Sunday, November 6, 2011

What is American Exceptionalism?

So what is this "American Exceptionalism" after all? Is it just an expression of uniqueness which you can trivially apply to every thing or being? Or is it an announcement of vanity, patriotism or hubris? Is it a justification for acting like an international outlaw whenever suitable? Or is it a pseudo-religious belief? Wikipedia's definition: "Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is "exceptional" (i.e., unusual or extraordinary) in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles." Does it apply to American Exceptionalism?

Let's, for starters, take a look at a short video summarizing recent contributions and where Ronald Reagan's son puts it in a nutshell: whatever it is, we have to sell it

Michael Reagan: "Because I travel around the world myself, you know, people come up to me all the time and say "America can't fail. The world cannot afford America to fail". We are an exceptional exceptional country and we have to sell that!"

Is 'American Exceptionalism' Becoming Passé? -, 30-03-2011

Is 'American Exceptionalism' Becoming Passé? -... von cbnonline

This post is subsequently divided into the following paragraphs:
1. Some Scholarly Views on American Exceptionalism
2. Some Recent Video and Audio Contributions

1. Some Scholarly Views on American Exceptionalism

Let's now study some scholarly views and approaches. The following selection of quotes is rather accidental and ranges from historical perspectives to USA-EU comparisons.

"American political culture is tied up with American exceptionalism, the view that American society and culture are exceptional in comparison with other advanced industrial democracies. In a sense this is true of all societies and cultures, but supporters of this view suggest that there are several features peculiar to US politics and society that distinguish the country from other Western democracies. It was the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville, who first wrote of ‘American exceptionalism’, back in 1835. He saw the United States as ‘a society uniquely different from the more traditional societies and status-bound nations of the Old World’. It was ‘qualitively different in its organising principles and political and religious institutions from . . . other western societies’, some of its distinguishing features being a relatively high level of social egalitarianism and social mobility, enthusiasm for religion, love of country, and ethnic and racial diversity." Watts, Duncan: Understanding US/UK Government and Politics. A Comparative Guide. Manchester University Press, Manchester, New York, 2003.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

American exceptionalism
"The idea that the United States has a unique, relatively homogeneous society and culture, based upon ideas of liberty, individualism and populism. Scholars and politicians alike have used this notion of exceptionalism to explain various aspects of American history: the failure, for example, of this country to develop deeper social fault lines between the interests of capital and labour. This perceived exceptionalism has prompted many Americans to believe they have a superior culture to others around the world. Most Americans certainly consider the US to be a unique bastion of freedom, while many contend the values of this exceptionalism should be exported abroad." Thomson, Alex: A Glossary of US Politics and Government. Edinburgh University Press Ltd, Edinburgh, 2007.

"In his belief that America’s historical development fulfilled a divine purpose and his belief that the Revolution represented a turning point in human history, Bancroft articulated two of the central assumptions of American exceptionalism. The Revolution was, for Bancroft, a turning point because it had brought about the realization of America’s destiny to advance the cause of liberty. Structuring his analysis around the development of liberty in America, Bancroft dated this development back to the Reformation and began his history with the colonial era. Bancroft emphasized the role of the New England Puritans in developing and transplanting the principles of democracy and liberty to America, for, as he put it, Puritanism was “religion struggling for the People”.
This account of the origins of liberty served political and social purposes. An ardent Jacksonian, Bancroft gave historical legitimacy to the democratic principles he espoused by tracing their roots in the past. Bancroft’s emphasis on the Puritan contribution to democracy reflected his own sectional loyalties: by locating the roots of democracy in New England, Bancroft asserted the primacy of his own region in American development and defined the nation in terms of New England. At the same time Bancroft’s history also served nationalist purposes. Recognizing that Puritanism was just one of the many strands that contributed to American independence, Bancroft gave credit to victims of Puritan persecution, like Roger Williams, and to William Penn and the settlers of Virginia for instituting the principles of liberty in their respective regions. Bancroft thus sought to instill national unity by giving each section a role in the advance of democracy. The other major theme of Bancroft’s history was the development of union in America.
With the Revolution, Bancroft believed, America had embarked on a process of continual progress. While the principles of the Revolution did not require a dramatic change in the nation’s social or political system, the vitality of the principles themselves made them a source of continual renovation and reform for Bancroft. In his belief that the nation could remain indefinitely in a state of revolution without undergoing fundamental change, Bancroft summed up the exceptionalist vision of America as a nation that was exempt from the normal processes of historical change and decay. In this vision, by virtue of its closeness to nature, the United States could remain in a state of perpetual innocence and simplicity, untouched by the social forces that had corrupted the Old World."Gabler-Hover, Janet & Sattelmeyer, Robert (eds.): American History through Literature (1820-1870). Thomson Gale, Detroit, New York, 2006.

