What does the world hate about America?

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What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:19 pm UTC

Context of the question:
I lived in the states about half my life, and am well acquainted with the culture and politics. I have found some fairly strong anti-Americanism in the UK, and indeed take part in it regarding certain aspects of the country and culture. I love the place (usually), and have many friends there.

I am mainly seeking for (non-snide - that's why this is SB) answers to the question of what people outside the USA hate about the country. Obviously these complaints will be generalisations, as that is the nature of the beast.

Personally, I find myself frustrated by the arrogance regarding their own power, combined with the ignorance of the constant abuse of that power for the last 150 years or more (see Iraq, Vietnam, an alarming number of Central and South American countries, Iran-Contra, the expansion westward etc. - a larger list can be compiled for those who don't think America has abused their power, but that would be another thread). Also, the recent health care legislation has made me realise how much I disagree with American conservatism, and how much that 25% or so of the country influences my opinion of the whole nation (as I said, generalisations are the nature of the beast).

So, why do you (or others) hate America?
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Dasboard » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:21 pm UTC

Because a small part of America fucks it up for the rest. And only the small part gets into the news. Because they fuck up. This way foreign countries get a negative image of America.

I have to say though, the numbe rof people who like America or don't care is much bigger as those who hate it.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

That's quite an assumption that anti-Americanism is entirely based on input from the news. Much that I've seen is based on meeting Americans who informed English people that America won WW2 (before that argument starts, Russia did), and a large part from what I would describe as jealousy (their main influence was probably American TV shows).

In terms of numbers, it depends where you are. As a schoolkid in the UK with an American accent, I would say that there were a good few who had some strong opinions about the country.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Aetius » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:18 pm UTC

There are plenty of countries with a human rights abuse/abuse of power list as long or longer than the United States. The United States is hated because it has power, regardless of how it uses it. We could go around the world handing out puppies and grain and the reaction would be "Those stupid Americans, think they're better than us and that we need their charity puppies? Pah!" Power breeds resentment, it always has.

That's not to say that the United States hasn't engaged, at times, in activities worthy of scorn and condemnation, but the unique reaction it gets (compared to say China with its well documented abuses, the UK with pretty much everything about the British Empire, Russia with the USSR's virtual enslavement of Eastern Europe, Germany with its mid 20th century attempt to smash the world record for evil, etc) is mostly a function of the fact that it is the preeminent power of the day.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby shoebox » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:25 pm UTC

I would have thought it was something less noble than indignant reactions to war or social injustices - isn't it just the perception of a 'U.S.A U.S.A' attitude that America thinks that it's the 'best' country and so other people who value their own national cultures feel a little bit miffed at this?

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby sje46 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:27 pm UTC

My dad thinks that everyone...absolutely everyone...hates America. Not the government, not the culture, but the people. Why? Because we have electricity and because Britney Spears dances half-naked on MTV.

I think the main problem with America is that it's too insular. We may have a lot of immigrants...but those in Middle America don't see them that much. We are really only exposed to our culture, with our religion, our language. A large portion of Americans don't talk to people from Europe and Africa and China, etc. We have nothing to challenge our values by comparison. The reason why people are so homophobic in middle America is because they don't know anyone who's gay (because the gay people are too afraid to come out!), combined with the religious fundamentalism. We think that God loves our country especially...so why even take notice of other countries? We are the chosen ones.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby PeterCai » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:38 pm UTC

Aetius wrote:There are plenty of countries with a human rights abuse/abuse of power list as long or longer than the United States. The United States is hated because it has power, regardless of how it uses it. We could go around the world handing out puppies and grain and the reaction would be "Those stupid Americans, think they're better than us and that we need their charity puppies? Pah!" Power breeds resentment, it always has.

That's not to say that the United States hasn't engaged, at times, in activities worthy of scorn and condemnation, but the unique reaction it gets (compared to say China with its well documented abuses, the UK with pretty much everything about the British Empire, Russia with the USSR's virtual enslavement of Eastern Europe, Germany with its mid 20th century attempt to smash the world record for evil, etc) is mostly a function of the fact that it is the preeminent power of the day.


What do you mean compared to China? As in, people don't hate China as much as they hate America? Really?

British Empire, USSR and the Third Reich are not the current regime of the respective nation, but today's US is still the same US that owned slaves, waged wars for unjustified reasons, and still had the face to tell the rest of the world that he is their moral leader, go figures.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Lazar » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:43 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:British Empire, USSR and the Third Reich are not the current regime of the respective nation, but today's US is still the same US that owned slaves, waged wars for unjustified reasons, and still had the face to tell the rest of the world that he is their moral leader, go figures.

That makes no sense. Britain is constitutionally the same nation, under the same basic form of government, that it's been for centuries - just with fewer colonies. And their foreign policy remains pretty closely aligned with America's to the present day.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Aetius » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:What do you mean compared to China? As in, people don't hate China as much as they hate America? Really?

