American ethnocentrism has led to disdain, judgment of foreign nations

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Kim Jong-il died at the end of 2011, and frankly, I was shocked at just how little it seemed to reverberate. This might be due to the Republican primary race that was impending or just because people didn’t seem to care like I would imagine they would when the leader of what the UN called one of “the world’s most repressive governments” died.

However, maybe we give Kim Jong-il too much of a bad rap. While I will not deny that he had some serious problems in the country that he left unchecked, who are we as Americans to critique him?

I don’t mean to sound inflammatory, but the last time I checked, who said it was bad to focus on a military? Yes, he took much of the humanitarian aid for his people and rationed it to other sources, but it is a sovereign nation.

After all, what is worse: a country that is fighting famine and all but never had much to begin with, or a country that had it all and its leaders bankrupted it?

For all the things people say about Bill Clinton and the GOP-controlled Congress, they balanced the budget towards the end. In fact, they were beginning to lower the deficit and debt that the federal government has accrued.

Now, we’re sitting at over $15 trillion for the national debt, and there is no end in sight to its growth. Can you blame any foreign nation for looking at us and taking our actions with a grain of salt?

I know my point is slow to develop, but in reality, who are we as Americans to tell other nations if they are good or bad when we are falling apart economically due to politicians’ poor choices lately.

I just started thinking about how these “dictators” must have done something good here or there as to explain why there is lack of wide-scale revolt that actually works.

I don’t mean to offend anyone with this column, but I know it might come across that way. I am merely trying to point out that our complete and total ethnocentrism makes us look at other nations and their leaders with disdain.

We aren’t even a true democracy, but we prescribe to the notion that everyone needs to be one like that.

Personally, I agree that people like Mugabe in Zimbabwe and Milosevic in the former Yugoslavia are horrible. However, people who are lesser “criminals” maybe should get the benefit of the doubt.

Was it necessary to take out Hussein at that moment in time? Didn’t Vladimir Putin help Russia grow as it continued to go from a socialist republic to the democracy it is now?

It might seem corrupt and like one party is in power, but I wholeheartedly believe that Russia has revolted against crappy leadership before in its history, making me feel like that massive country could do it again.

We might not agree with Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaopeng in China, but their policies eventually led to the economic giant we see today.

Seriously, take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I might sound totally off base, but put yourself in the shoes of someone who lives in a nation whose policies we do not agree with.

Wouldn’t you look at the comical American political system and laugh sometimes? Or at the very least, shake your head and look upon our decisions with disdain?

I’m proud to be an American, and I feel blessed to live here. However, our government needs a little bit of an overhaul as well in order to continue to compete in this 21st century.

 

Comments, questions or concerns about this column can be sent to garret.mcdowell@gmail.com.

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