I've been to Europe twice, Mexico and Canada. The last time I was in Europe I went to Moldova (former Soviet block country).
The OP is correct in his initial assesment.
Americans are self-centered. We've been raised to think, "America is no. 1!" -- complete with a sports team mentality. Americans also tend to be
ignorant of social mores and nuances in other countries.
I remember enjoying a cigarette outside my hotel in Barcelona, Spain talking to one of the staff members. It turns out he was a Muslim from Egypt.
Having just completed an upper-division course titled, "Classical Islamic History" we had quite a bit to talk about.
In the end, he told me I was not like other Americans he had met. We also agreed that the people in power in the USA and the Muslim world are the ones
causing most of the violence. We have "radical politicians", and they have "radical clerics".
Moldova was an interesting experience. Being a former soviet/communist country, the people were very suspicious of Americans. They love everything
"American" but not so much the actual people. Americans were seen as loud, rude and selfish -- almost a "Cowboy" image.
I also encoutered quite a bit of anti-semitism in Moldova. I was asked if I was Jewish a few times and I said, "No". Then they jokingly asked me to
drop my pants and "prove it"
. Well, being a male born in the USA in the 80's, I am circumcised so I told them it wouldn't work.
If anyone thinks that Israel has a big influence on America -- it's the people overseas. They actually have to live with the fallout of our decision
to support Israel. In contrast, we sit back in our own continent and watch on CNN how things go down.
In the end I guess Americans need to get over themselves. I realize many Americans can't have opportunities to travel abroad, but a good solid higher
education can certainly make a person more "worldly".
This is probably the reason the top 10 states with the worst education are red states. I saw a recent study that showed that conservative-minded
people also have a more "American-Centric" mindset.
To me, this indicates that better educated people tend to be more "worldly".
Now, many conservative people will argue, "Who the hell cares about being worldly? This is 'Merica and we're No.1 -- you don't like it then get
the hell out!"
This is how the rest of the world sees us, unfortunatley. The conservative/right shouts the loudest, and thus Americans are viewed as stupid ignorant
rednecks (which nice clothes and good music).