26 February, 2007

EU Faux Pas in the US

Excellent post

More importantly you can flip most of them around and apply them as American Faux Pas elsewhere in the world.

I have done a lot of global traveling in my career and have stepped in a few muck piles in the process.


This comment I found particullarly appropiate in both directions.

" by far the majority believe that America itself has fundamentally very good intentions, and that the country really does want the best for everyone. This is not a concept you should challenge until you know someone at least quite well."

Not only is this point true but the essence of it often seems to be missed. Most Americans truly do want what is best for everyone. This is true regardless of the political persuasion of the person you are talking to. The most vehement anti war protester is motivated to improve things for people elsewhere and at the same time the most vehement adherent of nation building wants what is best as well.

This inherent good will is borne out by the fact that nations that happen to have been at war with the USA are far better off in the long run if we won (Germany, Japan, more recently Panama) than if they won or it was a stalemate (North Korea, Vietnam, even Mexico). Once we are done eliminating the perceived threat we want to leave (hell typically before we are done).

It is also one of our biggest weaknesses in that (I feel at least) we sometimes pull the trigger before the real threat is identified and help other entities and nations achieve their geopolitical goals by eliminating their rivals. The imbalances created cause no end of chaos.

The Flip side of this rule is also absolutely true.

Any European will absolutely not appreciate being told that the US helped them out in any war and will typically be insulted by it. I am certain that my above paragraphs are insulting to many for exactly that reason. Furthermore because they have seen and been impacted many nefarious intentions they certainly will not give the benefit of the doubt to any military actions initiated by the USA (or any power for that matter). If WW I or II are brought up they will almost immediately point out that far fewer Americans sacrificed their lives than Europeans.

Excellent post

1 comment:

Ron Southworth said...

Hi Jim Some interesting comments. A lot of my friends and mentors were WW2 Vets so what you wrote peaked my interest.

I wonder if you asked the Europeans etc what they thought of Aussies? I wonder if the answer would be the same or somewhat different.

Once the withdrawal of trops in the areas of conflict has occurred it would be interesting to see if your idea holds true and what would also be interesting is to see what the perception of the Aussies will be in comparison the the US troops.

I suppose I am proud of my mentors but I found on my travels around that once they knew I was an Aussie working for a US company I was treated a whole lot better and when challenged it was because of the Aussie diggers even in countries where the diggers fought against the locals. Maybe I am being too patriotic or just remembering some great people long forgotten by some.