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News The US is the light - both literally and metaphorically

  1. Mar 21, 2003 #1


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    Korea at night from space.

    By now everyone who is in this forum knows I am very pro-america, but as of yet I have simply been responding to other people's opinions. I now wish to lay out my own.

    I recently realized a flaw in my opinion. It was my belief that the fear of and hatred for the US was simply a matter of jealousy. While this explains the hatred, it doesn't explain the fear. The fear comes from something far deeper and far more complicated.

    The world (most of it) fears the US because humans as a species have a flaw. Above all else they fear being wrong. Admitting that the US isn't the evil empire people want it to be would require an examination and admission of the failure of EVERY other system in the world. People are afraid to admit failure.

    The peace, prospertiy, and freedom that exists in the western world is entirely the creation of the US and a few willing allies (namely England).

    After WWI, Woodrow Wilson proposed the radical idea that instead of punishing Germany for the war we rebuild them and embrace them to bring them back into the world community, then create an organization to be the manifestation of that world community. The world (including the US) was not ready for that. Instead we punished Germany. Result: WWII. After WWII, the US and her close allies realized the need to put Wilson's ideas into practice.

    With the Marshall Plan the US did the most extrordinarily benevolent things any country has ever done. She rebuilt not just her friends, but her enemies. Along with this rebuilding, the US gave these countries stable governments and economies built in her own image. And of course, the US created the UN.

    But of course the most extrordinarily, bizzarely (if thats not a word, it should be) benevolent thing we did was after putting all that effort and money and blood into rebuilding the western world, we walked away. We gave those countries back to their citizens.

    The result is a level of peace, prospertiy, and freedom in the western world never seen before in the history of mankind.

    The rest of the world (with a few exceptions) is afraid to admit the spectacular failure of all other governmental/economic systems. An admission of a failure of that magnitude makes anything these countries have done irrelevant. Its just too painful of a thing to do. Communism/socialism is the easiest example here because there are places where communism/socialism exists side by side with american democracy/capitalism. Berlin is a great example. Walk down certain streets and look at both sides of the street and the magnitude of the difference is astounding. But east Berlin is recovering as is the rest of eastern Europe. These people never really believed in communism anyway. They waited 50 years for their eventual rescue by the US and now (not surprisingly) are our strongest supporters.

    The second great example is the link I posted at the top of the page. South Korea is illuminated under the light of American freedom and prosperity while North Korea exists in the darkness of failed communism.

    Throw religion into the mix and things only get worse. The muslim extremist nations of the middle east have an additional reason to fear admitting failure. Their religion is so ingrained in their lifestyle that to admit their lifestyle is a failure would mean admitting their religion (and their eternal souls) were failures as well. Thats a tough pill to swallow. I certainly don't blame them for being too weak to do it. I can assure you however that once the Iraqi people taste freedom, there is no going back.

    Also in that picture is Japan. No country ever to oppose the US has had such a different view of everything than Japan. But look at the picture: once the US gave them, peace, prosperity, and freedom, there was no going back.

    Please note: I do not believe and will not ever claim the US or her citizens are perfect. The US contains roughly 290 million humans - all of whom are imperfect beings. Her leaders certainly are no less imperfect. Bad decisions have been made and bad actions taken. I know I'm going to get people posting laundry lists of bad things the US has done. Yeah, I know. See above. I know the US is imperfect. All of those other threads focus on the negatives anyway - people rarely consider the positives (too painful). But in any case, the system of government and economics we have created is the best in the world. To be more blunt it is the ONLY one that works. Furthermore, the US and her system is unique in that it has the built-in ability to CHANGE when the world changes. Our actions in the aftermath of WWII in contrast to WWI are a clear example of that.

    Is this arrogance? No. Arrogance is exclusionary. I want EVERYONE to experience the beauty of the American way of life.

    So, opinions? Childish namecalling and flaming will not be responded to - those statements are self-defeating and require no rebuttal. Nevertheless, despite the inherrent hypocrisy of flames, I know i'll get some.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2003 #2
    You hit the nail on the head Russ. Way to go!:smile:
  4. Mar 21, 2003 #3
    i completely disagree. what you consider best is not what is best for everyone by any means. just like all of us, you are and individual and you have your own flaws; to say that you know what is best for everyone is completely ignoring those important facts. please understand these things as they are important for us all to understand so that we can enjoy the wonderful diversity that exists across this globe.
  5. Mar 21, 2003 #4
    What peace?
    As for prosperity; well, people have been trading with each other for about 5 thousand years. And the industrial revolution began in my own country (I think). I believe the Greeks were the 'creators' of democracy.
    Americans have benefited from ideals and concepts already in place before their nation was even borne.
  6. Mar 21, 2003 #5
    The idea the rest of the world harbors negative feelings towards the USA because of jealosy is too simplistic and childish an explanation. Just about any country that would have reason to be jealous of the USA would also have reason to be jealous of France, Germany, Russia, or China.

