From: Ernest N. Prabhakar (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Feb 27 2000 - 21:40:59 PST
I think this raises an interesting point.
You can blame Americans for being too compassionate, and trying too hard to
impose their morality, values, and economy on everyone else.
You can blame Americans for being too selfish, and exploiting everyone in
the world and not caring what happens to them.
What really surprises me is how many people seem to blame America for both.
Frankly, helping people (whether its simply deciding whether to buy a
homeless person a bag of groceries) is always fraught with moral perils, and
I actually think it healthy that America tends to have both kinds of
True, there are a some clearly objectionable actions (like perhaps the
Guatemala incident), but on the whole the problems are largely due to a)
trying to balance self-interest and altruism, b) ethno-centric thinking
(which everyone is guilty of), and c) the intractable nature of the problem.
From my perspective, the only unforgiveable sin is not even wrestling with
the problem, which is what the more vitriolic America-bahsers seem to be
-- Ernie P.
on 2/27/00 7:59 PM, Kragen Sitaker at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> Dug Song writes:
>> it took a military coup in South Korea to end the "humanitarian" aid
>> forced upon the country by the US (which benefitted US farmers and
>> industrialists more than Koreans, who were already rich in arable land and
>> fallow rice fields), and then successive totalitarian 5-year plans (in
>> state-sponsored high-tech R&D) to rid the country of undue US economic
>> influence. read John Oberdorfer's _Two_Koreas_ for a more complete
> (Dug, I'm shocked that you're still advertising amazon.com URLs after
> their recent declaration of patent war on the Internet. Do you simply
> not care?)
> I watched a little bit of the analogous process in Pohnpei, the capital
> of Micronesia.
> Pohnpei has two governments: a puppet regime set up by the United
> States and largely funded through US money, and a traditional system of
> clans governed by hereditary rulers. The official US-funded government
> doesn't interfere much with the clans, as far as I can tell; it is,
> however, plagued by rampant corruption. (Corruption is nonexistent in
> the hereditary system only because those higher in the hierarchy feel
> perfectly justified in taking whatever they want from those lower in
> the hierarchy.)
> In the capital city (named Kolonia), there is a capitalist system. The
> only people who are really eligible to participate (as capitalists,
> rather than employees) are those who can escape the tradition of the
> clans; would-be capitalists who are part of the clan system are
> obligated to share their financial success with their families, which
> tends to make businesses bankrupt.
> The puppet regime actually governs (more or less in theory) all of the
> islands in an area of ocean about a thousand miles by several hundred
> miles. Each of these islands is, in reality, a separate, independent
> state. (There are a few exceptions --- islands run entirely as US
> military bases.)
> The many Americans there are earnestly trying to impose US-style civil
> liberties, rule of law, lack of corruption, capitalism, and an academic
> system. The Micronesians don't seem tremendously interested.
> Micronesia was run by the US, if I remember correctly, from the end of
> WWII until the 1980s, when it won its independence.
> Perhaps my mother, who lived there for years, taught at the college,
> and was one of the earnest Americans, can throw more light on the
Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D.
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