General discussion

I was watching Dr Robert Ballard's program on SOSUS and

the US and Soviet submarine conflict and during the graphics there was a nice one of the northernmost Atlantic bases on North America, one in Nova Scotia, and one in Newfoundland. there were also a pair on the west coast on Vancouver Island and possibly one of the Queen Charlotte islands. Combined with all the Radar sites north of 60 degrees here (the Distant Early Warning Line)and the US base at Goose Bay in Labrador now abandoned with no clean up of hazardous materials done, it looks to me like Canada's paricipated quite thoroughly in the defense of the United States over the years.

Just don't wake up Kidpeat and tell him, he has this dream that the US has been going it alone since 1776 and I don't want to disturb his fantasy.

Rob Boyter

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Yes Rob. Contributions of a few parcels of land are a

REAL drain on the Canadian taxpayer. Of course, Canada got nothing in return for their 'major' investment did they? Oh yes, America. When you are done with a base that benefits us, be sure to clean up thoroughly when you leave. After all, we can't spend any real money on these activities.

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(NT) (NT) Hey, I told you not to wake him up.
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It's your thesis that Canada does nothing to help the US

and its military, that we are a dependent and a constant drain on the poor old United States. I was just pointing out a couple of instances where we did help out. I haven't even mentioned the base at Cold Lake Alberta or the Happy Valley-Goosebay bombing range and base, or the Alaska Highway or the Mackenzie Pipeline or... The list is endless.

Rob Boyter

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not gonna say anything as you just proved

that canada did very little but rely on the usa to protect them and dont worry we will continue to we dont hold you against themGrin

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You and KP are so wrong that there is not world enough and

time to correct you. I think that, as a sovereign nation, as you all seem to forget Canada has been enormously supportive of the United States. Indeed it has only become an issue since the rise of George the Lame, because he doesn't seem to realize that the 49th parallel isn't just a boundary between various states but is an international frontier.

Rob Boyter

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I can picture the bleating which would pour south if

'George' ever closed that border. Americans aren't terribly concerned about what another country thinks of their government. They do get testy, however, when they are attacked. France did this under DeGaul, and the effects are still with us having been recently reinforced.

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While Canada and many others have their own costs

and have contributed to multinational conflicts and aid too, the US did bear a considerable amount of cost in the undefineable arena of 'the cold war'.

Europe did too of course. But while many debate the effective use of funds and efforts regarding this or that specific cost/action, the cost was there.

Some probably would argue that the entire concept of the cold war, and particularly of mutual assured distruction, was wrong.

Those living at the time perceived a real threat from the bloc of nations living under the blanket rule of the USSR. While hindsight and armchair experts may disagree with the evaluations at the time, the people and elected officials had to deal with what they perceived.

The US has borne a huge cost in the alliances designed to fight that cold war, and in bases in other countries overseas to assure those allies we would respond. Less not forget the purpose of so called tripwire troops is to guarentee the US would respond if an attack was made because we would lose men as well as our ally. The troops themselves may not have posed much of a deterrent militarily, their destruction in an attack was the ally's assurance we would respond.

I don't maintain that Canada has done nothing militarily or has depended exclusively on the USA for defence. However, I do believe the USA carried the brunt of the cost for the cold war for decades. With the breakup of the USSR, there was a feeling of release and relief in the national psyche of the USA, a chance to not have to worry about the affairs of the world even.

Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor drew us out of isolationism before, the attack on 9/11 again rouse us out of a complacency that those outside would leave us alone. Just as then submarine attacks on shipping and other assaults were resonded to minimally, we responded to the first attack on the World Trade center, the attack on our embassies, the attack on the USS Cole with minimum reprisals, if any.

What happened? Pearl Harbor and this time 9/11. The first at least was a military target, 9/11 was a direct attack against civilians in an undeclared war with no military value. That is the nature of terrorism though, the purpose is not to defeat your enemy militarily, the purpose is to cow him spirtually/mentally so that he will agree to anything.

Again we feel under attack from a huge outside threat. Is this comparable to WWII? no. But the threat to us in the USA may feel almost as dangerous personally.