    Most of western Europse has economic conditions that are close enough to our own. China and Russia are both world powers. Yet you don't hear about anti-Chinese or anti-German sentiment. Of course, the USA does have both assets(power and prosperity). But if it was based on jealosy, some of that would spill over.

    I can tell you for sure that much of the anti-US sentiment in the Middle East is due to our involvement with Israel, as well as religious differences.

    What systems does most of the world use that would force it to admit failure? Most of western Eurpose runs on capitalism--the same system that we have, and yet they are against our war. I do not believe that most in that area are anti-American, but they are anti-our-war. You seem to imply that most of the world is afraid to admit the failure of communism--even though most of the world never had a communist economic system. You even said yourself:
    You claim that he US and its system is unique in its ability to change. But many other countries have very similar systems of government (although they were inspired by the USA). I am confused by your calling the USA so unique in this regard.

    Arrogance is not necessarily exclusionary. If I tried to force the First Person Shooter genre of computer/video games on people because I wanted them to "share in its greatness", that would be rather arrogant.

    Other countries have things set up better than the US does. The UK and other European countries have better health care systems than the US does. In fact, I think that Iraq had free health care before the Gulf War.
    I am not trying to paint the US as a bad guy or anything, just countering your argument that others are jealous of the USA.

    In conclusion, it is not jealosy that provkes anti-US sentiment, and most don't have any ideals to protect out of fear of being wrong.
  7. Mar 21, 2003 #6
    Right and Wrong.

    The United States was the ONLY country willing to sstand up aagainst monarchy and create a democratic government. I assume you heard of "The Shot Heard Round The World." The Revolutionary War caused a chain of events that caused many nations to follow the United States and become democratic. The United States was the first to stand out and become a nation ruled by democracy. We are a Republic and the Citizens have a say unlike some other countries like Iraq. Which is part of the reason we are there. They not only support terrorism but they are led by a dictator who does horrible things to his own people and there are so many more reasons that I could go on and on.

    I too am very pro American

    Kyleb I have to ask you this: Time and time again you go against Americans. Why? you are one.
  8. Mar 21, 2003 #7
    i don't play sides Nicool003, i stand up for what i belive is right. if call that going against Americans, you must remember that you are doing the same when you speak up against us that do not agree with you. if you think such things are wrong, then you are more than welcome to change. ;)
  9. Mar 21, 2003 #8

    Why do Americans always think the rest of us are jealous? Of what? The standard of living in Australia is better, and we have a lower crime rate. Wake up, kid. Many countries in the world are superior to the USA in terms of living conditions. The ONE thing the USA has better than most of us is that massive military, that's all.

    Okay, so the USA is the light, right? That must be why the USA has half of Baghdad in rubble and flames in what they call Operation Iraqi Freedom. Good one.
  10. Mar 21, 2003 #9


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    Wow, you guys focusing on jealousy must not have read past the first few lines. You completely missed my point. Reread please - thats not my arguement.
  11. Mar 22, 2003 #10
    The world does not hate the US out of fear of being wrong. That kind of thinking smacks of American arrogance. The "might is right" philosophy. I don't think the US as a nation will ever understand why so many countries have a hatred for it. That would require a degree of self-examination, honesty and humility that the US is not capable of.

    I think the US is hated by many in the world because of its aggressive and self-interested foreign policy, its disregard of international law when it suits it, its biased support of Israel. The US likes to think its the world's policeman. Actually it's the world's bully.

    So the US is the light eh? Curious you would use that metaphor since the US is currently bringing permanent darkness to many Iraqi people.