British Empire, USSR and the Third Reich are not the current regime of the respective nation, but today's US is still the same US that owned slaves, waged wars for unjustified reasons, and still had the face to tell the rest of the world that he is their moral leader, go figures.


The US is the same US that held slaves, but the UK is not the same UK that divied up the world 60 years ago?

These things are all rationalizations for a dislike that already exists.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby PeterCai » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:02 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:That makes no sense. Britain is constitutionally the same nation, under the same basic form of government, that it's been for centuries - just with fewer colonies. And their foreign policy remains pretty closely aligned with America's to the present day.


Aetius wrote:The US is the same US that held slaves, but the UK is not the same UK that divied up the world 60 years ago?

These things are all rationalizations for a dislike that already exists.


Ok, the slave and the British Empire thing is a bit far fetched, I apologize for that.

But you present no evidence for these reasons to be mere rationalizations. And, even if they are, for the sake of argument, the reasons themselves are still valid.

Also, why is holding a prominent position automatically makes you unlikable? Plenty of people like Barrack Obama, and he is pretty damn powerful.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby shoebox » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:04 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:
Lazar wrote:Also, why is holding a prominent position automatically makes you unlikable? Plenty of people like Barrack Obama, and he is pretty damn powerful.


It doesn't but arrogance does - don't think Obama is perceived as arrogant.

Also if it helps plenty of nationalities don't like the British either - but then colonialism can do that.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby psyck0 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:32 am UTC

I hate the US because it has so much potential but manages to be so awful. Sure, it's not the worst place in the world. As far as bad places go, it's not even that bad. You start useless wars, kill innocent people and victimize your own minorities, but so do loads of countries. The difference is that the US is (or was) the richest, most powerful country in the world. It was the country that every other country aspired to, the ideal for humanity, and it let us down by being no better than the rest of us. Instead of using wealth to solve social problems and educate its population, idiots took charge and committed serious crimes against other countries who were forced to sit there and take it. In current times, all I see in the news are nutjob truthers, white supremacists, anti-government tea-party idiots and creationists, and anyone intelligent becomes revolted at the influence your country has allowed these people to have. Your country, which still has the dominant currency and houses most major corporations, is controlled by those idiots, and so I scorn you for letting that happen when you had quite literally nearly all the money and power in the world with which to prevent it.

In sum, I hate the US partly because of disappointment that humanity couldn't do any better with such a once-great country, and partly because in its current state it gives lunatics far too much attention and power.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Krong » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:01 am UTC

For those of you who are saying the problem is that the U.S. is so conservative and that you don't like that, I have to ask: Why do so many liberals love America? I'm thinking particularly of those who live here, especially those who currently control Congress and the Presidency.

psyck0 wrote:In sum, I hate the US partly because of disappointment that humanity couldn't do any better with such a once-great country, and partly because in its current state it gives lunatics far too much attention and power.

So, a "once-great" country has become "awful"? You're going to have to be much more specific about when the U.S. was great and when it stopped being so, or else I'll have to assume you're basing your hatred on a mythical U.S. that has never really existed. The tea partiers and truthers are much, much less extreme than many political movements we've had in the past.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby psyck0 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:16 am UTC

Most of the rest of the world doesn't consider Democrats remotely liberal. They would be the conservative party in most other democratic nations.

The US was pretty great when it was really rolling in the dough, crime was low, poverty was low, etc. In the 1900-1920s spring to mind- I know people weren't as rich as they are now because unions didn't exist, but they were well on their way to having a good standard of living for everyone, and compared to the rest of the world at the time, the US was the place to be. I'm a foreigner so I don't know all the statistics, but the image I have of the US then was "pretty good" and pretty good for its people. Then, of course, its foreign policy started to be "assassinate people who disagree with us", then "invade people who disagree with us", beginning around the 1950s.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Krong » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:17 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:Most of the rest of the world doesn't consider Democrats remotely liberal. They would be the conservative party in most other democratic nations.

I'm aware of that, but it doesn't affect the perceptions of the Democrats here. Plenty of them still think U.S. conservatives are extremists, yet those Democrats still love their country.

psyck0 wrote:The US was pretty great when it was really rolling in the dough, crime was low, poverty was low, etc. In the 1900-1920s spring to mind- I know people weren't as rich as they are now because unions didn't exist, but they were well on their way to having a good standard of living for everyone, and compared to the rest of the world at the time, the US was the place to be. I'm a foreigner so I don't know all the statistics, but the image I have of the US then was "pretty good" and pretty good for its people. Then, of course, its foreign policy started to be "assassinate people who disagree with us", then "invade people who disagree with us", beginning around the 1950s.

