(originally published in New Oxonian 2009)
I was having dinner with friends before leaving the sweltering Lahore summer to return to Maine in June. Discussion turned to politics, as it often does in foreign parts. Having spent most of my professional life, by choice, outside the United States, I have learned to fine –tune my discourse, even to absorb comments that betray a woeful lack of information or historical perspective on America.
The one that requires the deftest response is what I have come to call the “German question.” Every expat has heard it in one form or another: “How is it that America continues to be strong?” A rough translation is, “Given your Coca-Cola view of the world, your cave-dwelling masses who can’t find Europe on the map, a national legislature whose debates we run on our comedy channels, why hasn’t your country blown itself up?”
America, as we…
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