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  1. 13 Sep '13 23:05
    I have noticed some Americans here complain that Russia's President Putin
    has not treated US President Obama with appropriate fawning deference.
    Why not, when to hear the latest 'spin' from the US government, the USA
    always has acted like Russia's best friend? But many Russians have longer
    historical memories than most Americans. Since the Second World War,
    the USA never has been truly Russia's (or the USSR's) friend; the US
    government talks of 'friendship' only when it wants something from Russia.

    In 2008, Georgia initiated (apparently with tacit US support) a losing war
    against Russia. The USA armed, trained, and advised the Georgian forces.
    Some Russian media reports claimed that US Special Forces members
    (advisors to Georgia's military) participated in combat alongside the
    Georgians against the Russians. As I recall, the US media tended to be
    pro-Georgian and anti-Russian. So, for most practical purposes, the USA
    was allied with an enemy of Russia in an offensive war against Russia.
    So why should Russia therefore regard the USA as truly its 'best friend'?
    How many Americans remember when the USA (tacitly) supported Georgia
    in its war against Russia?

    While it's been recently politically fashionable for Americans to demonize
    Syria's Assad regime (even comparing Bashar al-Assad to Hitler!), how
    many Americans remember that the US government once embraced Syria's
    Assad regime (then led by Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's more ruthless father)
    as a valued friend? In 1990-91 Gulf War, Syria was the USA's ally against
    Iraq (led by Saddam Hussein), which had occupied Kuwait. Some Syrians
    fought alongside Americans against the Iraqis. Did the US government
    demonize Hafez al-Assad when the USA wanted Syria's support in war?
  2. 13 Sep '13 23:19
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I have noticed some Americans here complain that Russia's President Putin
    has not treated US President Obama with appropriate fawning deference.
    Why not, when to hear the latest 'spin' from the US government, the USA
    always has acted like Russia's best friend? But many Russians have longer
    historical memories than most Americans. Since the Second Wor ...[text shortened]... government
    demonize Hafez al-Assad when the USA wanted Syria's support in war?
    Politics makes strange bedfellows. Allies are often not born of ideological or philosophical ideals, but of practical at the time liaisons.

    The Soviets were not allies of the US because we loved Stalin, but because our enemy was their enemy. Many have said that opening an eastern front against Russia was Hitler's worst military blunder.

    The thing is that memories are always short when it comes to such things. It occurred to me on the 11th, that most people born after 2001 in the United States know only what little is run on TV about the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, and almost nothing of the alternative views. National history is what they teach in public (government) schools. That is true in the United States, Russia and elsewhere.
  3. 14 Sep '13 19:28
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Politics makes strange bedfellows. Allies are often not born of ideological or philosophical ideals, but of practical at the time liaisons.

    The Soviets were not allies of the US because we loved Stalin, but because our enemy was their enemy. Many have said that opening an eastern front against Russia was Hitler's worst military blunder.

    The thing ...[text shortened]... teach in public (government) schools. That is true in the United States, Russia and elsewhere.
    "The thing is that memories are always short when it comes to such things."
    --Normbenign

    American cultural norms are not universal, and some peoples tend
    to have a longer sense of history than most Americans.

    "National history is what they teach in public (government) schools.
    That is true in the United States, Russia and elsewhere."
    --Normbenign

    On the contrary, sometimes a people can resist what they believe is the
    state imposition of a false historical narrative. For example, in Poland under
    Communist rule, the schools propagated the official story (lie) that the
    1940 Katyn Massacre of Polish officers was committed by the Nazis, not
    the Soviets. But many, if not most, Poles knew that the USSR was
    responsible for this massacre, and they quietly taught this to their children.
    So Poles knew what answer they had to give when required on an official
    exam and what was the historical truth.
  4. 14 Sep '13 21:08
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I have noticed some Americans here complain that Russia's President Putin
    has not treated US President Obama with appropriate fawning deference.
    Why not, when to hear the latest 'spin' from the US government, the USA
    always has acted like Russia's best friend? But many Russians have longer
    historical memories than most Americans. Since the Second Wor ...[text shortened]... government
    demonize Hafez al-Assad when the USA wanted Syria's support in war?
    God help us. One more victim trying to make sense of the US progressive policies overseas.

