Thanks, George ! That's really kind.
It suddenly struck me, part way through writing, that it perhaps wasn't my place to critique or comment on the US given how little I really know about living there. I was worried that, because I was necessarily talking in generalisations, I would make the mistake of trying to describe the US objectively rather than how I, as a Brit, conceive it (which is the only thing I have any authority on, since it's just opinion !).
I think I'm in a mirrored situation of yours - I've made a lot of American friends in Europe and their experiences have added a lot to my understanding of the US. I've seen it through their eyes, I suppose.
The more I've learned from them, the more surprised I've been, and the more sense I've been able to make of what has been happening in recent months and years.
Yes - I agree with you about needing criticism to improve. I think - in politics as in everything - it's very easy to see your way as the right way purely because it has been like that for a long time. The rulers / governors of every nation think of themselves as creating the "best" possible society, almost by definition (otherwise they wouldn't be doing it) - but it is clear to those on the outside that how some countries operate isn't the right way.
And the US, Britain, etc., perhaps need to recognise that others on the outside can offer a different perspective on how they do things, just as we comment on others.
And I suppose it's for that same reason - because there's no objective right way to run a nation, or indeed the world - that no country should have significant influence over many others. So I completely agree with you on that !
Thanks again for your thoughts on this - I've really appreciated them and they've made me think.
And I'll also find you on Twitter - it would be good to work on something together !