people in Russia … but Vladimir Putin and his henchmen are not among them.”

            How do you know? The world seems to think Putin is even a bit too nice and soft and are full of admiration for Soigu, Lawrow and Sacharowa. I guess most govts wish they had such a competent team in their administrations. And why are you calling his adminstration, foreign minister, defense minister and spokeswoman “henchmen”? Are you showing your real face now, Jill? Do you really wanna go that stupid route and diminish yourself so badly? That’s not the level of intelligent discussion we know from your blog on many other levels. Name calling and belittling doesn’t behoof you well. Particularly with that desperate bunch of losers and egomaniacs in the white house.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, the list of things that give me cause to refer to Putin and those who support & surround him is as long as my arm, and time is limited, so I will only say that starting a war that has killed and wounded thousands of civilians (not to mention Russia’s own soldiers) is ample cause for me to refer to them as “not nice people”. I typically do try to avoid name-calling, but … sometimes you gotta just call a spade a bloody spade, y’know? I know you are enamoured of Putin, but for the life of me I’ll never understand why. He is a killer, he is a dictator in most every sense of the word, and he has ambitious goals that would result in more death and destruction. I have zero tolerance or respect for such people. If that means I lose face in your eyes, I’m sorry, but I stand by my values.

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    • ‘now it’s the East’s time’…….
      A big chunk of Europe had that deal from 1945 through to the 1990s….It didn’t work so well.
      More than a few African states and their folk are regretting buying into China’s Belt and Road policy.
      Careful what you wish for.
      Large nations with influence and military capability tend to expect you to play nice; not them. You won’t find altruistic heroes or unconditional generosity of spirit in those ranks.
      ‘Twas ever thus’

      Liked by 2 people

      • “A big chunk of Europe had that deal from 1945 through to the 1990s….It didn’t work so well.”
        I’m not talking about them. They are history. You can’t compare the Russian federation to the USSR, modern Chinese communism to Mao’s communism. And we can cry and whine all we want, we can’t and won’t stop the change.

        “More than a few African states and their folk are regretting buying into China’s Belt and Road policy.”
        Evidence? And even if it’s not as many as the ones regretting falling for the West’s lies and deceits. The Chinese are buying African piece of dirt after piece of shit. And most of those pieces are better off now than before. Of course the Chinese are not totally altruistic but keen business people. But their policy is not 100% exploitative and doesn’t leave the countries in a condition like Nigeria is today, just a oil puddle. D one so by American enterprises.

        No, they leave behind modern infrastructure and índustry. They bring workplaces and education.

        “Careful what you wish for.”
        I stopped wishing a long time ago, just rolling with the punches.

        “Large nations with influence and military capability tend to expect you to play nice; not them.”
        They know that since almost all of Europe and America, too, started fucking around here.

        Liked by 2 people

        • “They know that since almost all of Europe and America, too, started fucking around here,”
          Somehow I got a feeling that folk in Syria, Cheyna, parts of Africa and needless to say Ukraine feels that way about Russia.
          As far China’s Belt and Road initiative you’ll have to pardon me if I am sceptical of any big power’s ‘generosity’. Altruism never fits in. ‘Civilisation’ and ‘Progress’ always comes at a price. Britain Empire, USA, USSR, Communist China all played those cards and the small countries paid. And one nation which is subjugating a minority, ie Second Version of Communist China cannot be considered to have Altruism in its playbook.
          And Oh I can compare the current Russian Federation with the USSR, and Czarist Russia too. The one guy who could have steered Russia through died just yesterday.
          I repeat no one has clean hands, but there are degrees of how much dirt.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Determineddepitewp wrote (weirdly not showing up for me in this heavily redacted blog):

            “They know that since almost all of Europe and America, too, started fucking around here,”
            Somehow I got a feeling that folk in Syria, Cheyna, parts of Africa and needless to say Ukraine feels that way about Russia”.
            Syria? Really? Must I remind you that the Russians were the only country who’ve been invited into Syria and therefore the only foreign nation who was their legitimately? And that US troops held a whole Syrian province at ransom and cozied up to AlQueda instead of fighting ISIS. The Russians did just that, they were useful and the only army acting according to the plan.

