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Austin Kiesewetter

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Are you comfortable in a world in which the United States is not the largest global super power?

If we are leaving an American era and entering an era dominated by new superpower states in China, Brazil, and elsewhere, should Americans be concerned? Or is pride the only thing at stake? Can Americans be safe on an international stage no longer dominated by their interests?

Topics: global affairs

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    Jan 20 2012: Hi Austin,
    Interesting question:>)
    As an American, and a citizen of the global community, I am comfortable in how the world is evolving. As I have traveled many less developed countries, I realized that the USA was maybe a "super power" because we had more material wealth? Or because we had military forces? Or because we led the world in economics? Whatever the reason for our percieved "super power" seems to be failing, and has been for a long time. As I traveled in less developed countries, I noticed that they had something we, in the USA, did not have. We are one of the most abundant countries in the world, and yet, we have the highest rate of depression, highest rate of suicide, alcohol and drug addictions, etc. Most people in this so called "super power", are searching for something beyond what is percieved as power. You ask, Austin, "is pride the only thing at stake?" I ask another question....pride in what? What have we (USA) created to be proud of? We are the largest users of natural resources. We seem to be a country which cares less about our environment, and more about the wealth we accumulate? I know there are many people in the USA who are aware and consciencious about our environment, and I believe I am one of them. As a whole, however, sometimes, I am not proud of our contribution to the global community. Yes, I believe we can be "safe" on an international stage no longer dominated by their(our) interests because sometimes, I think/feel that many people from different cultures in our world are more understanding and compassionate than we (US citizens) are. Thanks for asking the question Austin.
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      Jan 20 2012: Thank you for your well thought response. There are some things I think Americans can be proud of. We're the big leader in foreign aid to developing countries, are we not?
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        Jan 20 2012: There are some things we can be proud of, and that's why I said "there are many people in the USA who are aware and consciencious".

        You say we are "the big leader in foreign aid to developing countries..."
        Yes, in a way. If you look deeply into our contribution, under the guise of "aid to developing countries", however, you may find that the underlying reason for the "aid" was to "aid our own interests? We provided aids vaccinations to Africa, for example, and we later found out that it was all an experiment in testing new aids vaccinations. The people in Africa we provided the "aid" to, didn't know they were being used for trials. They thought they were getting help from the USA, when in fact, they were being used by USA drug companies for "testing" purposes. That's just one little thing of course, and there are many situations that were promoted as "aid" to a certain country, when, in fact, it was for our own interests. And, I say this is just "one little thing". It is NOT a little thing to those people who were used inappropriately.
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          Jan 21 2012: Are those AIDS vaccine trials representative of foreign aid to Africa as a whole?
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        Jan 21 2012: Hi Austin,
        I think it may be a fair representation of some of the things the USA and some other countries may do as "aid to developing countries". To provide appropriate aid, we need to be more aware of what the country actually needs, and how we can support the country with genuine intention. I think too many times, we give them what WE think they need, or give something that actually benefits our own needs, and we're often not paying attention to how we can support them in taking care of themselves for the long term. You know the old saying..."give a man a fish and he feeds his family for the day...give him a fishing pole, and he can feed the family for the long term:>)

        That reminds me of another conversation on TED quite some time ago where that saying came up in relation to a similar topic. A man from Africa commented, saying "we know how to fish, but the USA, because of what they are developing here, prevent us from getting to the water". That man was very articulate and in my opinion, said it very well.

        I am not proud of our country when we impose our beliefs and needs on other countries. I am proud of our country when we actually listen and respond to the needs of other countries without misrepresentation.

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