As an American I’ve had conflicting attitudes about my own country throughout my life.
I was a student of comparative politics, history, and international commerce in college and graduate school. For all of my professional life I’ve worked for companies doing business literally around the world. Basically, I’ve been interested in the bigger world outside US borders since adolescence.
Those feelings only became more intense in 2001.
Patriotism, nationalism came to the fore for a while, but then eventually drifted back to center and more of a globalist’s perspective. This was the only space I could get my head around why the events of 9/11 occurred and decide for myself what I personally believed was necessary actions by our government in response to the terror attacks and broader attitudes about our government and our people.
Clearly America was not, is not, seen in a very good light by many. Right or wrong, valid or not, it’s a fact.
I consider our country’s war history and have mixed feelings about the various conflicts we’ve been involved with (and in some cases, started). Perceptions, attitudes, and results of those many wars vary depending on who you talk to, what their politics are, where they are from, where they live now.
All this aside though, when considering American involvement in the world, one must take into account the full force of what initiative, ingenuity, altruism, and yes, wealth, can accomplish.
Think about the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Organizations and leaders for NGO’s and governments alike looked to the US government and even criticized it’s slow response.
In relatively short order however, the American government has responded. As an example, US Navy SeaBees are now working in Monrovia to set up clinics to help both health workers coping with the disease on the ground, but ultimately to also help the local population directly in the long term.
Millions of American dollars from the US government (as well as many other nations and sources) are going to finance the triage efforts, stepped-up health care, preventative measures, patient care, etc. US AID is providing resources, personnel, and expertise otherwise, and things are getting done. The situation is improving.
Locals have a key role in all this as well, since they are both being trained to care for their own people and improve their processes therein, and also provide the labor to build the health care facilities that will stay long after the crisis has passed.
Many may view America as “the Great Satan” (to borrow a title from Iranian rhetoric). On the other hand, millions upon millions upon millions of people, and a representative number of global leaders as well, look to the United States for leadership, assistance, and resources when a human crisis in the world occurs.
And the response is usually GOOD.