            “As far China’s Belt and Road initiative you’ll have to pardon me if I am sceptical of any big power’s ‘generosity’. Altruism never fits in. ‘Civilisation’ and ‘Progress’ always comes at a price. Britain Empire, USA, USSR, Communist China all played those cards and the small countries paid. And one nation which is subjugating a minority, ie Second Version of Communist China cannot be considered to have Altruism in its playbook.
            And Oh I can compare the current Russian Federation with the USSR, and Czarist Russia too. The one guy who could have steered Russia through died just yesterday.
            I repeat no one has clean hands, but there are degrees of how much dirt.”

            Somehow you got a very biased feeling, sorry to say. America’s lost her mojo long ago, if she ever had one. But even you gotta finally see the times of open and bland colonialism are over and even the most poorest African shitholes are sick and tired of exploitation, or being ruled by highly corrupt leaders/American puppets. Come on, can’t you see what the rest of the world sees?
            Behind every conflict, every failed revolution, every coup d’etat you’ll always find the White House, CIA. The Nuland, Kagan, Kagan, Kagan & Biden jr. gang is already a meme for extremely criminal anti-human politics, the Ukraine is nothing but a fuxing joke.

            I’m short on time right now but I could write you a list, a very long list, of ugly stuff America did to sovereign nations ever since 1918.

            “Altruism never fits in. ‘Civilisation’ and ‘Progress’ always comes at a price.”
            As I wrote earlier, and as everybody knows. The Chinese are at least bringing real progress, not only for China but for their partners as well. Every African nation is better off after Chinese investment. They are doing something no other occupying nations has ever done before: A robust infrastructure, jobs, self-reliance. Soon we’ll be able to drive the trans-African highway from the Cape to Cairo. Compare that with the oil puddle and criminal puppet govt you left behind in Nigeria.

            “The one guy who could have steered Russia through died just yesterday.”
            You remember he always was and stayed a flaming communist, ya? Gorby wanted the USSR to stay intact and a giant communist counterweight to the west. Now Russia is more democratic than most western countries and you’re still not satisfied? Because they became cocky and self-confident and because their president dared to draw a big fat red line in the Donbass sand?

            Your reasonings are nothing but selfish, biased and pro-American. Unacceptable.

            You’re not even ashamed to throw the Uigurs back into the ring? Just to make a very weak point. Better look at the Ukraine were CIA, Nuland, Boris Johnson and similar monsters won’t allow that spineless clown Zelenskyy to take part in peace talks and surrender? Instead you’re doubling down and force him to sacrifice thousands of Ukrainian men in the Donbass slaughterhouse. Every fuxn day!

            And you really possess the audacity to wonder why the Russians dare to be pissed off and disappointed with the West? And you’re too blind to see that Russia and China don’t need us anymore, don’t even want our business. And that our sanctions are backfiring and just hurting ourselves.

            Liked by 1 person

            • “Syria? Really? Must I remind you that the Russians were the only country who’ve been invited into Syria and therefore the only foreign nation who was their legitimately? ….”
              Now that would be by Assad’s government, and then proceeded to aid in heavy bombing, and using chemical weapons. And that would be similar to American involvement in Vietnam. Thus by your reasoning it was OK for the USA to go into Vietnam
              Also when looking at the fate of Aleppo it is hard to imagine that Russia was in Syria for noble purposes. Being there to have a warm-water port access to the Aegean and Mediterranean; yes of course, caring for the well-being of the Syrian people as a whole not so. And yes the American did questionable stuff. Big powers cannot be divided up into ‘Bad’ and ‘Well meaning’ in that harsh world they are Successful and Not-So Successful and those labels do not stay as sole property of one side or the other.