    Laser Eyes
  12. Mar 22, 2003 #11
    Of coure you live in America and even though you are the most anti american person I have ever met You do live in America and freedom of speech is the first amendment. However when the Support our troops topic which is made to support America, all it's allies, and of course THE TROOPS! and people like you barge in and ruin it THAT gets me mad. And no I will not change but you are welcomed to also
  13. Mar 22, 2003 #12
    Adam as for your "lower crime rate" you also have a smaller country and less inhabited areas. And I didn't say you were jealous.
  14. Mar 22, 2003 #13
    No I'm Australian but I will admit that I am more disgusted with my own prime minister John Howard than anyone else. Bush can at least claim he suffers from low intelligence and illiteracy but Howard can not. John Howard is actually a very intelligent man with a great deal of experience in politics and international affairs. He has shown committed support to the US in the conflict with Iraq. I watch him make speeches and looks to me like he enjoys strutting around the world trying to look important. The man could think for himself but he is acting like the US's pet poodle.

    I consider I am entitled to point out hypocrisy and inconsistency. I hope that all troops involved in the fighting on all sides return home alive and well. I believe that is the most support one can give to any side if you oppose the war. I think if you provide any kind of support to the troops while they are fighting then you are indirectly supporting the war. I didn't mean to make you mad but it is inevitable that we will be upset at times by views different to our own.
  15. Mar 22, 2003 #14


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    Not all diversity is wonderful.

    Of course mistakes will be made when trying to eliminate the bad stuff, but that doesn't mean that nobody should try.

  16. Mar 22, 2003 #15
    so Hurkyl,you think bigotry is ok as long as it is well intended eh?

    and Nicool003, chastising people for speaking their mind is un-American in my opinion. differences in opinion on the other hand i respect as part of nature so i do not see any reason to change things, you were the one complaining which is why i made the recomendation to you.

    oh here is a good article talking about how much of our ruleing class does agree with the ideology expressed in the topic:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  17. Mar 23, 2003 #16
    Laser eyes

    Lasereyes I was not even talking to you...I was talking to Kyleb hehe
  18. Mar 23, 2003 #17

    Yeah right. If you learned World History in school or if you are in school now then you should know the U.S used to follow a foreign policy of ISOLATIONISM! then other countries thought us weak and after the Spanish- American war our policy was slightly changed and we became a world power. Then WWI started and once again the U.S didn't want to get involved. But then Germany began attacking passenger ships and ships that were sending supplies to other countries. Then when we convinced germany not to fire on unarmed ships without warning, they broke that treaty 7-9 months later. So we went to war and within a year or two WWI was over.

    You know what? I will finish the whole history lesson.

    Then in the 1930's the Great Depression hit. We got one of the best Presidents the U.S has ever seen elected and after about 11 hard years we were drawn out of the Great Depression. It would have been sooner but the Supreme Court shut down some programs which were helping a lot with drawing us out of the depression. When WWI hit he wanted to help the allies but congress refused. December 7th 1941, (a date which will live in infamy:wink: ) Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese who were allies with Germany and Italy. The war was not started by the U.S ONCE AGAIN! They caused us to go to war and we did.

    So that is called other countries attack the U.S equals U.S goes to war against them= change in foreign policy. After WWII the policy was quite different from the early 1900's.
  19. Mar 23, 2003 #18
    Oh and by the way. The other war we are in now (War on Terror) Is part of the reason we are having a war with Iraq. He (saddam) is allied with osama bin laden and he also has terror sites and clear connections to the taliban and al queda. And the whole war on Terrorism is taking place because the pieces of crap (terrorists) took down the world trade center! Try that on for size! They (the terrorists, saddam, and his administration not the innocent people) brought this on themselves and I am sick and tired of you people arguing against this whole thing and the president! President Bush had the whole United States with him after September 11, and now everyone is against him because he is against Iraq now and because we are attacking saddam! Saddam is an evil dictator that does horrible things to his own people and he supports terrorism and is allied with those who attacked the world trade center!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2003
  20. Mar 23, 2003 #19


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    Enjoy our wonderful diversity!

    But seriously, I'm curious why you bring up "bigotry". The label suggests intolerance of anything different from one's self. Surely you're not so cynical to think that there is nothing in-between absolute intolerance of diversity and absolute permittivity of diversity, and surely you aren't asserting that all diversity is good, are you?

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2003
  21. Mar 23, 2003 #20
    ^^^ I totally agree with the part about Saddam being an evil dictator, but this just isn't true. OBL and Saddam generally despise each other; Saddam's government is secular, and OBL would love to see him overthrown and replaced by an Islamic theocratic government. (cf the lesser-known facts thread) Nearly all the WTC attackers were Saudis... a country with whom the USA is currently allied. None were Iraqis.
  22. Mar 23, 2003 #21
    well i ment it in less of an absoute way then what you put it there.

    i think it is here for a reason, and that is not so we can try to stomp it out.:wink:
  23. Mar 23, 2003 #22


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    Well, that begs the question, what do you mean by bigotry? Are you using it to mean any sort of dislike?

