Friday, December 17, 2004

 

Super Patriotism


I was sometimes surprised by the severity of some of the responses I received through comments at some criticisms I have made. Any criticism of government policies is rashly labeled anti-Americanism.

I cannot honestly say that this mindset is the prevalent one in the USA, but it certainly exists and it has a name: Super Patriotism. This is somewhat surprising to me because I see the US as a sort of microcosm of the whole world; few nations or races are not represented. So many Americans do seem to reflect a truly global outlook that does not have much of an animosity component towards the rest of the world in it. Yet, those other people appear to have the upper hand at the moment.

Some time ago in this blog, I was particularly taken aback by the intensity and ferocity of someone's reaction to comments (by other fellow Americans) until he mentioned the fact that he was a naturalized US citizen as an adult. Sometimes it seems to me that some (mind you, some) of the new comers into the States somehow feel that they need to prove themselves to be "patriotic Americans" (no offence intended). They become aggressive on questions of criticism of the country… frequently they are on the defensive and lash back violently. In short: they become "more royal than the king"! Has this sort of attitude entrenched itself unconsciously into American culture so that people are no longer aware of it?

Am I correct to have this impression? Mind you, it is just an impression… from a distance! Are Australians and New Zealanders different in this respect? Is it raw power that affects some people? There is no intended sarcasm in this post. I really want to know.

We could all learn a thing or two from "old Europe". The roots of many of your values come from there. Britain is now a close ally of the US. Perhaps it would be less offensive to suggest learning something from them. The best jokes about Britain and its governments come from Britain; The English, Welsh and Scottish generally relish a good joke about their country. Yet, you can find a great deal of "subtle" patriotism in good old Britain! They generally don't have to be fierce about it… because they don't feel they need to prove it to anyone.

I have received a good deal of free advice on this blog (some of it patronizing, from people younger than my own children). I, in turn, would like to offer such people one piece of advice: If you want to be a true American, then study the words and wisdom of the Founding Fathers of your country. It was that wisdom and foresight that helped make your new country great, not the "kill 'em all" cowboy mentality that we see in some of the bad Western movies. That mentality may have expanded the country, but it was the guiding philosophy set by those good men that made it great. Look how far back in the history of other countries they looked to find the basic principles of a good system of government which they then built upon.



Comments:

Circular gets in first as usual:
Superpatriotism. "Are Australians and New Zealanders different in this respect? Is it raw power that affects some people?"
Is that question directed at me?
N.Z. in particular committed some colonial excesses in the Pacific, but that was many years ago.
Generally speaking, although both countries since the 1950’s have shed their inferiority complex in respect of the Mother Country, Britain, they haven’t had any reason to develop arrogant attitudes internationally (except in sport.) We are just too small - so we are proud of our countries, yes, but not interested in exporting any values, certainly not forcibly, and I think generally we are willing to listen to criticisms from visitors.
On a slight tangent, I read somewhere recently that only 15% of Americans have travelled outside the US (and until recently GWB was one of the ones that hadn’t.) Can that possibly be true? If so, it might have something to do with "superpatriotism." NZers, because of our isolation, are the world’s most travelled people, the Big O.E. (Overseas Experience) is virtually a compulsory rite of passage for the young. They generally return in a pretty laid back state.
I hadn’t travelled internationally for 30 years, but recently I flew to Aussie and back. What struck me on the flights was the multinational makeup of the travellers - Asians of many origins, Europeans speaking a dozen languages, lots of Indians, and Arabs. (You could spot them easily - they walked funny because of the Kalashnikovs hidden in their trousers.) The cabins and transit lounges were like the Tower of Babel, but I didn’t hear many grating American accents - well, they’re grating to our ears, because we still haven’t mastered the difficult trick of moving our lips when we speak.
Now a superpatriot should be offended by that last remark.
But like I’ve said before, 6 billion of us, 400 million of them. Its a big world, better to all just get along?
 