              So it simply does not work in trying to paint one Nation or group of Nations as being wholly of fault and one blameless. It is in the nature of stronger states to impose or try to impose their will on others and they will use all efforts available.
              If you care to blame the USA, fine. But do not try and excuse Russia nor China in the same breath. The world does not, nor ever has worked that way. And the more astute leaders of small or growing nations know that and work the system as best they can.
              It has always been that way.
              Go back to Classical Greece and Persia and they were already acting on playbooks which were centuries old. While across the globe Imperial China and Indian Empires went through their own flexing and shrinking.

              And another war plays on and on, this one in Ukraine. Folk have missed the horrors in Ethiopia and Sudan. Forgotten about Kashmir. China is cross because the UN has made the disquiet over the Uyghurs and the Rohingya genocide has been filed away for future reference. If you want to blame somehow hold up the whole Human Race. Blame just one and you let the others get away with it.

              Liked by 1 person

              • ““Syria? Really? Must I remind you that the Russians were the only country who’ve been invited into Syria and therefore the only foreign nation who was their legitimately? ….””

                “Now that would be by Assad’s government”
                Of course! By whom else?

                “and then proceeded to aid in heavy bombing, and using chemical weapons.”
                Those unlogical and unbelievable fairytales have been debunked long ago.

                “And that would be similar to American involvement in Vietnam. Thus by your reasoning it was OK for the USA to go into Vietnam”
                No, it wasn’t. From the golf of Tomkin fabrication throughout the whole war the USA was a hostile invader.

                “Also when looking at the fate of Aleppo it is hard to imagine that Russia was in Syria for noble purposes.”
                They were there to fight ISIS, which is already a much nobler course than the damaging NATO forces who went there under a wrong premise. Fighting ISIS my ass, stealing oil, fighting Assad, yes.

                “Being there to have a warm-water port access to the Aegean and Mediterranean; yes of course, caring for the well-being of the Syrian people as a whole not so. ”
                The Russians have access to the med from Sewastopol, why should they occupy a harbor from a friendly nation?

                “And yes the American did questionable stuff. Big powers cannot be divided up into ‘Bad’ and ‘Well meaning’”
                Of course they can. And The Russians went in coz they’ve been invited /called for help and they did their job against the disturbances by assumed allied NATO troops.

                “in that harsh world they are Successful and Not-So Successful and those labels do not stay as sole property of one side or the other.”
                I didn’t get that sentence, sorry.

                “So it simply does not work in trying to paint one Nation or group of Nations as being wholly of fault and one blameless. It is in the nature of stronger states to impose or try to impose their will on others and they will use all efforts available.”
                Aha! If this is the way you think you kinda admit to be arguing for the wrong side. Thx for clarifying that for me.

                “If you care to blame the USA, fine. But do not try and excuse Russia nor China in the same breath.”
                Why not? USA and Russia/China are on different sides of a global conflict caused by America. If I blame one side I cannot blame the other, right? And I’m not excusing the Russian in any way, it just turns out that they are the better fairer side.

                “!The world does not, nor ever has worked that way. And the more astute leaders of small or growing nations know that and work the system as best they can.
                It has always been that way.”
                So?

                “Go back to Classical Greece and Persia and they were already acting on playbooks which were centuries old. While across the globe Imperial China and Indian Empires went through their own flexing and shrinking.”
                And in then 21st century the self-proclaimed leader of the free world has nothing learned and is still on the same barbarian mindset as the people 2,500 years ago. And you wonder why I prefer to hang with more civilized nations?

                “And another war plays on and on, this one in Ukraine. Folk have missed the horrors in Ethiopia and Sudan. Forgotten about Kashmir. China is cross because the UN has made the disquiet over the Uyghurs and the Rohingya genocide has been filed away for future reference. If you want to blame somehow hold up the whole Human Race. Blame just one and you let the others get away with it.
                NOPE! We’re at a crosssroads here, the probably most basic conflict of the past couple centuries. Humans against humans, logically we can’t blame all of them. That would be stupid. Uyghurs and Rohynga are – again – anecdotal facts with no consequences for the global conflict. Even less consequential than the Ukraine bullies and their comedian president.