And rather tiredly, we again feel forced to spend our fortunes and American lives on battling the enemy.



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I agree wholeheartedly with your position, Roger.

I think that is probably the position of any American with a brain and without an axe of some sort to grind.
Thank you for stating it here so clearly.

Rob Boyter

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Would be interested in what you think ...

... of this discussion of Canada's Defense that I came across a while ago:

Defending Canada

It is certainly written from a Canadian viewpoint in a "Canadian Studies" area of an institution of higher learning of your country. However I have no knowledge of the author's bent or the university. Still seemed rather balanced and reasonable to me.

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I think it's a good straight forward run-down of Canadian

military history.

Much of the 19th Century in Canada was characterized by the fear of, and planning for, the expected American invasion, as in 1812. Ottawa was chosen as the site of the capitol because it was farther away from the border than any other location available, despite the fact that it was a small town best known as a way point for the lumber trades floating their logs out of northern Ontario and northern Quebec (this was still true as late as the mid 1950's when great booms of logs floated by the Parliament buildings, a sight often featured in old movies and travel folders). Most of the 19th Century Public works like canals and railroads in Canada were built to counter "the American threat". When you consider it, living next to a charging dynamic society ten times your population is a fairly uncomfortable position to be in, even now.

Canada had a terrific reputation in the First and Second World Wars. Almost half of the top scoring fighter pilots on the Allied side in WW1 were Canadian. Their infantry too was greatly prized by the British and French who had a tendency to use Canadians as shock troops to storm impregnable positions like Vimy Ridge. There's a little patriotic squib that appears periodically on the telvision here, one of those 1 minute history lessons that tells of the 4 winners of the Victoria Cross who all lived on the Pine Street in Winnipeg. The name of the road was later changed to Valour Road.

The storming of Monte Cassino was carried out by Poles and Canadians after the US Army gave it up as a bad job in WW2. And one of the five beaches in Normandy was assigned to the Canadians who achieved all their Day One objectives on time unlike either the British or the Americans. The top scoring British fighter pilot lead a trio of Canadian Squadrons for much of WW2 and had nothing but praise for them, and Canadians were prized as aircrew in Bomber Command, and suffered unusually high losses because of their "press on" spirit.

Canada has been a pillar of the UN peacekeeping, in the Middle East after 1947, in Cyprus after the Brits withdrew in the 60's. 38 soldiers were killed in Cyprus over the period of Canadian peacekeeping there. They were also involved, though somewhat less successfully, in Rwanda and in Bosnia.

I have already mentioned Canadian participation in the First Gulf War, and in Afghanistan. American troops who serve with Canadian troops are, so far as I have heard, very pleased to work with them. There was a small diplomatic incident generated because the US Army awarded US medals to Canadians working with US forces in Afghanistan.

Canada has always had to deal with "the French Fact". The fact that roughly 40% of the population is of French origin and who feel disinclined to go along with anything that might be seen as supporting either Britain or the United States or France for that matter. A significant portion of the Quebec populace have been more interested in their own province and, lately, independence than in participating in a larger whole. There were crises in both world wars over conscription, with French Canadians vigorously opposed to any conscription at all, and the rest of Canada (very WASP and predominantly of British origin at the time) outraged by their reluctance. There are however celebrated and courageous regiments of volunteers who have come out of Quebec like the Fusiliers de Montreal, and the Royal 22 Regiment known as the "Van Doos" from their number in french (vingt-deuxieme for twenty second).

It's an unmilitary country with a very good military reputation which is contradictory but in keeping with the traditions of England where military service either in the ranks or as an officer was not a cherished position. Wellington's comment about the British Army comes to mind in this regard. "The scum of the earth led by the fool of the family" characterized the early 19th century British Army and British society's attitude towards it. The army was usually thought of as a career for the less gifted members of the British aristocracy and remains so, to a degree, to this day though there was a patch after WW2 where promotion was through Officer Candidate Examinations for the ranks rather than just through the military academies like Sandhurst.

What's your take on what you read?