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Hmmm ... I went looking for a figure for how many Americans actually own a passport ... and although I couldn't find an exact number, this source would seem to confirm that whatever the number is, it is pretty darned low. I had heard the 22% figure myself.

And of that 22%, I would bet that many are like me ... they got a passport for one foreign trip ages ago [Russia in 1974] and have never used one since. Insular, indeed. My distinct impression is that many, many Americans fear foreign cultures ... fear anything they don't understand, for that matter. And for many, many Americans, that fear trumps all compassion.

Pat K., California
 
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From my own experiences, there's a lot to that question that I could respond to but I'll just think on it for a while and come back later.

Although I have to admit, this last post seems very out of voice for Abu compared to previous posts as well anything in other Iraqi blogs I read. I had to look back up to the URL to make sure I was on the same site. Do more than one person post under the name Abu?
 
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If I'm understanding the language rules properly, Abu Khaleel means "Father of Khaleel", so it just indicates that he has a son named Khaleel, and that is not neccesarily the name he was born with. (Correct me if I'm wrong, please.)

As to the Super Patriots, it's an excellent observation. But please don't get the impression that "most of America" feels that way. A very large number of people in America have been opposed to the invasion and occupation of your country before it even began. Not everyone believes that we have some manifest destiny to export our form of government around the world.

Good luck and stay safe. Keep blogging. You're a very good writer and provide some great insight into the real citizens of Iraq who are having to deal with the fallout from this horrible war.
 
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Super Patriotism exists. It is not the majority, it is vocal. I suspect that Americans are no more proud of their country than others however the culture in America is that it is appropriate to visibly display this pride whereas, in other countries, the visual manifestations are discouraged. In the US that 'overt' acts of patriotic display are encouraged. This leads, in part, to super patriotism.

Another possible casue is that America is the worlds whipping boy. No matter what America does, or doesn't do for that matter, she will be critizcied; Right, wrong or completely uninvolved - the US will be critized for it. If the Government of New Zeeland dose something wrong they will be critcized in New Zeeland (and perhaps Austrailia) but not in Tajikistan. The US does anything and some people will complain the world over - even on the odd chance that we did the right thing. We certainly almost never hear any organization telling us we did anything right. Individuals do, upon occasion, organizations, if they do, it doesn't make the papers. It can get very annoying after a while.

Still, it is an explanation, not an excuse for what is, essentially, bad manners.

On the issue of the naturalized citizen. They do have a tendency to take it stronger than many who grew up here. They have a different perspective on what this country has to offer than those born here. There's an old saying in relations to religions, "there are no feelings so strong as those of a convert." (I mangled that, but that's the general idea.)

On the travel thing. No, Americans certainly do not do as much foreigh travel as do most Europeans. Of course you travel 2,000 miles from NYC and you're probably either in Miami or Denver - you haven't even made it to San Francisco yet (other directions and you're in the middle of the Atlantic or visiting polar bears north of the Artic circle) Whare do you end up if you went 2000 miles from Baghdad or Aukland?

In general it is my believe that most Americans are people. No more and no less evil than anyone else.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
Now you are being coy;-). You are very familiar with the super patriots of Iraq--I used to see pictures of them swarming about Saddam with real love and affection. The superpatriots are a similar insect species, native to America and highly protective of their native home. Weak, troubled individuals compromise the greater good of the swarm and their contagious non-instinctive thinking is in fact useless mischief-making, unproductive to the swarm as a whole. The eyes of these 'drones' are ever vigilant in the hunt for 'defectives'. And you think humans are a higher species!
"Go to the ant thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."
 
