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Author Topic: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?  (Read 9038 times)

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Offline TRang

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2013, 11:41:43 AM »
As for the the Gulf war that happened in 2003. The invasion of Iraq. That was a joint force in which the United Kingdom had 50,000 troops involved which made up almost 25% of the force. It was a joint operation that was discussed internationally before it was carried out.  (other countries were involved although the U.N. did not sanction it) Not to mention the fact it was in compliance with internal Iraqi organizations.

I do agree that there is a great difference between the Gulf wars of 1991 and 2003, but be aware they were both joint operations led by the U.S. and the U.K.

Also take note that this is post 9-11 were judgments were flawed due to the mass panic and hysteria that ensued.

And as for my comment saying "its cause were free isn't it"... Yeah i was just kidding around i am very aware that we aren't as free as we think. I did not count on people taking that as a serious assertion.

 i like how you defined freedom and what it means to you

Good responses though. cool discussion

Offline Irisado

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2013, 12:07:14 PM »
As for the the Gulf war that happened in 2003. The invasion of Iraq. That was a joint force in which the United Kingdom had 50,000 troops involved which made up almost 25% of the force. It was a joint operation that was discussed internationally before it was carried out.  (other countries were involved although the U.N. did not sanction it) Not to mention the fact it was in compliance with internal Iraqi organizations.

I don't understand what you mean when you say it was in compliance with internal Iraqi organisations.

The majority of the British people were opposed to UK involvement in the war without a UN resolution, and that the rebellion in parliament on the government's own side was very large indeed.  Blair lost a lot of his authority and popularity in subsequent years as a direct or indirect consequence of his position on Iraq, and his support for George W Bush.

The UK is the closest ally of the US in Europe most of the time, so when you consider just how much of a rebellion was against the government's policy, it should give you an idea as to just how deeply unpopular the foreign policy of the United States was at the time.  You can still see the knock-on effects of the Iraq war regarding the reluctance to intervene in Syria.

Yes, Iraq was discussed internationally, but there was no agreement to intervene.  There was deadlock at the UN, division within the EU, and the US decided to act outside of the international framework.  True, this had happened before (there was no UN resolution to intervene in Kosovo, for example), but there had been broader international support in such cases.

There is still, therefore, a sense of mistrust, concern, apprehension, and disagreement with the way in which the US approaches foreign policy, because it doesn't seem to have learnt the lessons from the 2003 intervention of Iraq.  This may result in the existence of a perception that European nations hate the US, but that isn't the case.  What is the case, however, is that US foreign policy is heavily critiqued.  That, however, is not a sign of hatred.
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Offline The GrimSqueaker

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2013, 04:43:54 PM »
I do agree that there is a great difference between the Gulf wars of 1991 and 2003, but be aware they were both joint operations led by the U.S. and the U.K.

A vast simplification as I'm sure you're well aware.  The former had a direct cause and subsequent effect. The latter not so much. You've asked the question why/if Europeans hate the USA, remember how the USA hated certain European countries purely due to their desire not to enter this war? Why was that?
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Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2013, 10:55:55 AM »
I don't really have anything very insightful to say, but I've got a story to share that may explain some of the ambivalence some people have.

My dad grew up in post-war Norway. When he was young, America was the amphetamine parrot. Coca-cola, rock music, short skirts, fast cars, cool hairdos - all of that came from the US. The US was leading in industry and science, and whenever the cameras showed the US, there was freedom and progress. The US was God.

Then the oppressive shadow of the Cold War took a choke-hold on a lot of things. Norway bordered the Soviet Union, yet was a founding member of NATO: it was a pretty sketchy time. Then there's the Vietnam war, where the world's premier military force went to war against what to a lot of people seemed like a bunch of farmers. Of course, the real picture was much more complicated, but the point is that it turned out that the US wasn't God, it was just the US - and it wasn't above burning villages or any of that. That was a rough wake-up call for a generation that had been told the epic of how the Allies in WW2 had been the Good Guys versus the Evil Nazi Empire.

The point, I feel, is that the US really isn't really that different from any other historical great power, but a lot of people grew up being told it was something completely different - ie. the notion of American Exceptionalism. It's a bitter drink to swallow.

I dunno how topical this is, but I suppose my generation have undergone a somewhat similar change in attitude - possibly. 2001 and the "War on Terrorism" was for a long time marked by a highly hostile and unreflective rhetoric that a lot of Europeans couldn't get behind - and as news media continued to focus on the louder and more aggressive parts of US politics, a lot of people felt a disconnect with what was supposedly the world's leading society.

