The View from Abroad: The World is not Billy Bob’s Rib Pit

by Fred Reed via Fred on Everyghing

TSA I bet this won’t surprise you.       

The United  States is the most hated country in the world, followed closely by Israel, and  then by nobody. Why? Why not Ecuador? China? Russia? East Timor? The hostility puzzles  many Americans, who genuinely believe their country to be a force for good, a  pillar of democracy, a defender of human rights.

To the rest  of the world, none of this is even close.

If you have  lived abroad, as so very few Americans have, the explanation for the hatred is  obvious: Meddling. Relentless, prideful, uncomprehending meddling, frequently  military, often with horrendous death tolls. Americans, adroitly managed by a  controlled press, historically illiterate, incurious, decreasingly educated, either  have never heard of the American behavior that angers others, or believe it to  have been inspired by virtuous motives. Nobody else thinks so. Add to unfamiliarity with the wider  world the constantly inculcated assertion that America is the greatest, most  wonderful nation ever to exist, a light to the world, a shining city on a hill,  and you get a dangerously delusional state. Especially now. In the past,  American economic and military supremacy were such that the US didn’t have to  care what others thought. The times, they are a-changing.

It might be  wise to compare briefly the view through American and foreign eyes. Consider  Iraq. To most of the world, the war on Iraq was brutal, unprovoked, and  murderous. More than a few, looking at the ruins of Fallujah, thought of  Guernica—of which few in the States have ever heard.

Many Americans do not belive that we destroyed Iraq for oil, empire, and the Israel lobby, as was  in fact the case. No. We wanted to topple an evil dictator and dispense the  precious gift of democracy. It was a question of goodness. Many apparently  still believe that Iraq had something to do with the attacks on New York.  Again, controlled press, poor schooling, little curiosity.

Similarly,  Americans tend to see the war on Afghanistan as having to do with ending Terror  or sprouting democracy—not as the Great Game (“Hanh?”) redux, or the quest for  the TAPI pipeline (“Say whuh?”) or Caspian hydrocarbons. (“Caspian? You mean the  Friendly Ghost?”) To most of the world, Afghanistan is just another sorry spectacle  of American fighter-bombers killing peasants, of gutted children and drone  attacks on half-identified targets. This, the merciless use of overwhelming  firepower against lightly armed campesinos,  is what the world sees, over and over. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan.  It isn’t pretty.

I live in  Mexico. In countless towns, probably in every city of any size, you see streets  named Niños Heroes, Heroic Children. In  Guadalajara there is a traffic circle with an imposing monument to them. These things  commemorate the children who tried to fight the American soldiers invading  Mexico City. In that (purely acquisitive) war Mexico lost half its territory. Yet how many gringos know that it ever happened, or when, or for that matter  have ever heard of the bombardment of Veracruz or Pershing’s incursion?

Americans  who have some grasp of history sometimes say of the Mexican-American War that  Mexicans should “get over it.” Some might tell the Jews to get over the  Holocaust, or Americans to get over 9/11. It is much easier to tell people to  get over what you have done to them than to get over things they have done to  you.

Then there  is the War on Drugs. Americans believe this to be a campaign  against Evil—best conducted, of course, in  other people’s countries.

There are  other views. Thoughtful Mexicans (all I know, but I haven’t taken a poll) do  not see why drugs are Mexico’s problem. If gringos don’t want drugs, why do  they buy them? Why don’t they solve their own problems? It is no secret  internationally that American students in high school and universities use  drugs. Why don’t the Americans put their college kids in jail? And, they say,  probably correctly, that Washington, by sponsoring the elimination of big drug  lords, caused the current fighting among littler lords to control the trade,  thus creating carnage. Predictably, the flow of drugs northward was not affected.

Truculent patriots  at Billy Bob’s Rib Pit know none of this. The combination of clueless ignorance  and a sort of Walmart-parking-lot arrogance make mysterious to them much behavior  of other countries. Consider their view of Iran, an evil Arab country,  somewhere, that wants the Bomb so it can blow up Israel and New York. No  explanation occurs to them for Iran’s hostility to the US, which wants regime  change so Iranians can be democratic and have freedoms. Ask Billy Bobbers whether  they have even heard of, much less been in, major Iranian cities like Tehran,  Sulawesi, Sidon, or Tbilisi. No. Yet they are sure the inhabitants are  dangerous and un-American.

Iranians may  perhaps see things  differently. They know that in 1953 the democratically electeed prime minister Mohammed Mossadeg (“Mossy what?” they ask in the Rib Pit.) was overthrown by the CIA leaving the Shah (“Is that, like,  a person?”), a routinely ghastly dictator, in control. This had much to do with the  occupation of the US embassy in 1979, which was sold in the US as evidence of  the badness of Iranians.

Later, in 1988, the US Navy, in the form of the USS Vincennes, shot  down an Iranian airliner and killed everyone aboard. Americans shrugged it off:  Such things were doubtless necessary to stop terrorism. But imagine the outrage  if the Iranian navy shot down a US airliner.

Nobody  beyond the borders buys our song about spreading freedom and human rights.  America has supported countless sordid  dictators rulling by army and torture chamber (the Saudis being a current example).  We have put many dictators on their thrones, such as Pniochet (“That little  wooden guy, his nose got long when he told a lie, right?”) in Chile. (“Isn’t  that Texmex soup with beans in it?”) Others notice that the only country that  openly and proudly tortures prisoners is…us.

Always, the  underlying problem is meddling. Bin Laden’s guys didn’t attack New York because  it was a slow morning and they couldn’t think of anything else to do. They were  furious at US meddling in Moslem lands. You may  think, and I may think, that Islam is a primitive faith not well adapted to the  modern world. Fine. I may think that hornets do not have an ideal social  organization. But I know better than to poke their nest.

This is why  they hate us—meddling, bombing, invading, droning, telling them how to run their  countries. No, George, it is not because of our freedoms.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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2 Responses to The View from Abroad: The World is not Billy Bob’s Rib Pit

  1. Pingback: America is NOT the Greatest Country In the World | THE SCARECROW

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