15 Countries That Clash with American Values

The United States, a nation founded on ideals of liberty and democracy, sometimes finds itself at odds with other countries whose priorities and political systems differ. These clashes can arise over various issues, ranging from human rights and economic policy to military interventionism. This article explores 15 countries where American values face particular challenges on the world stage.


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Russia’s political system is in stark contrast to the United States. While America champions democracy and individual liberties, Russia leans towards strong central control and limited political freedoms. However, Russia possesses a vibrant culture with a strong tradition of literature and artistic expression. This focus contrasts with American society’s perceived materialism.


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Iran presents a fascinating paradox in its relationship with the US. The nation’s rigid Islamic legal code contradicts American secularism and individual freedoms. Iran’s system also creates strong families and a sense of community, with less emphasis on material things. This makes for a problematic relationship between the US and Iran, even though there could be some cultural understanding.

North Korea

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Isolated and authoritarian, North Korea sharply contradicts US values. Ruled by the Kim family, North Korea prioritizes loyalty, self-reliance, and military strength. This clashes with American ideals of democracy, individual freedoms, and global openness. Despite hardship, North Koreans show strong national unity, highlighting a different societal model.


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Bhutan has a very different approach to success than the US Forget Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is all about money. Bhutan focuses on Gross National Happiness (GNH). This means they care more about the overall well-being of their citizens rather than just how much money the country makes. It’s a fresh perspective on what makes a country successful, even if it opposes America’s focus on economic growth.


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The Japanese way of life is quite in contrast with American ideals. In Japan, fitting in and following the rules is key, while the US prizes independence. However, Japan’s emphasis on quality, honoring traditions, and respecting elders brings about different kinds of success. They focus on doing things meticulously and valuing the good of the group over individual freedom.


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Afghanistan’s recent upheaval and harsh Islamic laws contrast with American ideas of democracy and individual rights. However, Afghanistan’s strong focus on loyalty to family and tribe creates a unique social bond where people prioritize honoring their families and community over personal freedoms. This clash of values makes it difficult for the US and Afghanistan to see eye-to-eye.


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Myanmar presents a complex situation where its military rule and stifled civil liberties directly oppose American ideals of democracy and freedom. The two countries couldn’t be more different socially. Americans prioritize independence and punctuality, while Myanmar emphasizes community and a more relaxed pace. Even the concept of privacy differs, with Americans cherishing their personal space and Myanmar valuing close relationships.


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Turkey’s recent shift toward authoritarianism contradicts American values of checks and balances, individual rights, and free speech. Despite cultural richness and traditions of hospitality, the role of religion and the erosion of democratic institutions in Turkey creates friction with the US emphasis on secularism and individual freedoms.


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The US and China diverge significantly in terms of core values. China tightly controls information and prioritizes the community over individual success, contradicting America’s free speech and “go-getter” attitude. This goes deeper than culture—China’s economic and technological rise challenges US dominance, making it a complex rivalry shaped by different beliefs and goals.

Saudi Arabia

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The US and Saudi Arabia have very different core beliefs. Saudi Arabia’s strict Islamic laws limit personal freedoms, especially for women, which goes against American ideals of gender equality. Saudi Arabia values strong family and community ties, while the US prioritizes individualism. Despite their alliance, these differences highlight the complexity of balancing religion, tradition, and individual freedoms.


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The US and Cuba represent contrasting ideologies. Cuba’s socialist system clashes with American capitalism but offers universal healthcare and education. Cuba’s vibrant arts scene finds an echo in the US, though American arts face commercial pressures. The one-party system in Cuba stands in stark contrast to American democracy.


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While struggling with political turmoil and economic hardship, Venezuela prioritizes social welfare programs like healthcare and education. This focus on equity for the underprivileged resonates with American ideals of social justice. Still, Venezuela’s approach to achieving it and its current instability create friction with US values of democracy and economic stability.


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Nigeria faces challenges with corruption and ethnic divisions, which hurts its government. This clashes with American values of openness and working together. Yet, Nigeria’s rich cultural traditions and a strong sense of community, embodied by the concept of “ubuntu,” showcase a vibrant society. Nigeria’s strong sense of community contrasts American individualism, reflecting a global debate on individual rights versus collective well-being.


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While America prioritizes individual rights and open political discourse, Egypt’s recent political climate has restricted freedoms. Despite this difference, both cultures cherish history, with Egypt’s ancient wonders standing out. Family also holds immense value in both societies, though Egypt’s emphasis on extended families and tradition offers a distinct perspective on community and social bonds.


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Zimbabwe’s story is one of contrasts. While economic hardship and political instability plague the country, it prioritizes education for all, highlighting a different approach compared to the US, where disparities exist. Zimbabwe’s strong emphasis on extended families and community support emphasizes collective well-being, standing against American individualism.

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