Rob Boyter

If anyone is really interested in all this, Pierre Berton, a Canadian journalist and author has published extensively on Canadian history, and specifically on the War of 1812, on the building of the Canadian transcontinental railroad (by an American) and the First and Second World Wars. He writes very readable and well researched books. It's how I learned my Canadian History so that I could keep up with my son, although it was NOT the origin of my opinions on the War of 1812 which I formulated while still a history student in the States. In US university history circles what I have said in that regard is the general opinion and what "everybody knows".

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What's your take on what you read?

My take was that this (Canadian) author was saying basically what KP, myself and others have been saying.

Canada was born of a sense of threat. By 1865, the United States had become a major military power, having survived a bloody civil war which left it with one of the strongest armies of the time. Wary British colonials in Canada feared this superior military force and sought a greater sense of security through Confederation in 1867.

But the fledgling Canadian nation made no serious attempt to arm itself against a possible American invasion. Canada maintained only a small, ill-equipped and ill-trained militia that did not become a professional fighting force until the eve of World War I.

There were, however, sound reasons for this: with a small population and a vast territory (9.2 million km sq.), Canada could never hope to defend itself against the United States with whom it shared a long and indefensible border. Rather than try to create a huge military force, Canada chose to rely on law and diplomacy to settle disputes with its neighbour to the south. Canada's leaders also reasoned that - given Canada's geography - only great powers could threaten this country, and only great powers could defend it. Canada, on this logic, could best defend itself through alliances with powerful protectors whose own military interests included the defence of Canada.

Basically that Canada has relied heavily on the US military for her defense. That this has allowed Canada the "luxury" of picking and choosing which military missions to participate in actively is ONLY because your military has almost no need to protect your country from threats to your security. This has come at the expense of the American taxpayer. Joint ventures with Canada are not some form of military aid from your country, they are more like Canada carrying her own weight in at least a minimally significant way. But US military spending protects far more people on this planet than the 285 million that are Americans. Those that do should be grateful for that. At a minimum, if Canada didnt' agree over Iraq, they should have taken a silent seat at the back of the global room.

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Okay, let's see if I understand your points

Canada in the 19th Century, as a nation of vast spaces and tiny population, whose only threat was the United States, decided not to defend itself from them [us](because it would be impossibe) and is thus guilty of depending on the United States for defence? Regardless of the countervaling weight of Britain and the Royal Navy.

And using law and diplomacy to defend itself is less admirable than creating a large but admittedly futile military force?

1. Canada, as a part of the British Empire (to the present day though it's called the Commonwealth now), depended on the mutual defence arrangements with its other partners in the Empire, not on the United States. Thus Canada's participation in the Crimean War, as soldiers enlisted in the British Army, the Boer War as Canadian soldiers, WW1 and WW2. That carries us up to about 1950. They also participated in the Korean War as a member of the UN forces in just the same way as the US did. In other words Canada's view has by necessity been one of collective security rather than going it alone (a futile gesture given its large area and small population). How entering into a partnership for mutual defence can be construed as depending on only one member of that partnership for everything is beyond me. Canada is a founding member of NATO, an American scheme aimed at isolating the Soviet Union and its satellites and creating a mutual defence pact because a Soviet invasion of Europe would threaten the US as well as those countries in Europe. Is it your contention that all the member states of NATO are entirely dependent on the US for their defence and as such are not partners but dependents of the United States? If so why did they bother with their own military forces?

2. Canada trained the lion's share of British Commonwealth pilots during WW2 at its own expense, as well as a significant number of American pilots (1940 through 1943) before the US training schemes got up and running (though the US government arranged some quid pro quo financial arrangements via Lend-Lease), through the Empire (later Commonwealth) Air Training Plan from 1940 to the end of the war. There are books on the Commonwealth Air Training scheme, you can look this stuff up.

3. Canada's forces as a percentage of population exceeded that of the US forces during WW2.

4. Canada had the 3rd or 4th largest Navy in the world at the end of WW2.

5. Canada as a sovereign nation is allowed to make choices over where it spends its money and in what way. For example the Canadian contribution to fighting AIDS in Africa currently tops 18 Billion (yes, with a "B"!!). It's far more (again) on a per capita basis than the United States spends. Its contribution to the Tsunami relief is the highest per capita of population in the world in both governmental and private donations or so the newspapers tell us.

