May 7, 2023

A new take on American exceptionalism

A recent post on Reddit on how Vietnam defeated 3 world powers in 30 years prompted me to think about how one of those powers (the US) compares.

As a Vietnamese American who grew up in the communist regime (and with family members on both sides of the war), I am proud of being Vietnamese. But I am also proud to be an American.

The toughness and resilience of the people who fought the Vietnam War shows how much they value freedom, something that is core to Americans. No wonder Ho Chi Minh appealed to Truman.
Vietnamese and Americans share a strong affinity to freedom and independence. We are not so different. It's tragic that we became enemies, but that's history.

I've had some non-Vietnamese friends apologize for what happened, but they shouldn't. 
  • I and most Vietnamese alive were not around during the war.
  • They were not alive/responsible when the war happened.
We share more in common than we realize. Vietnam is communist only in name, and is more aligned with America now than many other countries/people.

It's easy to blame the US as the bad guy in the world (and yes, we mess a lot of things up), but Americans have a lot to be proud of.
We are resilient, deeply value freedom and independence, and will fight hard to keep them.
America is incredibly hard to invade and occupy, but we're gonna be some tough sons of b* to rule over if any external force ever succeed.

Learning about America's early days (early settlers, Independence war, American civil war, wild west frontier era, and even the civil rights era), I gained a lot of appreciation for the strong American will. This country was built on the backs, minds, and hard work of a lot of incredible people. Even better, they had the foresight and determination to persist those early ideals to modern times, not just in the US, but around the world. This extends beyond politics because efforts to preserve nature (national park system, green peace movement) and love for the great outdoors are incredible ideals that benefit all people. These, and more, are American exports that move humanity forward. As example, young Vietnamese are adopting America's road-trip mentality and picking up backpacks to explore their own country side (di phuoc). The US inspired many other countries to designate national parks and preserve more of their natural assets for future generations. What an amazing idea. Thanks Teddy (Roosevelt)!

Check out the video below on how much of an geographical, economic, and geologic anomaly the US really is.

Americans have so much to start with, and have built so much since. We are poised to do a lot more in the future. Look to be part of that future.

I just came back from a trip in Africa and the Middle East, and boy...for as much flack as the US has been getting, we look like a shiny diamond compared to the rest of the world. Here's a few examples:

  1. South Africa is struggling with an incredibly corrupt government, local violence (which leads to lack of safety), and load-shedding (forced rolling blackouts across the entire country). Some locals told me they're well on their way to being a failed state if things don't change.
  2. Zimbabwe, a much poorer country doesn't seem to have load shedding...but that's only because they had it worse 10 years ago. People adapted and either provide their own electricity (via solar & generator) or go without it. Relying on the grid, or anything from the government for that matter, is a thing of the past. 
  3. I spoke to a British national in Qatar and he shared how bad the economy in the UK is. Doctors are incredibly underpaid, haven't had a raise for years, and are demanding a 35% increase. Then there's the devastating results of Brexit.
  4. Dubai built a one-of-a-kind tourist economy to move off their reliance on oil (which has dried up) only to have to compete with Qatar and many other neighbors trying to copy their success. As a result, they are in real danger of going BK as lavish spending and many multi-billion dollar projects came to a halt (thanks to 2008 crash and Covid).
  5. Qatar overbuilt their hotels and tourist accommodations for world cup 2022. Now that it's over, they're struggling for business and  hoping for tourists to return. This, as they head into their incredibly hot summer season. How long will their these lavish hotels and restaurants survive? Qatar still has a lot of money to burn so it'll be around for a while, but that means it'll divert tourist money from Dubai.
  6. Both countries have huge populations of migrant workers slaving away to make enough money to send back home. However shaky these economies are, they're still better than home in Sri Lanka/Pakistan/India. Many Uber drivers shared that they came via work contracts looking for a better life only to find  employers randomly stop paying for work. 😱 Driving Uber for $2-$3 per ride is much better than working a normal job. Most of these workers live in worker camps while trying to make enough to send home. I became friends with one of these drivers and he told me he's been away from his family for over 2 years. Every few years he tries to visit his family, but has to continue work in order to support his family. It's heart-breaking but is the norm here. I shudder to think what would happen when the tourist industry collapses in this region.
  7. China is faced with various crises from real estate to banking, also Covid due to their strict lock downs.
  8. And let's not forget: Russia & Ukraine. Even Canadians I spoke to wish they can move to the US.

Americans are sitting on the greenest grass to ever exist, but many don't know it so they keep dreaming of greener pastures.
ZEROSVN Tech Enthusiast

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