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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 11:54 AM
Original message
You Can Take The Canadian Flag Off Your Backpack
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/20...

YOU CAN TAKE THE CANADIAN FLAG OFF YOUR BACKPACK.... It's probably best to wait until there's reliable data to start making any meaningful conclusions -- the next PIPA study should be interesting -- but this report about American popularity overseas is encouraging.

From Jakarta to Johannesburg, Americans who travel or live abroad are finding that instead of being scolded about the Iraq war, the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or U.S. climate change policy, they are being hugged when strangers hear their accent.


Now, I do find that a little hard to believe. Americans are being hugged? C'mon. I recall a Saturday Night Live bit with Al Gore a couple of years ago in which he joked, in a fictional reality in which he'd taken office in 2000, that the United States had become so popular that "American tourists can't even go over to Europe anymore without getting hugged." Are you telling me this has actually happened?

Hug skepticism notwithstanding, if the anecdotal evidence is right, I'm glad Americans abroad don't need to feel embarrassed anymore by their association to the Bush administration.

Many Americans interviewed in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe said that for years they have felt "targeted" by critics of U.S. policies. They said they often did not volunteer that they were American, and several said they even dropped the word "Ottawa" into conversations to try to avoid confrontations.

Now, even in countries such as Japan and Australia, where Americans were generally not taken to task over Bush policies as they were in Europe, Americans interviewed said they suddenly have new cachet. Some compared the feeling to the heady days after the fall of communism. <...>

David St. Onge, 57, a John McCain supporter who works in the pharmaceutical industry and was in Moscow this week, said he has noticed a change in how his Russian clients treat him.

"They seemed to think better of Americans because we elected a black man as president," he said as he walked through Red Square. "They think we're more enlightened now."

Andrew Leik, 40, an architect from Michigan living in Cologne, Germany, said that along with "it definitely being much easier now to be an American" overseas, he has noticed that German friends who had refused even to visit the United States are planning vacations there.

In France, Rick Parks, 64, a retired New York City public school teacher, said he has noticed gestures of friendship and "definitely a change in attitude" toward the United States. Gone are the days when relations with France were so testy that french fries were briefly renamed "freedom fries" in U.S. House cafeterias.

Parks said North African souvenir merchants at the landmark Sacre Coeur basilica in Paris smiled at him and hailed Obama's election as a victory for them all, saying: "You are our people."


A teacher from New York who lives in Prague said she no longer hesitates to tell people she is American. "Thank God! It feels better," she said. "The people I work with give me high-fives and say things like 'You can be proud to be from your country again.' "

Steve Benen 11:20 AM

Related:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. I have an 18 year old nephew who is going to go spend a year bumming around
Europe starting this summer...

I generally don't envy the younger folks, but in this case......

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Can I go with him?
:P
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I'll ask him.....
:hi:
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OswegoAtheist Donating Member (440 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. I have two passports
Canadian and American. Guess which ones I've been traveling on lately.

Oswego "dual-wielding citizenship" Atheist
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enid602 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. Brits
Ive been in Buenos Aires for eight months, and most non-Americans Ive met have been sympathetic to us, with the exception of the British, who bitch and complain and moan and generally say snide things about us. E.g., Do I detect a North American accent? I wouldnt dream of insulting you by assuming right off that youre from the States. VERY POPULAR, that one. I suspect theyre projecting somewhat; their Iraq/human rights policies are scarcely more enlightened than our own,and their meteoric real estate boom (and subsequent bust) make ours look downright puny. I can see why the Brits might wish their government did not copy our policies so closely, but they did, damn it. Now that theyre bitching so much about us,it kind of reminds me of the Italians blaming World War II on the Germans.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Interesting.
I've had several opportunities to hang out with Aussies in the past few years, and they couldn't be nicer to Americans. I wonder why the Brits are so snooty?

And OT, but how do you like BA? Would you generally recommend it for a vacation spot from the States? I hear the beef is good. :)
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enid602 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. BsAs
Good beef, incredibly good prices. The only problem is that the cheapest round-trip tickets are $1200 from the States,and even more from Europe. Once you get here, however the prices are incredibly low, and values are great. Im renting (off the internet) a one-bedroom apartment in a great part of town, with a fantastic view, for $500 a month, furnished, all expenses included. Compare that with $250 to $400 a night for aso-so hotel room in exotic London.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks.
My DH works for an airline, and they fly there, so we'd just have to find some empty seats. ;)

How's the weather? Is it summer now? I don't know how that works in So. America.

Perhaps a destination to hound my husband about!
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southernyankeebelle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. Oh to be young again
I have lived in Asia, traveled all over europe. I lived in Germany and Italy. I have relatives who are from Italy and lived there all their lives. Mom was from Italy and married my dad so we had a chance to go back and forth. When we were young women we traveled every where with my cousins and had so much fun. I would tell anyone young to go and see the world you will understand why europeans feel the way they do about america. I remember my Nonna (Grandmother) loved President Kennedy. We were there in Italy when we had a chance to see him in 1960s when he came to Italy and Germany. People were lined up on both sides of the streets in Naples, Italy yelling President Kennedy. Wow I was so proud to be an american. We lived in Germany after WWII when Germany was building back up. We had an american car and we were traveling to Italy to visit our relatives and when we would stop for gas people would run up to us looking at our car. They loved americans and bent over back wards to help and please us. I remember those days. Back in 1980 it was different. People seemed stand offish. I work at the american hospital with all different nationalities and we got along very well. They like it when you try to speak their language. I always carried a dictionary when I was shopping in the local shops. People loved it when you tried to speak. I would tell you if you go to another country respect their country and make an effort to speak their language. Believe me you will enjoy yourself.
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