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an interesting but long analysis:
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=11&ItemID=6883

Peter Hofmann
 
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or red thid: http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff12172004.html
 
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From Circular
Re: the comment by Pat K. above.
I’m not sure to what extent "passport holder" necessarily equates to "traveller," but I suppose what matters is what proportion of adult Americans have experienced other countries/cultures, not counting Canada, in say the last 30 years. Would I be correct in guessing that whatever the overall figure is, there would probably have been many more travellers from the blue fringes than from the red heartland? (And more recent immigrants living in blue than in red?)
Relates to what I was trying to say above about it being a big, interconnected, and quite sophisticated world, becoming on the whole more rather than less peaceful - a world in which superpatriotic fantasies about hegemony and empire are increasingly out of place. In the idiom of English soccer fans:
* NOBODY RULES, O.K.!!! *
And incidentally this applies to Muslim Supremacists just as much as it does to midwestern soccer Moms keen to export their values to a world they’ve never seen.
 
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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
I've just read my evening paper.
It says they're gunna make a movie about the Battle of Fallujah, starring Harrison Ford as a brave Marine General.
I take back anything moderate or friendly I've ever said about America.
These guys aren't Super Patriots, Abu, they're Super Lunatics!
Where's the heroism in 15,000 Marines, with tanks and planes out the Wazoo, taking on a couple of thousand lightly armed insurgents?
(What's that? Oh, it was only 14,231 Marines. Well that makes all the difference. Pardon me.)
"U.S. Marines, Cities Destroyed While-U-Wait! No Town Too Small!"
Movie should make a bundle in the Heartland, the Reality-Free Zone.
'Scuse me, gotta go barf.
Ovoid, formerly Circular, now a bit out of shape.
 
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I will just respond right off to the previous poster's impression that the film will be a fluff peice about the bravery of Marines in the first Fallujah assault. Harrison Ford is not known for his jingoism and Hollywood is not pleased with the war. It will likely be a cutting commentary.

As for Super Patriotism, Abu Khaleel, I believe the answer, to put it very simply, is that Americans are very sensitive these days (aren't we all, all nations and peoples). They are not very well versed in the cultures of other peoples--we are a net exporter of pop culture after all--and feel, whether it's right or wrong, that we are held to a higher standard than any other nation put in the historical position we're in. It's really not just our problem--there are lots of folks in the middle east who don't know anything about the western way of gender relations--plenty of ignorance on both sides.

Add to this the fact that we've become a very smart alecky and sarcastic to the point of disgusting culture--blame the kids who want to be too cool for anything to matter to them--and you can easily mistake American bravado for callousness. The stock in trade of the American is the insurgent ideal--not insurgent like what is going on in Iraq--but meaning, willing to stick out your chin, jump in to a bad situation, and come out smelling like a rose. That tradition has taken a beating in the last sixty years, but it hasn't been bred out of us like it has the French, the German, the Russian, or the Brit--it's not their fault that the most brave (and ostensibly the most loyal) died by the millions in two world wars. They're understandably more willing to accept self-deprecation.

This American, for his part, hopes for the best in Iraq, and for its people, and hopes that those circumstances which will predicate America withdrawing from Iraq, and Iraq having peace and prosperity as an ally come about.
 
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There are two aspects to consider:

Extreme nationalism comes when a nation's people feel the values that define them as a nation are threatened. From the 70s up to 9/11 the US was blissfully unaware of their growing unpopularity in the mideast. So when 9/11 came along we were blindsided. One might say: What about the iranian hostage crisis? what about the Iran contra? What about the gulf war in 1991? What about the constant war between israel and palestine? Well, those kind of things just weren't very high in the social consciousness. Sure the information was available, but those topics don't sell a lot of advertising.

So 9/11 was a blind side and instantly we can rationally fear a nuclear attack from within the US by terrorists. Is the fear warranted? We do get reminded on a quarterly basis (from a terrorist audio or video tape released to some mideast media agency) that some kind of "bigger than 9/11" attack is in the mix. And that kind of thing does sell commercials. But it also puts this sense of losing our way of life.

