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post #2 of Old 11-29-2004
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100% Surtax ?

I have little tolerance for political threads in sailing BB''s and especially lengthy ones. But there''s a useful civics lesson available to us sailors from Gord''s post that perhaps we ought not to be too quick to blow off.

I''ve been in perhaps 25 countries and island nations in the past 4 years, and I frequently find myself shaking my head, right along with the locals, at the beligerant, insensitive and patronizing positions my own govt. takes on the international stage. Whatever one''s political affiliation or philosophy, it''s a fair statement to observe that other nations don''t understand much of the USA''s behavior these days on international matters...and what''s worse, no one is talking coherently to them and making a case for our actions insofar as it''s possible to do so. (Does anyone remember that Bush had to be flown to Buckingham Palace last Spring, because his motorcade was going to see one endless procession of protestors a country that is our principal ally).

No country - and especially the country that impacts all other countries more than any other - can ignore an international consensus, if one exists, on any topic without sooner or later experiencing penalties. And no country is going to be respected and influential if it thumbs its nose at international bodies like the WTO - especially if it meanwhile also goes running to them, whining about its own miseries & complaints.

Just today I was able to rendezvous with a friend who''s been cruising in the South Pacific the last two years. As we compared notes, we found we were both finding the countries we visited to be confused and troubled by what they see from the U.S. today. (His country count is now about 15, as I recall). Being the Leader of the Free World is, I suppose, a lofty perch from which to fall. Today - whether you like to hear it or not, think the opinion is fair or not - we''re mostly viewed as a self-centered bully.

And to return to the topic, if U.S. boat mfgrs. once again get creamed in the marketplace, they can - once again - look to their own govt''s behavior (aka: Byrd Amendment) for the cause. Pogo was right, but we just don''t find it comfortable to remember that fact.

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