The Ugly American Essay, Research Paper
The Ugly American explained in graphic detail the reasons why American diplomacy was failing in Southeast Asia in the 1950 s and the reasons why communism was succeeding. As a list of events for the struggle for influence in Asia, it caused quite a diplomatic rage. Its lessons seem urgent today because of what is going on in Central America and in the Middle East. Whether the foreign policy mistakes this book overstated have been corrected is an important question.
The novel begins with the Honorable Louis Sears, ambassador to the country of Sarkhan, a small underdeveloped country in which communist and American interests are competing for control. Sears has assumed his post as a political substitute is over. Between three terms in the Senate and a predicted federal judgeship with a long tenure, he s simply filling time in a cushy job with a large entertainment funds and providing living conditions, in a country he had never heard of, serving people he thinks of as little monkeys. A cartoon drawn of Sears as a crying mule was published in a local Sarkhanese newspaper, making it obvious just how the American ambassador seemed to be. Sears is the example of the ugly American.
In the following chapter the novel presents the Russian ambassador to Sarkhan, Louis Krupitzyn, a professional whose two-year training period has included instruction in the language and the traditions of the country he has been sent to work in. His entire staff is fluent in Sarkhanese and the culture is somewhat different, which make the Sarkhanese people unique. The Soviet ambassador makes himself into the ideal Sarkhan. He diets, losing forty pounds; he studies ballet, reads Sarkhanese literature and drama, and becomes a skillful nose flute player in which all as an introduction to an actual diplomacy. With his country s big political goals for Sarkhan and a clear plan, the ambassador is able to take actions to support the communist interest in Sarkhan in many ways, which are the small ways, which include educating the population by getting degrees. Krupitzyn also provokes on purpose when he spies to help strengthen the communist position. For example, a Russian informer planted at an American embassy as translator supplies special information about an American rice shipment which the Russians are able to use for their own political benefit.
The American ambassador is rude and awkward; the Russian is refined and skillful. This theme is implied through out The Ugly American in reference to Burma, Ceylon, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines all the countries the novel looks at. Still, there are people who do not fall into the category of the ugly American. These are tough, hardworking Americans with a strong sense of human pride and the nature of understanding on how to help people. These people are able to win friends for America at the same time that they help improve the living conditions of those who desperately need it. It is not the idea of the American dollars and the establishment of big American projects that these countries need, but people who give their skills to help the citizens of underdeveloped countries with problems they themselves have helped. In the book these people include: Father Finian, John Cowlin, Edward Hillandale, Tom Knox, and Homer Atkns. The lesson is clear. These pure Americans who remain close to the people of the countries they are working in and are also America s best ambassadors.
The book warns the Americans that they cannot match the communist effort to control in underdeveloped countries. All the good they do is easily damaged by the failures of high level diplomats and the lack of a clear plan for dealing with the problems these countries have. If the careless Ambassador Sears and his counterpart and ultimate successor in Sarkhan, Joe Bing, creates enemies rather than friendships for America, Ambassador MacWhite, who works between them, is an example of a person who can turn around this process through honest concern for the population and a set of logical main beliefs planned to deal with Sarkhan s most urgent problems underdevelopment, poverty, and the threat of communism.
By revealing the lack of power of those who shape foreign policy, Lederer and Burdick show the way harmful mistakes are made in such a way of the United Sates influence in the world, even more damaging in terms of the outcome of the people whose lives and safety are at risk. This is a book that is certain to develop peoples understanding of the trouble of international affairs. This book shows how people can be busy in the development of diplomacy and it gives readers an important sense of the problems, which get such sketchy behavior on the nightly news. The Ugly American should be mandatory reading for the people of a participatory democracy, in a way they can understand the mistake of the past and to stop them in repeating it in the future.
MacWhite shows an example of the perfect ambassador he is respectful of the culture and customs of his country, sensitive to the need for helping and training on the in every part of diplomatic personnel, MacWhite learned in communist literature and the method which is the beginning of the communist tries to gain power in poor countries that are unable to protect themselves. In order to help stop similar situations in his country, MacWhite goes to study the mistakes of the French military in Vietnam. He leaves out the failures they made at the battle for Dien Bien Phu and studies communist strategy and Vietnamese territory in order to understand these mistakes. Then he tells his findings to the senior French military command and their American advisors.
Since December of 1946 the French have been fighting a war which has been maneuvered by the Communists precisely along the lines which Mao outlined in this pamphlet. You are a military man you will please excuse my bluntness but you made every mistake Mao wanted you to. You ignored his every lesson for fighting on this type of terrain. You neglected to get the political and economic cooperation of the Vietnamese, even though Mao proved long ago that Asians will not fight otherwise…
The French commander replies: If you are suggesting, Ambassador MacWhite, that the nation which produced Napoleon now has to go to a primitive Chinese for military instruction, I can tell you that you are not only making a mistake, you re being insulting.
A report proposed to the United States Senate is in the same way dealt with. The report is denied by the proof of an American senator who has spent a short week touring Vietnam. The authors describe the short week s tour as being carefully arranged by American embassy officials have the same opinion on not to allow the senator to see how badly things are going both militarily and in the way of the French and American attempt to win friends in Vietnam for the West. The Senate released information on MacWhite s conditions in Vietnam and the Foreign Office of the removal from office of MacWhite as ambassador Sarkhan s purpose to the American foreign policy disappointment is as important as the need of careful choice and training of its diplomatic employees. In the end, another ugly American takes over MacWhite job in Sarkhan. As for the failure of America to learn from the mistakes of the French, that is not fiction that is our history.
From my point of view this book was very interesting to read. It made me feel like I was actually there. The way these authors wrote it told you exactly how everyone acted and their characteristics. It sort of made me think that it was all true. I would suggest one of my friends to read this for a class. It never lost my interests. Only at the beginning I was sort of confused, but over it was pretty good.