Why Do Other Countries Hate America?
As an American who travels a lot, I sometimes run into that awkward situation that any American who travels is familiar with. You're in a different country and making small talk with a person in an elevator or in a cafe and they ask you what country you're from.
You tell them the USA and you get a look back from them that you've seen a hundred times before. It's a look that says "I dislike Americans but I'm only going to continue conversation with you to be polite".
There's many people from other countries that love the USA, but there's also a lot who just don't.
At first I thought it was mainly because of George H.W. Bush's bad reputation overseas, but that's naive to think because the USA has always been disliked by many abroad. There may be even less fans these days but it's nothing new.
So why are there so many foreigners that hate Americans and are any of their reasons valid? In order to answer that, I had to step outside myself and my nationality to see things from their point of view. Some of their reasoning may be uncalled for, but it's easy to see how a whole group of people or country can be stereotyped based on the actions of a few or because of misconceptions.
So here's just some of the main reasons that I've come across as to why Americans are so disliked in other countries.
One of the most common things you'll hear foreigners say about Americans is that we're very arrogant. Since I travel a lot and have surrounded myself with foreigners from all different countries I have to admit that this stereotype is somewhat true.
It's obviously not true in all cases, but there's enough arrogant Americans running around out there to give the rest of us a bad reputation.
Like many countries, but probably more so than others, we're taught at a very young age that our country is the best and that other countries are inferior. Call it patriotism, or call it false-pride, but whatever you call it, it still comes off as arrogance when you're looking in from the outside.
There's many Americans who think that USA has the most freedoms out of any country. That of course depends on what types of freedoms you're talking about, but most people mean civil liberties.
This includes things like freedom of speech, right to bear arms, right to a speedy trial, etc. But when you look at the Economist's rankings of all countries when it comes to civil liberties, USA doesn't normally make the top 10 list. Many foreigners already know this, and so it's probably very irritating for them to listen to Americans describing themselves as a beacon of freedom.
Ignorant to World Affairs
This trait is similar to the arrogant attitude trait and both traits often support each other. Foreigners often think of Americans as being ignorant to the outside world, which is somewhat true if you can look at your peers with an open mind.
When speaking of the outside world, many Americans tend to forget about the hundreds of other countries on earth and seem to focus on the countries that are demonized in American media. When they talk about why their country is so great, they will commonly use Iran, North Korea, and Somalia as examples of other places they could be living that are worse off. These are the comparisons they'll make to the USA.
But when you speak to people from the UK or Australia, they'll usually compare their countries to other first world countries. Many Americans often forget that Germany, Sweden, Italy, Japan, and other developed countries exist.
USA has been involved in most of the world's largest wars over the past century and probably holds the title for Country With the Most Kills in our modern era. The amount of people, particularly civilians, killed in wars that involved Americans is both astounding and shocking.
While many of my fellow Americans may feel that USA was on the righteous path when initiating war with Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, it's still hard for them to find other countries in this time frame that have done as much damage or caused as many casualties as the USA.
The majority of studies on civilian casualties in the Iraq War have estimated the death toll to be at least over 100,000 deaths. That's about 33 times the amount of people that were killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.
Of course this is going to cause people in other countries to dislike USA as it makes us look like high-tech savages and bullies to some.
Our justice system and our social ills are other reasons many foreigners dislike Americans. They know that we are a democracy and that most laws require support from a large amount of our country's citizens.
So they view the citizens as being the reason we have many things that they find shocking. There's many European countries, for example, that view our harsh anti-drug laws and our packed prisons as an appalling miscarriage of justice.
In many of those countries, drugs are decriminalized or treated with less severe punishments with more focus on treatment than punishment.
Every country has gangs to a certain degree and there's many countries with more violence than the USA. However, USA's gang violence is notorious, because it doesn't agree with our image of being a civilized and developed country.
USA also has more mass shootings every year than any other first world country on earth. So all of these things can understandably make us look like barbarians to a lot of people in foreign countries.
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