President Obama is really serious about this American exceptionalism shtick. He started in on it again in his recent address to the UN, saying:
“The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.
I believe such disengagement would be a mistake. I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree. But I believe America is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.”
I append some comments from readers of www.commondreams.org. They convey what seems to me the right interpretation that Obama is pitifully whistling in the dark: The era of American supremacy is coming to an end. If we seem still to be in charge it is only because we, foolishly, do not acknowledge that we are weak, that our affairs are in terrible disorder and that we have begun a downward trajectory. It is also because we are prepared to bankrupt the country for the sake of continuing to play the Big Bully. The American Empire is soon to join the British Empire and the Holy Roman Empire in the little regretted past.
Here are some fine comments: “Exactly what is it that makes America exceptional? Spending more than any other country on defense spending at the expense of everything else such as healthcare, education, employment (other than in defense industry.) Our rate of poverty in the country is rising, our stats in education keep dropping. The infant mortality rate is mirroring third world countries. When will we really look at these figures and realize it's not a good picture of things.”
“2.3 million human beings currently living in cages. The highest prison population in the world by both number and %. No bankers though."
“"Exactly what is it that makes America exceptional?" Our shit doesn't stink. It smells like roses.”
"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable."
----Howard Zinn“A vacuum of leadership is exactly what the world needs. Most of the current wars are traceable, easily, to American war boots on the ground in places where they are not welcome and where they have no reason to be. The Taliban fights us because we are there, for example. Peace would break out all over the world if the U.S. were a peaceful country. We are exceptionally militaristic and therefore exceptionally evil. “
" Yes, Mr. President, because the world NEEDS "exceptional" cluster bombs, white phosphorus, depleted uranium and agent orange. And, oh yeah, "exceptional" piles of corpses of women and children.”
Will someone please tell the President to turn off the “exceptionalism” spigot? Claiming to be exceptional does not make us exceptional. Other countries do that too. Throwing our weight around wherever we can does not make us exceptional. Other countries do that too.
Working unceasingly with exceptional dedication to make ourselves ridiculous—that is how we are exceptional.
But, I for one, am not laughing.