The US is not the arbiter of what is appropriate for each nation in the world to do or spend its money on, and it is that underlying patronizing attitude, that the US knows best, that the whole world is dependent on the American colossus, that has gotten us, the US, in such trouble around the world. You want to know why the world is so irritated by you, look in the mirror.

Now I'm not justifying terrorism or the paranoid views of Islamic and Middle Eastern States or any of the chronic US haters in the world, but if Britain and Canada and virtually everybody else who is friendly to the US is having a problem with you then maybe it's your problem. It's like psychology; if you keep coming up against the same issues then probably they're YOUR issues and not everybody else's.

But that's just the opinion of someone who has studied European history at the graduate level, travelled widely, and lived in 2 other countries besides the United States. Maybe you stay at homes are right about all this.

Rob Boyter

Oh, and about Britain in the current situation. Your (our) only friend there is Tony Blair, and you are costing him dearly in the political arena. You should count yourself lucky that the opposition in Parliament is so weak otherwise he'd be out on his *** and they'd be out of Iraq in a heart-beat.

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Simmer down please

Why do you have to spin up any comment made into something it is not?

Is it your contention that all the member states of NATO are entirely dependent on the US for their defence and as such are not partners but dependents of the United States?

Entirely? Did ANYONE ever say anything even close to that?? It is delusional to believe that all members of NATO contribute equally to the protection and safety of the others. Since its inception, many of the members of NATO have downscaled their militaries relying on the good old USofA to save their collective a$$es if the need arose.

If so why did they bother with their own military forces?

One could look at the state of the French military, for example, and wonder if they really have bothered with their own military forces.

Re #2 ... KUDOS!!!

Re #3 ... Can you find me those stats? The US sustained greater casualties in WWII as a percent of prewar population than did Canada, although not by much (0.3% for Canada, 0.4% for the US)

Re #4 ... So?

Re #5 ... This has to do with military alliances how? Except that with Canada's piddly defense spending, there are more dollars available for Canada to spend on other things. I'm curious to see some substantiation of that number nonetheless. As to aid in general, were those Canadian C-130's over there in Indonesia? Our military aid is often poo pooed as not "humanitarian" in nature. It's time to recognize that, without it, sometimes there would be no aid at all.

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It was KP's contention initially that Canada was dependent

on the United States to defend it since the United States was formed, he later amended that to Canada was dependent on Britain until 1945 at which point it became dependent on the United States. You have spoken in support of his contention and have reiterated the charge that Canada is dependent for protection on the United States. So far as I can see nobody except the United States has ever been interested in invading Canada and that was a long time ago.

It is my contention that independence as a nation is not incompatible with interdependence in terms of general conduct or self-interest as a nation, and that there is no practical or sensible way to introduce accounting into this equation or to apportion costs.

You seem to be saying that the United States has been taking care of Canada and Europe for the last 60 years. Rubbish !! The United States has been taking care of its own self-interest which has meant gathering allies against the perceived Communist menace. Now that conditions have changed those countries who participated are being judged as wanting by the country that recruited them in the first place. It was self-interest that brought them together and now that the Soviet Union is no more, it is self-interest that is changing the dynamics of that relationship. This is a perfectly normal process, but you seem to want to freeze it in place and introduce gratitude and obligation into the equation. International relations don't work that way. Countries pursue what they judge to be their own best interests and the best expressions of their national ideals. Canada so far as I can tell has always been more interested in international involvement and assistance than the United States, the aberration of the Marshall Plan aside.

As I said before, Canada, out of necessity, has embraced collective security and mutual aid as its paradigm. You persist in wanting Canada to respond in the way you think that it should. We already know what your attitude is to those who want the United States to respond differently, they're interfering ingrates. Why do you think Canada should respond differently than the US in a similar situation? Intervention in Iraq was not in Canada's interest, intervention in Afghanistan was. The difference was that Afghanistan was a haven for terrorists but Iraq does not seem to have been, although it seems to be turning into one now.

