It is almost de rigueur to have a go at America these days. In fact, I hear generalisations about Americans from people who would never be caught dead making the same stereotypical observations about women or black people.
Of course, here in Australia, give or take a few thousand dead Aborigines, we like to see ourselves as pretty damn perfect. We figure that if we have little influence for good in the world, then at least we also have little influence for bad.
But America, now there’s a country with influence! I know, I know – how do you forgive a nation that gave us Britney Spears, the bomb and McDonalds?
But to be fair, Australia did give America Rupert Murdoch.
Criticism of the US tends to be justified on the grounds of its foreign policy decisions, which conjures up images of very large stones and fragile glasshouses.
Just to remind ourselves, let’s name some of the great foreign policy highlights of:
England – Suez? The concentration camps of the Boer War? That whole empire thing, perhaps?
France – Don’t mention Algeria…
The United Nations –Rwanda who?
Russia – Good morning, Chechnya.
China – Tibet or not Tibet
Italy – Don’t give me that “Benito told me to do it” crap.
Germany – well, we all know what they did…
Australia – aiding and abetting, mostly on the coat tails of the United States of England or America.
Anyway, in the interests of balance, just this once I would like to thank America for the following:
- Bob Dylan
- John Steinbeck
- Meryl Streep
- New York City
- The Internet
- Martin Luther King Jnr.
- Clam Chowder
- The iPod
- Rock and Roll
But look, America, if we take back Olivia Newton John, will you take back all the Mormons? Please?
Now there’s a foreign intervention that really gets up my nose.