February 23, 2005

Shame On America


Today's Hot Topic



There are a number of people who have taken up the mantle of trying to chastise the United States for its actions and place within the world. They attribute much of the unrest and ill activities in the world to the U.S. claiming that US policy is the reason for terror, torture and or turmoil.

They accuse the US of being greedy and demean contributions to disaster relief, be it comments about financial contributions, manpower or issues with treaties and agreements.

What bothers me about this is that these criticisms are often layed out by people who have a poor understanding of economics, a skewed look at the political aspect and an agenda that does not allow for any middle ground.

The point is not to say that the US is without blame and or perfect, but that there is a problem with much of the criticism and its applicability and balance. When pundits comment on the proportion of aid to tsunami victims relative to other countries they focus on what they think the US should do, as opposed to what may be required, as well as they sometimes miss the long term perspective.

In simple English that means that although you might be able to throw tons of cash at a problem, it is not always the most effective method of bringing a solution. There are literally tons of donations that are not being used because the affected areas haven't any ability to use them.

You need to understand that restoring an infrastructure that was wiped out takes more than a checkbook and that it requires time to rebuild and restore a framework that can make use of the assistance that is being offered.

In reference to treaties and agreements it is also important to take a harder look at them than to just say that majority wishes and rules should always be followed. Sometimes the majority is wrong, sometimes the majority interests are not in line with a minority and the refusal to go along with the majority is not always indicative of who holds the moral ground.

17 comments:

Bronco Buddha said...

Hear, hear. They also seem to be the same people who complain we don't do enough to end suffering in the world, but when we remove an evil dictator from office and try to bring self-determination to his former subjects, complain that we should mind our own business. Or who scream that we should not do things unilaterally and then when we try to involve multiple interested parties in a negotiation to limit the threat posed by a rogue nation that is a burgeoning nuclear power, complain that we are not acting independently enough or taking full responsibility to protect ourselves. (those last two examples are purely hypothetical, of course, and any resemblance to actual facts is purely coincidental.)

Anonymous said...

America is a paper tiger whose time has come. Bush is part of an evil empire and he will be the reason they fall.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Paper tiger? That doesn't sound right. Maybe a paper airplane... I can't even imagine a paper tiger. I bet those are very difficult to make.

Doctor Bean said...

Jack: Very nice. You sound like someone who should have been a Bush voter!

Anonymous: I love it when bufoons make specific predictions, because then their bufoonery can be clearly demonstrated. Let me know approximately when America will fall. I'll even give you a three or four year error margin. The day after that margin is over, when America hasn't fallen, you have to return to this thread and admit that you have no clue what you're talking about and you just hate Bush. What's the harm in just facing facts now? You hate Bush, but he won and now you're all pissed off!! Is that so hard to admit? Do you have to build a whole fantasy foreign policy around that?

Doctor Bean said...

Anonymous: The more I read your comment, the more it cracks me up! "Paper tiger"! Who's the real tiger out there who's got a bright future? The NorKs? The Jihadis? Iran? The Euro Pacifists? Huh? Which horse are you betting on? Canada?

Anonymous said...

LisaL here. Sometimes people have a lot of research and knowledge under their belts that you refuse to give credit for because you do not agree with the position.

No need to spell things out in "English" either. Most of us can read your posts without feeling like it is over our heads :)

Oh, and a lot of people who criticize America's position DO have an understanding of economics. It's just that your superiority complex doesn't allow you to accept that there are "bleeding hearts" out there that actually know what they are talking about.

And as for the interesting facts thread I started, I actually had to dig in deep for 4 years to make sure what I was reading is true. And it is.


Lisa

P.S. Wish I had time to read your fiction....looks cool!

Jack's Shack said...

LisaL here. Sometimes people have a lot of research and knowledge under their belts that you refuse to give credit for because you do not agree with the position.


It takes more than a degree to apply the knowledge practically and to show that it is meaningful. Context is important.


No need to spell things out in "English" either. Most of us can read your posts without feeling like it is over our heads :)

I am not always so sure of that.

Oh, and a lot of people who criticize America's position DO have an understanding of economics. It's just that your superiority complex doesn't allow you to accept that there are "bleeding hearts" out there that actually know what they are talking about.


