Tom Freston: America's Place in the World

Question: What forces that have shaped America most?

Tom Freston: Well I travel quite a bit, and I have for many years, so I’m always aware of . . . I can remember traveling around when I was basically a kid when the Vietnam War was going on, and witnessed firsthand anti-Americanism. And I always thought you know it’s interesting to be able to stand in someone else’s shoes and look at yourself and develop some sort of pattern or ability to empathy . . . empathy or observation and try and see the world through someone else’s prism. And today 30 or 40 years later, you have this increasingly interconnected world that has problems more acute than ever before. And I think that America has been judged . . . If I travel around now, anyone who travels around now feels this. I mean the view about America – and all surveys would reinforce this – is as low as it’s ever been. I mean it’s seen almost as an imperial nation. It’s a nation that, you know, consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources, where six percent of the world’s population acts unilaterally. It’s seen by others as unfairly invading other countries and seeking its will for its own material purposes. Now not all of this is necessarily true, but that’s the perception that’s out there. And I just think that, you know, when . . . We’re a country with a global ambition, and when you have people out there who feel that way about you, they can throw a lot of sand sort of in the gears of what you need to do to go about doing business. For example if you’re a business man, or to go about diplomacy if you’re a diplomat. And you know it’s gonna take a while for us to get back to some higher ground. And I wonder how long will it be before people in other countries put up pictures of the President of the United States in their house like they used to, say, in Ireland or Germany when JFK was president. You know we seemed to have slipped quite a bit from that. And complicated issue I know, but that’s just a fact.

Recorded On: 7/6/07

Freston recalls the anti-Americanism of the Vietnam era.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

The dos and don’ts of helping a drug-addicted person recover

How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.

Videos
  • Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
  • Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
  • As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
popular
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less