I’m not American but I have family from the States, so you could say that I have something of a special relationship with America. American and Americans have been a “blessing” to my personal life. By some twist of fate, my mother remarried, Lee, my first stepfather and that provided me with the experience of growing up in the West. My Dad remarried Nora and that gave me a special relationship with Chicago. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found myself getting closer to my American siblings Tara (Mum’s daughter with Lee) and Max (Dad’s son with Nora). My American families (yes, I can claim more than one) rock!
Without descending into mindless patriotism for my American family and friends, I do believe America deserves the title of “Greatest Nation” in history. The USA is the only nation that I can think of that was founded on the right of the individual to pursue happiness – it even says so in the Constitution. That little idea spread around the world and has helped unleash more prosperity and scientific innovation that has raised the human standard of living beyond anything before it. American power is not just about corporations or the military but also in its universities, which are centres of excellence. While America may have an inequality issue, it remains the one place that rewards excellence and so continues to rule.
While I have fond feelings for America and Americans in general, I’ve noticed that a worrying trend of late. American politicians and corporate types seem to be developing a rather entitled world view. One only has to think of the way in which American bankers (encouraged by the American media) were happy to lecture South East Asia about the need to let bad banks go bankrupt back in the Asian financial crisis of 1997. A decade later, what were the Americans doing but bailing out banks that had criminally taken money from hard working Americans and lending it to their cronies who then proceeded to invest the proceeds in bonuses for – themselves.
I don’t dispute that it was important to let Asia’s bad banks go under. Many had made bad investment decisions, often shoveling money to the dubious scams of the well connected. Life is that simple, when you do something wrong, you face the music and that was the case for many of the businesses in the region.
But why didn’t the same medicine apply to America? Well, there was this phrase called “Too Big to Fail.” Translation – there would be too many finance types looking for jobs and that would be somehow bad for the world?
I guess there’s some justification to protecting the greed and stupidity of an elite few in the same way that American politicians justify invading other people. Think of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, which was sold as “Liberation” of Iraq. Yes, they got rid of Saddam but the Iraqi’s didn’t quite see it that way and started shooting back at American troops. Net result – ISIS.
By some strange logic, the American politicians who invaded Iraq to “Liberate” (we’re doing you a favour by bombing you) were quick to denounce the evils of Vladimir Putin who managed to annex the Crimea (majority population ethnic Russian) without firing a shot. Not sure how that worked but apparently Putin is wrong for doing what America did….
In the latest round of American corporate humbug, you have the American airlines – specifically Delta, United, Continental and American Airlines whining about how Emirates, the plucky little airline from Dubai is stealing customers through unfair government subsidies.
Thankfully, the Chairman of Emirates, HRH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, has a simple message for his detractors – “offer the best to passengers and people will fly with you.”
Emirates is an affordable airline. I prefer to fly Emirates when I go back to Europe. Service is good and the planes are well kept. By contrast, Delta, United, Continental and American Airlines offer miserable service. Is anyone surprised that they’re losing customers to Emirates?
America, as I’ve said on so many times is great and as a nation it’s been a force of good. However, American corporate honchos and politicians need to understand that there are no entitlements in the real world. Asians, Africans and Europeans have a religious duty to ensure that Americans (particularly the White variety) don’t get their way automatically. It’s the only way you make the world a better place.