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                • “Those unlogical and unbelievable fairytales have been debunked long ago.”

                  Aljazeera (not a big fan of the West) seem to think they happened. I’d say that’s a reasonable source to discount your statement;
                  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/5/syrians-recount-horror-under-russian-air-attacks

                  ‘Aha! If this is the way you think you kinda admit to be arguing for the wrong side.’
                  The wrong side?
                  Let’s clarify…you believe they are ‘The Wrong Side’ but Russia and China are OK?

                  “That would be stupid. Uyghurs and Rohynga are – again – anecdotal facts with no consequences for the global conflict. Even less consequential than the Ukraine bullies and their comedian president.”
                  Let me just dial back here. The Uyghurs and Rohynga are – ‘No consequences’
                  People were and are suffering. People are no consequence? People are no consequence? Ordinary people are no consequence?
                  You just lost an ethical argument.
                  No need for me to continue or question the validity of Ukraine being to ‘bullies’ against Russia.
                  I leave anyone reading this thread to judge on the question of ‘Uyghurs and Rohynga are – again – anecdotal facts with no consequences’
                  People are consequences. They are always consequences. They always have been consequences. That’s why we should study history.

                  Liked by 1 person

  6. I will be completely honest here: America is the last place on Earth I would want to live. This has not changed since I was a kid in the 50s. Racism, capitalism, nationalism, and ignorance are just some of the reasons. Not that living in Canada is much better, but it is better. Our extremists are not as extreme as American extremists. We are more polite to ourselves and others. We are not show-offs, and we don’t claim to be World Champions of anything, even if we are. We do not look down at “shithole” countries, and we are generally-speaking apologetic to a fault for the most part.
    We recognize that a lot of our culture comes from the States, that our military might is nowhere as potent, and most of our wealthist people are paupers in comparison to America’s wealthiest people, but most of us don’t give a shit about wealth. In general we are content to have enough, and we do not strive to take more than our share.
    In saying this I cannot compare Canadians to people of other nations. I personally do not know enough about the people of other nations to make comparisons–but we know enough about Americans for most of us to say “No thank you.”
    I will give only one example of why I dislike America so much, even though I love a lot of Americans I have met on the internet: A couple years ago National Geographic ran a contest on what could be done to save the world, the whole damn fucking world! (Please pardon my Greek, and feel free to remove the word if you like, Jill.) This “contest” was only open to Americans! The people who ran the contest obviously thought so little of non-Americans that they absolutely refused to allow ideas from anywhere else in the world. I wrote them a letter telling them what I thought of their contest and the message it sent to non-Americans, and they did not even have the decency to acknowledge their bias. They never wrote back to me!

    Liked by 7 people

    • “I personally do not know enough about the people of other nations to make comparisons–but we know enough about Americans for most of us to say “No thank you.””
      In so far you Canadians are on par with other nations.

