Everybody’s thoughts may be on Iowa, so maybe it is appropriate to spare one for George W. Bush, entering the last year of his presidency. In so doing, there is no reason to be charitable.I thought it was worth highlighting that statement. It shows how little respect the rest of the world has for Bush. There are no kind words for him because he hasn't left the world a better place.
Sadly, there are no kind words for our country either. This is how the Toronto Star described us in a recent article: Welcome to Third World, USA
Apparently, the Wall Street Journal insulted Canada in the mid-1990s by calling them "an honorary Third World country." Now that the tables have turned, they're more than happy to reciprocate.
Ironically, the U.S. today has many more features in common with Third World status than Canada ever did back in the mid-1990s.Check, check and check. They also point out that there's an ideological difference between us and other countries:
What is usually meant by a Third World economy? A half-century ago, the term was associated with the economically underdeveloped countries of Africa, Asia, South America and Oceania. The common characteristics of these Third World countries were high levels of poverty, income inequality, high birth rates and an economic dependence upon the advanced countries. Third World countries were simply not as industrialized or technologically advanced as Western countries.
But what are some of the distinguishing characteristics of contemporary Third World countries? They go beyond these nations’ fiscal position or undue concentration on natural resource exports.
The glaring features today include poverty, lack of democratic institutions, controlling oligarchies and the unequal distribution of income and wealth. In other words, the few enjoy a rich lifestyle while the many share subpar incomes and poverty.
Another characteristic of Third World countries is that a major portion of their fiscal expenditures is allocated to the military. In many Third World countries, the military is controlled by an elite or a small collection of the wealthy.
Finally, in many Third World countries one finds that leadership is passed from one generation to the next, often via a close relative.
[...] most Western democracies see the elimination or reduction of economic inequality as a good idea. Indeed, it is a generally accepted principle that the underlying causes of economic inequality based on such non-economic differences as race, gender, or geography should also be minimized or eliminated.This is our country after decades of Republican control and two terms under Bush. No wonder "change" resonated with the voters in Iowa yesterday.
In other words, there is a strong predilection in most Western countries to level the economic playing field as much as possible. This seems not to be the case in the United States. [emphasis added]