Since this is a topic that in the end is about emotions and not cold logic, I thought I'd share some possible emotional factors. However, I think you'll find that the vast majority of Europeans have very little beyond the humourous jab against most American people, and will choose the Yanks over Russia or China any day of the week.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 11:01:31 AM by Sir_Godspeed »

Offline starstrider

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2013, 03:52:08 PM »
I think it's a bit disingenuous to frame this as an open question when the goal is really argumentative. But ignoring that...

I also think that the question needs to be better framed. "Do European countries hate the usa" clearly ignores a great deal of diversity between countries and attempts to generalize millions of individual opinions into some sort of national zeitgeist. That's a problematic exercise at best. More importantly though, attitudes (both individual and this fanciful national "shared feeling" if it exists) change over time. When the United states was a baby, I'm sure you're aware that France and Great Briton had very different outlooks on it, in terms of how "friendly" they were. An example going back to the birth of the US might seem a bit far fetched, but I'm just trying to get a point across. The US is a fairly young country, and the last several posts here seem to be framing things heavily in terms of the two Iraq wars. The two Iraq wars were certainly divisive within and without the US but, but I think it takes more than those things to form a solid opinion on a country. Moreover, as I said, the opinion of individuals in Nation A towards Nation B in ~2000 are quite probably different than they were in 1975, not to mention 1950. Go back too many quarter centuries and the USA doesn't even exist (while you'd have to keep going back much further before European countries vanished).

And that's another outlook issue. European nations/Europe and England/Etc have spent much more time at war with other nations in states of relative parity than the US has. The US has obviously been involved in dramatic, incredibly significant, military conflicts with other nations during it's existence. No one's trying to deny the relevance of WWI/2, Vietnam, Korea, etc. But I think the European history of conflict within the continent and amongst each other has really played a role in developing that culture in a way that the US simply was never exposed to. Again - not to diminish the vital role of the US in WW2 or anything, but even there the war is significantly different because the US is traveling to it (in a very beneficial way for all involved, but that's not the point). The US got embroiled in one civil war that was bloody and horrible. Other wars really haven't occurred on our soil to any significant extent though. Again, this isn't to disparage the relevance of those that did (1812, etc). But I don't think you'd find many Americans today who genuinely had their cultural outlook shaped as a result of the war of 1812 or the other wars that briefly did come to the US.

I think that's a strong basis for a cultural disagreement between the US and other nations, when it comes to using force. It's not that European nations are completely incapable of using force either. It's an active choice to minimize the necessity of it. The amount of discretionary government spending in the US that goes to the military is something frightening. I forget the exact number, but I think it falls a bit short of 60%, while the amount going into education is closer to 6%. Meanwhile, we have a military larger than the next god knows how many countries combined. We simply have more than we need. That's another point of order some people might hold against the US. Personally I don't think education should be short changed and NASA should be shut down, while we prepare for a fictional war against the rest of the world.

I would strongly disagree with people saying "but I can't change things, I don't have the money, I'm poor, I'm just one person, etc." That's a weak excuse, especially in a country that where individuals have as much relative freedom as the US. I mean - Look. If violent dictatorships can be thrown off, then gerrymandering politicians can theoretically be kicked out of office. On a scale of Possible 10 - Impossible 0, changing the way the US government works isn't a 0, and claiming it is is just a form of avoiding responsibility.

Are you yourself directly responsible for any poor policies or decisions of the government? Of course not. Can you fix it all by yourself? Again, of course not. But individuals do need to take responsibility. I don't know if you watch it, but last night's daily show was talking about a congressman (i think?) who got recalled from office in Colorado after passing some mild gun laws that had been polled as having 80% approval or thereabout (stuff pertaining to background checks, etc). He got kicked out of office despite the popularity of what he was doing because no one who supported him showed up to the recall election, while a vast majority of the 20% opposed managed to get out and vote. So ... saying "I don't have money, I can't fix politics" is potentially a pretty damaging outlook to take in countries where your voice actually can get (somewhat) heard. Don't do that.

Don't say all of our politicians are idiots/dumb/just in it for themselves and the money either, because that's also a stereotype and not true (although it's based on far too much reality, sadly). If you really want to get rich, there are avenues for you to do much better in business than in politics. And if you're really dumb, you're going to have trouble putting together enough of an organization to get elected (with more or less difficulty based on what you're running for, and where you're running for it, of course). But if you're a successful politician at a significant level, you're probably not usually a complete fool despite the fun it can be to paint them as such.

