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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Empire Is Hated All Around the World

Americans who live abroad — more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) — often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States. Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, complain that America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” have gone on for too long to be considered just an adolescent phase. Which means that we Americans abroad are regularly asked to account for the behavior of our rebranded “homeland,” now conspicuously in decline and increasingly out of step with the rest of the world.

In my long nomadic life, I’ve had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in all but a handful of countries on this planet. I’ve been to both poles and a great many places in between, and nosy as I am, I’ve talked with people all along the way. I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.

That’s changed, of course. Even after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I still met people — in the Middle East, no less — willing to withhold judgment on the U.S. Many thought that the Supreme Court’sinstallation of George W. Bush as president was a blunder American voters would correct in the election of 2004. His return to office truly spelled the end of America as the world had known it. Bush had started a war, opposed by the entire world, because he wanted to and he could. A majority of Americans supported him. And that was when all the uncomfortable questions really began.

In the early fall of 2014, I traveled from my home in Oslo, Norway, through much of Eastern and Central Europe. Everywhere I went in those two months, moments after locals realized I was an American the questions started and, polite as they usually were, most of them had a single underlying theme: Have Americans gone over the edge? Are you crazy? Please explain.



Anonymous said...

"His return to office truly spelled the end of America as the world had known it."
There's no doubt the author Bush-bashed her way around the world, much like her idol, Teh Won.

Anonymous said...

My experience travelling Europe for three years was the polar opposite of this liberal ninny, and that was during the Bush era 2nd term.
This is agenda driven anti American propaganda. Nothing more.

Anonymous said...

!0:47 My experience agrees with yours. This author is a socialist fool. Notice she lives in Scandinavia the most ethnically homogeneous area in the world.

Anonymous said...

My travel experiences were not like this. In the last 10 years I have been to Europe and Asia as well as many trips to the Caribbean. Although there are times when I have been kidded about stuff, the vast majority have been positive.

Anonymous said...

Good complete article on the U.S. This country is racist, corrupt, greedy and violent thinks to all presidents except Obama. War mongers have ruled this country for a very long time. But, everyone wants to place blame on Obama for the country woes. No wonder other country citizens speak so ill of this country. Americans need to really get their heads out of their azz. The world is big beyond the Roman Empire of the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

thinks (thanks) to all presidents except Obama? Who has their head in their azz?

Anonymous said...

"This country is racist, corrupt, greedy and violent thinks to all presidents except Obama."

I make an effort to be polite when I post here, but I'll make an exception in your case. You are a f*king idiot if you think the quoted statement is true. Racism, corruption, greed, and violence are the hallmarks of your Dear Leader's regime.

ginn said...

Corruption, greed and violence have permeated our gov'ts, federal right on down to local, for a very, very long time. Open your eyes, it's everywhere, all around you, just look.

Anonymous said...

1:53 Roll down the window and let a little oxygen get to your choom addled brain. That way you'll be one step ahead of your hero.