Readers Weigh In Is America Arrogant?

Part 2: 'America Bashing Is the European Way'


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

Europe and much of the world don't understand George W. Bush or his commitment to the office he holds. What these countries "know" is what the partisan, biased American media writes. Their dislike of this man clouds objective reporting.

In the years I have watched George Bush, no matter what anyone has ever said about him, he never responded with a critical comment naming an individual. He has never lowered himself.

With history comes clarity, and Bush will be judged more accurately than he is today. He could care less what people think -- as long as he believes what he is doing is best for our nation and for the world.

-- a reader from Cary , North Carolina , USA


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

I am not surprised by the America bashing in your magazine -- it is the European way. America is only good when you need us, and history has proven that you needed us very frequently. But you are dead wrong to count Americans out and to count capitalism out. Free markets and capitalism are the only road to prosperity.

I was having dinner with a friend last night and he brought his 26-year-old nephew to dinner with him. His nephew had just arrived from France to work here in the USA at a hedge fund. I asked him why come to America now with all this financial turmoil? His answer was that America still offered the best chance for prosperity. "France could never give me the financial opportunities that I can find here in America," he said.

Furthermore, if America is so down-and-out, why is an American education still the best in the world? Why is it that workers from France, Germany and Poland come here for a better future? Why don't they stay in Europe?

-- Mario Faustini , New York , USA


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

What you are seeing in the United States is the result of socialist policies as prescribed by the Democratic Party in the name of "helping the poor" by lowering the threshold and minimum requirements for obtaining a mortgage. These looser policies were abused, of course, by greedy brokers who had a vested interest in making these loans due to the fat commissions they were receiving.

Congressman Barney Frank, Senator Chris Dodd and Senator Joseph Lieberman and other Liberals fought tooth-and-nail against legislation that was proposed more than once (years ago) by the Bush administration that would have put much stricter standards and oversight in place to prevent the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Barney Frank, in particular, stated categorically at the time of the proposed legislation (2005) that there were no problems with either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, nor anything to indicate that there would be a problem. This man should be the poster-child for a failed liberal-socialist agenda and should be (driven) out of Washington, DC on a rail.

Instead, believe it or not, he is leading the charge and blaming the Republicans for causing the current financial problems when, in fact, it was he and his ilk that caused it. Frank is the ultimate hypocrite within the United States House of Representatives and he should resign -- immediately.

-- Jeff Roe , USA


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

As Epicurus once stated, the greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it. Never count out the United States of America. Yes, we are, and will be, going through a period of pain and retraction, but our people are resilient. We believe in liberty and freedom at all costs and in all endeavors. Sadly, at times, this includes greed, which in a capitalist market economy will eventually be exposed and corrected. Unfortunately, this exercise can be painful.

If, as you point out, the US is in demise and the power is moving toward the EU, then the world is in trouble. Although taking the lead position, the EU hasn't stopped Iran from (its) nuclear bomb development. The EU also witnessed Russia invading Georgia territory and destroying (its) infrastructure and economy. Their reaction was a slap on their wrist. Where's the strong leadership there?

Europe, be careful of your current gloating and potential hubris. Americans would rather eat bread crumbs that fall from the table and live free then to eat steak at the table and watch from the stands and live life timidly. If you ignore the US now, then don't look for our help when Russia is knocking on the EU's doorsteps again, or terrorist are knocking on your door via Iran sponsorship, or you can't get oil because of an OPEC/Russian embargo or shipping lanes are blocked in the Persian Gulf, or your monetary system is in need.

Epicurus also wrote: "It is not so much our friends' help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us." We can't take our mutual friendship for granted...

--Steve H., USA


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

Your series missed one thing. There is liquidity in the market, people can still buy homes, and businesses are running and the stock market has stopped falling.

The financial crisis started with the Community Reinvestment Act in 1979 (a liberal program) and ballooned during the Clinton years. Give mortgages to people who should not be getting them + people who cannot repay them = economic problems.

This financial problem was created by the US Federal Government, and it should be solved by those who created it. The American taxpayer will not clean up a socialist experiment gone bad with private taxpayer money.

My wife and I are thrifty. We are going to buy a house at a bargain price because we have money. One person's problem is another person's gold mine.

-- Kevin Kasson , USA


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

If you are going to spend this much time and space writing an article, I would implore you to choose your words more wisely. To speak in such broad, wide-sweeping strokes about a nation of 300 million is absurd.

Arrogance? What do you mean by it? Is leadership arrogance? We never forced our values on the rest of the world. It, in fact, would be impossible to do so. Our nation contains less than 5 percent of the world's population. The world has chosen to emulate our actions to their great success. With America at the helm of political and economic decision-making, our planet has seen the greatest liberalization of humanity and the greatest economic success in the history of the world.

The bailout of the nation's banks has been voted down, and I believe this is a direct reflection of Americans' sentiments. We do not believe they should shirk their responsibility and obligations. The individuals who entrusted their money to institutions they knew little about are now learning to do their homework. Why did so many people decide to invest in credit derivatives if they knew nothing (about) what they were? To say nothing of the ridiculous mortgages they took out as well. I believe your publication coddles individuals. The blame is always passed to institutions. We are all free-thinking persons, and many of us are unfortunately too lazy and petty to own up to our mistakes.

-- Donald Carter, USA


Dear SPIEGEL ONLINE,

This article was exceptional from beginning to end. I do detect a bit of disappointment, and I have to say, why? Where were you all when Bush was elected in 2000? Didn't the papers read "How can 54 (million) Americans be so stupid" in 2004 when he was reelected? How could Europe actually be so fooled? We in the middle-class -- the X-generation who have no social security, pension or medical insurance -- saw it from the get-go.

And I have to say, hooray.

But isn't it about time that Europe does something? Isn't it well past time that Europe works to manage the economic, financial, environmental and physical world along with Asia and the Americas instead of sitting back and letting America -- led by W., of all people -- make foolhardy decisions for eight long years? Bush was wrong to not work with other countries in the Iraq crisis. Was this not a sign that Europe should have taken more drastic steps to work together on other major issues then?

To have gone along with the financial crisis hook, line and sinker is absurd and exhibits the same avarice, greed and selfishness the world over. How can those of my generation, the fortysomethings who are now managers, buy into this in Europe? None of us were even born during the time of war when America was hailed a redeemer. There is no excuse, and I must say that American greed deserves to go down with Bush and his cronies.

--Robert Reincke, California, USA

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