I'll stop here because I'm trailing off a bit. But I'm sure no reasonable person hates the US as a whole, just as no reasonable person in the US hated France as a whole because their government didn't support our Iraqi adventure (mass hysteria, emotions, and all that aside, if anyone genuinely hate everyone in another nation because they don't support your government's war, I firmly believe that you're not a reasonable person. "Support our war or die" is something I'd expect on a N. Korean propaganda poster, not in US public discourse). And yeah, opinions shouldn't be formed by the latest war, or the fact that one nation tends to do one thing in their foreign policy. They should be formed on a much much broader range of ideas both across concepts and across time. I think Irisado has done a great job pointing out various specific economic things etc, and that's just a start. You could spend years and make a career of looking at why people in country A look at country B as they do.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 04:19:20 PM by starstrider »

Offline Wyddr

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2013, 08:55:02 PM »
Just wanted to give starstrider a big internet high-five:



Well said, sir, and agreed on all points.

Offline CheesyRobMan

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2013, 04:26:33 AM »
The original question is impossible to answer. As others have said, on a national diplomatic level, everyone gets along just fine, with occasional disagreements over a few things. But once you start taking individual opinions into account the picture is a lot messier. Therefore I can only speak for myself.

I don't hate people from the USA because they are from the USA. I dislike some of them because they can have inexcusably superior attitudes, can be gun-happy and believe the answer to everything is to shoot it, can be woefully ignorant and uneducated and proud of this fact, and can represent the worst of human culture among other things. None of these things are a result of them being from the USA, specifically. People like that exist in every country in greater numbers than anyone except themselves is happy with. I am from the UK and I can think of several groups of people who I might eject from the country if I could. (No, not immigrants.)

Part of the reason we are so aware of what we don't like about the USA is that it continually broadcasts itself to the world, for better or worse. For every great achievement like landing a robot on Mars using a rocket-powered sky-crane which was AWESOME, there's a Youtube video of some teenagers setting a cat on fire or something equally unpleasant. We see all the faults and flaws, as well as the sometimes borderline-ignorant dealings with other countries, and we don't like them. We don't always consider the good things about the country and its people in balance to the bad stuff.

I have cousins in the USA, living in Seattle, and we've been to visit them a few times. They used to live in the UK despite being American by birth so they're familiar with our strangeness and faults as well. We collectively despair at the flounderings of our politicians, laugh at the intercultural weirdness, and greet each other as beloved cousins whenever we see each other. All international relations should be like this. We're all human beings, and every one of us has flaws. Hatred solves nothing, and choosing to treat someone poorly because of the country they come from is bigotry, pure and simple.
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Offline TagniK'ZuR

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2013, 08:22:08 AM »
Obviously I can't speak for Europeans, but my findings have not been that people worldwide hate Americans (though, it might be a different picture in parts of the Middle East and possibly Asia). Most people do however tend to have an unfavourable outlook on Americans, which I think mostly comes down to 2 factors:

1) USA has an incredibly big God complex
examples:
- You think you're the whole world's big brother and it's your duty to police us all
- You think American cars are the best cars ever made
- World Series Baseball (any American Sport really, but this is an American Sport, played only in America but somehow called a "World Series")
I used these examples mostly because the rest of the world tends to disagree with you on these points.

2) Americans tend to be extremely ignorant of anything outside of the US. How many people in your peer group can identify Mozambique, The Netherlands and Australia on a world map? (Do a search on youtube for "stupid americans" ;) )

Individually, these factors are funny/infuriating. Combined, you should be able to see why other people dislike Americans
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2013, 09:27:14 AM »
I'm going to presume you're aware that you're stereotyping *all* Americans with the above post. My peer group is quite educated and aware of the world, thanks, and we don't fall into any of the categories you listed. Not even one of them.

And that is why a lot of Americans get pissed off at foreigners. Sure, there's lots of stupid people here. Stupid people live everywhere, though. It's not an American monopoly.

Offline TRang

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2013, 11:07:59 AM »
All international relations should be like this. We're all human beings, and every one of us has flaws. Hatred solves nothing, and choosing to treat someone poorly because of the country they come from is bigotry, pure and simple.

If only it was. Unfortunately the few can make the many look stupid and ignorant.

And honestly my favorite car brand is Toyota. Its called the world series cause its been called that for a hundred years or something. Education in America is bad but... not that bad. I mean you think we cant point out Australia.

Offline CheesyRobMan

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2013, 02:18:38 AM »
Education in America is bad but... not that bad. I mean you think we cant point out Australia.

