The indifference of Americans to the rest of the world just never ceases to amaze me. I think I may have written about this before, and don't want to go on and on again about such an obvious point. But still, the scale of it staggers me.
The fact that I have lived in China for almost the last 4 years tends to come up in many conversations with my new colleagues by way of introduction. Now these are highly educated people who you might expect some level of curiosity out of. Instead, so far by just about a perfect ratio, they take that information in, possibly ask how I liked it in an indifferent fashion, and then move on to the next topic. They simply have no curiosity whatsoever in a country that it beginning to have such an calamitous influence on the world;or any other country for that matter including Iraq. There does not seem to be any age influence at play here either, young and old they all act the same. Although actually since I've been back the one person who has shown interest and asked some intelligent questions is the 84 year old father of my brother-in-law.
I just can't understand that. All my life when I have met someone from anywhere else I have asked lots of questions; in some cases probably too many. In my experience, this seems to be a largely American phenomenon. People elsewhere seem to have far more awareness of and interest in the outside world.
I know there are many factors that play a role in this indifference including geography, economic dominance, military supremacy, generally comfortable life, etc. It would be interesting (probably only to me!) to know if this was a social characteristic common to dominant powers throughout history.