Steve Irwin and the Fellowship of the Croc

Countries cannot choose the living son or daughter who personifies them in the minds of distant foreigners. Perceptions can be impulsive and unfair. A good deal of today's anti-Americanism, for instance, is simply an expression of antipathy towards George W. Bush, the incumbent Uncle Sam. Saudis, Swedes and Kiwis can hate Dubya, and thus protest against his folly in Iraq, while consuming the riches of U.S. commerce and culture. Some lands have the splendid fortune of a dignified presence to represent them: South Africa's Mandela, Brazil's Pélé and the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth II. Others are stuck with rogues like Saddam, Gaddafi,...

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