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Foreign Affairs

We're Still Cool

Americans are still cool people, according to the rest of the world, and that is problematic for China. A recent poll asked 30,000 people across fifteen countries to list the coolest nationalities. Americans topped the list, followed by Brazilians, Spaniards, and Italians. All the way at the bottom were Belgians, marginally better than Poles, Turks, and Canadians. Kudos to Canada, typically regarded as home of the uncool, for pushing ahead.

A more serious indicator of America's desirability--and the belief that people who say they are from here are just, well, cool and successful people--is coming from China. Though the Eastern dragon is continually touted for its growing economy and presence in the world, there is sweat upon the brows of the communist leaders. Those titans responsible for the booming Chinese economy all seem to have one long-term aspiration in mind: leaving China. Their top destination of choice? The United States.

China's wealthy certainly live far better lives than the vast majority of their compatriots. They realize, though, that the lives they live are not near the standards of living they could achieve in the West. While the country's economy is slowly liberating, the government clamps down even harder on any cries for freedom from their oppressive yoke. So while the affluent in China have money, they would like other things-- they would like to have more than one child, they want their children to go to better schools, they are jealous of American healthcare standards, they want to breathe air that isn't poisoning them, they want to be able to speak their mind without threat of retribution. Importantly, they want their property protected as well--China's innovators and businessmen know that, at the end of the day, the communist government will claim all of their assets. They want to be able to buy a home and own that home, and for their children to be able to own that same home, and their children after that.

We can say what we will about America today, but the rest of the world still looks at us with envy, and yearns to have what we have. China may be catching up to us economically, but so long as they continue to oppress their people, as rich as they are, they will still see us as the best example of pushing the bounds of human potential. Not too bad.
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Discussions - 2 Comments

Well, good, but it is also good to remember that all good things come to an end.

Given that American cinema still dominates the world, it would be unusual if we weren't perceived as "cool." Also, we are among the most egalitarian people on the planet, which should also resonate with people around the world.

Despite all this, the desperation of millions every year to get into our country tells you everything you need to know. We should NEVER believe the liberal and anti-American hype. After all, how many thousands/millions are clamoring to get into North Korea or Cuba?

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