    First they will confuse you, then they will enrage you, and then they will finish you off by driving you mad.
  5. 14 Sep '13 21:24
    Originally posted by whodey
    God help us. One more victim trying to make sense of the US progressive policies overseas.

    First they will confuse you, then they will enrage you, and then they will finish you off by driving you mad.
    "...trying to make sense of the US progressive policies overseas."
    --Whodey

    US foreign policy is far from 'progressive' (which I know that Whodey
    uses only as a term of abuse--if it's bad, then it's 'progressive'.

    If the USA wants Russia's help now about Syria, then the USA should
    have reconsidered (tacitly) supporting Georgia in its war against Russia.
    Russia does not owe any favours to the USA. I suspect that Georgia's
    leader started a war against Russia because he assumed that, if Georgia
    got into trouble, the USA would promptly ride to his rescue, but he had
    miscalculated.

    I suppose that one could look up some US government statements praising
    Syria's Assad regime when the USA was urging Syria to become its ally
    against Iraq in the Gulf War (1990-91).
  6. 15 Sep '13 17:18
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "The thing is that memories are always short when it comes to such things."
    --Normbenign

    American cultural norms are not universal, and some peoples tend
    to have a longer sense of history than most Americans.

    "National history is what they teach in public (government) schools.
    That is true in the United States, Russia and elsewhere."
    --Normben ...[text shortened]... nswer they had to give when required on an official
    exam and what was the historical truth.
    There are people in America who don't swallow whole government accounts of things. Have you heard about 9/11 truthers? How about birthers? How about Civil War truthers, or those who question the government account of Timothy McVeigh, or the burning of Branch Davidians at Waco.

    People can resist, pursue truth, but when government and media cooperate to obscure or twist truth only the most persistent are able to resist.
  7. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    15 Sep '13 18:02 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I have noticed some Americans here complain that Russia's President Putin
    has not treated US President Obama with appropriate fawning deference.
    Why not, when to hear the latest 'spin' from the US government, the USA
    always has acted like Russia's best friend? But many Russians have longer
    historical memories than most Americans. Since the Second Wor government
    demonize Hafez al-Assad when the USA wanted Syria's support in war?
    Duchess- I think you'll find American historical memory is not as short as you think. We're reasonably aware of our historical relationships with other governments and peoples. I also think you'll find that other countries engage in the same kind of "selective perception" as do the American's. All countries engage in the practice of bending laws and rules when it's in there own interest, and even turning a blind eye to the sins of the past. So, while America is indeed guilty of these shortcomings from time to time, the same can be said for many other countries as well...and that includes Russia.
  8. 15 Sep '13 20:03
    Originally posted by bill718
    Duchess- I think you'll find American historical memory is not as short as you think. We're reasonably aware of our historical relationships with other governments and peoples. I also think you'll find that other countries engage in the same kind of "selective perception" as do the American's. All countries engage in the practice of bending laws and rules wh ...[text shortened]... time, the same can be said for many other countries as well...and that includes Russia.
    How predictable! Whenever I make a general factual observation about
    any difference between the United States and any other societies, then--
    unless I'm writing that the United States's *superior* to other societies--
    there's always an offended 'patriotic' American (e.g. Bill718) who hastens
    to argue that Americans cannot be inferior in any way to any other people.
    So Bill718 proudly--and ignorantly--waves the American flag.

    I have met 'patriotic' Americans who have argued that American, at
    least white American, students must be normally the best in the world in
    mathematics and science, in spite of the evidence of comparative tests.
    These Americans apparently prefer to believe many other societies practise
    cheating and fraud upon a massive scale in order to make their students
    *appear* better than American students in mathematics and science.

    "I think you'll find American historical memory is not as short as you think."
    --Bill718

    I know Americans, including American students of history, much too well
    to believe Bill718. Indeed, most of my American acquaintances who are
    professional teachers of history would agree that the average American's
    woefully ignorant and misinformed about history, including US history.

