The Overseas Americans

The Overseas Americans

The Overseas Americans

The Overseas Americans

Excerpt

From Osaka to Accra, from Helsinki to Antofagasta, nearly one per cent of our citizens live outside the United States. Some of the overseas Americans are government people who are manning military bases, running embassies, and administering foreign aid. But a third of them are other United States citizens, including wives and children, abroad for a year of study and teaching or for a lifetime of expatriate living in the interests of American business, missionary churches, or philanthropic foundations.

Borne by tides of goodwill and dollars, the United States diplomat and technician, the preacher and the professor, are working to militarize, proselytize, or to reorganize the lives of their foreign cousins. Most of the latter are not unhappy to have these American citizens in their countries; they are, however, often truculent about the behavior and attitudes of their visitors. The face of America we see mirrored in their reactions is not always what we would wish it to be.

The looking glass of alien opinion resembles one of the distortion mirrors that used to be a popular feature at every county fair. The image undeniably looks familiar, but the proportions are awry. The very qualities we regard as our noblest virtues are clearly discernible . . .

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