And bold text aside I was perfectly calm when I wrote the preceding piece as I am now.

Rob Boyter

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Imagine the changes ...

... that would be required in the size and funding of the militaries of every other NATO ally, if the US were not not the cornerstone of that alliance. The relationship is clearly more one of dependence than interdependence, although you can think of it any way you want.

How was intervention in Afghanistan in Canada's self interest?

Do you think the threat of Communism was only perceived ... as in not real?

Marshall Plan was an abberration and Canada just spreads its money around the world for the good of the world, the US only does what is in its own interest. Get real Sad

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The Marshall Plan was very unusual in US terms.

Isolationism is the common thread in US history from the founding of the Republic. Wilson was repudiated because of isolationism, Roosevelt couldn't get involved in the European conflict or even build up US forces until mid 1941 because of isolationism. The renewal of the Selective Service Act in 1941 passed by 1 vote! in 1941 despite the war in Europe and the bellicose hostility of Japan towards the US because of isolationism. And the US was withdrawing from Europe at Congress's earlier behest when the Marshall plan was passed (by a protesting Congress) in 1947 to rebuild and strengthen Europe as a bulwark against Communism. Generally our (your) interventions have been in the New World viz. the Spanish American War (despite the fact that the Phillipines were part of the package).

If you persist in thinking of the world as America's dependents you won't have very many friends left. Oh, I forgot, you don't.

Afghanistan was fighting the source of 9/11 terrorism, that was very much in Canada's interest as was supporting the United States. It was also in keeping with Canada's previous history of participating in collective security. Canada did not perceive Iraq as a threat when the invasion was proposed. Turns out they (we) were right! Had Bush delayed a couple of years and found credible evidence then Canada would have been onside as it was during the First Gulf War. But if he'd delayed a couple of years he might not still be President.

You are a thoughtful and worthy adversary, Evie, even though I think you're wrong. Felicitations.

Rob Boyter.

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You were shown to be WRONG in that discussion Rob,

but continue to repeat your version of the debate.

The inaccuracy of your historical accounts was amply demonstrated by the use of several historical sources in that debate. It's there for anyone who cares to go look for it. It is time to move on rather than continuing to do what the left is famous for. Continue to spin the event so that it matches your desired reality.

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"There is none so blind as he who has eyes and will not see"

Since nothing I can possibly say will convince you I have left that discussion to posterity though it still bothers me. The only reason I suggested you take my thesis to an independent arbiter is that I believe it is your antipathy to me and my views which gets in the way. Everything I said is accepted in the American community of scholars as "Of course, everybody knows that" material.

Rob Boyter

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The American community of scholars

Where did you study that you got so cozy with this vaunted group? Is there no diversity amongst American history scholars? One would hope so, or the revisionists have won out Sad

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I should have said "by scholars of American history" perhaps

or "by most historical academics in America". As to my universities, I'll pass on identifying them if you don't mind. I don't want friends or family to suffer repercussions for my opinions in this hotbed of consent.

Rob Boyter

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And after bearing a large share

is it any wonder many of us feel just a bit betrayed when past allies in the fight against the spread of communism and the cold war suddenly don't just disagree with us, but disparage the US and it's actions every chance they get?

That's often what it seems now.



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I agree that that may be how it "seems"

but I do think this is a transitory and to a degree a perception thing. I also think that Americans, who were quite strident in their criticism of Great Britain through much of the 20th Century, are being overly sensitive. The tallest nail gets pounded down as the Japanese say, and the most powerful country draws the most criticism chiefly because it is the most conspicuous. All the communist satellites used to (very quietly) complain and criticize the Soviet Union behind its back to one another. It's a truism that power begets envy and that power also begets, if not abuses, then a certain roughness or crudity in implementation of policies.

The US is big enough to take a little criticism.

Rob Boyter

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Not behind our backs
All the communist satellites used to (very quietly) complain and criticize the Soviet Union behind its back to one another.