Again Lisa this comes back to being able to apply the knowledge in a meaningful and significant way. There are many very smart people out there who are able to do this, but many cannot or do not.

The problem is that many buy into the theory that the underdog or perceived underdog is always right. That is not always true, there are many shades of gray.

The list you presented is interesting, but it is set up to provide an emotional response and if you want to fix problems you need to incorporate logic into it as well.

Let me give you a classic example of playing with numbers. There is a commercial that says 3 out of 5 dentists recommend a particular brand of gum. The message there is that consumers should select that gum based upon the recommendation of the dentist, but it does not tell you how many dentists they interviewed the size of the sample is important.

And as for the interesting facts thread I started, I actually had to dig in deep for 4 years to make sure what I was reading is true. And it is.

Anonymous said...

Lisa again.

First off, I also graduated with Marketing and International Business, so your gum example is not unknown to me, and of course I am aware of how numbers are played with.

Why are you suggesting I am not able to apply my knowledge in context? Of course I do that. You are assuming that I get all upset and flustered and do not look at both sides of the coin. You are assuming I am responding emotionally and do not have any practical experience. In my studies, I travelled to Guatemala to build houses and study its history - that is just one example of how I have seen how things work first-hand. Until you give people credit for things you don't know they know (if that makes sense), you will always come off as condescending. And Jack, you needn't spell things out for me in English. If you are 'not always sure' I understand you, I guess now you can be sure. If I need clarification I will ask you for it.

The fact of the matter is that debt repayment and the devaluation of "developing" nations' currencies is a problem that will not be "fixed" until, at the very least, people admit that the US (among other nations) is not a wonderful world keeper ready to help out without any consequences.

Lisa

Jack's Shack said...

Lisa,

You'll notice that the initial post did not say that Lisa L is ignorant. It was intentionally left nameless because this is not an issue that is reserved for just one person.

Condescending is a term that some people use to try and marginalize the point-of-view of others that disagree with them.

Your list is all fine and good, but the real question that comes to mind when I see those number is, so what. What is your point. What do you want to see happen.

If you think that countries do things without asking for favors in return you are living in neverland. No country acts without considering its own interests first.

No favor is given debt-free, it is how life works in the geo-political arena.

No one has said that the US is without fault, it has many flaws. But if you want to engage in a deeper discussion of why the world is the way it is I could spend hours upon hours reviewing European colonialism the predates the US and that which co-existed after the birth of the US.

I can point fingers at a hundred countries and pick them apart. It takes no effort to do so, but why. What is the point.

I'll pick on you for a moment, you spend an awful lot of time trying to prove that the US is a horrible place.

Let's look at Canadian contributions to the world. Timmy Hortons, a few comedians, lumber and polar bears are about all that come to mind.

Not to mention the recent rampant problems with serving as a home to terrorists and terrorist supporters, a healthcare system that is nice conceptually speaking but not nearly as effective as it could be.

Why not look at your list again and figure what corporations they are talking about and identify how many are not headquartered in the US.

Life is not black and white, no matter how hard you try to make it be so.

Anonymous said...

"No one has said that the US is without fault, it has many flaws. But if you want to engage in a deeper discussion of why the world is the way it is I could spend hours upon hours reviewing European colonialism the predates the US and that which co-existed after the birth of the US."

Oh My God, and so could I! So could anyone who has gone to school. I'm sure you aren't implying that I am unaware of world history and colonialism.

"Let's look at Canadian contributions to the world. Timmy Hortons, a few comedians, lumber and polar bears are about all that come to mind.

Not to mention the recent rampant problems with serving as a home to terrorists and terrorist supporters, a healthcare system that is nice conceptually speaking but not nearly as effective as it could be."

Jack, you are trying once again to be rude and insulting, knowing it will rile me up. How about the phone? Time zones? Train systems? Whatever.....if polar bears and lumber are what you know about Canada, you don't know very much.

As for "rampant" problems with terrorists and terrorist supporters, I would say that is being a bit melodramatic. Yes we have problems with that....you are, however, making us out to be open-armed peace-makers welcoming in terrorists left and right.

