Friday, June 8, 2007

Wanna be an American 007?

So I'm off to Maui from L.A. for a short trip and I see this advertisment on a lighted billboard in LAX (pronounced "El-Lay-X") like it was an ad for milk or something. The ad is looking for new employees for the CIA and they're telling it like it is. The ad says "National Clandestine Service Careers". To tell you the truth, seeing it even caught me a little off guard. They did not advertise like this in the past.

It made me think of what Europeans think of the CIA and how they probably would be very freaked out to see this ad if they were passing through the airport. The Spanish commonly think that the CIA is in control of everything - at least everything bad - and that they are behind every door. Coups, wars, anybody missing, Argentine banking crisis, the Prestige sinking (not really 'cause the PP was in power), etc. They seem to think that the Americans are so competent (and devious) that we could pull the strings on just about anything - but at the same time with a straight face they will tell you that most Americans are not too bright. I wish they would make up their minds.

Even when I was looking for a loan for my Piso I was asked by my very nice banker lady, Carmen, if I was CIA. I was kind of flattered to tell you the truth. Why a CIA agent would need a loan for a piso I'm not sure, but she was serious. I WAS very organized with a pre-printed package listing all my income potential, assets and debts for them to review. I guess that smelled like a conspiracy.

To be fair the CIA has done a fair amount of meddling (and maybe worse). I think this is what most irritates the Europeans. However, it is not like the British, the French, the Germans (maybe not the Germans anymore), do not do the same thing. A common complaint in Spain is the Americans will "do what is in their best interest". I say everyone does what is in their interest. I know we are not trusted in the world, but who could be trusted? The Chinese? The French? Would they act in the best interest of another country against their own?

To me, some people are confused about what's in their best interest though. It is convenient for them, to think of the U.S. as the enemy, that Europe is so different from the States. I'm not so sure. Even though this will make a lot of Spanish people very uncomfortable, I'd say Europe and America's interests are pretty much the same.

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