I spent a year studying International Business in Denmark. And the one thing clear about the Danes. Their flag is everywhere. It's the most common symbol I saw over there. The pride they had in their flag was enormous. This was pre-911 and No one in America would fly their flag with any great consistency. You'd see that flag at various buildings and such, but most people wouldn't fly their flag. After 9/11 the Flag was huge. So for whatever reason, when we saw our own national mortality was more a possibility than anyone imagined, the flag went up.

But it's died down since, the flag is no where near as present now then 3 years ago.

Add to that the fact that America suffers everybody's ire. We've become everybody's favorite punching bag whether it's justified or not. I personnally think it's an abismal failure in defining the right message, but W was never big on communication. Add to that the fact that Americans are a very competitive people. We don't suffer criticism well in anything personal or national.

Add to that the fact that the middle east is on the other side of the planet. It makes it safe to lash out in a comments section (the flare up comments that demonstrate "super patriotism" are more emotional self-varifying outbursts than anything else I know cause I've done it myself). And the distance makes it hard to get any sense of the real picture no many how many blogs offer their perspective onthings.

But at the end of the day. I don't see massive American crowds hopping up and down in the street shouting for any other nation's death. And the massive crowds that gather in protest are usually anti-war and anti government. You never see arguments about religion or war escalate to a shouting match or a street fight.

But I do recognize that the middle east fears the loss of it's identity and the nationalism there is on the rise. And I know that that Americans senses a bigger 9/11 on the horizon and the outward demonstrations of nationalism have calmed down and maybe that "Super Patriot" is a real personal thing, expressed over beers sometimes and in the comment section other times. So for that reason I think the "super patriot" mentioned in this post is a common reponse to a simple frightened American that doesn't know much about how to communicate or persuade and has no reason to try and understand a war on the other side of the planet.
 
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I forgot to delete the line "two things to consider" at the start of my post. It doesn't make much sense since I brought up more than two things. Anyway I should start hitting that "preview" button.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
One thing which I have noticed about the upsurge in the Superpatriot phenomenon is that it is tied to the tremendous decline of American political and economic power worldwide and a commensurate loss of leadership. The globalization forces which enrich the wealthy are eroding the standard of living in America and the middle class is fightened. They see 'the hand writing on the wall' and feel helpless and prefer to live in a nostalgic fog than adapt to realities. Normally Americans would become isolationist but the interests of global corporations and the 911 attacks have fed the neocon-imperialistic dream, which the developing world will never accept and which will never win over a majority of Americans for long.
 
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One thing I find is that pro-America immigrants often carry un-American (not anti-American) baggage with them when they come here. I had a friend who emigrated from the USSR. We had many long discussions about how bad authoritarianism is, etc. One time I was saying that I thought that fighting totalitarianism was a good thing, but that we were going about it in a counterproductive way. He said, "Who are you to be questioning your leaders?"

I think that the superpatriotism that one sometimes sees among immigrants is an application of fascist-style emotionalism imported into an environment where it doesn't really belong.

Now if only I had such an easy explanation for superpatriotism among native citizens...
 
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"Superpatriot phenomenon is that it is tied to the tremendous decline of American political and economic power worldwide"

This comment implies an American fear of losing their way of life or their identity and I think it's right on in the political realm, but it's off base by thinking it's tied to a loss of economic power.

While the problems with US political cache in the world are evident. a "tremendous decline" in economic power is not such an easy comment to make in such broad fasion while remaining accurate. The complex intricacies of the global economy doesn't wrap up in any simple terms. Most events in this realm like the declining value of the US dollar carries both positives and negatives for the US.

From my experience most people, despite nationality, live in some kind of fog regarding what they'd like to believe and what actually exists. It's just a part of the human condition. I've met Germans, Danes, Brits, Aussies, Iranians, Japanese, Chezchs, Italians, Canadians, and US folks who live in thier own little fogs and I'm sure I've got a nice one of my own.

