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All Obama requires to ensure that US is seen as a great ally by the world is to force US officials to control their urge to humiliate people
That Americans use the F-word quite conveniently in their daily communication is no Brezhnevian state secret. But the fact is that the usage of this word and the philosophy it propagates (of course figuratively) – of caring two hoots – unfortunately has filtered into the attitude of American officials when they deal with representatives of other nations, and in fact even with their own ilk.
First, some examples of how brilliantly even top US officials have gone over the board in their executive communication:
US presidential candidate Senator John Kerry uses the F word in an interview in the magazine Rolling Stone.
During a heated exchange at the US Senate, VP Dick Cheney tells Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, “Go f*** yourself!”
US Senator John Cornyn objects to John McCain’s perceived intrusion into a Senate meeting on immigration, to which McCain replies, “F*** you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room.”
Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff, at a weekly strategy session featuring liberal groups and White House aides [on a plan to run advertisements against conservative Democrats] reportedly rebukes them by calling them “F***ing retarded!”
March 23, 2010:
US VP Joe Biden whispers into Obama’s ear, “This is a big f***ing deal” (for the healthcare plan).
April 22, 2010:
Cheney appears on The Dennis Miller Show and takes a compliment about his “F*** yourself” comment from the host and responds, “That’s sort of the best thing I ever did.”
Why are these examples shocking? To understand that, imagine your own country’s Vice President speaking the same words Dick Cheney spoke in public! Or the words US Vice President Biden spoke. The hypothesis is not even a conjecture anymore. The fact is that American officials, while being quite comfortable with their “hire and f-off” attitude – both in language and behaviour – have started assuming that the same attitude can be blindly exercised upon the representatives of foreign nations.
And it’s not that the cases of such verbal and behavioural transgressions by US officials is not known. In April this year, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the way he was being treated by American officials and frustratingly announced that he might even join the Taliban if US interference into Afghan affairs didn’t stop – and this when Karzai knows that the reason he is in power is because of the US government’s support.
Not that the US administration has given him any special treatment, they’ve done that with many other nations too. In a weekly column in Forbes magazine in September 2009 titled Humiliating Japan, C. Chang wrote about the various instances when US officials had malevolently belittled Japanese government officials continuously – leading to growing discontent amongst the Japanese population against US, and their elongated presence at Japan’s Okinawa base. This is the very reason that the current Hatoyama government has started giving the US eloquent tit-for-tats, not failing to responde to each and every repartee.
Beside Iraq and Afghanistan, even Japan, Germany and many other countries seem offended with the way American establishment officials behave. Many global conferences are being organized without US involvement now. Latin America hardly pays heed to US remarks and suggestions – and one believes pays them back in the same coin; so does the rambunctious Iran. China’s distaste for American philosophy hardly needs any formal introduction.
With Barack Obama being elected as the first Muslim-black President, there has been a ray of hope for a more approachable and understanding America with a world view. To add to that, Obama is a great orator – perhaps the greatest yet in the line of US Presidents – and one who has the least respect for off-the-cuff verbal assaults (he practices his speeches excruciatingly diligently and never gives a speech without a tele-prompter). In other words, Obama knows the power of speech, the power of communication, and the power of sending the right “friendly” signal.
And he’s realising the follies of his people – in the Karzai case, for example, he sided immediately with the Afghanistan President and blasted his national security team, telling them to treat Karzai with more public respect. In a similar manner, Obama needs to send his team on goodwill visits to countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Japan and the likes to promote the power of good faith. If Bill Clinton can get two US journalists freed in North Korea by deciding one day to simply fly in, meet the boss (Kim Jong-il), talk sweetly, and fly out, then why can’t the same be done by Obama’s people? Sadly, as long as dimwit stalwarts like Dick Cheney keep feeling proud of the ‘F’s in their lives, F-theory would stay.
By:- Sray Agarwal
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