I admire Americans for their optimism and positive, can-do attitude. However, Americans seem very insular. They often know little about the rest of the world, leading them to make sweeping statements like ‘America is the freeist country in the world,’ as if the whole of Europe was a dictatorship, rather than a liberal continent with far less movie and art censorship and much less Draconian laws regarding alcohol. When I visited America, I was surprised by how much my freedom was compromised compared to Britain.
People outside America tend to judge Americans on three things: TV shows, visiting tourists and your foreign policy. As far as the latter is concerned, Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Agreement made America sound like it didn’t care about the rest of the world and cared only about itself. No amount of humanitarian aid overseas can compensate for this, or the uncountable damage from floods and other effects of global warming.
Perhaps people see America as the richest neighbor on the street, who has an expensive car they leave running all night. When people complain that the exhaust is choking the rest of the street, America accuses them of being jealous of the car.