Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ambrose's Nixon: Ruin and Recovery 12

For my blog post today about Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990, I'll quote something that Stephen Ambrose says on page 368.  The topic is the reaction of foreign countries to President Richard Nixon's scandals.

"Even Western Europeans, living in democratic states and accustomed to political scandals, were bemused by Watergate.  They could not understand what all the hullabaloo was about.  To the British, with their Official Secrets Act, nothing that Nixon had done seemed that out of the ordinary, much less illegal.  The Italians simply threw up their hands at the crazy Americans.  To the French, Watergate confirmed their suspicions about the na[i]ve Americans.  In West Germany, the frequent comparison of Nixon to Hitler by his enemies in America showed either how little Americans understood Hitler, or how little they understood Nixon, or both.  Nixon's friends in China, meanwhile, could not understand why he just didn't shoot his critics...The general attitude was that Nixon was the best President the United States had had since World War II.  It was unbelievable that the American people were trying to throw him out of office, simply because he wanted a little inside information about what his political opponents were up to, and had told a fib or two about the break-in."

That reminded me of when I was a college student during the Clinton impeachment proceedings.  A lady who worked at the cafeteria, who also attended my church occasionally, asked me if I was ashamed to be an American, due to what was being said about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky's relationship.  She thought that other countries considered what Bill and Monica did to be scandalous!  But I was reading the opposite----that a number of other countries wondered why the Americans were so prudish!

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