23 October 2004

Seeing America from Abroad

The W. has successfully changed how the rest of the world regards Americans. The most prominent one is a change in attitude about Americans. If you don't leave the country often, it's hard to realize how completely George Bush's action have changed the attitudes the rest of the world has about America. A few years ago, attitudes about America and Americans (especially in Japan) were often positive. While we might be regarded as typically loud, somewhat overweight, and under-educated about history (all true), we also represented a very dynamic country with a huge opportunity for self-improvement and a record of supporting liberty more than anyone else could claim.

Now, attitudes are totally different. The rest of the world looks at us as a bunch of warmongering idiots, can't possibly understand why we elected George W. Bush as President or how we could possibl think of re-electing him, and general regards being American as a negative. If you're traveling overseas now, being American isn't something you mention quickly.

While people are understanding of the fact that not 100% of Americans support Bush's wars, the default perception of America has changed a lot. Japan has a somewhat less negative reaction, in my experience, than Europe. Europeans and especially young Europeans have a very negative view of recent American actions. The long-term implications of this for America's relations with Europe ought to worry any thinking person.

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