"The story of Protestantism in nineteenth-century America begins with events that unfolded three centuries earlier. The first recorded use of the term “Protestant” in English dates to 1539, when it was applied specifically to those German princes and their subjects who protested the Roman Catholic Church’s efforts to silence Martin Luther and bring an end to the Reformation. Initially, the word “Protestant” applied only to Lutherans in Germany, whereas the Swiss and French followers of John Calvin called themselves “Reformed.” By the early seventeenth century, however, the term had come to be applied to all Western Christians who repudiated papal authority and Catholic doctrine. For a complex set of reasons, it was to be Protestants who undertook the colonization of North America in earnest, as Dutch Calvinists settled along the Hudson River, Anglicans moved to the mid-Atlantic coast, and Puritans followed two decades later to Massachusetts Bay. The Massachusetts Bay Colony would have an enduring significance out of all proportion to its initial size and stature. Many of the most dynamic Protestant influences in American life stemmed from the belief system and cultural practices of this group of several hundred settlers. Long after most Americans had let go of the bracing theology of the Puritans, they continued to embrace a form of the Puritan vision of American destiny. The first governor of the Massachusetts colony, John Winthrop (1588–1649), famously outlined that vision in a sermon written before or during the 1630 voyage that brought his group to the New World. Winthrop titled his sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” and in it elaborated the covenantal understanding at the heart of Puritan theology. For these Calvinists, the covenant was a legal agreement between God and his chosen people: “We have entered into Covenant with Him for this Work, we have taken out a Commission, the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own Articles.” If the Puritan colonists kept the terms of the covenant, God would make them “a praise and glory,” and all other plantations in the New World would declare, “Make [us] like that of New England.” This small band of emigrants at the edge of the known world would become “a City upon a Hill,” with “the eyes of all people” upon them. By settling in New England, these Protestants would not be pursuing their own destiny, but, as God’s representatives, they would be carving out of the wilderness the kingdom of God. Although it was only one among the many voices clamoring to be heard in the colonies, Puritanism would come to direct the cultural conversation of America in a number of surprising ways. Early on, for example, it developed an interpretive discipline that involved an exceptionally close reading of personal experience and natural phenomena, as these Protestants scoured their souls and searched their world for signs of God’s coming kingdom. Even when Puritanism eventually fell out of favor, the interpretive habits it had inspired continued to thrive in new and different forms, whether in the prose of Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) or the poetry of Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) and Robert Frost, in the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864), Herman Melville (1819–1891), and William Faulkner, or in the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century essays of Barry Lopez and Wendell Berry. Over several centuries, the Puritan practice of closely reading nature and experience consistently demonstrated a remarkable tenacity. Like other elements of the Puritan vision, it was compelling enough in its content and flexible enough in its form to adapt to changing cultural tastes. Later scholars, however, intensely debated the nature and extent of that Puritan cultural influence. Some argued that the claims made on behalf of Puritanism by Perry Miller, Sacvan Bercovitch, and others obscured the vital contributions of other religious traditions to American literature and culture. At the same time, other observers questioned the very notion of American exceptionalism that lies behind the argument of Protestant influence. Spanish Catholics were here long before the English arrived, this line of reasoning goes, and native peoples lived on the land for thousands of years before the first European settlers set foot on North American soil. Since Roman Catholics and Anabaptists, freethinkers and tribal worshippers all played crucial roles in American religious history, on what grounds do we
single out the efforts of a small band of Protestants from northwestern Europe?
     In the end, such questions can be answered only by carefully charting influence in the many instances where it can be traced. As a case in point, seventeenth century New England churches stressed individual experience in a manner that was to shape the larger culture profoundly. The Puritans conceived of the church as a gathering of freely consenting individuals. They made it a requirement that to become a member of the church, each man and woman had to undergo a harrowing conversion, which involved turning away from sin and breaking with the past. If you were a Puritan, in other words, you could not receive your faith from your parents but had to achieve it on your own. Whereas for centuries birth had determined membership in the Roman Catholic Church and many early Protestant denominations, in New England conversion and consent were required before a church could be called into being.
The Puritan practice of establishing “gathered churches” led to the creation of what the sociologist Robert Bellah, the philosopher Charles Taylor, and others have called an American cultural tradition of “leaving home.” Like their Puritan ancestors struggling to establish their own distinct relationship with God, countless later Americans would take it as a given that they had to make their own way in the world, free of the determining influence of parents and past. Thus we find established in American culture a paradoxical tradition of leaving tradition behind, or, to put it another way, our social expectation is for individuals to grow and prosper without paying heed to social expectations. In America, Jews and Christians, Muslims and pagans all adopt this tradition of abandoning tradition, and had it not been for the seeds sown by the early Protestant settlers, it is hard to imagine that such a tradition would have taken root so deeply in the soil of American culture."Gabler-Hover, Janet & Sattelmeyer, Robert (eds.): American History through Literature (1820-1870). Thomson Gale, Detroit, New York, 2006.

