More and more it seems that “don’t go far” is the message the U.S. government is sending Americans. The global travel alert issued Aug. 2 is a perfect example of how the State Department uses fear to keep people “safely” at home, and ignorant. The alert, based on a vague threat from al-Qaida, warns all Americans traveling abroad to beware of terrorist attacks until the end of the month.

If we were to listen to the State Department’s admonitions, we’d never walk out our front door. Just a glance at its website and you’ll notice it warns against terrorist attacks in Norway and Finland due to their audacious open border policy with the rest of the Schengen states. And, apparently, Americans are to avoid “isolated areas” in New Zealand—but isn’t that a large part of that country?

What exactly is our government so afraid of anyway? Is it Americans getting killed (except those slain in drone attacks, of course) or is its greatest fear that we wake up to debunk the myth that the U.S. is the greatest nation in the world?

Ingenious Press quips:

It is an embarrassment for the U.S. government when Americans visit South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, and even Turkey and witness first-hand just how wonderful, efficient, and fast the domestic intercity train systems run. It is an embarrassment for Americans to witness how the streets are kept cleaner and the highways better maintained in countries across Europe, and even in parts of Mexico. It is an embarrassment when they visit Australia, and drop their jaws at the revelation many of the locals are working jobs earning the annual equivalent of anywhere between $70,000 – $120,000 U.S. dollars, which do not require any university education (and therefore no crippling student loan debt-slavery).

It is an embarrassment when Americans talk with university students in Scandinavia and realize it is not costing them a penny. It is an embarrassment when they walk the streets of Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro and safely come to the conclusion that the locals are more health conscious, better dressed, self-confident, and consistently attractive than pretty much anywhere at home. It is an embarrassment coming to the realization that Santiago, the capital of Chile and among the most populous cities in “dangerous” Latin America, is actually a safer city than any U.S. metropolitan area of comparable size.

Basically, the U.S. government does not want you to become aware about a lot of really, really, good things that are available to people in other parts of the world that are severely lacking at home. …

And how about the domestic dangers faced every day in the U.S. due to lax gun policy or unaffordable health care? Why doesn’t any country issue a travel alert outlining the perils of visiting the United States? Perhaps, as the Ingenious Press piece claims, “They realize that the world is not perfect, and some safety risks which can theoretically happen anywhere are not going to be allowed to ruin their holiday plans.”

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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