I thought the "Super Patriot" experience Abu mentioned related to US commentors who use inflamed language in the comments sections of these kind of sites with regard to justifying America's actions. And I reassert that it is just a response people make cause they can get away with it. They're sick of feeling misunderstood (blame US foreign policy for that as the previous post mentions), they are frustrated, they are not good communicators or writers and they just blow up, and let off steam in some Iraqi bloggers comment section.
 
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"America is the worlds whipping boy. No matter what America does, or doesn't do for that matter, she will be critizcied;"
"Americans are very sensitive these days"
"We've become everybody's favorite punching bag whether it's justified or not."
Three similar comments from different posters seem to point to a definite theme, with which I would beg to differ. There’s doubtless a sort of common world envy of US wealth, probably a common fear of her military might in many countries, and her economic influence, perhaps a common dislike of aspects of her "culture."
But as I tried to imply in my airport comment, I think most countries, and their inhabitants, are very much into "doing their own thing" these days. (And generally this doesn’t involve any strong inclination to settle disputes militarily, certainly no-one that I can think of has any apparent intention to invade and conquer any neighbours. As is being convincingly demonstrated by you-know-who, this is not as easy as it sounds.) For most of us, America is just "there," something you have to put up with, like the weather?
I suggest that what Abu calls "superpatriotism" is a form of "my country right or wrong." There’s a natural preference to be in the right, which leads to rationalisations - that seems to me partly why "get the WMD and Al Qaeda links" transformed into "get rid of Saddam and his gang" and then into "bring Freedom and Democracy." Next will presumably be "Make the election results work."
But isn’t the real problem those who support and defend their country’s actions without reservation, and can’t admit that it might be in the wrong? Is that what he means by "superpatriotism?" And is it synonymous with "ultranationalism?"
Circular
 
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Hello Circular,
I agree there always have been many American 'Saddamists', but this phenomenon is deeper, and not confined to 'nut jobs'. Many normal middle class people have lost confidence in the future and they listen to right-wing hate speech which blames Muslims, the french[who?], 'the left',etc.for all the their problems without seriously challenging their thinking. For example, Bush is introducing work change rules that would eliminate overtime pay for millions of Americans, which they serously depend upon, during the election! It looked like suicide. Astoundingly, there was no public reaction. A spirit of angry resignation stoked by 'conservative talk' propagandists is everywhere. We need to 'take stock' of the situation, face up to our problems and try to move forward. For that we need civility and real leadership and that is gone.
 
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"...this phenomenon is deeper, and not confined to 'nut jobs'. Many normal middle class people have lost confidence in the future and they listen to right-wing hate speech which blames Muslims..."

It's no deeper than the split you saw on the US Bush/Kerry election night. And not all Conservatives are what we in america know as the Jerry Falwell or 700 Club extremists. I grew up in a family of conservative Republicans (even have an uncle in National Congress) and I've never heard any of these folks talk ill of muslims or express anything but hope for a peaceful middle east (And we talk a lot of politics). To balance out that bit of personal info I'll also say my friends and coworkers are more democrat. My Democrat friends think I'm a conservative and my Republican family thinks I'm a liberal. I've probably met 3 people in the last 2 years that I would catagorize as a Christian extremist. But I live in a large city and rural areas seem to keep most of the extreme conservative population.
 
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Hello fathom,
You appear to be a rather congenial fellow. But I must ask-what election did you see? I saw signs saying 'Support President Bush and Our Troops[ whose troops?]' everywhere and TV ads calling John Kerry a traitor, I saw Bush with a forest of American Flags behind him threating mideast countries with war and destruction and calling for a crusade[Bush mis-spoke?] to bring 'freedom and democracy' to the Middle East. I am also shocked at the divisions between the parties and merciless triumphalism of the GOP 'mandate', with no oliver branch to the other America. Beyond the religious right, there are non religious partisan 'conservatives' who surreptitiously hate immigrants, blacks, and openly hate democrats, the federal government,etc. These are the conservatives I was speaking of, who have lost faith in a better future and who listen to harsh demagogues like Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh and fume at America's external and internal enemies.
 
