What Is America's Current Foreign Policy?
Well, the United States believes that all non-Saudi-Arabian nations of the world will benefit from American democracy, whether or not they know it. That may be a tough pill to swallow for a has-been nation like France, but we feel very strongly that once people see it our way -- generally by force -- the world will be a better place. Democracy is our most important export; we believe that it is our duty to spread it around the world, like Starbucks. There are those who hate our freedoms, and there are those who hate our Frappuccinos. But these people have likely tasted neither. (By the way, are you enjoying Starbucks? You only thought you'd had good coffee, right?)
Also, we've watched -- and in some cases, continue to watch -- as Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Sweden, China, Belgium, and others have annexed, occupied, colonized, or enslaved nation after nation (and, in one recent and very impressive case, an entire subcontinent). We won't say that sort of thing isn't tempting; it's very tempting. But look where the above countries are now: armchair-quarterbacking the decisions of nations that have not fallen off the edge of history. The U.S. has, therefore, pursued different tactics in dealing with conquered nations. The results have been mixed. The American occupations of Germany and Japan, for example, ended up working out very well -- one might say too well -- for Germany and Japan. What we've done more recently is to liberate the nation in question and then get out of the way within one to two minutes so that democracy can take root.
Does the rising tide of anti-Americanism concern Americans?
Americans, when they think about it at all, which is never, are more baffled by than concerned about the recent increase in anti-American sentiment. It is obvious that in eighteen short months, the rest of the world has forgotten what happened on September 11th, 2001. What happened on that fateful day was not simply a ruthless, horrific terrorist attack; it was, by far, the worst tragedy to befall any nation in the history of the world, ever. What's up with the amnesia? And what part of "if you're not with us, you're with the evildoers" don't they understand? All that said, Americans are a forgiving people; we do not bear the rest of the world a grudge. In fact, we embrace foreigners: Hugh Grant, the list goes on.
And the support of Tony Blix -- and the British in general -- is comforting. We don't need his support, since the United States is by far the greatest military power in history. (We don't have a particularly firm grasp of history -- no really, we don't -- so it's lost on us that the greatest military power of the day has almost always also been the greatest military power in history.) But his support stands in refreshing contrast to the attitudes of many continental Europeans, whose naïve, vaguely homosexual approach to world affairs is, to be frank, laughable. We've shown a great deal of restraint in not just nuking them. (Now, having said that: Roberto Benigni still likes us, right? We'd like to think so; he was so great a few years ago when he won the Oscar for his Jew movie. But actually, you know what? If he doesn't like us anymore, then fuck him too.)
Is the stereotype of Americans as ignorant, semi-literate blowhards valid?
That's an interesting question. One would get that impression from, for example, the BBC. Although BBC News, seeing itself as a news organization, does stop short of explicitly voicing its view that Americans are illiterate cretins, preferring to convey this view through the uppity, snickering tone that creeps into its voice at any mention of the United States. Having said that, perhaps the BBC has a point; as Americans, we feel strongly that too much education can only lead to an unacceptably high level of intellectuality, loss of manhood, and snottiness such as infects the BBC (not to mention the British more broadly, and Europeans in general). In all fairness, this may simply represent a difference of opinion about whether or not being able to identify the Atlantic Ocean on a map or having heard of Eleanor Roosevelt are important skills to have. All of which is not to say that Americans are poorly educated: are American schools second rate or, to put it another way, third rate? Yes. But there are many, many rates.
Also, ignorance may not be bliss, but it's not that bad, and perhaps hyper-educated people shouldn't knock it until they've tried it. E.g., would we prefer to be aware of the fact that on the morning after the next September 11th, Le Monde's headline will be not "Today we are all Americans" but "This Time They Deserved It"? No thanks. Americans tend not to think about things that are not worth thinking about, and this is one of those things. Sorry...
Why do speeches given by American politicians often end with the words "God bless America"?
Or to put it another way: Why bother to ask God for help when you already know it's forthcoming? It's a formality, really: who else is He going to bless, Mexico? Ireland? God doesn't bet on losers. But we are a humble nation, so we ask anyway. We may not possess England's passion for grand cuisine, Italy's legendary work ethic, or France's fondness for all things non-French, but our humility is intact, and we treasure it.
Is America perfect?
No. We would really prefer gas to be a bit cheaper. Other than that: yes.
What is the Pledge of Allegiance?
