What would have It Been Like Without U.S.?
The other day I was listening to a program on public radio about how the rest of the world felt about the United States. The broadcast was composed of various viewpoints from regular people all over the globe, rather than governmental officials or supposed "experts." Now an editor, when putting together a program like this, can superimpose his or her own view on the broadcast, so I am aware that I can't know what that slant may have been. Yet there were so many who were interviewed who were negative about our country. We American's have a hard time handling it, but it is obvious that in many parts of the world we are not well liked, sometimes even by our "allies."
One particular man on the program, who was interviewed was quite adamant about the way he felt. I can't remember his words exactly, but he basically said in his broken English that he and his people wish the United States had never, ever been founded. He felt our country was the purveyor of evil around the planet.
That was not much of a shock considering the source, but it made me think very deeply about our foreign relations and what we have done to cause such feelings. I thought about it as I drove back to Price from East Carbon where I had just covered a story. Thirty miles is a long time to think and I couldn't help compare his comments with the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," a Christmas classic in which James Stewart wishes he had never been born and gets his wish due to a guardian angel who asks his boss if he can show Stewart what things would have been like had he never been born.
So what would the world be like if the United States had never existed. That of course is a hard question to answer, but my guess is that if this guy could see the other side of what he said, he may change his mind.
Regardless of your or my opinion of the United States as the bully of the world, as many of these people seem to see us, imagine a world without it's leading democracy. Imagine a world where no one had a place they could aspire to go to get the freedoms we enjoy. True there are many European and some Asian countries that enjoy nearly the same freedoms we do, but none of them got those freedoms until our great experiment in Democracy had reasonably succeeded. Sure, English common law existed before the American colonies, but it was for men only, it was for landowners only and it wasn't shared equally amongst even them.
Where would have all those religiously repressed European immigrants gone if they had not been able to travel to a land where they could worship as the wanted? Do you think the European kings would have lost their powers if it hadn't been for the example of the new world?
But beyond being the beacon of freedom, we must also consider what that freedom has meant to the world in terms of technology. Do you think Alexander Graham Bell would have invented the telephone in a repressive land where his rights to the fruits of his labors would go to someone else, and he might even lose his life for inventing such a heinous device? What about Eli Whitney, Robert Fulton, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Orvill and Wilbur Wright or even Bill Gates? Inventors need freedom to really invent. My guess would be that the world would not technologically be the same, in fact it may well be that it would still be in the 18th century when it came to health care, nutrition and even human longevity.
But let's say, by some miracle, technology would have advanced. World War I could have gone on for 10 years or longer if Americans hadn't sided with the British and French. More importantly, the guy that started this whole idea with his interview could very well be speaking German, instead of English with a middle eastern accent today. Without the U.S. it is doubtful that the Russians and British could have defeated the Axis Powers of Italy, Germany and Japan in World War II. Imagine a world that was run by Hitlers heirs and Hirohitos son, before he apologized to his people for not being a god. I wonder if that guy would like living under control of the Nazis more than the menace of the U.S. that he feels he faces ever day.
In some ways the world might actually be a safer place; maybe the atom bomb would not have been invented. American industrial imperialism would not have ever raised it's ugly head. Instead we would have a world totally ruled by local despots who had total control over everyone's life and death at a whim. There would be no one to call on to provide help in natural disasters or when famine struck. There would be no freedom, or little of it. Without the United States, there would be no one to step in when guys like Sadam Hussein wanted to invade the country next door.
No one would have gone to the moon, because no one would have had the dream to do it and the freedom to pursue that dream. It would be a sad world indeed.
I wish I knew how I could contact that guy. I would send him a video of "A Wonderful Life" with a note that read, "Be careful of what you wish for; because if you got it you wouldn't like it."
There are much worse things than a world dominated by a super power that has a conscious behind it.