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I don't claim to have it all figured out. Just commenting on my personal experience and I'm no genius, but I do tend to observe what's going on in my surroundings. that said:

"I saw signs saying 'Support President Bush and Our Troops[ whose troops?]' everywhere"

----Of all the highway-loads of cars I drive along the side of, I see a handful of Bush and Kerry bumper stickers not in overwhelming numbers since the election. And it was an election year so you're going to see those types of things in greater numbers than usual. Now the election is over and the signs are scarce or at least I don't notice them.


"TV ads calling John Kerry a traitor"

----No disagreeing with your sentiment there. The way the two parties went after eachother in the media was shameful. The truth is these ads are sociologically engineered through focus testing procedures that measure what hot buttons can be pushed with each demographic. Throw the truth out the window on those things. While they are heavily targeted they are hardly representational of the overall party they are trying to promote.

"Bush with a forest of American Flags behind him threating mideast countries with war and destruction and calling for a crusade[Bush mis-spoke?] to bring 'freedom and democracy' to the Middle East"
----That's a media event for you. If there is a media event at play you can pretty much accept the fact that it has very little to do with reality and more to do with staging. There is nothing spontaneous going on when Bush is addressing an audience. Nothing spontaneous that is besides his difficulty with pronouncing things. I don't think he ever came out and plainly said "I'm threatening you with war and destruction" but he has made comments form which one could infer that idea. Overall this administration is piss poor at communicating a clear message about much of anyhting. They do say the same thing over and over again, but that's hardly equal to being clear.

"I am also shocked at the divisions between the parties and merciless triumphalism of the GOP 'mandate', with no oliver branch to the other America"
----The exclusionary behavior of the Republican party is one of the reasons I can't sign along side them (that and they are all too wiling to turn moral values into policy). There is, however, a rising moderate trend that is hopeful. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger (sp?) he came into office with his own cache as far as public awareness is concerned. Normally a politician would have to make a lot of promises to special interests to get that kind of cache, but not Arnold. As a result his cabinet in California has people form both parties and he's able to break through a lot of beurocratic hold ups because he doesn't owe anybody anything for his position. He's free to make enemies in the business sector is it's the right thing for the people. He's doesn't believe turning values into policy like the rest of his party. And, as I understand it, he's finnally getting California's electric grid back in top shape after a decade of chronic electricity peoblems in the state. He is an immigrant as well. I'm not saying he's being held up as a model of good Republican behavior by the rest of the party. There are moderates like this in both parties who are stepping away from partylines. It's not proof that there aren't a lot of "super patriots" but it is a positive sign.

"Beyond the religious right, there are non religious partisan 'conservatives' who surreptitiously hate immigrants, blacks, and openly hate democrats, the federal government,etc."
---That's a pretty broad stroke. I know there are always people who hate. But this isn't the kind of thing you can readily know about any given individual and I just haven't had the experiences to support your claim. Your comment sounds more like a general sense. Feel free to be more specific though, I'll listen to what you have to say.

"These are the conservatives I was speaking of, who have lost faith in a better future and who listen to harsh demagogues like Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh and fume at America's external and internal enemies."
---I don't care for those guys either. But remember they represent the ratings and the companies that advertise with them. and nothing gathers up ratings like conflict and obnoxious personalities. Ther popularity is half political and half rubber necking. Still I don't see what you mean by saying these guys have lost faith in a better future, but they sure as hell aren't making much of an effort to achieve one. But if you're saying their listeners have lost faith in a better future, I'd have to say that sounds more like a feeling than something you could actually know for certain.

