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Americans - less welcome abroad due to the WOT?

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posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 10:43 AM
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This issue means a lot to me, because I'm an American who has spent most his life overseas (much of it in Britain), and have many friends from different countries and have learned to value an outsiders perspective. I've spent a lot of time talking with them about the current state of the world and the like.

A lot of times Americans feel like they don't need advice from the "outside" world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Speaking in terms of nations, America is a young country, and often can learn from the experience of nations which have found themselves in not entirely unsimilar situations in the past. The flip side of this is that few, if any, countries are free from their own historical periods of, shall we say, embarassing, shameful, or misguided behavior. Often people talking to Americans forget the histories of their own country and take what can be confused for an air of superiority.

I've found also that non-American people sometimes assume that Americans support every policy that their government espouses, and that makes them "fair game" for venting anger or frustration with said policies by said non-Americans. We're actually a pretty diverse bunch.


I don't really think anything has changed in terms of welcome. Granted my experience is primarily in Asia and Europe and not the Middle East, but before 9/11 you still had the occasional person who had an axe to grind regarding Americans, and those types are still around, but I haven't noticed any more of them than before. The average person has the intelligence to distinguish between America the nation and an indivdual human being who just happens to be American. There will always be some idiots but there will always (hopefully) be a lot more people who are happy to meet people from other cultures regardless of the perception of their governments.

IMHO, in a perfect world, the most important thing a travelling American should try to remember is "don't be arrogant," and the most important thing a foreigner meeting that American should remember is to judge him or her as an individual and not according to some preconception.




posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 11:18 AM
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Personally and as an US American, I do not believe that US Americans are wholly any “less welcome” than in previous era’s (of course, excluding the obvious regions) which is also relative to function while in a foreign state. The difference between a vacation tour and a functioning business trip are at two opposite ends of the spectrum as to whom one is usually associated, accompanied or exposed for the duration of any foreign stay.

From the business ‘function’ perspective one is usually treated fairly equally and in almost all instances very warmly. There have been many times I have been asked questions during an engagement abroad (such as a dinner or social function) about the general American mindset on some specific issues. This type of line of questioning is posed inquisitively, intellectually and is discussed rather than debated. Service and overall relative compared treatment has not diminished by any comparison of which I can speak.

The very few problems I have had as a tourist occur in open social environments where I have been perceptively verbally badgered, without being specifically questioned, simply because I am a US American. These types of events often occur in more social establishment and usually begin with the question of my nationality, eyes occasionally roll and then the finger pointing directed at the US government vicariously through me begins. Often this finger pointing begins with statements such as: “Look at what you have done…..”, “How can you allow….”, “You people do not understand….”, “When are you going to grow-up and….” (this list can go on) which are all really directed and associated with the US government and not me personally.

However, I find myself defending controversial US governmental actions or policies, which I may or may not support, indirectly in an attempt to defend myself while being verbally cornered. I can understand how an infrequent tourist may take these types of statements as a direct verbal attack. But it should be also understood that frequent controversial, sometimes heated, political discussions are socially commonplace in many nations (much more so than in the States) and many comments/statements which may be considered somewhat ‘out of place’ in the States are completely culturally acceptable in differing host nations. Mind your manners and remember you are a guest.


mg



posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 01:42 PM
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I read constantly, especially about current events, politics and the like. ANd what I have personally found out is that I get better news from the rest of the world, i.e. the Guardian and Independent, Italy, Australia and lots of other places. Americans are not told the truth by their government. We are lied to, misled and propagandized. Also, our educational system is not what it used to be. I think these are the reasons that foreigners consider Americans to be naive at best, and stupid sheep at the worst.

I haven't been abroad for 6 years, but I have traveled extensively enough before that (I was a flight attendant), enough to see for myself the extent to which America influences other nations. For one, we are the only country to use depleted uranium, which has the potential to destroy lives, mutate DNA and make the land barren - all for 4.5 billion years. Right now, there is DU floating around the airspace of Europe, so I've heard. THis is but one example of how the U.S. impacts the rest of the world. So, I feel everyone has a right to complain about how the U.S. pollutes the world, etc.
I love my country, I love the principles and valuesthat America has stood for and I hold our Constitution sacred, as it is the best bluelprint for democracy I've ever read. But we have strayed very far from the Constituiton and from democracy. I am heartbroken at what my country's govt has done to not just Americans, but the world. Others outside of America have tried to tell us we're going down the wrong path, but we don't listen. Instead we demonize the countries trying to tell us we're screwing up.

I like the way how Europeans talk about current events alot, compare notes, but best of all, discuss ideas and opinions, but not in a judgmental way. I'll never forget shortly after Watergate, going to Greece, where a Greek waiter and I talked about Nixon and Watergate. I told him I was embarrassed of our govt. He responded by saying "Why?" You Americans did something few other countries could have/would have ever done - you got rid of a president who wasn't serving the people." I have found out much information and different perspectives through talking to people from other countries, they can often be more objective about us than we are ourselves.

-Forestlady



posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 02:24 PM
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Originally posted by forestlady
I read constantly, especially about current events, politics and the like. ANd what I have personally found out is that I get better news from the rest of the world, i.e. the Guardian and Independent, Italy, Australia and lots of other places. Americans are not told the truth by their government. We are lied to, misled and propagandized. Also, our educational system is not what it used to be.

-Forestlady


You seems to be one of the few, congratulations by your discovery (seriously).



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