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Location: Verdi, Nev, United States

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New meaning to "Not a friend in the world."

Been talking lately with a friend who just got back from two months in South America. He
was on a low-budget walkabout, not a Congressional fact-finding tour, which means he met,
ate and for all I know slept with real people. Here's his read on the attitude toward Americans there:
"I had to tell people five times a day that I wasn't a 'Bush American.' They hate us. If we
get into trouble, nobody's going to be willing to help us."
Well, here we go--another Bush-bashing.
Well, no. Not, at least, except where it's unavoidable. Which, come to think of it, is pretty
much everywhere these days.
More than five years ago, when the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, saber-stroking and encouraging mass hysteria among the voters became apparent, I wrote that "a world groveling at our feet is a world waiting to trip us up." Of course I was wrong about Iraq, where the citizens welcomed us with open arms, flowers and baklava. That or IEDs and AK-47s; I forget which, and I'd feel worse about that if George Bush and Dick Cheney hadn't forgotten which, too.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, though, we have nothing but enemies and retail partners,
stuck with us because we'll buy their oil (until China outbids us) or sell them our weapons. In
Europe, we're bashed at every opportunity. We're just lucky the dollar is worth so little
that hardly anybody can afford to go there anymore, or there would be more opportunity.
But South America? Who knew?
"Who cares?" said a Reno news professional with whom I happened to discuss this recently.
"I don't give a **** what they think of us in South America,"
Well...neither do I, in the abstract. The older I get, the more I focus on what I can see
from my house.
In the real world, though, such as it is these days, it's hard to see why a country would
go out of its way to antagonize, not just the people it chooses to invade, but just about the whole world. Even in England, pretty much our sole remaining significant ally in Iraq, our
popularity among the people doesn't come close to matching our "official" popularity. We've pissed off everybody.
As for South America, though: One of these days we'll need friends there, if only to invade
Venezuela for us and liberate our oil from under their dirt. Wait and see. And wait and see
if we find any.

3 Comments:

Blogger angelosdaughter said...

Yes, we have shown ourselves as the world's bully. The trouble with that is when you are a bully there is always someone looking to be a bigger one.
Just because we are one of the world's richest nations doesn't mean we are the world's policeman.
When I was a child, I was taught that Americal always took the high road. Well we sure haven't been lately.
I'm not surprised that fewer and fewer nations have friendly feelings for Americans.

11:21 PM  
Blogger sabjoro said...

I've "known" about the anti-American feelings for years. I've made it a point to read an English edition newspaper from a country that is neutral about bush's war on terror, at least once a week.

Stay out of the Middle East, Europe and Asia and you have Africa and S. America countries to pick from.

As bush ratcheted up the Us against Them attitude the editorials went from sympathy to anger from 9/11 onwards.

The anger is enough to make a person think twice about leaving the country.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Stebbins said...

I spent two weeks (not two months) in Argentina last year and although they're not pleased at all with the Bush presidency (I'm resisting the urge to put that word in quotes), they seem well able to separate the people from the cabal. We encountered zero hostility and in Buenos Aires enjoyed even higher levels of service than I generally get in the U.S.

Even in Mexico, where I spend a lot of time lately, and where they presumably have additional reasons to dislike us, I have encountered nothing but graciousness and good feeling from the locals.

There may be good reason for that: In El Sargento, where we stay, there is quite a large community of Americans. I have yet to meet a compatriot who didn't despise Bush. You can initiate any political conversation with full confidence that your acquaintance is more or less on the same page.

I think, additionally, that the amount of hostility one encounters depends on how you present yourself. If you sashay around with an air of superiority, you're basically inviting bad feelings by confirming the ugly American stereotype.

But if you conduct yourself respectfully, with humility and kindness, you generally get the same in return.

11:31 AM  

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