Wanting the World to Love America

Jim Camp
Issue CLXVI - June 30, 2008
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Americans, caught up in the daily struggles of their own lives, would be astonished to discover the degree and amount of news coverage America receives in the press of other nations, and they would be even more astonished to see the depth of interest in us from ordinary individuals in other countries.

People all over the world pay close attention to America and what we will and wonıt do.  Our policies, actions and non-actions are reported upon and broadcast via satellite, internet, and print every day by international news companies and agencies all over the world.

This is appropriate to a nation whose prosperity and indebtedness is directly linked to the fate of other nations. When America does well in the marketplace, it ripples out. The old saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” is true. It is very clear that what happens here affects the lives of others around the world. Almost all sell their products and agricultural surpluses to America, a nation where consumption is an obsession. We are, after all, the inventors of the supermarket, the shopping mall, and the charge account.

America holds the title “leader of the free world.” This has been bestowed upon us and delivered every day by the press of the world; a press that has often been educated and trained in the U.S.  Children from all nations come here by the tens of thousands to be educated and trained. They return to their countries strongly aware of the freedoms, comforts, and security Americans enjoy.

It is no surprise that, over the last sixty years, the rest of the world has grown accustomed to America taking action as America sees required. The ability and willingness of Americans to do what other nations often shrink from is taken for granted around the world.

Our passion for democracy and our hatred of tyranny has distinguished America since before the founding fathers and through to today. In my lifetime we rebuilt Europe.  We opposed the Soviet Union and saved Europe from their totalitarian system. We fought to keep South Korea free from communism.  We re-built Japan and helped a once terrible enemy become a great ally.

We fought a war against communism in Vietnam, halting its spread in South East Asia. It can be argued we succeeded in spreading capitalism throughout that area of the world.  Even China has opened its doors to capitalism and becomes more open every day. This is reflected in our current effort to transform Iraq and Afghanistan into nations where power shifts to “the consent of the governed” in a region where such ideas have never existed.

Americans want to be loved. They want America to be loved. We find nothing unusual in this because America has drawn our population from the people of the world, welcoming them to our shores, liberating them, treating them to the American dream, assimilating them into our culture, welcoming them as new citizens.  In our minds we should be loved. But does our desire to be loved pose a danger?

In my book, No: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home, I address our individual and, by extension, our national desire to achieve our objectives. The present election cycle allows us to debate how best to achieve them and what efforts and policies are to be embraced or rejected.

”No,” I wrote, “requires a solid, ironclad mission and purpose.” When negotiating, however, itıs not about you, but them—the other side. The “No” system empowers you to see the value of what you deliver and shields you from that terrible emotional fear of neediness.

America’s neediness is often reflected in the view of those who need to be loved. They are willing to compromise America’s long-term interests to get short-term love.  History teaches, however, that American policy-makers have frequently positioned us in opposition to the views in much of the rest of the world.

All around the world our commitment to democracy, to capitalism, and our antipathy to the gangsters in so many other nations is closely watched. Our “mission and purpose” and the manner we go about achieving it is debated in their news media on a daily basis.

The results of a worldwide survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project were announced in June. Not surprisingly a lot of the world’s ills were blamed on America, as many believe “global warming” is real, and others object to the conduct of our leadership’s decision to remove the dictator, Saddam Hussein, from power and what has followed from that decision. At the same time, there is widespread concern over our current economic troubles. Foreigners often say they like America, like Americans, but dislike our policies.

The ability of Americans to say “No” to bad economic, domestic, and foreign affairs policies will continue to be closely watched by millions in nations around the world. The willingness of Americans to make the tough decisions to drive America’s mission and purpose forward in the future will be watched as well.

These are times when the fate of America and the lives of others around the world rest on our ability to say “no” even if it may cost us some momentary popularity or stiffen the resistance of those who openly seek to destroy us. Our ability to say “no” to bad economic policies, bad ideas, incorrect actions and all that threaten our well being will determine our future and the world’s.

In 1776 we said “no” to tyranny and “yes” to liberty. We will celebrate that decision again on July Fourth.

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