After reading that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had returned to New York for meetings about the tsunami disaster, I was sure we would find the flags flying at the UN building. But, once again, no flags! Frustrating, because we are finishing up a first big project about global perspectives on the United States.
This is not an easy thing to illustrate; we have anti-American graffiti and plenty of flags, naturally, but are trying to be a bit more nuanced. We have joked about how the title could be “Why They Hate Us,” but the truth is that while the world isn’t exactly enamoured of the United States right now, global perspectives are complex. As I stood outside the UN Thursday, I realized that providence had brought something much better, a view that is in fact perfect: the New York skyline reflected in the UN building, as you can see here.
Note written 14 July 2006: These works are no longer being developed in collaboration with CQ Press in Washington DC. They will be published by Berkshire in November 2006 as Global Perspectives on the United States, Vols 1 & 2: A Nation by Nation Survey and Vol 3: Issues and Ideas Shaping International Relations. Our new project, the first of two with Congressional Quarterly Press, will help us to see ourselves through the eyes of the rest of the world. David and I are the general editors, with a board of international scholars advising us and writing a wide range of articles. The first part, a two-volume Encyclopedia of Global Perspectives on the United States will be published this summer, and the second, Understanding World Opinion Of The United States: Concepts, Events, And Influences, late in 2005. It’s going to be, as ever, a year of thinking globally at Berkshire Publishing!