You look down on Canada, as shown above regarding our world contributions. I do not make the US out to be a bad place to live (though I wouldn't live there if I could help it - your healthcare system is crap for one thing, despite the flaws in ours). Plus, all the rednecks on the BB live there :)
You know by now half my family are American.....some who are still there love the US, some hate it. Some of them are happy they moved to Canada, some of them are not.

Lisa

Irina Tsukerman said...

All right... The last thing we need here is a war between America and Canada. This is becoming too much like South Park! : )

Stacey said...

"your healthcare system is crap for one thing, despite the flaws in ours"

Lisa, you know I love you but you have got to be joking.

Your healthcare system in Canada is abysmal. People die waiting a year for referrals. And the ones with $$$ cross the border to get health care here in the States.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was nice when friends could talk about everything but religion and politics and hence stay good friends, so I don't know if venturing into this will ruin a five-year friendship. I just wanted to post to Jack about the fact that I know what I am talking about when it comes to these issues (debt repayment, currency devaluation, Western control over nations who are actually being prohibited from "developing"). I have to say that one of the reasons I am sorry you guys are so tight, even though I am pretty sure you don't care, is that I wonder what the hell is said about me behind my back with you two.

It's my fault for posting here anyway. I would at least hope that the rest of my post made some sense. I am sick of being looked at as a Liberal idiot who absorbs and believes everything she is told.

You must be getting news that people are dying while waiting for referrals. I find that intertesting, considering I have never had a problem where that is concerned, and have always received brilliant healthcare. In fact, my 80 year old grandmother got a hip replacement within no time of needing one. At least in Canada everyone HAS healthcare. How many people in the US die each year because they cannot afford it? How many people in the US come here for their prescriptions?

How much mat leave did you get Stace? What did they pay you while you were off? Nice country to live in where that is concerned (not). Our system is not what you make it out to be.......I make an appointment, I go to the doctor, my benefits cover my scripts, etc. How many people in the US do not even have access to healthcare?

Canada has been number one on the UN's list of countries with the highest standard of living for 12 years in a row (or whatever it is) for good reason.

Benefits and universal health care are just a couple.

Lisa

Jack's Shack said...

I am sick of being looked at as a Liberal idiot who absorbs and believes everything she is told.You still haven't picked up on a few things. You came here and made this a personal issue for yourself so I do not feel badly in responding.

You are either ignoring or not following some of my comments so I am going to say them again. I am not impressed by degrees. They are nice, I think that education is of paramount importance but so is demonstrating that you can apply what you have learned and I have yet to see you do that.

Posting statistics is nice, but again, the numbers are so easily massaged you need to be clear in what point you are trying to make and you haven't been.

As for the snarky comment about whether Stacey and I talk about you, that is one of the most narcisstic things I have seen in a long time.

You are not a topic of conversation because there is nothing to discuss. Why would we possibly discuss you, what reason is there for you to be a part of a discussion. None, zero, we don't.

Stay focused and try not to go off tangent with that kind of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

That was a stupid comment I made about you and Stace. I'm sorry.

I am also sorry I 'crashed' this topic. This is your blog, and I respect it a lot.

I do know how to apply my knowledge in context, and I know also that degrees are just pieces of paper.

Take care,

Lisa

Stacey said...

Lisa,

My grandfather's entire family (10 brothers and sisters and their descendants) live in Toronto. So it's not like I don't have firsthand knowledge of the Canadian health care system. And they all have the means to come here for their healthcare, which they do.

I am completely against socialized medicine because it is a failure in your country.

And I thank G-d that I do not live there in light of my father's recent health concerns. I know how your system works. I know about the "ranking" and I am thankful that I am in charge of his medical care, not any govt.

My sister-and-law and mother-in-law are both doctors (in PA and NY)who have spent years treating patients from across the border who have been neglected and/or received just poor quality health care due to the way your healthcare system works.

Universal healthcare is a nice idea and goal, but universal doesn't mean it's good medicine.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this issue.

Jack's Shack said...

Jack: Very nice. You sound like someone who should have been a Bush voter!So I have heard. :)