Do "good" Americans as defined in this book exist today?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Ugly American is a book that met with much antagonism, for the portrayal of American government appointees in Asia who were insensitive to the Asian cultures was extremely negative, although obviously accurate as borne out by history with Communism having become successful in controlling Asian countries. That there are yet such "ugly Americans" seems possible as, ironically, on March 1, 2014, there were Senate confirmation hearings with certain proposed appointees for the positions of foreign ambassadors who, from their responses, indicated that they knew little about the country to which they may be sent.

With the regard to the question as to whether there are Americans today who are, in fact, sensitive to the culture in which they have been appointed, there are some. One man who must be counted high among them is Richard Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent. Much more than a journalist, Engel has spent years in the Middle East and is fluent in Arabic. It is not unusual to see him amid Arabic people on a street, speaking with them, obtaining their opinions of situations. Absolutely intrepid, Engel has survived bombings, IED attacks, ambushes and kidnapping attempts. In Benghazi he was nearly killed. Having spent years in Iraq, Engel traveled outside the Green Zone (the fortified international zone in Baghdad) there in order to report on the real state of Iraqi life. After his many years in Iraq, Engels was called to the White House and held a private session with President George W. Bush.

Another truly "good American" is the recently deceased Shirley Temple Black. From 1969 to '70, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. From 1974-76 she was U.S. Ambassador To Ghana and from 1989-1992, Black was U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslavakia. Mrs. Black easily related to many who remembered her as the curly-haired cherub of her childhood in Hollywood; yet, she was always affable and versed in the culture of her appointments.

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The Ugly American

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