I've noticed a certain edge in some of the discussions around here, specifically, an anti-American edge. While some of this is easily dismissable as banter - and taken as such by both sides - there's a tendency for some of this to go a bit far and, to my mind, it comes across as mean-spirited and inaccurate. I thought I'd just quickly jot down my own view and then ask folk for comments. Please remember it's not the NAAFI bar. The USA is a hyperpower, the only one around. It has immense military might and a powerful economy - as well as a massive deficit. The US Armed Forces are our (the British Armed Forces) closest friends. Our stock hasn't done too well with them in the last few years, mainly as a result of some piss-poor political decisions by our lords and masters (the retreat from Basra, anyone), but also as a result of some unjustified arrogance by some of our folk, who thought they understood COIN better than anyone. Despite this, we're still close and find it easier to work with Americans than anyone else (and vice versa). The US political system is fundamentally different to ours - they have a Republic, we have a monarchy. Much of the respect and reverence we feel for the monarchy, they invest in the Presidency and the symbols of their Republic. They do not respond well to piss-taking about either of these. They are far, far more religious than we are. They take religion extremely seriously and do not respond well to ribbing about that, either. They are both more conservative and more overtly patriotic than we are. A US liberal might count as a middle-range conservative over here. They take the flag and country stuff very seriously and have no problems with assertions of national power in the national interest. In many ways, the US of today reminds me of the British Empire in about 1880 - a global hegemon, confident and assured and perfectly capable of doing Realpolitik in pursuit or defence of its interests. It's probably clear from what I've written that I like them, well, most of them and admire some aspects of the US approach to foreign policy. They do get it wrong sometimes, but who doesn't, but, generally, to my mind, they're still a force for good. If nothing else, having the Americans around probably saved us from having to learn Russian back in the day. So. Thread open. Keep it courteous and constructive, if you would.