In the Wall Street Journal today was an interesting article about world perceptions of the U. S. and China and the respective perceptions each has of itself. Unfortunately, the most interesting part of the article, self perceptions, was in the paper copy but not included in the link. Twenty some thousand people in many countries were interviewed.
In general, China is gaining ground in being perceived as a country which is powerful and influential. It is not at the level of the U. S. yet. China is already experiencing the problems the U. S. has had for a hundred years or so. It is perceived as a country that pushes it weight around and seeks only its own self interest.
Chinese citizens see its ascendency, not as stroke of good luck, but of the natural forces which returned China to its rightful place as the greatest of nations. This is what we hear from Arabs, recalling a time when Arabs were the world’s leaders in technology and warfare.
The Japnese, I have read, see themselves as a people who are special in the eyes of the super natural, destined to be the greatest of nations. England was once the world’s powerhouse. Perhaps there are English people who see their current economic troubles as only a temprary condition until they return to the greatness of old.
We in the U. S. have more than our fair share of national hubris. Really, all of us in all courntries should get over ourselves.