Seeing ourselves as other nations see us | Letters

Gillian Dalley says majority thinking in the west has been warped, and American Dr T Douglas Reilly says his outlook was changed by moving to Europe

Reading Suzy Hansen’s account of how the all-pervasive belief in the notion of American exceptionalism has stopped her and her countryfolk from seeing how their view of the world is misconceived (Unlearning the myth of American innocence, 8 August) makes me want to draw attention to our own myopia. Majority thinking in the west has been similarly warped. How else were we persuaded to sign up to the cold war, to go to war with Iraq more than once, to see North Korea only through the eyes of the US generals, to sanction Iran despite its moves to stop nuclear weapons development, to fail to recognise the degree to which US political and economic dominance in South America has twisted and undermined democratic development there, and to support the extension of Nato provocatively to the very doorstep of our “enemy” Russia? Pundits call the last century “the American century”. It’s time to give up on that deal, and ensure we all have an equal share in the current 100-year stretch.
Gillian Dalley
London

• Suzy Hansen’s article is excellent. I was born in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey; I grew up in and near Newark until I went to college at 18. I’m a nuclear physicist, retired after 38 years in Los Alamos National Laboratory, Euratom, the Department of Energy, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). My field is nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation.

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