It is a better question than it seems. Most Americans know precious little about Iceland or Thailand, or, for that matter, any country not called the USA.
Who is the Prime Minister of Canada? How big is the Mexican economy compared to the U.S. economy?
Most Americans wouldn’t come close to answering these questions. We are not very interested in anything outside our country. In fact we know little about America apart from the first 48 states. Our knowledge of Alaska and Hawaii is mostly from travel advertisements.
Canada is our closest neighbor, speaks the same language (mostly) and we share our longest border with the Canadians. Canada is our biggest trade partner. You would think knowing that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives lead Canada’s government would be important, or at least of interest, to Americans.
Mexico is our third largest trade partner (after Canada and China) and our other close neighbor. Mexico’s economy is about the 15th largest in the world even though it is less than a tenth the size of ours. You would think that would also be of interest to most Americans. It is not.
If our two nearest and most important neighbors are unimportant to us, why should we blink an eye at anything going on in Iceland or Thailand? Because true government change has occurred in those countries in the past few years and our news media has chosen to report little if any of it to us.
Between 2003 and 2008, Iceland’s three largest banks basically bankrupt the country. “Rescued” by an IMF loan, Iceland’s citizens were expected to repay the loan at an average cost, per person, of about 100 Euros a month for at least 15 years. Not to put too fine a point on it, Icelanders were pissed off. Between 2008 and 2011 they revolted. They refused to be pushed around and by 2011 had themselves a new constitution and a new government. You can find a very good overview of it here – well worth a read.
In May of this year, the Royal Thai Army took over the government of Thailand. As well, it took control of all media and the courts. Since 1932, Thailand had been ruled as a constitutional monarchy, the result of a revolution and coup ending about 500 years of absolute monarchy. Put simply, the key reason for the takeover of the Thai government in 1932 was that the people were tired of paying for the excesses of the monarch and his family. Now, just over 80 years later, the Army has effectively taken back what the revolution of 1932 won for the people of Thailand.
And, our media reported almost none of this….not the amazing Icelandic revolution nor the Thai Coup.
Do you wonder why? This might lead to an explanation. What we are not meant to know won’t hurt us, or will it?
If you have read the two links in this post and are not concerned, then I’m concerned.