But I'm not really sure I know where you think I'm coming from. I'm saying the amount of people that represent the harshly exclusive republican base are a number less than you saw vote for president Bush. ie. Not all republicans are hate-filled, morally exclusive, warmongering, racist, ignorant peole. I'm friends with a good number of people from both parties and these friends of mine aren't assholes. Which, to be honest, is what we're really talking about. Someone who surreptitiously hates immigrants and blacks is pretty mcuh an asshole. And I've met plenty of assholes from both parties I just don't choose to be friends with them. So saying Republican doesn't equal asshole is a good thing. It's THAT many fewer assholes in the world than you thought. Embrace the positive.

All right I got carried away, it happens, it's 1:11am over here and I have no business doing anything but sleeping.
 
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Parting thought from http://www.roadtosurfdom.com/surfdomarchives/002950.php
Don’t know how authentic it is.

Last night I had an interesting conversation with a friend who works on Capitol Hill. He was recently part of a Congressional delegation that went to India. The delegation was mainly Republicans.
They spoke to a lot of Indian government people and the message from them was very clear, and in a nutshell it was this: We don't much care about America. He said they were very polite but almost indifferent. Maybe matter-of-fact is a better description. The conversation went something like this:
We consider ourselves as in competition with China for leadership in the new century. That's our focus and frankly, you have made it very difficult for us to deal with you. We find your approach to international affairs ridiculous. The invasion of Iraq was insane. You've encouraged the very things you say you were trying to fix - terrorism and instability. Your attitude to Iran is ridiculous. You need to engage with Iran. We are. We are bemused by your hypocrisy. You lecture the world about dealing with dictators and you deal with Pakistan. We are very sorry for your losses from the 9/11 terror attacks. Welcome to our world. You threaten us with sanctions for not signing the non-proliferation treaty, but you continue to be nuclear armed and to investigate new weapons. You expect us to neglect our own security because you want us to. We don't care about sanctions.
They also spoke about economic development and the message here was that we're doing fine thanks. We can't address the poverty in our country wholesale--most of it is rural poverty anyway--but we find we have skills in the hi-tech area. We will continue to pursue that. We currently produce around 10,000 science PhDs a year. We will build up a rich, well-educated strata.
Another thing he said that was mentioned a number of times was the relationship with Australia. They spoke of educational exchanges and the growing number of immigrants. Australia was thought of highly.
Like I said, this was a Congressional delegation and it spoke to key people in the Indian government. I gather it was a real eye-opener for those involved. (Having friends back home who have worked on Indian issues for Australian governments going back twenty years, I doubt you would get the same level of surprise.)
Circular
 
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To Cricular,

I'm not surprised.

In situations such as you descibe in India, I hope this administration is learning and adapting, but I doubt it. I think it'll take a major system disruption for those guys to learn anything: Say a major Terrorist attack in the US that amounts to more than a "bloody nose" or perhaps a scandal such as the prisoner abuse attrocities running all the way to the top.

And India may not need much from the American government because it gets what it needs form America through business relationships.

It'd be interesting to see how that meeting would have gone if instead of a delegation of republican politicians they were visited by Kevin Rollins, the President of Dell computers. They would have been a lot more positive about that relationship I suspect.
 
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This is one American song:

Greenday "American Idiot"

Don't want to be an American idiot
Don't want a nation under the new mania
Hey, can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America

Chorus:
Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alienation
Everything isn't meant to be OK
Television dreams of tomorrow
We're not the ones meant to follow
For that's enough to argue

Well, maybe I'm the faggot America
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda
Now everybody do the propaganda
And sing along to the age of paranoia

Chorus

Don't wanna be an American idiot
One nation controlled by the media
Information age of hysteria
It's calling out to idiot America

Chorus

--------------------------
After all, not all Americans are superpatriots...
 
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Somewhat related to Circular's post about India positioning itself to be one of the top players in the global economy. This article points to the rift between the liberal leanngs of Indians joining a global culture and the social conservatism of their gorvernment:

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041221/D874AVQG0.html
 
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