I don't blame you for it, but there's a lot in your perceptions that's incorrect. For starters, the 1920s was, perhaps, the greatest decade for criminals in the history of this country because of Prohibition. Unions such as the AFL were well-developed by this time, and the lower classes did not have a great standard of living. The wealth of the Roaring Twenties was mostly due to a speculative bubble that, when it popped in 1929, left the country's economy in shambles until WWII. Also, WWI happened in the time period that you gave, and while the U.S. had a relatively light burden in that war, we (arguably) did our part to screw up its aftermath by not joining the League of Nations.

Regarding the rest of that, I've got a theory that the U.S. has, since the start of the Cold War, taken on the unsavory roles that the democratized world needs done. It's the "policeman of the world" theory, except we're more like a vigilante that the real cops secretly ask for help. When the enemy was the USSR, this meant we ended up involved in all sorts of proxy wars and spy wars that left messy dictatorships all over the globe. With the enemy today being Islamic extremists, we end up drone-bombing Afghanistan and fighting insurgents in Iraq while we waterboard the terrorist leaders. It's not idealistic or grand by any stretch of the imagination, and most of the other democracies don't get involved. But I'm not sure what would happen if this role of the "rogue cop" was left unplayed. The U.S. wouldn't end up doing so many bad things, but would people across the world lose out overall when it comes to the safety of their lives and freedoms?
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Woopate » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:18 am UTC

Personally, the idea that I 'constantly' see in the media, movies, news, and most cultural mediums is that America IS the world. That I'm constantly seeing Americans with the opinion that America represents the world, that it gets to make the world changing decisions on behalf of the entire planet, without consultation or negotiation (see Stargate, where having to share information on interplanetary matters with Russia was represented as a CONSTANT thorn in America's side, as just one example) frustrates me.

Another personal influence on my opinion of America is that despite it constantly holding itself to be a bastion of freedom and liberty, that it seems to move away from freedom on every level. Government representatives who say that not all speech is free, that freedoms 'should' be restricted for the sake of security. That local moms and preachers want speech restricted too, where scientific ideas or vulgar concepts (drugs, swear words, sex) be restricted, that education in matters of sound reasoning should be restricted to not offend others, to not violate religious tenets. That corporations can buy the right to abuse humanity without consequence, and that the government has essentially agreed to this point. This is not the planet's best representative of the idea of freedom, and it shouldn't boast itself as such.

Also, I live in Canada, I dislike being regarded as "mini-America".

All that said, American people do not bug me. Just it's institutions.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby G.v.K » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:31 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:So, why do you (or others) hate America?


sounds like a simple question and yet we've already had a plethora of answers based on different definitions of hte word 'America'.

America = American citizens, Obama, Republicans, Democrats, a federal constitutional republic, liberty, some thoughts in the minds of Americans, some actions by American citizens, cultural products made in America, blah blah blah. just fill in your personal definition and go for it.

hardly the basis for a productive discussion. this is precisely why surverys containing simple questions about abstract concepts are so utterly useless.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:06 am UTC

Krong wrote: I've got a theory that the U.S. has, since the start of the Cold War, taken on the unsavory roles that the democratized world needs done. It's the "policeman of the world" theory, except we're more like a vigilante that the real cops secretly ask for help. When the enemy was the USSR, this meant we ended up involved in all sorts of proxy wars and spy wars that left messy dictatorships all over the globe. With the enemy today being Islamic extremists, we end up drone-bombing Afghanistan and fighting insurgents in Iraq while we waterboard the terrorist leaders. It's not idealistic or grand by any stretch of the imagination, and most of the other democracies don't get involved. But I'm not sure what would happen if this role of the "rogue cop" was left unplayed. The U.S. wouldn't end up doing so many bad things, but would people across the world lose out overall when it comes to the safety of their lives and freedoms?

Except, to an extent, it wasn't the USSR that was the enemy. Rather, political ideology was the enemy, as a threat to American ideals. It's the same Manifest Destiny crap that America is Good and Right and needs to fight what is Wrong and Evil. Consider Reagan's speech which juxtapositioned Christianity against communism. Consider Bush's talk of the Axis of Evil and Rogue States (both terms which are devoid of any intellectual merit, and rather betray a failure of understanding). It's the mixture of enlightened rhetoric with self-interested interference that drums up anti-American sentiment.

It was this colouring that caused the Vietnam War to be seen as liberty Vs. communism, where it was really a colonial conflict between the collaborators and nationalist movements. The Korean War was similarly misinterpreted. This isn't to say that other countries were much better: it was the British, French, and Israelis that were responsible for the monumental fuck-up that was the Suez Crisis, where they similarly misinterpreted a nationalist movement. And the Algerian War was a keen illustration of the shortfall between the French sentiment they were engaging in a Civilizing Mission, and their rather totalitarian actions. The difference is the French learnt from it all. America is still engaging in conflicts where it is about transposing their philosophies and ideals onto others. They have this positive outlook that they can make the world like America, and have absolutely no insight into why others wouldn't find this desirable.