Every weekday morning, children in most American schools put their right hands on their hearts, face the American flag, and recite the Pledge Of Allegiance. The Pledge Of Allegiance is as follows: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all." What could be less offensive or legally binding? But some closet communists believe that "under God", inserted by an act of Congress in the 1950s, should be removed because part of the reason we declared our independence from Great Britain was to achieve a level of religious freedom not available to us as a British colony. Their logic is laughably flawed -- hang on a second, I'm laughing, give me a second here -- sorry; their logic is flawed: American children are free to think of whomever they like when they come to the "under God" part: Muslims, for example, would think of their "god," while Pakistanis would think of some sort of Pakistani god. The handful of Americans who are not religious would just think of someone they really, really liked or admired.
Are Americans tolerant people?
Yes. Just as Freedom Of Speech guarantees that, for example, the sick views of unborn baby killers will be tolerated, so do Other Parts Of the Constitution guarantee that Americans who practice, for example, the Muslim, Asian, or faggot lifestyles be similarly tolerated. We may not understand what leads people down those paths, but we tolerate them nonetheless. Cheating on your wife is wrong too, but the government won't chop your legs off for it like they do in India.
What is a typical day like for the average American?
Some Americans begin their day watching the Today show, while others watch Good Morning America. Still others pray, asking God for the strength to carry on in a world where the good guys are currently having a tough time of it. We give so much as a nation, and want nothing in return except for peace and maybe some gratitude every once in a while. But if peace is not an option, then war is really not a bad second choice. At any rate, we know that we endure His trials for a reason, even if that reason is not immediately apparent to us. After that: work; after work, dinner, perhaps a bit of television, then bed. (The notion that Americans watch a lot of TV is invalid; on average, Americans watch slightly less than an hour of television every two hours.)
Is Canada part of the United States?
We don't really know. It's sort of creepy.
Are taxes high in America?
No! That's one of the greatest things about living in the U.S. In fact, average Americans are about to get an income-tax break that will save the average family of four an average of $297,034.06 a year. In America, we believe that people would have more money to spend if the government didn't pick their pockets all the fucking time. How much more cash could they need after all these years? Average American families are finally waking up to that.
What is "affirmative action"?
The term "affirmative action" covers a wide spectrum of policies and programs, public and private, whose purpose is to ensure that Americans are on a "level playing field" when it comes to getting into a job, finding college, etc. At the more rigid end of the spectrum are policies that specify "quotas"; for example, an institution might have a policy saying, "we commit ourselves annually to blank," where "blank" might be "ensuring that twenty percent of our new hires are of East Asian descent" or "employing between six and eight Hungarians." Most affirmative-action programs, however, avoid quotas, instead providing guidelines that allow special consideration for groups of people who are at a disadvantage in one way or another. Many universities, for example, give such preference to members of ethnic minorities, out-of-state applicants, people who are too limited to get into any college that their father didn't go to, and so on. Such programs have been very successful.
Why is the U.S. adamant about Saddam removal while unconcerned about Kim Jong Il?
Kim Jong Il is undoubtedly a potential threat to world peace; as we have pointed out, we have a visceral reaction to that guy. But our reaction to Saddam Hussein is even more visceral. Plus, at the risk of offending the P.C. Squad: he's an Arab. However, it's very, very likely that the situation in North Korea will reach crisis proportions shortly after we do Iraq.
Why doesn't the U.S. talk about the Axis of Evil anymore?
Excellent question. Saddam Hussein must disarm, and when we say "disarm," what we mean is that he must be bombed back to the Bronze Age or, preferably, the Stone Age. This is a man who has attacked his own citizens. We care very deeply about the Iraqi people. There's literally nothing we wouldn't do in their name, caring about them as much as we do. You know how sometimes you care about someone so much that it hurts? It sounds corny, but that's what it's like.
What is "voting"?
Americans believe strongly in the idea that within reason, people should choose their own leaders and make their own laws. As such, we have spared "no" expense to ensure that foreigners enjoy the benefits of democracy, which has spread to all corners of the globe, from London to Tokyo to Athens. At the core of democracy is the notion of "voting." The easiest way to explain voting is to think of five people in a car. It's time for lunch, and three passengers want to go to Burger King, while the remaining two want to go to McDonald's. In some countries, it would take a fight to the death to resolve this conflict! But Americans are a peaceful people, so what we would do -- this is so great -- is that we would put the issue to a vote. And we would thereby decide -- based on the fact that the majority of passengers are in the mood for a Croissandwich or whatever -- to hit Burger King. So that's how we make most decisions here in the U.S.: In the "American car," every voter gets one vote, even voters who are clearly biased in their views. Almost all of our elected officials are chosen this way. You should try it; it totally works.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Schneider. All rights reserved.