… Islamofascist religious fanatics to socialist and communist believers, to the Americans who hate America crowd, all blaming us for the ills of the world.
To what end? Their reasons may vary, but it is certainly not to better the lot of mankind, unless of course you are among those who happen to believe the world would be better off without us and with them in charge. But, who would really be better off if we didn’t exist?
Without doubt, if America did not exist, the world would be a very different place. I just don’t know if those who hate America so much and would like to destroy us have thought much beyond the ends of their noses.
In a sort of reprise of the famous Jimmy Stewart movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” in which George Bailey is given the opportunity to see what the world would be like if he had not been born, a brief look at what the world might look like without America may be instructive:
Without America, there would be no United Nations. The U.S. was instrumental in forming the UN and currently finances around 22% of its budget. So, without our financial support, the UN and its many subsidiary organizations would be a far smaller institution, if it could exist at all. Some people would undoubtedly say that would be a good thing.
Without America, France, England and the rest of Europe would be part of Germany today, or under German control, enslaved and cruelly oppressed. Or, without America, Europe, and much of the rest of the world might be living under the repressive thumb of Communism.
Without America, the Japanese would rule Asia and democracy would not have been established in Japan, which was historically ruled by its emperor and the military.
Without America, twenty-five million people would still be living under the cruelly repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and another twenty-five million Iraqis would continue to exist under the vicious dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
Without America, scientific advances and inventions, ranging from the Cotton Gin to the computer and the Internet would not have happened. A very short list includes the following (in no particular order): Tractors, nylon, the light bulb, the steamboat, vulcanized rubber, the desktop computer, the supercomputer (Cray), the cash register, Coca-Cola, Polio vaccine, helicopters, the scientific method of manufacturing assembly, open heart surgery, the electron microscope, radio, the steam generator, purified insulin, the transistor, the pH meter, magnetic recording, the telephone, Bessemer process, respirator/ventilator, frozen foods, LASIK eye surgery, vaccine for Hepatitis B, genetic engineering, the calculator, catalytic cracking, instant copying (Xerox), synthetic rubber, superglue, Velcro, plows, internal-combustion engine, the screw propeller, HIV isolation and diagnosis, global positioning system, solid fuel rockets, and on and on, ad infinitum.
I leave it to you to evaluate the impacts of the many thousands of technological, scientific and medical advances made by Americans. Without them, the world would be a very different place indeed: Untold numbers of people would have died or been crippled by disease, afflictions like polio and smallpox would be rampant throughout the world, technologic advances like computers and the Internet probably would not exist. Just think how these inventions alone have changed the world in a few short years. The list of America’s achievements in its brief history that have improved mankind’s lot from almost any perspective is literally endless.
Without America, the people in many of the nations that have benefited from our foreign aid would be living in far worse circumstances. We haven’t solved all the problems, to be sure, and according to some critics, we don’t give nearly enough, but we have and continue trying to help alleviate many of the worst problems in various parts of the world.
Without America, the education of tens of thousands of foreign students who have come to America to study engineering, the sciences and medicine would not have happened. We are responsible for having produced more highly trained foreign students than any other nation in the world. And, where would the world be without them?
Without America, the economies of most nations around the world would be much poorer. In 2005, the U.S. trade imbalance with China alone amounted to $202 billion. Where would the Chinese, who are now challenging us for having the world’s biggest economy, sell their goods and services, or the Japanese sell their cars, were it not for our markets? And India, which has another of the world’s rapidly expanding economies, where would they be able to sell their goods and services without the American market being available to them? The list of trading partners who rely on our markets to sustain their own economies is very long. Two notable examples in our own hemisphere, of course, are Mexico and Canada.
There are many other American accomplishments that have dramatically changed the world, including the example of a society based on diversity and tolerance for others, the rule of law, as exemplified by the peaceful transfer of government following elections, among others.
We may be many of the things people around the world accuse us of being: arrogant, ill-mannered, spoiled, self-centered, too rich for our own good, but we are also the most generous and selfless nation on earth and the world would be a much worse place without us. Those who hate us so much might just want to give their distain of us more thought and decide if they really don’t want us around. My question is, what would they do without us?
Remember the admonition, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”
© 2011 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved