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Mythbusters – Susan B. Glasser – POLITICO Magazine

The world hates Americans…NAH, OTHER NATIONS HAVE GROWN TO BE MORE OBNOXIOUS.

The CIA is a secret superpower…THEY ARE A SUPERPOWER. WE JUST WISH THEY KNEW WHAT TO DO.

American foreign policy is driven by morality…HAHAHAHAHAH

America is stronger alone… TWO WARS: IRAQ ONE AND IRAQ TWO. WHICH ONE WAS INTERNATIONALLY SUPPORTED AND WHICH WAS A TOTAL SCREW-UP?

Americans are more generous – and bigger global peacekeepers…WRONG BUT I’D HATE TO BE DEFENDED BY THOSE DUTCH SOLDIERS WHO WATCHED AS 7.000 WERE KILLED AT SREBRENICA.

The United States has all the answers…PERHAPS, BUT ARE THEY ALL THE CORRECT ANSWERS?

“Emerging” countries no longer need help…WRONG

America is impotent…I CAN’T THINK OF A WORSE THING THAN A PRIAPIC NATION.

Americans are isolationists…NOT AFTER VIRGIN AIR BEGAN THOSE LOW FARE FLIGHTS

Republicans hate foreign aid…THEY JUST WANT IT TO GO TO COUNTRIES WHERE HALLIBURTON AND K&R ARE WORKING

America wants to be a hegemon…A WHAT?

American decline is the end of American leadership… WE’RE STUCK WITH THE JOB

The United States spends 20 percent of its budget on foreign aid…ONLY 19 PERCENTAGE POINTS OFF.

Foreign Aid doesn’t depend on governments…DO YOU BELIEVE IN FAIRIES AS WELL?

The commander in chief can “make it so”…MAKE IT SO WHAT?

Japan’s military rise is a threat to the United States…STUCK IN THE 1930S

Force works better than diplomacy…TWO WORDS: IRAQ. BOSNIA.

OK, THOSE WERE MY OPINIONS, NOW LET’S HEAR FROM THE POLICY WONKS.

Bill and Melinda Gates and 27 other thinkers on the misconceptions about the United States and the world that drive them crazy.

In their annual Gates Foundation letter, released Tuesday morning, Bill and Melinda Gates identify three persistent myths about global development that drive them crazy: that poor countries are doomed to stay poor, that foreign aid is a big waste and that saving lives leads to overpopulation.

All three, as Bill Gates put it, are informed by “a dim view of the future, one that isn’t improving but staying poor and sick, and getting overcrowded.” And how infuriating to the Gateses, who have pledged to spend their entire fortune—currently estimated at some $72 billion—on their foundation’s save-the-world work. In a conversation the other day about the myths, both couple couldn’t help but circle back to the big gap between their pragmatic, numbers-driven case for interventions that work—and the persistence of false ideas and just wrong thinking. For Melinda Gates, who has taken on global access to contraception as a personal cause in recent years, there’s wonder that we’re still debunking the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, warning of the apocalyptic—and very much yet to happen—consequences of exploding global population. “And now I’m going on the Jimmy Fallon show to try to change that 1970s misconception,” Bill Gates added.

The conversation got us thinking. There are so many exaggerations and plain untruths out there about how the United States operates in the world, we at Politico Magazine decided to ask a group of globally minded people—from diplomats and senators to economists and entrepreneurs—to tell us: What myth about America’s role in the world most drives them crazy? From the size of the U.S. foreign aid budget to the commander in chief’s power to change world events, from America’s isolationism to its secret hegemonic machinations, here are the misconceptions we heard from more than two dozen big thinkers.

***

The world hates Americans

John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush

The biggest myth out there is that “people hate us” around the world. I have served at eight diplomatic postings abroad in four different continents and always encountered respect and admiration for what the United States stands for. Our political and economic systems are the envy of many across the globe and a magnet to millions seeking to reach our shores as visitors, immigrants or refugees. There are, to be sure, those who find fault with what America stands for, even to the point of outright hatred; but I am convinced, based on more than five decades of having lived and traveled abroad, that they represent a very small, albeit vocal, minority. American can and does stand tall among nations of the world, and we are still looked to for a strong global leadership role.

The CIA is a secret superpower

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

The most bizarre myth I encounter in my travels is that the CIA is this omniscient, omnipotent organization that manages to pull strings all over the world and make things work. These conspiracy theories attribute to the CIA miraculous abilities and language skills; as a taxpayer, I only wish that they were true. You’d think the Ray Davis affair might have taught Pakistanis in particular something of the CIA’s limitations. In fact, of course, the CIA has its fair share of incompetents who struggle with English, let alone foreign languages.

American foreign policy is driven by morality

Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School

There are two myths that habitually infect U.S. foreign policy discourse. The first is the myth that U.S. foreign policy is powerful shaped by moral concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth: The United States has allied with brutal dictators, killed millions in illegal wars and through economic sanctions, and turned a blind eye to various atrocities whenever U.S. interests weren’t involved. Like with other great powers, in short, U.S. foreign policy is driven primarily by realpolitik; by the desire to maximize U.S. power and primacy for as long as possible.

A second and related myth is the notion that Washington always has the right answer to assorted world problems. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously said that the United States “stands taller and sees farther than others do,” but there’s scant evidence to support that self-flattering notion. The United States may not be as prone to folly as some other states, but it is certainly not immune from it either. Just look at our inept Middle East diplomacy, our mishandling of relations with Russia and that little kerfluffle on Wall Street back in 2008.

America is stronger alone

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state

What drives me the most crazy is the myth that our country’s power is diminished when we cooperate with other countries to achieve our national security interests. We are, as President Clinton said and I have often said since, the indispensable nation to this day. But there is nothing in the definition of “indispensable” that says “alone.” Another way to put it would be to engage in multilateral diplomacy, something I dabbled in once. The problem many Americans seem to have with “multilateralism” as a term is that it has too many syllables and ends in “-ism”! What it really means is “partnerships.” Our country can be stronger and more effective when it engages in partnerships—with allies, with businesses, with civil society—to make our country and the world a better place

Read LOTS more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/myths-about-americas-role-in-the-world-102409.html#ixzz2rKDBBrDX

via Mythbusters – Susan B. Glasser – POLITICO Magazine.

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