Sunday, December 09, 2018


Americans who become overnight experts on the politics of other countries always make me roll my eyes. Imagine an outsider trying to understand American politics. People from other countries actually hear about American politics on a regular basis, but they still (mostly) have no idea. Most Americans hear nothing about the politics of other countries and then hear about one issue or policy in isolation and think they can pass judgment on the popular response to it or the people or political party responsible for it. There's an almost impenetrable historical and cultural context to all of this stuff, and thinking you can pull out one thread and understand it in relation to US politics is ridiculous.

I don't know a damn thing about the politics of most other countries. I know a bit about Spanish politics. I know enough about UK politics to comment intelligently about it. The rest... not so much. I have knowledge about other countries, but politics is a messy complicated thing that requires more than just a bit of knowledge.

And most of the time, frankly, it's none of "our" business. Sure it's a big interconnected world and some obvious human rights related stuff transcends borders, but a lot of politics is just internal stuff that really is opaque to outsiders and can't be understood from a couple of NYT headlines.

Our own politics can't even be understood from a couple of usually misleading NYT headlines.