Project respect, or project arrogance?
The Effect of Humiliation on Preferences for Aggressive Foreign Policy
How popular should America want to be?
Disease and dignity
The swine flu contagion in Mexico fixes attention on cultural dignity: the disgrace of a disease becomes more important than its fatalities. This article, Mexico Humiliated, from the Mexico City newspaper El Universal is typical as it stokes reports about China locking Mexican tourists in quarantine, and reviews how international flights to Europe and South America are unilaterally suspended by foreign governments, and so on. A sample:
"Afuera, el trato que han recibido decenas de mexicanos, sobre todo en China, ha sido calificado por la Cancillería de inaceptable. Un eufemismo cobardón para referirse a una cacería humillante y violatoria de quienes de pronto fueron detenidos como si se tratase de delincuentes, trasladados contra su voluntad para exámenes médicos exhaustivos y luego encerrados en hoteles sellados por una cuarentena que en realidad es una prisión."
"The Foreign Secretary has called the treatment Mexicans are receiving abroad 'unacceptable.' That's a cowardly euphemism for the humiliating detention our co-nationals in China suffer as they're violated by invasive medical exams and locked into hotels that are really prisons.
The list of similar reports and newspaper columns goes on, but added up: the swine flu victims aren't sick patients so much as disgraced nationalists, which explains why questions about curing the disease in Mexico are reported in newspapers only after dealing with the larger issue of how the national humiliation can be cured.
"Sugiero que Mexico suspenda todo tipo de relación comercial y turistica con todos los países de suspendieron los vuelos a medida de represalia es la unica manera de poder rescatar la dignidad de mexico!" Here.
America's steady descent into the third world
opens a discussion about governmental power transfer, at least when the transfer goes to an opposition party. Typically in Latin America, legion Truth Committees gather under the banner of social justice and aim to punish outgoing opposition leaders for crimes and immorality and opposition. Sometimes, departing Presidents and upper level officers flee, usually, however, they strike discrete agreements with the new power brokers and everyone important agrees to...jail a few underlings.
If the parallel holds-if America is becoming more like Latin America-than what we should expect to see at the end of the controversy surrounding aggravated terrorist interrogations is the major DC people, both Ds and Rs slinking back into their offices and a few low level interrogators held up for public excoriation.
Which explains this from ABC:
Even though President Obama has announced that the Justice Department will not prosecute CIA officers who were operating within what they'd been told was the law, members of the CIA fear they're going to be thrown over."
Is anti-Americanism cool?
HUGE frontpage story in Mexico
Hillary Clinton's acceptance of America's responsibility for violence in Mexico (US drug buying fuels Mexican narco violence) is being hailed as an apology, and acceptance of the general principal that problems in Mexico are America's fault. Hard to be sure. But it's certainly an example of the US-centric contemporary world.
Typical upper-middle class scene in Mexico City: a young woman with her fingers cut off by kidnappers. They took one and then another while the family raced to gather ransom money. You can see that they raised enough before receiving a thumb in the mail.
World as Upheaval
Does It Matter Whether America Is Liked?
The North American Common Market
"When the US gets a cold, Mexico gets the flu..." Graph of the fading peso charted against the dollar.
“A lot of this is designed to stick it in the eye of the U.S....
Immigration to the US, 1820-2007
New Global Foreign Policy
"President-elect Obama's national security team includes Hillary Clinton, General James Jones, and Robert Gates; they were selected because they embrace a sweeping shift of resources out of the military's huge budget to create a corps of diplomats and aid workers that, in the vision of the incoming Obama administration, would be engaged in projects around the world..."
People forget that the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan before 9/11 was...the US. No one doubts the good intentions here, but there's an unanswered question as to whether it's possible for marauding Aidsters to arouse anything more than resentment. Anyone who's lived in the third world has felt the tension stretched out when these tall, young and healthy Americans (and Europeans) stride through packs of poverty stricken locals dispensing good advice and charitable acts. Eventually these human projections of soft power get on their homebound jets deservedly feeling good, but do they leave good feelings behind, is it even possible to transmit goodwill over the gaping social/economic asymmetries of today's world. As for humiliation, that's certainly projected, no matter how pure the hearts and intentions.
A dark postnationalist novel spinning out from the Women of Juarez crimes...
Waiting for amnesty
"There's nothing distinctive about Australia in any of that..."
Global Classrooms: Going Off to College, Passport Required
Friend, Foe or Just a Fan
"The world is falling for American media, even as it sours on America..."
Adventures in Post-Americanism
US Clout Down, Risks up by 2025...
Inaceptable la ayuda, si incluye evaluaciones
The Merida Initiative rejected by Mexico because it includes US evaluations of how well the money is being used.
Informa México a EU rechazo a Iniciativa Mérida
The Merida Initiative (US aid to Mexico in fight against narcotraffic) rejected by Mexico because the agreement's language and mechanisms are condescending. ("No contiene mecanismos de cooperación entre ambas naciones "en pie de igualdad")
"Sin embargo, los judiciales seguían disparando"
(Even so, the cops kept shooting).
A good story about a police shootout in Mexico City. Officers from two separate agencies battle each other for 1,000 USD ransom money paid by a dentist to free his kidnapped son.
"The surest way to sell newspapers in Europe at the moment is to print an article hinting that the United States is about to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities." Here.