      “National Geographic”
      Is afaik indeed a national magazine, with no readers in any other countries. Okay, maybe it circulates in Canada as well but not anywhere else. So they should’ve opened the contest up for at least Canadian and maybe Mexican readers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No! Since this contest was about saving the world, whatever that means, it should have been open to anyone living anywhere in the world. I did not read about it in a magazine, I learned about it on the internet, where anyone with access to the intrnet could have found it.
        To restrict it was to say no one else except Americans could save the world. Obviously, whoever won the contest did NOT save the world, because nothing has changed. Our world still needs saving. And that says everything anyone needs to know about most Americans, they have no idea how to save themselves, let alone the whole world.
        America is dying. The rest of the worod wants to live!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Ok, didn’t know that. If it was on the ‘inter’net and not just on the ‘Ameri’net or their magazine, they should’ve indeed opened it up so everybody could have a shot at saving the world.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Just to address one point in your comment, rg … not all people in the U.S. (I refuse to use the term “Americans” for it is a misnomer) do not consider the nations of the Middle East to be “shithole” countries. In fact, my closest friends here are from Iraq and Syria. That’s part of the problem … we, the entire nation, is judged by the words and actions of the minority. We don’t stand a chance! Sigh. Some days I would do almost anything to get me and my family out of here, and other days I feel like I need to stay and fight to make it better for everyone. Sigh. Beam me up, Scotty!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Annnd we gently disagree again rawgod. Destiny eh?
      Anyway I could think of a handful of countries straight off to be avoided more than the USA. That said the USA is not a place I would care to up-sticks are resettle in right now. Point of observation; seems the number of nations in that category are growing exponentially. Humanity does get in the way a lot, doesn’t it?
      Actually that poll in National Geographic is typical of marketing (‘Gee our majority audience in in the USA, we don’t want outsiders getting in the way. Anyway’- strikes false noble stance- ‘It is our solemn duty to see what the average american thinks’) It also reminds me of a headline from THE British newspaper of our Imperial Era.. THE TIMES, it read ‘Storms in English Channel. Europe cut off.’ The mindset of nations currently in the top ranks, usually just before they start to slip down….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In some respects, the USA is no different from all nations going through periods of looking inwards, in communal bouts of ‘Don’t know. Don’t care. Don’t bother me,’ or an existential version of ‘Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go and eat worms,’.
    The problem is for the USA is that during the 20th Century it found itself on the world stage, taking up space left by diminishing self-destructive Europe, and bumped up against the USSR, doing something similar (History loves those ironies). Everybody was looking at the USA. Like it, love it or loath it, The USA was the big hit on the Broadway of the World.
    Then the pressures came. Culture wars. Liberal vs Conservative. Vietnam. 9/11. Iraq & Afghanistan. Black folk in the Whitehouse. Enough to make any White Heterosexual Abrahamic get hysterical and take up the previous preserve of the Left or the delusional – Conspiracy- to heart.
    And here we are in a mirror image of the Counter-Culture of the 1960s, handing out thistles and poisoned ivy only this time seems like a quarter of the adult population has bought into the fantasy. The sections of the world’s Left and religious extremes who loath the USA with a shared racist passion are secretly gleeful ‘Look we were right all along!’ (As if every American was a card-carrying, gun totting Trumpophile).
    It’s another of those ironies. The world sees the US as politically bankrupt and fearful of its decay brining us all down. And yet looks, in general to the Entertainment Fields who, when you analyse them continue to represent themes of Inclusivity and a sharper perspective than any of the reactionary politicians (I cite but one example- ‘mere’ comedies such as ‘The Good Place’ for evidence of that).
    The USA’s fate lies in the hands of the ‘Ordinary’ ‘Aww Gee,’ ‘Oh man,’ folk who want no fuss, no bother, because they have enough on their daily plates. But like that lawn that needs mowing, or whatever other chore metaphor you can think of there has to be some effort before you can sit back down again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I find myself at a loss for words … no, that’s not quite right. I find that this comment is so thought-provoking that I cannot find words to respond with a simple comment … this could be a whole post … heck, it could be a whole book! Your insight is, as always, uncanny. You understand this nation better than most people who’ve lived here all their lives. You understand it better than I do. Thanks, Roger … I’m going to do some pondering on what you have said here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much Jill for your affirmation.
        Actually I feel like I’m a cypher, like the device which transmits the thousands upon thousand of warning voices from ages before, from times and places when all this was played out in different tongues and varying geographies.
        And what else drives me, apart from my 60+ year old transatlantic relationship? One book: Michael Herr’s ‘Despatches’ (Dispatches), a Blackstone Audio 8 disc cd perfectly read, narrated by a guy named Ray Porter. I read another example of Humanity’s Errors and that starts working within in me pushing my fingers to keyboard…..go figure
        Take care you guys.
        And furthermore, I consider that Donald Trump jnr should be prosecuted with the full weight of federal law, for the crime of sedition

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: How The World Sees Us … | Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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