[I always thought Roger Ramjet was an apt criticism of American foreign policy. The idiotic pilot stumbles into situations he doesn't understand, and then resorts to pure violence once things stop going his way.]
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:17 am UTC

I can't speak for people who hate America, in the sense they would spend effort to hurt the US. There are obviously people like that, some with very good motivations too, but I doubt there are many of them on this forum, or in the UK for that matter.

I can speak for people are from time to time annoyed by the US, both as a country and by its inhabitants. It's a bit like being annoyed by Microsoft. No matter what you think about Microsoft's products, you'll probably have to learn at some point to work with Windows, with Word, even with Windows APIs if you want to make programs. Ýou will even pay for the pleasure. Perhaps you can avoid it at home, but not at work, or at other people's houses. From time to time, you really dont want to use a Microsoft product but you still have to. Thats when the annoyance becomes serious.

The US has a similar position in international politics, and in world culture. If your country's position is reasonably in line with the US, and if your home cuture and language is reasonbly close to the US and English, then this is not a big deal. Although it still feels annoying that you dont have a choice.
If at some point the interests of your country or a particular quirk of your culture collide with the US, then you know you'll have to spend loads and loads of effort to keep your own way.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Marquee Moon » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:08 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:In current times, all I see in the news are nutjob truthers, white supremacists, anti-government tea-party idiots and creationists, and anyone intelligent becomes revolted at the influence your country has allowed these people to have.
psyck0 wrote:The US was pretty great when it was really rolling in the dough, crime was low, poverty was low, etc. In the 1900-1920s spring to mind- I know people weren't as rich as they are now because unions didn't exist, but they were well on their way to having a good standard of living for everyone, and compared to the rest of the world at the time, the US was the place to be. I'm a foreigner so I don't know all the statistics, but the image I have of the US then was "pretty good" and pretty good for its people. Then, of course, its foreign policy started to be "assassinate people who disagree with us", then "invade people who disagree with us", beginning around the 1950s.

Yup, back when black people couldn't vote. Those were the days. No white supremacists back then!

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Nem » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:21 am UTC

I don't believe I've ever met anyone who hates America. I meet people who have criticisms of it, sure - and when people ask them about the things they have criticisms of inevitably those things get aired, but that doesn't mean they compose the majority of the disposition people have towards it. That a lot of Americans keep asking what the world, (not that 'the world' thinks that cohesively,) thinks about America is perhaps what makes them think the world hates them so much; I think it's largely something constructed by the observer.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:48 am UTC

Krong wrote:Regarding the rest of that, I've got a theory that the U.S. has, since the start of the Cold War, taken on the unsavory roles that the democratized world needs done. It's the "policeman of the world" theory, except we're more like a vigilante that the real cops secretly ask for help. When the enemy was the USSR, this meant we ended up involved in all sorts of proxy wars and spy wars that left messy dictatorships all over the globe. With the enemy today being Islamic extremists, we end up drone-bombing Afghanistan and fighting insurgents in Iraq while we waterboard the terrorist leaders. It's not idealistic or grand by any stretch of the imagination, and most of the other democracies don't get involved. But I'm not sure what would happen if this role of the "rogue cop" was left unplayed. The U.S. wouldn't end up doing so many bad things, but would people across the world lose out overall when it comes to the safety of their lives and freedoms?


I think that is a large part of what I find so repulsive (I will do my best not to insult you, as I have no desire to be rude, but you have brought up an area where perception inside the US is VERY different to perception outside, or what I call reality)

The US entered into conflicts against defenceless foes in the name of self defence. Iraq was hardly the first. For example, Cuba did nothing to the US, and when they were attacked by US sponsored terrorists they did not retaliate but took it to the world court, and won the case so that the court condemned the US's actions. USA promptly said "that's none of your business" and continued attacking a much smaller country who was not fighting back. A similar situation happened in Nicaragua, where the people voted their democratic choice into power, and the US decided they didn't like them and attacked them. Again, a similar story in Granada.

I think the role is less policeman, and more based on the precedent set by earlier administrations, such as Taft saying (regarding the western hemisphere):

The day is not far distant when three Stars & Stripes at three equidistant points will mark our territory: one at the North Pole, another at the Panama Canal and the third at the South Pole. The whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally.


That sort of attitude that other countries are there for the benefit of the US has prevailed in US foreign policy, and although that makes me angry, it is the defence of that position that bothers me the most. No lives or freedoms were protected, but only taken from people who don't matter because they aren't American. It was all in the name of American domination, and nothing else.

