Europe and the US

A letter to Mr. Friedman on regard of his article in the NY Times column.
Dear Mr. Friedman,
I’ve just finished reading your article on todays world’s view on America, i.e. the USA, and I myself, as a German, have to admit that my oppinion on the USA has been intrigued by happenings in Guantanamo Bay, the US Elections, Iraq and the Oil as well as other events in recent years. What is however bugging me – and I think a lot of Europeans think so – is the picture presented to the world of a USA neglecting its principles whenever it seems advantageous (think of Panama to Iraq). Laby Liberty seems to always look in the wrong direction…
However your references towards UN Security Council decisions make me remember two things:
1.) Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations in which he describes the struggle in the Western civilization between Europe and the US and – if I remember correctly – in which he suggests for the West to stick together considering the other rising civilizations in the world.
2.) A podium discussion with Prof. Dr. Dr. Homann about ethics and values in Germany, but also in the world. Prof. Homann sees the present defining struggle for values as critical issue for the future of our world. This struggle is represented in business negotiations, scientific discussions and… in global politics and UN decisions. Pointing to Hofstede and his cultural values it becomes eminent that the decisions we face to see taken are nothing else than an expression of what values, i.e. which cultural categories, become more important as the decisive factors in daily life.
I therefore can only and strongly agree with your point of view, that – even though the US is not liked – the alternative might not be better. Somehow this sounds like a choice between the lesser evil for Europe to decide, but I think the defining of such a choice in regards of evil or good would neglect the underlying cultural meanings. It is coming back to the question Huntington rises:
Is the Western civilization able to hold together, defending their values and views on the world (i.e. Hofstede categories) against the world or is a major shift taking place?
Yours sincerely,
Max-Leonhard von Schaper
Student in International Management (with Engineering)

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