The ambassador to the United States for the European Union (“His Excellency” John Bruton, former prime minister of Ireland), gave a Kennedy Center lecture at BYU yesterday.
He shared a lot of interesting information about the EU, how it functions, and why it is important to the US (e.g. over 70% of foreign investment in the US is from Europe).
The second thing that stuck out to me, although I wish he would have gone into more detail, was when he mentioned the differences between Europe and the US.
In response to a question about public opinion in Europe toward the
“Even if the president of the
- Own special interests that it tends to cater for
- Own sense of history, what works and what doesn’t work
- Own political system with certain reflexes built in
We are different. It is OK that we are different. Just recognize the difference, try to understand those differences and respect them. Just like American’s should understand that
So the most obvious question is whether you agree that it is OK that there are differences between the
But that is not where I want to start. I prefer to explore and try to understand what more of the differences are first before judging some of the most obvious and controversial ones. So I want to start by asking:
What do you think are some of the differences between Europe and the US? (your personal perception)
He didn’t go into that much from his perspective, but I wish he would have. Then I’d like to ask:
Of those differences, are they “OK” and should we just “understand” and “respect” them? Why or why not?
I found interesting your post. Because of the fact that I can talk A LOT, I decide only to give one comment and do not make you bored with several ideas. 😛 This comment has not scientific, political, historical, or any similar knowledge in it. It is in my own experience because I had lived, as a grown up, in both places US and Europe, and I am not originally from any of them.
For me US is ONE country. Might be founded by emigrants from all over the world and most of them with the “american dream”, but it is one country. Europe is a region of SEVERAL countries. That might give you some food for the thought. For me, that small difference creates a powerful attitude distinctness.
Thanks Carolina. Although some of the current politicians running for POTUS (president of the US) argue that there is more than one America right now – I think you are right, and although it might seem obvious, it is an important point.
The sense of identity from being “American” is probably more strong than being from Deleware (for example – although some states seem to have more “state pride” than others). But the identity of being from Finland (for example) is probably more strong than being from Europe. And that surely does have an impact on sense of history, relations, political reflexes built into the system, etc…
Think the main difference is in speedo, really. I respect your speedo, if you respect mine!
Roman, I’m glad that you had the courage to point that out. Now I think you are really getting to the heart of where a lot of the conflict and distrust is coming from! 🙂