Many Americans seem to believe that their freedoms will be won or lost in some other country, and that is pure foolishness. Only America can grant or rescind American rights. And that is what I think made America a once great country that has failed to live up to expectations.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby General_Norris » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:49 am UTC

At least in Spain people "hate" it because the US are a superpower. Now that you have Obama we love you because he is black. Yes, it's just because of his race. It's just a fad, soon we will be back at hating everyone but Obama.

Global Warming? Blame on the US. Wars? Blame on the imperialist and fascist US (sic) People eating worse? Obviously hamburgers are at fault, blame the US. It's just an easy target. Even if the US were the nicest country in the world it would still get some hate.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Chosen_of_Kane » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:23 am UTC

I live in the UK, and I will attempt to not be insulting
and what I dislike most about America is the large amount of (ok I can't think of a better or less offensive term) Rednecks it seems to have. People who refuse to accept that the world has changed, the religious extremists who oppose gay rights, the assumption that all people of Arabic background are Islamic and must be terrorists in short I dislike the intolerance of the American public. I have never been to America so i have no idea how widespread it is but reading through a list of responses about what should be done with the inmates of Guantánamo Bay deemed too dangerous to be released was quite disturbing.

I hate the arrogance that appears to be inrooted into the American identity, the idea that they alone won ww2 single handedly, That they invented everything, that they are the leaders of the free world, that their way is the only right way, their refusal to play by the same rules as everyone else(using torture, ignoring the UN ect)

admittedly The Uk is also guilty of most of the things I have just listed, but I hate that aspect of the Uk too

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:30 am UTC

Chosen_of_Kane wrote:I live in the UK, and I will attempt to not be insulting
and what I dislike most about America is the large amount of (ok I can't think of a better or less offensive term) Rednecks it seems to have. People who refuse to accept that the world has changed, the religious extremists who oppose gay rights, the assumption that all people of Arabic background are Islamic and must be terrorists in short I dislike the intolerance of the American public. I have never been to America so i have no idea how widespread it is but reading through a list of responses about what should be done with the inmates of Guantánamo Bay deemed too dangerous to be released was quite disturbing.

I hate the arrogance that appears to be inrooted into the American identity, the idea that they alone won ww2 single handedly, That they invented everything, that they are the leaders of the free world, that their way is the only right way, their refusal to play by the same rules as everyone else(using torture, ignoring the UN ect)

admittedly The Uk is also guilty of most of the things I have just listed, but I hate that aspect of the Uk too



Perhaps hate was the wrong word to choose for the topic, but it seems to have gotten attention. I think that the things you point to inside the States that anger you mainly are a cause of frustration to many non-Americans - there are people you think are completely wrong, and there's no way for you to change their mind. It's definitely a major source of anger for me regarding the States. We do have many of those things in the UK, but I don't identify it as much with the overall culture...

I would say that I find the difference in interpretations of those on opposite sides of the US border fascinating.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Pleochism » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:50 am UTC

The ignorance. There's ignorant people everywhere, of course, but living in South Africa it seems that ignorance is an export of American tourists. Thinking that South Africa is the entirety of the continent, not believing that we have electricity, thinking we're just across the sea from Australia (or Korea, or any country really), not understanding why it's summer here during your winter, etc.

My favourite example comes from my school days. We had some American kids visiting for a while as part of a sutdent swap type program. They walked into our history class, featuring a large map of the world, and pointed out that it was wrong. When we asked why, with some confusion, they informed us that America was "much bigger". Apparently the maps they had seen had made the USA twice life size, probably for an innocent reason, but they believed that was reality.

That said, I have also met some intelligent, educated, charming Americans. They're just not the majority.

There just doesn't seem to be much work put into teaching most Americans about the rest of the world.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:02 pm UTC

Pleochism wrote:The ignorance. There's ignorant people everywhere, of course, but living in South Africa it seems that ignorance is an export of American tourists. Thinking that South Africa is the entirety of the continent, not believing that we have electricity, thinking we're just across the sea from Australia (or Korea, or any country really), not understanding why it's summer here during your winter, etc.

My favourite example comes from my school days. We had some American kids visiting for a while as part of a sutdent swap type program. They walked into our history class, featuring a large map of the world, and pointed out that it was wrong. When we asked why, with some confusion, they informed us that America was "much bigger". Apparently the maps they had seen had made the USA twice life size, probably for an innocent reason, but they believed that was reality.

That said, I have also met some intelligent, educated, charming Americans. They're just not the majority.

There just doesn't seem to be much work put into teaching most Americans about the rest of the world.



Indeed, growing up in the states, my brother had a classmate who got into an argument with him that England was part of America - because he hadn't realised that the US is only a small part of a big world. If I remember right the teacher didn't know where England was either. I was once asked while in the states (by a 14 year old girl at the time) if we had shoes (among many other basic things) in England. Apparently America is the last bastion of the developed world.