    Some concrete examples.

    White, black, yellow, red... race is a type of diversity. Generally someone who is biased in general against a particular race doesn't have a good reason. They'd be bigots.

    However, if a shop has 10% black customers, but 95% of the people who shoplift in that store happen to be black, the shopkeeper would be biased against black people, but he does have a good reason. He's not a bigot, he's simply playing the odds... he'd be biased against white people if whites were disproportionally frequent shoplifters.

    Consumers, browsers, shoplifters. Another type of diversity! Is shoplifting a wonderful sort of diversity? Should we embrace shoplifters and invite them willingly into our stores?

    I think now it's clear what I'm getting at. If I'm a bigot for thinking that shoplifting, in general, should be stomped out, then I don't mind being a bigot. I don't have a problem with being labelled as bigoted against serial killers. I'd be happy to be labelled bigoted against genocide. I don't see why being bigoted against these things is a problem!

    Sure these things are "obvious" that they shouldn't be considered part of "wonderful diversity", but is it clear where to draw the line on what should and shouldn't be stomped out? Certainly not. What about illiteracy? That's a form of diversity, but should we protect and embrace it or should we active try to educate everyone? What about backwater villages that are breeding grounds for all sorts of epidemics? Is that wonderful diversity or should we provide them with more sanitary living conditions? Running water and electricity, can you argue we shouldn't make these available to anyone who wants? What about cruelly oppressive societies, should we allow them to exist simply for the sake of diversity? There's not an obvious place to draw the line. Many of these things will probably make the world better. Some may not. None will unless someone tries, though.

  24. Mar 24, 2003 #23


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    For starters maybe I need to clarify. When I say "the western world" I am talking about western Europe, north America, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and a handful of other westernized nations. Many countries in eastern Europe have recently joined the club, but are not yet fully westernized. I recently visited Lithuania for example and though their government and economy uses the western model, they have not yet fully recovered from communism/socialism - it takes time and they just shook that off 10 years ago.

    Also, though I firmly believe the US is responsible for creating the prosperty, freedom, and peace we currently enjoy, we did *NOT* invent the systems of democracy and capitalism. We merely refined them and the many flavors that exist in the western world though similar largely evolved separately.

    Thats fine, but is starvation and genocide "what is best" for Somalia and Yugoslavia?...
    Exactly. This is a point I forgot in my original post: no country has EVER tasted western style freedom and prosperity and gone back to what it had before. Even a country such as Japan where western government and economics were completely alien to them.
    The peace I speak of is 50+ years without a war in a westernized nation. Thats completely without precedent in the history of the world. And hey, I didn't say the US invented any of this. The US is an offspring of the UK. Its not surprising that everything about the two countries is similar. Certainly the US benefited from being in the British Empire.
    Again, reread my post. Western Europe *IS* the "western world" that I speak of. For the most part the western countries all evolved separately but in a similar direction. But what happened as a result of WWII to unify the west (the Marshall Plan) is the US's doing alone.
    Certainly. But the majority of the Chinese population has never even SEEN running water let alone a book or immunization. They are NOT a developed nation. In 50 years, maybe. Russia certainly has potential, but it takes a long time for a country that size to recover from communism. Both of these countries are moving in the right direction (China still needs to ditch communism) but they have a long way to go before they join the club of the western world.
    Eastern Europe and North Korea (see photo) have or had communism/socialism. China is moving away from what is best described as "Maoism." The middle east has monarchies, theocracies, and plain old ordinary dictatorships. Africa is mostly tribalism. *NONE* of these systems even work, much less work well.
    This has nothing to do with the war in the middle east - Germany and France are most certainly members of the club I describe.
    Thats a question of semantics. Who'se communism are we talking about? Marx would certainly agree with you but Lenin, Stalin, and Mao would almost certainly not. And the fact that Marx's vision was never realized in dozens of attempts is evidence to me that it was never anything more than a pipe-dream anyway. Its flawed. But thats another discussion entirely. Call those governments whatever you want. I'll call them all attempts at communism. Regarless, they all failed. And the countries that still use it *ARE* afraid to admit its failure - or better yet their leaders are afraid to give up the power it gives them.
    Granted, but it is usually seen that way. One definition is "proud contempt of others." I have no contempt for the people in the countries I speak of. Indeed, I consider them hostages of tyrannical governments.
    Certainly different flavors have different pros and cons. Healtcare is on thing the US is (arguably) lacking. The US does however have the highest level of protected freedom in any country anywhere.
    That was certainly the beginning of the American dream. I think the end of WWII was a threshold we broke through though - taking the western world with us in the same way as "the shot heard round the world" did.
    Is the US foreign policy MORE about self-interest than say France's? They are against the war in Iraq yet fighting a war in the Ivory Coast both for trade reasons. The US ALWAYS leads the charge even in strictly humanitarian actions like Yugoslavia and Somalia. Its even arguable that we didn't need to send hundreds of thousands to their deaths in the two world wars in Europe. We could have traded with whoever won. And if we were the world's bully, we'd force the world to bend to our will. Clearly we do not: we created the UN and we rebuild Germany and France without making them US colonies or puppets. Would a bully let people go against it?
    Heh. Better reread your newspaper. The US has specifically rephrained from bombing power plants so far. Also, permanent? The US is BRINGING light to Iraq (to use the metaphoric sense). Iraq is currently one of the dark nations not unlike N Korea.
    ROFLMAO!!! Skull and Bones? BWAAHHHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh man, thats rich. Hey, did you ever see the movie "The Skulls?" Entertaining fiction. At least now I understand where your opinion comes from.
    This is of course why banning "racial profiling" is absurd. Its no different from any other type of profiling.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2003
  25. Mar 24, 2003 #24

