other countries are laughing at us

Paul Noth, The New Yorker Cartoon

The US is the most religious of the civilized nations.
Yet so many Americans believe that “greed is good” despite greed being scorned by all major religions.
Most of those who do believe that quote Adam Smith when asked about the foundations of their creed:

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Unfortunately they don’t take the time to read some more of Smith’s work.

A puppy fawns upon its dam, and a spaniel endeavours by a thousand attractions to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man sometimes uses the same arts with his brethren, and when he has no other means of engaging them to act according to his inclinations, endeavours by every servile and fawning attention to obtain their good will. He has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion. In civilised society he stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons. In almost every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance  of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and shew them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely. The charity of well-disposed people, indeed, supplies him with the whole fund of his subsistence. But though this principle ultimately provides him with all the necessaries of life which he has occasion for, it neither does nor can provide him with them as he has occasion for them.
The greater part of his occasional wants are supplied in the same manner as those of other people, by treaty, by barter, and by purchase. With the money which one man gives him he purchases food. The old cloaths which another bestows upon him he exchanges for other old cloaths which suit him better, or for lodging, or for food, or for money, with which he can buy either food, cloaths, or lodging, as he has occasion.
Had they done their homework they would have had the chance to figure out that Smith was the first to understand that in order to fulfill their self interest people must treat each-other with respect. Otherwise trade would be impossible.
And what kind of division of labor could develop among people that despised each-other? Could anyone eat or wear something that even came close to a pariah – the actual meaning of the word being “untouchable”, a person that soils everything that makes contact with his person?
The US is the biggest economy in the world. It has enjoyed that status for more than a century now. During that time many American corporations have built huge portfolios abroad and some of them do more business outside the US than inside the borders.
This very week the Republican Party has nominated its presidential candidate. This guy, Donald J. Trump, has managed, in the last six short months, to aggravate almost everybody on this planet. Mexicans, Chinese, the whole Islam… and more than half the American population – he is perceived unfavorably by 59.2% of ‘his’ potential constituents.
Traditionally, the GOP was biased towards businesses and the business people – and fittingly so. So much so actually that G. W. Bush has thrown the traditionally Republican fiscal prudence overboard during his first mandate. Not only that he had reduced taxes but also embarked on a massive spending spree.
During the convention that nominated Trump as candidate Gov. Scott Walker, one of Trump’s most enthusiast supporters, mentioned:
You deserve better! Because America deserves better.
The well connected in Washington are standing behind Hillary Clinton because Hillary Clinton is one of them. They want more of the same.
Donald Trump is standing with the American People.
We want a leader who is not afraid to take on the mess in Washington.
Why is it so hard to figure out that ‘the well connected in Washington’ – exactly those who control those huge American businesses abroad – are doing everything in their power to get rid of Trump? Even if that means backing such an unpalatable candidate as Hillary Clinton? We should not forget that her behavior as Foreign Secretary – in what concerns her manner of dealing with her e-mails – proves a total lack of respect towards rules and regulations.
And what does Gov. Walker mean by ‘the well connected in Washington’? By every measure Donald Trump is one of them. So much so that he gleefully admits it.
“Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding,” the reality-star-turned-politician said at the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland. “She had no choice because I gave to a foundation.”
trump wedding
Finally, but not last, we have the problem of the ‘failed presidencies’.
Quite a sizeable number of Americans are undecided whether Carter or Obama were the worst American Presidents ever.
The rest of the world remembers Carter as the guy who successfully brokered the Camp David deal while Obama continues to enjoy a good reputation abroad, despite the huge number of drones that were used during his mandate over foreign territories and despite  his failure to shut down Guantanamo, as he had promised.
Had America been a small country, equivalent to Switzerland, for instance, all these would have been of very little importance.
Since the US is not only the biggest economy of the world but also the most powerful nation on Earth, people all over the planet are keeping their fingers crossed about what’s going on there.