I find ignorance of history insulting coming from anyone (or at least an unwillingness to admit that ignorance), but it does seem to embody the whole country. At the moment, the Tea Parties really get me riled up - they think the Boston Tea Party was about a tax hike!!!! (for those who don't know, it was a corporate tax exemption that started it, followed by the crown's refusal to take the complaints seriously)
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Woopate » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:09 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:
Pleochism wrote:The ignorance. There's ignorant people everywhere, of course, but living in South Africa it seems that ignorance is an export of American tourists. Thinking that South Africa is the entirety of the continent, not believing that we have electricity, thinking we're just across the sea from Australia (or Korea, or any country really), not understanding why it's summer here during your winter, etc.

My favourite example comes from my school days. We had some American kids visiting for a while as part of a sutdent swap type program. They walked into our history class, featuring a large map of the world, and pointed out that it was wrong. When we asked why, with some confusion, they informed us that America was "much bigger". Apparently the maps they had seen had made the USA twice life size, probably for an innocent reason, but they believed that was reality.

That said, I have also met some intelligent, educated, charming Americans. They're just not the majority.

There just doesn't seem to be much work put into teaching most Americans about the rest of the world.



Indeed, growing up in the states, my brother had a classmate who got into an argument with him that England was part of America - because he hadn't realised that the US is only a small part of a big world. If I remember right the teacher didn't know where England was either. I was once asked while in the states (by a 14 year old girl at the time) if we had shoes (among many other basic things) in England. Apparently America is the last bastion of the developed world.

I find ignorance of history insulting coming from anyone (or at least an unwillingness to admit that ignorance), but it does seem to embody the whole country. At the moment, the Tea Parties really get me riled up - they think the Boston Tea Party was about a tax hike!!!! (for those who don't know, it was a corporate tax exemption that started it, followed by the crown's refusal to take the complaints seriously)


Alright, I'll agree that many Americans I've talked to are ignorant, and, in fact, in 2000, there was a comedy done in Canada called "Talking to Americans" that fed off of American ignorance as a source of humour. Check it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_to_Americans

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:22 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:At least in Spain people "hate" it because the US are a superpower. Now that you have Obama we love you because he is black. Yes, it's just because of his race. It's just a fad, soon we will be back at hating everyone but Obama.

Global Warming? Blame on the US. Wars? Blame on the imperialist and fascist US (sic) People eating worse? Obviously hamburgers are at fault, blame the US. It's just an easy target. Even if the US were the nicest country in the world it would still get some hate.

Like all simplifications that is not entirely accurate. Many people judge the United States for very specific things. The size of their military, their cultural hegemony, their buying up of companies such as Cadbury, actions against communism in the Middle East, South America, and Asia... there have always been easy targets, but it is partly the nature of American Imperialism which has stirred up anti-American sentiment, than just America being the number one power.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Eyat » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:

The day is not far distant when three Stars & Stripes at three equidistant points will mark our territory: one at the North Pole, another at the Panama Canal and the third at the South Pole. The whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally.



Okay, so let me get this straight. People around the world think WE are ignorant and you dig up a quote from HOWARD TAFT(?!) about imperalism? He was president in 1908-13, if only I could search my ignorant american brain for a country that had an empire in 1913... hmmm... wait I think it is the one you are from. But gosh, how dare us americans want one too (at the time)!

I answer your horribly dated quote with one of my own from Teddy Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:54 pm UTC

Eyat wrote:Okay, so let me get this straight. People around the world think WE are ignorant and you dig up a quote from HOWARD TAFT(?!) about imperalism? He was president in 1908-13, if only I could search my ignorant american brain for a country that had an empire in 1913... hmmm... wait I think it is the one you are from. But gosh, how dare us americans want one too (at the time)!

I answer your horribly dated quote with one of my own from Teddy Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."


I simply quoted Taft as a starting point for American foreign policy that has continued to this day. The thread is about why America is hated - the why is more important than the hate. Perhaps you are not yet familiar with SB, but the point of the board is to have a serious discussion. Sarcasm doesn't help that very much. Nor does ignoring the point of my post.

With regard to Roosevelt's quote, are you trying to say that America's shortcomings are born of a desire to do good? My view is that that is a cover for America's continued desire to dominate the world, and it has worn thin. You are indeed helping to solidify that point.
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Eyat » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:
I simply quoted Taft as a starting point for American foreign policy that has continued to this day. The thread is about why America is hated - the why is more important than the hate. Perhaps you are not yet familiar with SB, but the point of the board is to have a serious discussion. Sarcasm doesn't help that very much. Nor does ignoring the point of my post.