But no one in the world seems to critize American quietly. They praise or thank in diplomatic circles while critizing to the world media. Part of it is of course just because (for now) we're the big guy left standing. While risking being accuse of arrogance, I'd venture it's part envy, part fear, as well as just plain disagreement involved in much of the insults.

One example. We went to UN about Iraq, way before the war, and it's infractions of the cease fire treates and about the fears of it's weapons programs. France didn't just speak out against any motions or resolutions, it vowed publically to veto any thing we put forth regarding punishing Iraq. Voting against a resolution or accord would have been one thing. Vetoing it is a step higher. But vowing publically to veto any such before it was even voted on was thumbing their nose at the US. I don't know if they were trying to prove they didn't bow to us or if it was just greed (their part in the oil for food monies).

That's just a clear example of what I mean. The situation seems to be there is a world game among nations since we are "the tallest nail" to try to take the USA down a notch or two.

Do we offend sometimes unnecessarily? I'm sure we have. Are we the new devil to fear? it seems since the USSR broke up, there is a campaign to make us the world's whipping boy.

And all the time criticising for not doing enough and for interferring to much.

Phooey, there is a persistant bad taste to it all.



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France thinks its proper place is to be the world leader,

and that is what it is trying to accomplish. It will say and do anything to accomplish that objective. It appears that Canada is following the French lead. Perhaps they still think the US wants to invade Canada?

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The "French Fact" in Canada is a fact and there is

very significant Quebec influence, though that is not quite the same as French (France) influence.

There is a sense of assertive self importance in parts of French society that I find quite disorienting ("Excuse me but if it wasn't for my Dad and a million like him you'd all be speaking German, Marcel") expressed in a way that is most likely to irritate.

We were down in Cuba on holiday with friends from Montreal who are English but fluently bilingual. John was speaking to his wife Daphne when one of the other guests said to him "You speak English?" with a broad accent. When he said "Yes" she said "Not me!" and flounced off. Where was the need to make that announcement which was at the same time patently false? There was a very large contingent from Montreal most of them Franco-phones and they kept strictly to themselves, though I did break in towards the end in an effort to exercize my brain and my old, olld, ollld French. After the first half dozen Mojitos things were going pretty well, but you have to agree with them a lot and concentrate on not offending or they're off in a huff or at most a minute and a huff (old Marx Brothers joke).


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Yeah, France is a problem. At the risk of enraging any

French Canadians on this forum, just try living with those attitudes as part of your country. At least from an Anglo Saxon perspective they have a contrarian instinct that is astonishing.

Imagine Britain in the EC constantly butting heads with France over almost everything.


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just love it...........

when you want to trash the USA, all of a sudden it is the Royal WE! Canadian. When you want a say in what the USA does regarding votes and SS and other things you swith back to being a USA citizen!

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So, when you're trying to express the views of Americans

to someone from another country how do you phrase it, Glenda? It gets tedious saying Canada and Canadians all the time. I'm sorry the "we" slipped by but it was the farthest thing from a "Royal" we, it was "we, as Canadians, have done x, y, and z" as opposed to "We declare this border closed" as so many here at SE appear to wish would happen.

My viewpoint is that of an American virtually all of the time because that was what I was exclusively for the first 40 years of my life, it comes naturally as a figure of speech to say we when I am talking about Americans and American policy. Occasionally though my country of residence creeps through, particularly when I am attempting to defend it from what seems to me to be the perverse misunderstanding and attacks of my former countrymen.

I grew up feeling nothing but the warmest feelings for Canada and Canadians and those feelings were returned a dozen-fold when we moved here for my wife's fellowship. I am happy to say Canadians are as nice and pleasant and welcoming as any Americans I've known. At the same time I am often asked to interpret America's views and politics as seen on the news here. That keeps reinforcing my natural American-ness. They also see me as a person who can interpret or explain puzzles or contradictions in the US politics or foreign policy and it's way of dealing with Canada or the rest of the world. I can't.

