Does the world owe the US?

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by ysabel, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    I keep hearing this, probably because of the recent Normandy D-Day anniversary.

    But why is it that I don't feel the same attitude from other countries that assisted? I don't hear it from the British and I haven't really heard anyone from the ex-USSR claim that others owe them. After all, they've lost so many lives (more than any other country) fighting the enemies during the 2nd World War.

    But it's a theme that keeps coming back. Whenever someone not from the US disagrees with the US, he's told "have you forgotten what the US has done for you?"

    It was worse during the Iraq war debate especially when France didn't agree with the invasion. We've been told so many times that we are ungrateful, after all, US helped France in the world war. We owe it to them to be supportive.

    I don't understand this "owe" concept. In the same way, I also don't agree when some of my countrymen would rebut with the same attitude towards Americans, just because France has helped the US during the American Revolution.

    I think there's a difference between being thankful or appreciative of what another country has done and feeling like you owe that country something and be their puppet.

    If all countries helped by the US (for whatever reason) have to feel indebted, how and when will this debt get paid?
    Bananas and Sim like this.

  2. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    That's a very interesting topic, thanks for bringing it up!

    I think the main problem is that some, by far not all Americans have an almost narcissistic patriotism and paint their own country in a way too good light -- they see only the good sides, but ignore the bad sides, or have never even learnt about them. Maybe it's a problem of the education system in the US too, maybe in some schools, patriotic rituals and a mystifying version of history is told, but the bad spots hardly ever mentioned.

    So when some people don't even know about the bad sides, and additionally have a simple mind, they may easily confuse gratefulness with "owing something".

    For that there is no misunderstanding, I do believe the US have many very good sides, and the US indeed did many great things in history -- and I am deeply grateful that America liberated my country in WW2 and allowed us to rebuild our country in peace, freedom and democracy. Also, I am grateful that America protected us from the Stalinist socialism of the East Bloc. It's true that without America, Europe would not be unified in peace and freedom today.

    But certain narcissistic Americans don't seem to understand that the very concept of freedom and democracy they brought back to us is not compatible with the kind of obedience they expect from us. There is a difference between true friendship and obedience. When you think a good friend is making a mistake, it's your duty to warn him and stand to your disagreement, just because of this friendship -- because you want to protect your friend from a mistake. Shutting up and saying nothing would not be a sign of good friendship.

    Democracy and freedom require that you can disagree -- had America wanted servile vassals, they should not have brought us freedom and democracy in the first place.

    Also, these particular "patriots" ignore that America did not do all the things it did because of mere goodness -- but because of hard own interests. Also, they are not aware that America also did many questionable or even evil things, like the support for violent coups in Iran or several Latin American countries, where democratically elected legitimate governments were replaced by pro-American dictatorships.

    These jingoists also devalue the efforts of other countries; they seem to assume all good things must be America's work. They ignore that it were French, German and other European people who actually built up Europe after WW2 -- America just gave us the chance to do that, which we are grateful for, but we were those who actually did it.

    Yet I sometimes heard things like "we (Americans) built up Europe after WW2", or "without America's help, the world would be nothing", which couldn't be more megalomaniac and narcissistic (especially considering that basically all Western countries spend more money on development aid per capita than the US).

    This dangerous, narcissistic and completely counter-factual "patriotism" goes so far that some Americans even consider pointing out bad sides, shortcomings or deficits as "anti-American" or even "treason", and "hating" the own country is considered the worst thing possible in the eyes of these people -- as if loving the own country was an end in itself, as if love is not something that has to be earned, as if it was the duty of every citizen to love the own country, even if there are serious flaws, shortcomings or bad sides.

    This kind of jingoistic nationalism is dangerous, and couldn't be more anti-freedom and anti-democratic. The Founding Fathers would probably rotate in their graves if they learnt of that kind of "patriotism".
    Italiano and ysabel like this.
  3. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    No I don't think the world owes the US. You pointed out an example where France assisted the US in the American Revolution and the US assisted Europe during WW2. I think most of it stems from many blaming the US for everything, it's a reaction to that. In my opinion, they're both wrong.
  4. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Here's an interesting chart. Scroll down a bit and you can see a casualty chart for all countries in WW2.

    You can sort by "Total Deaths" as well.

    Now, keep in mind that this includes countries from both sides of the war though.

    World War II casualties - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It is interesting though to be able to sort it like this and have a visual.

    Granted, total deaths does not necessarily equate to how much the country helped in the war. Sorting by military deaths would give a better example of that, but not exact.

    The US did have the most military casualties out of any country on the side of the Axis.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  5. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    Probably you mean Allies ... at least I hope the Allies won, not the Axis! :lol:

    From what I've heard, it was indeed the USSR that suffered most casualties on the side of the Allies. Although I'm not sure if that includes civilian casualties.
  6. Bananas

    Bananas Endangered Species

    Never was so much owed by so many to so few

    Yes I do feel we owe the US servicemen who fought for our freedom. We also owe the Russian, British, Canadian, French, Belgian, Dutch, Australian, New Zealand and all the other servicemen and civilians that helped defeat the evil of the time.

    If Americans think they are deserving of servitude then they entered the war for all the wrong reason and they are not deserving of the gratitude laid down to those who fought against such bigotry.

    errrr..... I dont think this is quite what you ment to say, is it?
  7. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Oh right. Yeah, I meant to say not counting the Axis. :lol:

    And Sim, you're right. The USSR did lose the most out of the Allies. I read the graph wrong.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  8. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris blue 3

    Alright, from my point of view, no country owes another country anything.

    If we're talking about WW2, it's easy to get caught up in American mania and say that we were the ones that came over to Europe and beat some ass. I mean you hear stories like the infamous EZ Company of the 151st Airborne and you think "damn American soldiers kicked some serious ass." However, France got absolutely demolished during the war. Constantly under siege and constantly being faught over. The french civilians faught as much pain and suffering as any American soldier.

    Not to mention Russia. Russian soldiers were known to stand side by side with one gun for every two soldiers. They were under funded, inadequately armed and inadequately trained but they fought their hearts out and died. Their determination is one of the main reasons why America was able to push back Germany. (Thank Hilter for invading Russia)

    The world doesn't owe America, especially when America has assumed the "Hegemonic" role willingly.
  9. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    I was going to comment on it until:

    Ok, that's cleared then. :D

    It's a good analogy and I heard something similar used to respond to "how could you..." remarks that were thrown during disagreements.

    It could be that. I think though that when you start making a tally of the positive things you've done in a "So you won't forget, this is a list of the good I've done to you" fashion, it doesn't stop the others to reply with "oh yeah, and this is the list of all the bad you've done too". Then it becomes a battle of who's had done the most favors and the most damage. But for what purpose, really? Is it because we lack awareness or is it because of expectations: like we feel the other doesn't acknowledge enough the goodness (or inversely, isn't sorry enough for the bad stuff) and act accordingly?
    Smelnick likes this.
  10. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    I'm pretty sure America got involved in WWII out of self-interests (Pearl Harbor). And I'm pretty sure the French fought in the American Revolutionary War out of self-interests; they were constantly fighting the British, and this was another way to make things harder for the British.

    (BTW, looking at Russia's deaths during WWII is somewhat misleading, since their policy was - Germany's invading us in the winter. We'll retreat and burn all of our farms. We'll have trouble getting food, but it'll be worse on the Germans. So it's kind of like looking at Japanese fatalities, with all of their kamikazes).

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