Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.

Don't Expect Any Gratitude

The Philippine's have decided to withdraw their peacekeepers from Iraq in order to save the life of Angelo de la Cruz. I can't imagine the difficulty that the leader must have in making such a decision. If the troops stay, the hostage will be killed and whoever made the decision will be seen to be responsible. If the troops go home you have proven that your country cannot stand up for what is right.

The lesson in all of this should be quite clear to the US. That is, don't expect payback or support because of your past deeds. The United States sacrificed thousands of lives freeing the Philippines from Japan during WWII. The US didn't have to do this. They could have just as easily bypassed the Philippines and let the Japanese continue to butcher the Philippine population. But they didn't. Perhaps it was because of national honour or simply because their national conscience wouldn't let them allow the massacres to continue.

I often support the US in many areas especially when it comes to US actions in places like the Balkans, Afganistan, or Iraq. I support the US in these instances for the simple reason that I believe the US is doing what is morally right. And in the grand scheme of things I've often looked down upon people who do not reciprocate when someone else has sacrificed for them. This applies to both personal interactions and interactions between nations.

I think this way because without past US actions I suspect that I quite literally would not be here. During WWI my great-grandfather fought alongside the British. Without US involvement how long would WWI have gone on? Would my great-grandfather have survived another one or two years? It is hard to say. His brother was killed so how can I be sure his fate would have been any different?

During WWII my grandfather and most of his brothers were involved in the war. My grandfathers brother can home a broken man after being identified 4 years after the war ended in a monestary in Italy. He rarely if ever talked to anyone for his remaining 40 years. Would my grandfather have survived a different fate if the US didn't enter the war? Once again it is hard to say.

So I support the US because in many ways I am grateful. Do I wish they had entered the world wars sooner? Certainly. Do I hold a grudge against them because of this. Absolutely not. Because in the end they did the right thing even though the reasons for staying out of both world wars were just as compelling as those for entering them.

I am grateful.

But I have also come to accept that any nation that expects others to return past favours is kidding itself. In many ways this is probably one of the reasons many people consider Americans to be naive. Expecting others to return favours is a very simplistic world view because it simply ignores all evidence to the contrary.

So my advice to Americans is that you shouldn't expect others to step up and accept their responsibilities. I truly see your country as a force for good in world but don't expect others to show gratitude for things you have done. Though you may have earned praise don't expect any.

I admire your beliefs and view of the world but from this day forward I will not criticize those who abandon you. I don't expect anything better from them. What they do is determined by human nature and no amount of moralizing will change that.

America, in many ways you are alone. You are one of the few countries in the world that will sacrifice blood and treasure for others and I dread the day that you decide such sacrifices are not worth the trouble but if you do... I won't hold it against you.

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