That story was mostly true, but it was in the winter of 1967, a long time ago. (I may have embellished just a bit.) I was young, barely 18 years old, and I hadn't yet learned that most Southerners thought it was bad form to argue so vigorously about anything, much less something as inflammatory as the Civil War. They also thought that 'Lead Mine Boy' was rude and boring.\n\nI later learned that most of those who called me a Yankee were actually pulling my leg – as Yankee baiting was considered great sport. They were also making fun of Rednecks who actually took that 'South Shall Rise Again' crap seriously. The only proper answer to Yankee baiting was to answer them with an exaggerated Southern drawl (use your imagination as I attempt to write in Southeren), saying "I've been meanin' to faht choo (fight you)! Let's you and me get some 6-packs of Bud and go faht in the parking lot! That always got them to laugh and drop the Yankee baiting.\n\nIn 1972-73, I was in the Navy, stationed in Southern Italy. Among the Italian friends I had, I was the only American. As such, I had to defend America's racism as well as the war in Vietnam. It was difficult because I didn't want to offend them, and I couldn't easily explain my being in the Navy while also being opposed to that war, much less explain racism. I had to resort to the idea that the USA (at that time) was the only modern western nation that actually had significant numbers of people of different races. It was no wonder that the USA had problems with that. At the time, Italy and most of Europe was uniformly white. African immigrants were not welcomed. Asian immigrants were unheard of. Amazingly, that worked. When I later got orders to return to the USA, every one of my Italian friends admitted, privately, that they would give their right arms to go with me.\n\nWere you ever in Russia or Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism? In the West, we often have great trouble understanding Russian ways of thinking, especially about things like success or failure. We often are baffled by their stubborn refusal to cooperate with others, even if cooperating was for their own benefit.\n\nThere is a famous Russian proverb about this mentality. (I’m paraphrasing it from a book I read, Red Notice by Bill Browder.)\n\nThe world is a small place. I spent some time in the late 70s in Gaeta (former Duchy of Gaeta as they fondly recall). Yes I did some business in Eastern Europe before and after the wall came down. Got to spend time in East Berlin too, although West Berlin was much more fun. That was a unique city to get in all kinds of trouble in!\n\nGot to Russia and Ukraine only once but did lots of business with some nationals there via London. Those guys could party. Lots of drinking, gambling and revelry in London clubs in the 90s. Your comments on their ways of thinking are spot on. If you expressed any satisfaction with a deal you were negotiating with them they suspected they were getting screwed and would pull back. Could not understand what a Win\/Win was with both sides benefiting. That thinking was a difficult barrier to overcome at times. I had to "coach" them by explaining and demonstrating the "Anglo" concept of good sportsmanship and fair play in competition. The overhang of a countries history and culture are tough things to overcome.