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Some things to consider

Reader comment on item: [Symposium:] Why Does the World Hate America?
in response to reader comment: The Greatest Country in the Entire World

Submitted by Doc Red (Canada), Jan 13, 2007 at 21:01

I am a Canadian, and very proud of myself and my country. We have certainly made many mistakes, as many as any other country, and will continue to do so in the future. It is the nature of humanity, and of the societies we form.

I would have to agree that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world at present, though one has to define what this means. Do you mean military? I suppose they do have the largest, though the logistics of challenging, say, China in a conventional war would bring that into question. Economically? Yes, though there are several other countries or unions that are on their heels. Politically? That often follows from the previous two. Also, lets not forget that our economies strengths usually hinge on other countries. Also, to clarify...most powerful does not always mean greatest. Usually, greatest is a subjective term. Just as Canada has many social, political, and economic issues, so does the U.S., which McCutcheon appears to forget. There is racism, poverty, and disaffected people everywhere.

I have spent time in the U.S., and I enjoyed it, but longed for home. I have no desire to live in the U.S., though many places there are fun to visit. I don't think I'm jealous...I have an excellent life, great job, wife, child, freedom, free speech, my computer hobby room...I even have no particular desire to move within my own country, I have everything I want right here and am grateful for it. Some distant relatives I have in the Netherlands love their country, their life, and would never part with either.

A relative of mine from the U.S., Nebraska to be exact, loves their life, their country, and their lifestyle, and would never part with it. Another friend of mine from Germany would never trade his country and lifestyle for anything else. Really, you can spout all you wish about being the greatest...those in your country who agree with you will applaud, and thats fine. Those of us who are happy where we are, and have perhaps traveled a bit more than you yourself have McCutcheon, will tend to ignore you, except for the occasional blog reply such as this. Its a bit like me saying Metallica is the greatest metal band ever...some will agree with me, some won't, is really quite subjective.

I think it is somewhat disrespectful to talk on about how the U.S. 'saved' the world during WWI and WWII. Far too many people died in those conflicts to say something like that. We here in Canada and the U.S. did not have our countries used as battlegrounds, trampled over twice in the span of less than 50 years by people from outside our own countries. Until we have that happen, we should be careful about what we say. It is a two edged sword - if you saved the situation, how many more lives could have been saved by coming in at the start of the war in 1939, for example? If not for the greed and apathy of politicians around Europe and the world, I think WWII especially might have been contained much more.

With regards to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia...the list goes on of countries that the U.S. is involved in....I think good intentions sour very quickly. History shows that nobody can force another people into democracy or any other kind of government...saying it is for their own good. It may very well be for their own good, but as events show in Iraq, it can quickly degenerate into something much uglier. If one country is going to become the 'policeman' of the world, that means they are deciding who is right, wrong, and inbetween. What about the dozens of incidents in the past few decades, in the Congo for example, where thousands, perhaps millions were killed, and none of us lifted a finger, U.S., Canadian, and others? I

Was the U.S. justified in invading Iraq? Personally, I don't think so...as we are seeing now...where does it stop? What other countries who offend them will be next, what other countries that are labeled a threat are next? I do believe Saddam was a threat to many, but not more of a threat than several other nations and leaders I can think of. I do believe Saddam had many, many people killed, and for that he needed to pay, but there are many other world leaders free and clear right now who have committed much greater crimes.

I believe it was in the dialogues of Plato that one of the characters, either Glaucon or Thrasymicus, said that they believed 'justice was whatever was in the interests of the strongest party'. Perhaps that could be applied to the U.S. these days? They are the strongest party, so what they say goes? I see that certain people in these comments have mentioned that the U.S. could certainly take on any other country in the world and win, take on the rest of the world and win. Is that some kind of threat? If you're concerned with justice, is bulldozing ahead with your agenda regardless of what others think, threatening that they are next if they disagree...is that justice? Aren't you then starting to act like some of the people you want to get rid of? Just because you can invade a country successfully does not mean you are right to do so.

Canada's fate is linked inexplicably to the U.S. We are protected in part by our isolation on this continent, and the U.S. to the south. We do not have a military anywhere the size of them, but having 1/10 their population, we will never be able to support one that big, either by numbers or economically. We supply a great deal of our natural resources south of the border. It is the way it is. I believe that the U.S. will certainly have its time in the sun, like many other empires in history, and then fade after a few decades as the world changes yet again. Every power or empire that has risen throughout history has their time, long or short, but eventually good intentions and resolve are replaced by other things. On the other side of the coin, however....if Canada were in the position of the U.S., the strong neighbor, the world power...would we be acting any different? Probably not, we are all humans. Chances are, right or wrong, we would be acting in a similar fashion.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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