I remember hearing around the time of the second Gulf war that they had asked some American college students what they thought about it, and then asked them to point out Iraq on a map - 90% of them didn't even know in which region of the world to look. And 50% of them couldn't point to their own country. Now this was perhaps not true, but certainly the stereotype of Americans is that they are very ignorant of the world outside the USA. I emphasise stereotype, I'm well aware that a large number of Americans are smart and well educated. But even watching the news in the USA lends some support to this - local news means news from your state, world news means news from other states, and the only foreign news deemed worthy of attention is either a war that American troops are involved in, a natural disaster, or the British royal family! The USA is almost always shown in isolation - Canada and Mexico are conveniently removed from the weather map. I think this tendency to consider themselves in isolation is one of Americans' biggest weaknesses.
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Offline TagniK'ZuR

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2013, 05:57:33 AM »
I'm going to presume you're aware that you're stereotyping *all* Americans with the above post.
I assumed you would, this thread is tailor made for stereotyping, even the title implies that we're about to generalize the world into USA and Europe....

Kudos to your peer group then, my personal experience with Americans has not been the same though. I have had to explain to Americans that: "No, South Africa is not close to Libya." "No, we do not have to worry about lions attacking us on our way to work, or chase giraffes from the runway before planes can land at the airport." "Yes, there are white people who live in Africa." and my personal favourite: "No, Africa is not somewhere in South Africa, South Africa is a country in Africa."

And part of the reason why I used Australia in my example is this:
Stupid Americans answering about the World & Geography

Again, I know not all Americans are stupid and/or arrogant (might even add fat if you want) but this how you are percieved by many people in the rest of the world.
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Offline TRang

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2013, 11:04:50 AM »
This channel is like the TMZ of Europe or something.
"now contains over 40 different channels, spans 294 countries and reaches a potential cumulative audience of 100 billion people per week "- CNNNN website.     

I feel now like this "news" channel is completely irrelevant.

"As a ChaserCorp company, CNNNN is part of global conglomorate that includes mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, fashion, food manufacturing, as well as the development of systems technology for both civilian and military use. It also owns the roads, telecommunication and sanitation agencies in many of the world's most populous nations. Finally, ChaserCorp owns and operates an oil operation in Iran, which now has the full approval the US Congress after recently being exempted from the Sanctions Act."....

I don't even know what to say...


Also I'd like to see the video of Americans not being able to point out America. I've heard of it but never seen it.

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2013, 01:37:18 PM »
That video, while clearly satirical, nicely demonstrates how many people around the world perceive the average US citizen.
And as shocking as it seems, the truth is that it's not far from reality.
For each American I've met who was well educated, erudite, and up to date on global current affairs, I've met half a dozen more who are much closer to the people in that video than you'd ever be comfortable admitting.

Some choice snippets from real conversations I've had while in the States:

Him: Where are you from?
Me: From the UK.
Him: Where's that?

Her: Where are you from?
Me: Britain
Her: Wow, your English is really good. Where did you learn it?

Him: Where did you go to university?
Me: Switzerland.
Him: I didn't know they had universities in Switzerland....     Where's Switzerland?

Now I know this is anecdotal, but it highlights the rather parochial and insular nature of American education and culture. And much of the foreign policy of the US, which has been aggressively interventionist and in some cases downright illegal, is only possible because the population aren't well informed enough to disagree or protest.
Bush was voted in for a second time in the main because the population had absolutely no frickin idea what the hell was going on in Iraq. All they saw was a bunch of unfamiliar people in a random foreign country who might or might not have some WMDs and were probably all terrorists anyway so who cares if they get shot.

Offline TRang

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2013, 03:39:07 PM »
Upon further thought. I haven't met a huge amount of people outside my age group. Well i have, but i don't walk up to them and say 'Hey, whats the capitol of Bahrain'. I only meet people fresh out of a New York high school (which are some of the best). So i cant go and say every American knows that Switzerland is a country, or that the U.K. exists. SO... I have to believe what you're saying although i find it extremely hard to believe that only 1 in 7 Americans is educated enough to know British people speak English.

And as for Iraq. I have been investigating that war heavily since it was brought up earlier in the discussion. and Holy Crap no one can ever hope to completely understand the thinking of U.S. leadership in that time. Upon arrival the coalition was celebrated as liberators, heroes. Then things went horribly wrong as there was no government immediately set up there. The soldiers were only told to defend themselves and so crime and looting spread everywhere. Marshall law should have been set up and the Iraqi army turned into MPs. One of the other HUGE factors was when Bremer ( inexperienced leader put into rebuild Iraq) decided it would be a good idea to disband the Iraqi military. Virtually all of them became insurgents.

Virtually all people in charge of the rebuilding ignored their more experienced advisers. Instead they made huge mistakes that cost too many human lives.

It is surprising how little Bush had to do with this decision making that went with the war. I was shocked to see how little he was involved in reconstruction. Granted he still should not have been reelected.

