Posted by: quiscus | March 17, 2013

March 17, 2013

1. “Even Democratic Party Loyalists Starting to Wake Up to the Fact that Obama Is As Bad As Bush … Or Worse

Obama Is Worse than Bush In Favoring the Super-Elite, Bailing Out the Big Banks, Protecting Financial Criminals, Targeting Whistleblowers, Keeping Government Secrets, Trampling Our Liberties and Starting Military Conflicts In New Countries”

2. “The View from Abroad
The World is not Billy Bob’s Rib Pit

The United States is the most hated country in the world, followed closely by Israel, and then by nobody. Why? Why not Ecuador? China? Russia? East Timor? The hostility puzzles many Americans, who genuinely believe their country to be a force for good, a pillar of democracy, a defender of human rights.

To the rest of the world, none of this is even close.

If you have lived abroad, as so very few Americans have, the explanation for the hatred is obvious: Meddling. Relentless, prideful, uncomprehending meddling, frequently military, often with horrendous death tolls. Americans, adroitly managed by a controlled press, historically illiterate, incurious, decreasingly educated, either have never heard of the American behavior that angers others, or believe it to have been inspired by virtuous motives. Nobody else thinks so. Add to unfamiliarity with the wider world the constantly inculcated assertion that America is the greatest, most wonderful nation ever to exist, a light to the world, a shining city on a hill, and you get a dangerously delusional state. Especially now. In the past, American economic and military supremacy were such that the US didn’t have to care what others thought. The times, they are a-changing.

It might be wise to compare briefly the view through American and foreign eyes. Consider Iraq. To most of the world, the war on Iraq was brutal, unprovoked, and murderous. More than a few, looking at the ruins of Fallujah, thought of Guernica—of which few in the States have ever heard.

Many Americans do not believe that we destroyed Iraq for oil, empire, and the Israel lobby, as was in fact the case. No. We wanted to topple an evil dictator and dispense the precious gift of democracy. It was a question of goodness. Many apparently still believe that Iraq had something to do with the attacks on New York. Again, controlled press, poor schooling, little curiosity.

Similarly, Americans tend to see the war on Afghanistan as having to do with ending Terror or sprouting democracy—not as the Great Game (“Hanh?”) redux, or the quest for the TAPI pipeline (“Say whuh?”) or Caspian hydrocarbons. (“Caspian? You mean the Friendly Ghost?”) To most of the world, Afghanistan is just another sorry spectacle of American fighter-bombers killing peasants, of gutted children and drone attacks on half-identified targets. This, the merciless use of overwhelming firepower against lightly armed campesinos, is what the world sees, over and over. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan. It isn’t pretty.

I live in Mexico. In countless towns, probably in every city of any size, you see streets named Niños Heroes, Heroic Children. In Guadalajara there is a traffic circle with an imposing monument to them. These things commemorate the children who tried to fight the American soldiers invading Mexico City. In that (purely acquisitive) war Mexico lost half its territory. Yet how many gringos know that it ever happened, or when, or for that matter have ever heard of the bombardment of Veracruz or Pershing’s incursion?

Americans who have some grasp of history sometimes say of the Mexican-American War that Mexicans should “get over it.” Some might tell the Jews to get over the Holocaust, or Americans to get over 9/11. It is much easier to tell people to get over what you have done to them than to get over things they have done to you.

Then there is the War on Drugs. Americans believe this to be a campaign against Evil—best conducted, of course, in other people’s countries.

There are other views. Thoughtful Mexicans (all I know, but I haven’t taken a poll) do not see why drugs are Mexico’s problem. If gringos don’t want drugs, why do they buy them? Why don’t they solve their own problems? It is no secret internationally that American students in high school and universities use drugs. Why don’t the Americans put their college kids in jail? ”


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