Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why does everyone hate America, and why should I care?

My friend Ron, who is a Filipino, has been working in Singapore for the last few years and likes his job.  He has to endure this lunchtime "conversation" with his colleagues every Wednesday though, and is requires to participate.  Usually he endures through the ordeal where the boss starts conversations very Piers Morgan style, about what is wrong with the West.  Last week it changed a bit, the topic was, "Why does the world hate the United States of America".

Ron is not only pro-American but had the guts to tell this group who were overly in the "America is the cause of all the ills in the world" opinion.  He cited how the US never colonized a country for gain, although they were in the Philippines for 50 years.  President McKinley did not want to have foreign colonies, like Spain maintained, but perhaps knew if we just let the go they would be swallowed up by the Dutch or the Chinese.  And we fought a short war against their nationalists, and more so Islamists,  General Pershing knew how deal with Islamists in a way we can not do these days.  I personally don't give a damn if they love us or hate us.  We are not a superpower because everyone loves us.

Getting back to the topic, he cited how the US took basically a slave culture under the Spanish, who kept them impoverished and uneducated and introduced public education, English as a second language and brought tons of industry to the Philippines.  We also introduced democratic institutions there and established self rule on all but foreign affairs.  This is now what imperialists do.  Total independence was scheduled for 1946.  WWII got in the way and the Japanese had different ideas.  We Americans sacrificed many lives liberating the Philippines, and much of the pacific islands, and do not have an empire to show for it.  We do however have the largest overseas cemetery and it is in Manila.  In 1946 they became an independent republic. They haven’t done all that well since independence and the Marcos regime chased a lot of business out of that country.

Well after Marcos was overthrown the incoming governments courted foreign investment and a commercial trade zone at Subic Bay was established, and FedEx went in there in a big way.  Well, they had elections, like all democratic republics, and the people elected what is best described as the Bruce Willis of the Philippines.  Joseph Estrada is an uneducated actor but was able to buy an election based on his popularity.  First thing he did was fire the administrator of the Clark and Subic Bay free trade zones and replace them with cronies, and their job was to shake down foreigners.  Bad decision, Erap.  Don’t fuck with Fred Smith.  FedEx called his bluff, built a new Asian hub in Guangzhou China and left the Philippines.

This gets me back to the original topic. “Why does the world hate America?”
Ron talked about the American history in the Philippines and basically told his colleagues that the US is not the problem, and it is mostly envy.

He did not get a warm reception on his comments, and got called into his bosses office and was told to write a letter of apology for offending his colleagues. 

Singapore is not the USA, and thank god we are not them yet.  But with political correctness run amok we may not be too far from that.