If the people were informed of what was going on it would have been through the media. And for some strange reason the media did not care to cover soldiers dying and the missteps of the Bush administration. If this war had been covered more thoroughly... who knows what the people would have done.

Offline Irisado

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2013, 05:49:51 PM »
And as for Iraq. I have been investigating that war heavily since it was brought up earlier in the discussion. and Holy Crap no one can ever hope to completely understand the thinking of U.S. leadership in that time. Upon arrival the coalition was celebrated as liberators, heroes. Then things went horribly wrong as there was no government immediately set up there. The soldiers were only told to defend themselves and so crime and looting spread everywhere. Marshall law should have been set up and the Iraqi army turned into MPs. One of the other HUGE factors was when Bremer ( inexperienced leader put into rebuild Iraq) decided it would be a good idea to disband the Iraqi military. Virtually all of them became insurgents.

Even when the Americans did arrive, they were not universally welcomed as liberators.  There were concerns about how they were going to improve the quality of life for the people of Iraq.  Remember, even today, a lot of basic services are still not functional, including electricity generation in significant areas of the country.

It's too much of a generalisation to talk about MPs and marshal law in the manner which you describe , and virtually all those who were part of the de-baathification process which Bremer oversaw droves virtually all those affected to become insurgents, but it certainly did turn a lot of them against the Americans to varying degrees.  It's worth noting that a number of EU member states, including the British, advised the Americans not to go down the route of de-baathification, but they went ahead and did so anyway.  That's the sort of thing which makes us on this side of the Atlantic even more sceptical about US foreign policy, in that they don't listen to the concerns of their so called allies/friends often enough.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 07:48:24 AM by Irisado »
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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2013, 07:47:51 PM »
The whole sad part about it is that there were even people inside the U.S.government telling them not to. The military and generals in charge told them to continue the Iraqi military and set up humanitarian services. The men and women at the top did not listen to their most experienced advisers and paid the price for it. When the U.N. intervened to help to some degree it was much too late and a mess much too large. Which led to the death of some big name U.N. officials including Sergio De Mello.

 The entire situation was really depressing to read about. Like, we could have done so much better and actually done a lot of good for people. But it was horribly planned and the people put in charge did not know what they were doing. Genuinely disappointed in the Bush administration.

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2013, 05:16:18 PM »
[gmod]Gentle nudge to get back on the topic of how other countries view the USA and not so much about the US involvement in Iraq[/gmod]
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Offline Mr.Peanut (Turtleproof)

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2013, 10:07:59 PM »
The long and short of the Iraq invasion is that it was done knowing that the conditions for invasion were not met.  The acting-President at the time said that invasion would be used as a "last resort," yet ordered the invasion after UN weapon inspectors failed to find the tons of sarin gas, botulism toxin, VX, and nuclear weapons purported to be there.  It was factually known before the invasion that Saddam did not have these thousands-pound stockpiles, nor the long range capability to deploy them, and yet inspectors were sent anyway.  The United States government was subverted by the executive branch, which threatened to invade under the war powers act without congressional approval, congress then wrote an emergency bill stating that final authorization for war lay with one person.  Sad story.

As for the way the rest of the world sees us, they don't hate us.  The gap between the highest income and the lowest income is among the highest in the world.  Education scores are mid rate.  Ethnic segregation remains a problem in most of the country.  Basic healthcare is not widely available; infant mortality is among the highest among the developed nations.  This nation is technically a republic, but many new laws bar lawful citizens from voting, including those citizens that are illegally held in indefinite detention by criminal cartels.  Almost half the country receives welfare.  Were it not for the federal minimum wage, the majority of laborers would be paid far less than $7.50 an hour despite being among the most productive citizens on the planet.

Other countries do not hate the United States.  When I talk to people from other countries the assessment I am told, most often, is one of pity.  One person in particular owns his own small business.  His compatriots warned him, "Don't you know?  People in America need to have two jobs just to survive!"  He thought that could not be true, but upon moving here he says, "My wife has a good job, thank goodness.  She supports us as I grow my business, but even so all we do is work, work, work, work, and we don't have any money left over."
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Offline TRang

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Re: Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2014, 05:49:44 PM »
 All true except one thing. I must say very well worded.
12.8 Million are on welfare, 46.7 million on food stamps and 5.6 million on unemployment. That accounts for about a quarter of Americans living of government programs. About 317 million people are in the United States as of dec. 2013.The United States has a lot of rebuilding to do, but i think we all know that. We will soon realize that there is no one to blame but ourselves. Perhaps then we will be able to quit bickering and get to some solid solutions.












 


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