    "We're reasonably aware of our historical relationships with other
    governments and peoples."
    --Bill718

    Most of the American writers in this forum have consistently shown they
    are extremely ignorant and misinformed about the histories of countries,
    particularly non-Western countries, other than the United States.
    Recently, I read a column by a nationally syndicated American journalist
    who argued that the USA should intervene to overthrow Assad because
    Assad was supporting Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda was supporting Assad.
    In fact, Al-Qaeda factions have been fighting fiercely against Assad.

    Then Bill718 sets up a 'strawman', attacking me for allegedly claiming that
    other societies are perfect. Of course, I never have made that claim.
    What I would claim is that some peoples tend to place a higher cultural
    value upon a sense of history than most Americans, who place hardly
    any value upon a sense of history. I would submit that most American
    professional teachers of history would agree with me.

    Evidently, Bill718's another of the countless 'patriotic' Americans who seems
    unable to look critically enough, if at all, at the beloved United States.
  9. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    15 Sep '13 20:16 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    How predictable! Whenever I make a general factual observation about
    any difference between the United States and any other societies, then--
    unless I'm writing that the United States's *superior* to other societies--
    there's always an offended 'patriotic' American (e.g. Bill718) who hastens
    to argue that Americans cannot be inferior in any way to any s
    unable to look critically enough, if at all, at the beloved United States.
    Calm down Duchess, I'm not attacking you at all, nor am I waving the flag, nor do I think the USA is "superior". Please restrain your leaps of paranoia. I've said that America is by no means perfect in the areas you discussed, and I agree that America is guilty of fraud and cheating. Now that we have that cleared up, why don't you apply for a teaching position at one of our Universities, so you can educate our uneducated masses with your superior grasp of politics, history, and how to make the world a better place. I'm sure you'll dazzle everyone with your superior intellect!
  10. 15 Sep '13 20:44 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by bill718
    Calm down Duchess, I'm not attacking you at all, nor am I waving the flag, nor do I think the USA is "superior". Please restrain your leaps of paranoia. I've said that America is by no means perfect in the areas you discussed, and I agree that America is guilty of fraud and cheating. Now that we have that cleared up, why don't you apply for a teaching positi ...[text shortened]... he world a better place. I'm sure you'll dazzle everyone with your superior intellect!
    *Disingenuously*, Bill718 has avoided mentioning the main point of
    disagreement between us. My position is that most Americans are
    ignorant and misinformed about history, and most Americans place a
    lower cultural value than some other peoples upon a sense of history.
    I would submit that most American professional teachers of history would
    agree with me. Indeed, it seems taken for granted among American
    professional teachers of history that they will have to deal with students
    who arrive being extremely ignorant and misinformed about history.

    In his earlier post, Bill718 disputed my position, wrongly implying that I must
    be very ignorant about Americans, arguing that Americans are 'reasonably'
    knowledgeable (by whose standards?) about history and apparently arguing
    that Americans place as much cultural value as any other people upon a
    sense of history. As I wrote earlier, I expect that most American
    professional teachers of history would regard Bill718's opinion as nonsense.

    As for why Bill718 would write such 'patriotic' nonsense to a perceived
    foreigner (Duchess64), I could only engage in some plausible speculation.
    While I could not be certain of Bill718's motives, I can be quite confident
    that I know more than he does about what American professional teachers
    of history think about American ignorance of history.

    In fact, most American students have persistently shown inferior
    performances in many subjects when compared to the students in many
    other countries. There's a consensus among international students that
    American schools tend to be less academically demanding than those in
    their home countries. These facts may be painful for Americans to accept.

    By the way, not everyone's eager to live and work in the United States,
    and not everyone who's professionally qualified would be welcomed
    (including for political reasons) in the United States. And why, apart
    perhaps from financial considerations, should a well-qualified teacher hasten
    to help American students rather than those in one's own homeland?
    It's no longer true that 'the best and the brightest' minds everywhere else
    necessarily would jump at the opportunity to live and work in the USA.
    In many cases, other countries can offer comparable or even better
    working conditions and opportunities.