From outside, America looks very different and I can only encourage people to try the experience, as uncomfortable as it may be at times. From the outside, our actions, or, if you prefer, your actions look much less benign than they do from home. I never understood the concept, let alone the fact of, the Ugly American until I moved away and started reading some of the political speeches and especially journalism from a foreign perspective. America is not afraid of power politics and throwing its weight around. When I lived there I never recognized it, now that I live outside it's sometimes hard to see anything else.

When I started my job with the National Health Service I was brought up short by one of the Essex girls I worked with saying "You know, that sounds really foreign". I realized that no matter what the experience of having an English mother might have been, my viewpoint and manner of speech was American. In terms of speech or writing it may be somewhat stiff and over-educated New England, but it won't be mistaken for any other country.

And that is why I find so many here who violently repudiate my nationality as so peculiar. If there was a pogrom of Americans tomorrow, I'd probably be on the first truck to the concentration camp.

Meanwhile enjoy my peculiarities while you've got them, exercizing the brain is a good thing, after all.

Rob Boyter

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Rambling reply to just a point or two.
America is not afraid of power politics and throwing its weight around.

No doubt, can you name in country in a position of advantage in the past or present that didn't when dealing with an opponent or even just for concessions in an agreement, trade or alliance?

I never understood the concept, let alone the fact of, the Ugly American until I moved away and started reading some of the political speeches and especially journalism from a foreign perspective.

I'll concede it's probably valid, in limited aspects anyway. Care to comment on the stereotypes of other countries? Many see it as ugly Americans too when Americans started to travel abroad because we didn't conform to their customs. And maybe some of us were a bit inconsiderate of the 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do' aspect of international travel, heck, probably so. But I personally suspect it was also because after the world wars we (brashly, and even touch arrogantly) wouldn't bow to the ideals of older cultures inherently being better. Other countries expected the USA to behave as a strict parent in older times expected a kid to behave. Respect your elders, speak only when spoken to, and don't disagree with your elders.

Perhaps we were too boastful and prideful after the world wars were over and Americans began to visit the world. Maybe we were an upstart young country that didn't respect elderly cultures enough. Kind of natural though ain't it? Most of those cultures have had problems with new sub-cultures within themselves even disdaining to go along with the older heads just because that's the way it should be.

There may be a true problem between American and much of the world that I'd normally relegate to fiction works. Basically Europe is older countries, sort of past middle age, and America is perhaps just approaching it. There almost certainly was an entirely different views in the 40's and 50's consistent with people that grew up in towns with houses hundreds of years old, even structures thousands of years in existent conflicting with a people use to more spread out society, everything new, not long out of the frontier phase of the country.

Some will say (or wish) that America is in the decline now. There is speculation that the new European United States will supplant the USA in economic and political influence if not in all ways of power. You could easily compare the European Union right now to the earliest states of America. More independent states just beginning to be overspread by a federal government instead of an loose alliance.

In two hundred years they may be the most powerful, or they may have already been replaced by something new. Or everything may have slid into dissonance and civil conflicts world wide. Every splinter group in the world acting in terrorists ways to become an independent free state, or to take control of an existing state.

From the outside, our actions, or, if you prefer, your actions look much less benign than they do from home.

Perhaps so, but it?s not often that all sides agree on what is most benign or best. And there may be more self-interest in much than we like to think. I?ll be so crude as to say that?s normal human behavior, and societies and nations tend to exaggerate the unfortunate parts of human nature. They do so because as a nation we don?t know other nations in the same sense you know an individual you see every day. The further someone is from daily intimate contact, the less ?his needs balance against my needs?. Not proposing that is correct, just that is the natural traits of the human nature. People naturally thing first of themselves, then their closest family and friends, then a larger group (community, culture, religion, etc), then territorially (nations), then maybe as humankind. Doesn?t mean we can?t over come it, just means it human nature. The exceptions are often viewed as either saints or devils incarnate.



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Believe me in all my years.....

"I never understood the concept, let alone the fact of, the Ugly American until I moved away and started reading some of the political speeches and especially journalism from a foreign perspective."

Working with the public, and having the benefit of seeing winter visitors from all over including Canada, I have to say that Canada has some VERY ugly Canadians too! So it seems America is not alone in ugly travelers!

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