Having also lived abroad and experienced many different countries, I had to chuckle to myself as I read Meisler's criticism of present America because it's all so true but no one here seems to know it.
In my experience, Europeans consider us either silly for our prudish mores (remember the international giggle over Gary Hart, not over the girl, but that it brought him down?), and for our wacky consumerism, and plastic art and literature. Or we're looked on sadly for our violent crime and insatiable money thirst. Or we're feared as a danger for the fact that our huge war arsenal is in the control of thick-headed chauvinists, and for our disrespect for the environment and untainted food.