    In which (utopic) fantasy world have you been living the past couple of years. As far as I can remember the US and other western countries have fougth in more then 6 wars in the past 50+ years (or do you not count the wars which are not fought in your own country but somebodies elses??) Korea,vietnam, falklands, somalia, afghanistan, yuogoslavia, Iran, Iraq only to name a few. And then you haven't even mentioned the Cold WAR. Even though this wasn't a conventional war this doesn't mean it is no war.

    I'm sorry, but this is really shortsigthed and is exactly the sort of thing people around the world are aggitating against. It is very arrogant to think that this is due to US only, since it couldn't have happened without the help of all other countries involved.

    This is not the way I percieve it.... I think that we are having a higher degree of freedom at the moment. Actors, for instance aren't allowed to demonstrate against the war in Iraq for instance. Martin Sheen is getting kicked out of his TV series for protesting aginst the war. And most arab's in your country are afraid to protest against it since 9-11.

    That was exactly the american standpoint until Hitler declared war on the US and the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I don't think this has any relevance for the current disscusion since the world changed quite a bit since then.

    On the other hand Bush has made it "perfectly clear" a couple of times that any country who doesn't agree with him is against him....And that wasn't just in the war on terrorism. Also since France and Germany took another standpoint then the US for the first time since WWII, they are being isolated by the US as "punishment" for not working for the US. For instance, reporters from french or german media are denied all access to US/British information on Iraq.

    Not true (anymore), yesterday (sunday) evening after a bombing raid the lights in a large part of Bagdad went out....

    I can agree with you that it seems at the moment to be so that democracy is the best way to organize your country. However to state that this has been done PERFECTLY in the US seems a little bit to much credit. The way you are painting this picture is a bit strange if you think of the numerous problems your country has. I will only mention a few: healthcare, education, weapon related crime, the enormous drive to make money and not think about the rest. (with the last statement i was refering to Enron) I'm really happy that our government does not have the same policy on some of these issues as yours.

    Instead of going on the lonely tour, as Bush has been doing for the last two years, the US would do better to work together with all countries that are free and democratic without the restriction that they should do whatever the US seems best.
    (and don't give me that bull**** that the US never bullies: they have been doing that on more then one occassion)
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2003
  26. Mar 24, 2003 #25
    Just out of curiosity Mr. Waters, have you ever lived anywheres else, other then the United States, as in, is your current expression of opinion based upon anything, as in experiance of other countries, or is it simply You have lived in the US all your life and know nothing about living in any other countries, nothing what-so-ever.

    Please, which is it, or is it a combination??

    Canada actually has better "Freedom of Speech" laws then the US. We protect the rights of our older, and younger citizens, from the oppression/reprisal of hate speech that cause some of them, in your country, to remain silent, out of FEAR!

    The purpose of good legislative governance is to legislate a social environment/atmosphere absent of fear!!
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