|A city in miniature, photographed in a Paris shopfront|
Twelve years later, I can't recall a single conversation that led me to this conclusion, but the impression sticks in my mind nonetheless.
I was reminded of this dynamic last week in Canada, where I had the opportunity to organize a small study mission for Algerian political party officials. In nearly every meeting, our Canadian hosts
would make some reference to the US. Whether bigger, smaller, better or worse at this or that, more advanced or less, America seemed the constant reference point. Perhaps this was the case simply because I and another colleague who were leading the mission were American, or perhaps it's because the US is just the big gorilla next door that no Canadian can ignore, or maybe some combination of the two.
Whatever the case, as someone who comes from a country that sees little need to situate itself in reference to others, I find these relationships and references peculiar. Perhaps that's just because we Americans are like those stereotypical Parisians, too caught up with our superiority to notice those around us.
This one is still an unformed thought. Further reflection needed...