Yesterday I went to a talk with Sparkly

It was about the CIA and how they recruit people from other countries to give them information. I expected it to be historically interesting, and it was, but parts of it were also very counterintuitive and confusing to me, in a way I didn’t expect. It’s the idea that US citizens are “us” and everybody else is “them”.

How did this talk express this idea? Well, the (public, online) posting about this (free, open to the general public) event specified that only US citizens could attend, first of all.

There was also the idea that when students from other countries attend university in the United States, that contributes to the proliferation of potentially dangerous information to the rest of the world (e.g. students majoring in chemistry and physics graduate knowing information about how to make bombs and chemical weapons.)

There’s also the idea that being a US citizen who has friends who are “foreign nationals” makes you potentially compromised in some way?

Thinking of US citizens versus other people as an us-versus-them sort of thing is just foreign (no pun intended) to me, I guess. Both because I’m not used to lumping “everybody else” together in one group, and probably also because I don’t think of the whole United States as “us”.

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