With regard to Roosevelt's quote, are you trying to say that America's shortcomings are born of a desire to do good? My view is that that is a cover for America's continued desire to dominate the world, and it has worn thin. You are indeed helping to solidify that point.


And I was simply pointing out that your dated quote was a weak attempt to create some sort of historical jumping off point for this alleged conspiracy of yours. The most powerful country in an area (from a histrical perspective, of course now the area is the world) looking out for its best interests is nothing new and just because it is not neccesarily your country or your interests anymore does not suddenly make it bad. As for my Roosevelt quote, its easier to sit back and second guess actions then take actions. The US takes a lot of actions so they are second guessed a lot because of it.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Azrael » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:25 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:
Taft wrote:The day is not far distant when three Stars & Stripes at three equidistant points will mark our territory: one at the North Pole, another at the Panama Canal and the third at the South Pole. The whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally.

I simply quoted Taft as a starting point for American foreign policy that has continued to this day.
An interesting failure on your part, though, to recognize that Taft (who was spectacularly uninteresting as a President) was merely repeating the key tenant of the Monroe Doctrine, from 1823. Furthermore, it's application -- whether through Roosevelt, Clark, Dulles or Eisenhower & JFK -- can't be used to make a point regarding US involvement anywhere outside the Americas. It is important when one wants to layeth the historical knowledge smackdown upon another poster that you do it correctly.

Speaking of the Americas, though, those are people who can be justifiably upset at US intervention prior to the turn of this century.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:21 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:An interesting failure on your part, though, to recognize that Taft (who was spectacularly uninteresting as a President) was merely repeating the key tenant of the Monroe Doctrine, from 1823. Furthermore, it's application -- whether through Roosevelt, Clark, Dulles or Eisenhower & JFK -- can't be used to make a point regarding US involvement anywhere outside the Americas. It is important when one wants to layeth the historical knowledge smackdown upon another poster that you do it correctly.

Speaking of the Americas, though, those are people who can be justifiably upset at US intervention prior to the turn of this century.


You are indeed right. It was laziness on my part to give proper historical context. Sorry.

Eyat wrote:
And I was simply pointing out that your dated quote was a weak attempt to create some sort of historical jumping off point for this alleged conspiracy of yours. The most powerful country in an area (from a histrical perspective, of course now the area is the world) looking out for its best interests is nothing new and just because it is not neccesarily your country or your interests anymore does not suddenly make it bad. As for my Roosevelt quote, its easier to sit back and second guess actions then take actions. The US takes a lot of actions so they are second guessed a lot because of it.


The point of my question is to find out WHY people hate America(ns), not to discuss whether those reasons are valid. It may or may not be an "alleged conspiracy," but that is not the issue. Dislike is based on perception, not necessarily fact. Whether you as an American think that using force to subject the world as a whole is what is occurring does not matter, it is my perception of such things and the denial of them that bothers me, but I am trying to understand an undeniable phenomenon: hatred/distrust/dislike for America(ns)
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:51 pm UTC

Eyat wrote: answer your horribly dated quote with one of my own from Teddy Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."


It might be useful to keep, say, B-52s in mind when thinking about this quote. Romantic thoughts about valiantly trying with great devotion start to feel a bit worrisome when "valiantly trying" means "dropping bombs from above", and the "dust and sweat and blood" is not actually yours. In such a case, a bit less enthusiasm and a bit more timid souls might be a good idea.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Azrael » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:05 pm UTC

Although I agree with your sentiment when applied to today, that quote was coming from a guy who lead famous cavalry(ish) charges, coined the still-used Big Stick Diplomacy and commissioned the Great White Fleet. It's about on par.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Naurgul » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:28 pm UTC

I wouldn't use the word "hate", but I think my dislike for USA boils down to two points: First, it's the wildly popular belief that economic freedom equals freedom. It's one thing that people are allowed to amass wealth and invest it and a different one that people are "free". Second, I don't like how the concept of competition is perceived to always imply innovation. Competition can often be a constraint and inhibitory to progress.

Other miscellaneous annoying things: Blatant corporatism (especially how public opinion can be manipulated to the point of people arguing against their own good) and blatant imperialism masqueraded as national defence (although that isn't specific to USA; any superpower in the current state of humanity would probably do the same).
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:00 pm UTC

Naurgul wrote:I wouldn't use the word "hate", but I think my dislike for USA boils down to two points: First, it's the wildly popular belief that economic freedom equals freedom. It's one thing that people are allowed to amass wealth and invest it and a different one that people are "free". Second, I don't like how the concept of competition is perceived to always imply innovation. Competition can often be a constraint and inhibitory to progress.

Other miscellaneous annoying things: Blatant corporatism (especially how public opinion can be manipulated to the point of people arguing against their own good) and blatant imperialism masqueraded as national defence (although that isn't specific to USA; any superpower in the current state of humanity would probably do the same).



