American Politics Abroad

It’s no mystery that the youth of Europe are far more politically involved and aware of world politics than Americans, in general. I have a few friends spread across Europe who are always ready to discuss American politics and foreign policy whenever we’re together so it didn’t come as a surprise when my European hostel-friends brought up American politics with, “What the hell are the people in your country doing?!”

I have had many friends ask me similar questions and it’s always coupled with an odd feeling and regard that I couldn’t nail down until my trip to Edinburgh. I feel like Europeans truly want the best for America. It seems like they want America to be this progressive country they seem to remember us as, a shining beacon, an ideal. They see all our ideals and everything we stand for yet we don’t actually do anything about it. It’s like we are the smart, younger brother who keeps getting into trouble. It’s like, “America, we love you but you gotta cut this shit out!” Or we are the helpless younger brother who keeps getting teased for their own good, but instead of sticking up for ourselves and manning up, we just crumble and play the victim, making excuses.

That’s all. This is just how I percieve their attitudes towards us. Maybe I’m wrong and misinterpreting it all, but it makes me think that maybe it’s about time we get back to being a country that Europe looks up to or at least views as an equal.

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2 thoughts on “American Politics Abroad

  1. You definitely make a good point there.. I’m European and I’ve always been very critical of American foreign policy to be honest. But I’m not sure it’s so much that Europe wants to look up to the US. I think it’s more of a realpolitik question: the US is still one of the great political powers in the world (albeit China and other countries are rapidly emerging as contenders). And “with great power comes great responsibility” and that’s probably why America gets more criticized than other countries – its actions have a much greater influence and impact on what the rest of the world does/sees/thinks/perceives/etc. But that’s just my opinion!
    In any case, it was really interesting to hear the perception of an American on what Europeans think of America! 🙂

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    • Ines, thank you so much for reading my post and responding. It was truly enlightening. I see what you mean as Europe seeing the political influence we hold and having a responsibility to wield that influence carefully and ethically. I think that is a much more apt description. It’s lovely to be able to converse civilly on these matters as opposed to so many people, particularly within the States, who simply want to argue until they can declare a victor. Again, thank you!

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