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How Europeans View Us

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Ann Jones, AlterNet, January 11, 2015: Is the U.S. Crazy?

    Ann Jones writes from the perspective of an American expatriate living in Europe, and often faced with the hard questions that baffles many Europeans, Asians, and Africans about the "increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States." America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” are seen as just crazy. She recently returned to the USA for a visit and had this to say:

    "It struck me there that most Americans have no idea just how strange we now seem to much of the world. In my experience, foreign observers are far better informed about us than the average American is about them. This is partly because the “news” in the American media is so parochial and so limited in its views both of how we act and how other countries think -- even countries with which we were recently, are currently, or threaten soon to be at war."

    I would agree with Ann Jones having spent a good portion of my working life as an expatriate overseas. Whenever I returned, I needed a reality check, and when I ultimately returned for good it was a bit of a culture shock as I learned about Fox News and other media sources, and ordinary people seemed so often to be in "La La Land." Or maybe it was just me that was the oddball.

    Jones writes about her experiences, and her article above is worth reading. I know that Dutch and I share many of her observations and views.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Ann Jones, AlterNet, January 11, 2015: Is the U.S. Crazy?

    Ann Jones writes from the perspective of an American expatriate living in Europe, and often faced with the hard questions that baffles many Europeans, Asians, and Africans about the "increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States." America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” are seen as just crazy. She recently returned to the USA for a visit and had this to say:

    "It struck me there that most Americans have no idea just how strange we now seem to much of the world. In my experience, foreign observers are far better informed about us than the average American is about them. This is partly because the “news” in the American media is so parochial and so limited in its views both of how we act and how other countries think -- even countries with which we were recently, are currently, or threaten soon to be at war."

    I would agree with Ann Jones having spent a good portion of my working life as an expatriate overseas. Whenever I returned, I needed a reality check, and when I ultimately returned for good it was a bit of a culture shock as I learned about Fox News and other media sources, and ordinary people seemed so often to be in "La La Land." Or maybe it was just me that was the oddball.

    Jones writes about her experiences, and her article above is worth reading. I know that Dutch and I share many of her observations and views.
    As always, Schmidt right on; I've been saying that forever on this site; sorry but the US wants to be an "island" with a huge "fear" factor.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I know I'm ashamed to admit where I come from!
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: "It struck me there that most Americans have no idea just how strange we now seem to much of the world. In my experience, foreign observers are far better informed about us than the average American is about them. This is partly because the “news” in the American media is so parochial and so limited in its views both of how we act and how other countries think -- even countries with which we were recently, are currently, or threaten soon to be at war."
    I fully agree with this quote. Spending long periods of time in South America and Ireland last year really opened my eyes up to how the rest of the world views America. I can't tell you how many conversations I had with both South Americans and the Irish about this. They seemed to be so much more informed than many Americans are. They tended to like me because I was just as informed as them about the current state of affairs in America.

    However, there is one thing I consistently noticed in both South America and Ireland--nearly everyone I had discussions with were able to separate their disdain of American foreign policy with their love of the American people they have met. This is a very important thing for Americans to understand. We, personally, are not hated throughout much of the world. The people who represent us are. I can't tell you how many conversations I had on both sides of the Sea where the individual just couldn't believe the dichotomy between our politicians and the people they represent. They also couldn't believe that a quarter of eligible voters actually partake in elections. I told them that we get what we vote for...
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Jared -- Yes I agree. Americans as a whole are not viewed the same as our government, especially when foreign policy is concerned. I think that distinction really applies to many of us expatriates that chose overseas assignments, and in doing so recognized that we would have to live and adapt to different cultures. It doesn't apply to everyone, however. I know some American expatriates that could not adapt, and all they did was complain and criticize while socializing amongst themselves.

    I considered it honor to have been invited into the homes of our foreign hosts and to be able to talk politics and drink beer (or shahee) with them. It was an immensely rewarding cultural experience that I will cherish forever. The American tourist is also a mixed bag. Many have done their homework and really appreciated what they went overseas to experience. A few others are culturally insensitive.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Jared -- Yes I agree. Americans as a whole are not viewed the same as our government, especially when foreign policy is concerned. I think that distinction really applies to many of us expatriates that chose overseas assignments, and in doing so recognized that we would have to live and adapt to different cultures. It doesn't apply to everyone, however. I know some American expatriates that could not adapt, and all they did was complain and criticize while socializing amongst themselves.

    I considered it honor to have been invited into the homes of our foreign hosts and to be able to talk politics and drink beer (or shahee) with them. It was an immensely rewarding cultural experience that I will cherish forever. The American tourist is also a mixed bag. Many have done their homework and really appreciated what they went overseas to experience. A few others are culturally insensitive.
    Schmidt and Jared; yes it is indeed our foreign policies; of course you can't count tourists; they just visit for the sites to see; not for the culture or politics.I meet so many people who have been there but absolutely never took the time to research on how those countries think and get other news than here. They've got to have CNN also there because they don't understand the language.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Anyway; if I'm in a store here and say something in Dutch to my wife; they stare at me if I'm from outerspace; so if they are in Europe they must think the same thing; i.e. that they have landed on Mars. 90% here know only Spanish or English; so no wonder they isolate themselves on this island. Thus of course they are stuck on the US sourse news only. When I went to school you had to learn at least 4 mandatory languages (speech/writing); Dutch, German, French, English(Spanish optional)
  • Independent
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    crazy is as crazy does. or something like that. bread and circuses or at least the mirage of bread being available and the reality of circuses and the people are happy. oh look gas prices are down! everything must be wonderful again.

    we now return to our regularly scheduled mind-swapping, brainless, sophomoric, juvenile steaming pile of idiocy.

    in a hundred years i'll be dead, so will the united states. just another failed empire.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Just in time for this thread is this article from Salon ;

    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/13/have_americans_gone_crazy_partner/
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    pgr Wrote: Just in time for this thread is this article from Salon ;

    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/13/have_americans_gone_crazy_partner/
    Thanks PGR; a correct piece; I hope Jared reads it ; then he knows why all the "refuge's go to Europe; a lot thanks to our wars.