So basically it's America keeping the basics of capitalism without accepting many of the potential benefits of liberalism/socialism/whatever you want to call it. Many of these things do not directly affect us (usually), which leads to what I guess is at the bottom of my question: Why do we care? If America wishes to reject things that many outside the country view as essential social progress (regulatory reform, nationalised health care, etc) then they can live with the consequences. And yet it bothers us. Is it a matter of just being annoyed by ignorance, or is it because sometimes these things do affect us (such as the recession) and America's unwillingness to change may have contributed to it? Or is it that occasionally we have to deal with America, as in Zamfir's wonderful Windows analogy?
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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby scarecrovv » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

Before my post, let me state that I am an American. Just so you know where I'm coming from, and can weigh what I say accordingly, whatever that means for you.

Pleochism wrote:The ignorance. There's ignorant people everywhere, of course, but living in South Africa it seems that ignorance is an export of American tourists. Thinking that South Africa is the entirety of the continent, not believing that we have electricity, thinking we're just across the sea from Australia (or Korea, or any country really), not understanding why it's summer here during your winter, etc.

My favourite example comes from my school days. We had some American kids visiting for a while as part of a sutdent swap type program. They walked into our history class, featuring a large map of the world, and pointed out that it was wrong. When we asked why, with some confusion, they informed us that America was "much bigger". Apparently the maps they had seen had made the USA twice life size, probably for an innocent reason, but they believed that was reality.

That said, I have also met some intelligent, educated, charming Americans. They're just not the majority.

There just doesn't seem to be much work put into teaching most Americans about the rest of the world.

Chosen_of_Kane wrote:I live in the UK, and I will attempt to not be insulting
and what I dislike most about America is the large amount of (ok I can't think of a better or less offensive term) Rednecks it seems to have. People who refuse to accept that the world has changed, the religious extremists who oppose gay rights, the assumption that all people of Arabic background are Islamic and must be terrorists in short I dislike the intolerance of the American public. I have never been to America so i have no idea how widespread it is but reading through a list of responses about what should be done with the inmates of Guantánamo Bay deemed too dangerous to be released was quite disturbing.

I hate the arrogance that appears to be inrooted into the American identity, the idea that they alone won ww2 single handedly, That they invented everything, that they are the leaders of the free world, that their way is the only right way, their refusal to play by the same rules as everyone else(using torture, ignoring the UN ect)

admittedly The Uk is also guilty of most of the things I have just listed, but I hate that aspect of the Uk too


I keep hearing about how stupid or mindlessly arrogant Americans are. Posts like these. TV shows where Americans are asked to label France on a world map, and are convinced to choose Australia, and then convinced to attack it. Surveys that show all sorts of weird historical beliefs. And yet, perhaps it's just my social group, but whenever I hear these things, I wonder why don't I know any of these people?

Seriously.

Maybe I just don't choose to hang out with people who believe Africa is a country, or who forget that the Arsenal of Democracy wasn't the whole story in World War II. People keep saying all these things about Americans, and I am continually surprised at how this clashes with my own observations.

That said, there are people, and I even know some myself (though they're in the minority) who are die-hard fans of George Bush/Ronald Regan/etc. Who believe America is Right, The End. Who would abridge our freedoms or our children's educations for their own religious goals. I don't agree with them. Sometimes I even feel like their voices should be suppressed. But you know what would happen then? We would cease to be a democracy. That is not acceptable. At all. If I could censor them at will, and shut them out of the governmental process, then why couldn't they do the same thing to me? That's a damn scary thought. They may be fools, but they have rights. And as long as they remain the minority, things won't work out too badly.

But if such people grow in number, I am afraid for the future of my country.

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Re: What does the world hate about America?

Postby Eyat » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:20 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
It might be useful to keep, say, B-52s in mind when thinking about this quote. Romantic thoughts about valiantly trying with great devotion start to feel a bit worrisome when "valiantly trying" means "dropping bombs from above", and the "dust and sweat and blood" is not actually yours. In such a case, a bit less enthusiasm and a bit more timid souls might be a good idea.


Unless of course the people being bombed are a threat, which admittedly is a case by case basis but dismissing it out of hand seems flippant. Perhaps if Chamberlain had done a bit less timid of a soul the 1940s could have been more pleasant for all. If American foriegn policy and carpet bombing are synonymous in your mind perhaps that is why you don't like america which is an interesting answer to the OP's question.

Azrael wrote:Although I agree with your sentiment when applied to today, that quote was coming from a guy who lead famous cavalry(ish) charges, coined the still-used Big Stick Diplomacy and commissioned the Great White Fleet. It's about on par.


well I did call it an equally dated quote...

As an answer to the original question:
It seems to be a solid mix of hating the guy on top and being misunderstood (if this thread is any indication).


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