American expatriates (part 2 of 2)

Events during these past two weeks played havoc with my effort to get American expatriates to pass judgment on Bush’s foreign policy, the nation’s struggle with the fear of terrorism, and the upcoming election in November.

The outrage from all but one of the twenty-seven people I contacted was such that rather than ask questions to get a pulse, I opted to let each one of them come forth with a diatribe… and went from there.

It should be noted that although I consider my friends a diverse group, it certainly does not represent a cross section of America for they are mostly white (26 of 27); all college graduates, over half with postgraduate degrees; and for the most part GOP-registered (19 of 27). Yet, except for one who has resided in Israel for over a decade, and has both American and Israeli citizenship, the other twenty-six expatriates break ranks with the majority of their fellow Americans in just about every respect.

They all view Bush, and not just his foreign policy, with utter contempt. They also find America ’s foreign policy flawed and much, if not completely, to blame for the advent of terrorism from the radical Muslim factions. For them, the “war on terrorism” is just our rationalization for an illogical foreign policy. And for icing to this political cake, they are in agreement that our invasion of Iraq was nothing but a coming-out party, a blatant declaration that American Colonialism has made its regal entrance… that after Persia , Rome , Spain and England- plus a few other colonial empires before, after and in between, it is now America ’s turn.

The new “ugly American” has made its debut. The replacement of that character that populated America’s influence in many parts of the world during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s has now reappeared with a brand new face, that of colonizer. This new “ugly American” manifests the imprimatur of past colonialism; with its lack of respect for local custom and traditions, and the humiliation of vanquished peoples by way of demeaning actions.

As one expatriate put it, “you people in the States just don’t get it. Those who run the government are with their actions, statements and policies, spelling abuse in capital letters and you are pointing to some lowly scoundrels as the goats, and talking about infringement on human rights as if it were a PR issue and nothing more.” Undoubtedly, my friend was referring to our “Secretary of War” in the Iraqi prisoner abuse case.

An observation volunteered by many expatriates points to their embarrassment with those in government who are spokespersons for America to the rest of the world. “There is something eerie,” one said, “when we listen to our uniformed and civilian leaders call their enemies dead-enders or thugs, never patriots, and never the victims many of them are. How can a mugger cry foul play when his victim decides to resist the mugging?”

The image of America and Americans… has it been sullied by the actions of a few misfits, the proverbial rotten apples? Our noble crusade for democratization… has it received an irreparable setback? Those questions seem to summarize what is being asked ad nauseam in our self-censured media, printed or airwaves.

One of my expatriate friends, a resident in Germany for two decades, has a ready answer to those questions… or rather, to the naïveté of such questions. “Lynndie England and her sorry bunch of errant MPs will likely get their just deserts for their inexcusable, sordid, and inhuman behavior,” my friend claims,” but not their more articulate, criminal counterparts at the very top of the chain of command- those people are safe, even admired by many of their countrymen, for there is no Nuremberg for the victor, only the vanquished, as the Germans know full well.”

Little can be added to what this American expatriate had to say… nothing, I would say.