    Also, many people are attached, even proud of, their own societies and
    cultures and don't regard 'becoming an American' as an improvement.
    A German once told me that some Americans liked to tell her, "Oh, you're so
    smart, you're smart enough to work in the United States! Why don't try to
    find a way to come to America?", which they assumed she must take as a
    compliment. She would reply, "I am a German, I am happy to be a German,
    and I have no interest in becoming an American", which tended to shock
    those Americans. She might add, "Would you, as an American, regard it
    as a compliment if you were told that you're educated enough to work in
    Germany?" Bill718's posts to me have been full of offensive nonsense.
  11. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    16 Sep '13 02:04
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    *Disingenuously*, Bill718 has avoided mentioning the main point of
    disagreement between us. My position is that most Americans are
    ignorant and misinformed about history, and most Americans place a
    lower cultural value than some other peoples upon a sense of history.
    I would submit that most American professional teachers of history would
    agree with ...[text shortened]... ermany?" Bill718's posts to me have been full of offensive nonsense.
    I'm so happy that you're happy to be a German. I'm fully aware that European education standards are higher than in America, but you're preaching to the converted here. I've always thought the European system was a superior way of running things, and have said so many times. So Please...save your arguments for the uneducated redneck conservatives here who really do wave the flag and think America really is a great shining city on a hill. I'm NOT one of them. Now, can we declare a truce?
  12. 16 Sep '13 07:42
    Originally posted by bill718
    I'm fully aware that European education standards are higher than in America, but you're preaching to the converted here. I've always thought the European system was a superior way of running things, and have said so many times.
    I'm not sure there's one "European system" of education.

    A relative of mine teaches English literature in a Spanish university, and thus organises exchanges for Spanish students who come to the UK. Spanish students are used to a form of teaching that privileges learning by rote, and my relative's students are full of praise for the British education system which, at least in the humanities, privileges creative thinking and allows students more fully to develop and debate their own ideas. They have, however, one caveat. The British students, they say, "don't know anything".
  13. 16 Sep '13 19:44
    Originally posted by bill718
    I'm so happy that you're happy to be a German. I'm fully aware that European education standards are higher than in America, but you're preaching to the converted here. I've always thought the European system was a superior way of running things, and have said so many times. So Please...save your arguments for the uneducated redneck conservatives here who re ...[text shortened]... ly is a great shining city on a hill. I'm NOT one of them. Now, can we declare a truce?
    "I'm so happy that you're happy to be a German."
    --Bill718

    Where exactly did I write that I'm "happy to be a German"?
    How poorly did American schools teach you to read English?
    When I was a child, a teacher said that I seemed German (culturally),
    but I don't have much of a fixed sense of Heimat, let alone of Vaterland.
    I also have been 'accused' of being Anglophilic, Francophilic, Russophilic,
    and Sinophilic, just to round up some of the usual suspects.

    Just in case it was not clear, one of my points is that whenever Americans
    assume, sincerely but misguidedly, that they are complimenting a perceived
    foreigner by saying, "Oh, you are so good! You are just like us Americans.
    You should become an American.", that person often does not regard it
    as a compliment. Non-Americans also can take pride in their own cultures.
    As I recall, when Normbenign, an extremely ethnocentric American, wrote
    (condescendingly), in effect, that Canadians and Australians aspire to
    imitate Americans as much as they can, that was not just untrue, it also
    would offend many Canadians and Australians if they heard him say it.

    "Now, can we declare a truce?"
    --Bill718

    Nous verrons bien. You could begin if you can stop miscontruing what
    I write and stop jumping to absurd conclusions about what I think.
  14. 16 Sep '13 19:55
    Originally posted by Teinosuke to Bill718
    I'm not sure there's one "European system" of education.

    A relative of mine teaches English literature in a Spanish university, and thus organises exchanges for Spanish students who come to the UK. Spanish students are used to a form of teaching that privileges learning by rote, and my relative's students are full of praise for the British ed ...[text shortened]... . They have, however, one caveat. The British students, they say, "don't know anything".
    "I'm not sure there's one 'European system' of education."
    --Teinosuke

    There's not "one 'European system' of education" in reality, but
    there might be one in the fantasies of some ignorant Americans.
  15. 16 Sep '13 20:13
    I like the German system.