"The influence of American Puritanism is pervasive in the literature of the nineteenth century. The uniquely American Puritan vision of the seventeenth century arose from the English Puritanism that engendered it. Indeed many first-generation American Puritans, such as John Cotton (1584–1652) and John Winthrop (1588–1649), were emigrants from England who sought religious freedom in the New World. First-, second-, and third-generation American Puritans developed and refined a special vision of Calvinist theology that has continued to influence American self-definition into the present. When Ronald Reagan argued in his 1980 presidential campaign that the United States had lost much of its former glory and should return to its position of past leadership in the world, he quoted John Winthrop’s sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” (1630), delivered 350 years earlier during the sea voyage that ended in establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony:
He shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall
say of succeeding plantations: “The Lord make it
like that of New England.” For we must consider
that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all
people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely
with our God in this work we have under-taken,
and so cause Him to withdraw His present help
from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word
through the world: we shall open the mouths of
enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all
professors for God’s sake; we shall shame the faces
of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their
prayers to be turned into curses upon us, till we be
consumed out of the good land whither we are going.
This declaration succinctly articulates what has come to be known as American exceptionalism. At the root of American society and culture lie a vision of uniqueness and a sense of mission. In the introduction to her American Exceptionalism, Deborah L. Madsen states,

Nearly one hundred thousand Puritan
immigrants living in America by 1700

Exceptionalism describes the perception of Massachusetts Bay colonists that as Puritans they were charged with a special spiritual and political destiny: to create in the New World a church and a society that would provide the model for all the nations of Europe as they struggled to reform themselves (a redeemer nation). . . . Thus America and Americans are special, exceptional, because they are charged with saving the world from itself and, at the same time, America and Americans must sustain a high level of spiritual, political and moral commitment to this exceptional destiny— America must be as “a city upon a hill” exposed to the eyes of the world.
This Puritan notion of election, divine sanction, and high purpose has pervaded American identity, politics, and culture ever since, although it has evolved over several centuries from a specifically religious vision into a much more secular one: rather than exemplifying a pure church America’s mission became exemplifying a free, egalitarian, democratic society."Gabler-Hover, Janet & Sattelmeyer, Robert (eds.): American History through Literature (1820-1870). Thomson Gale, Detroit, New York, 2006.

"Another prominent nineteenth-century American theme closely associated with the “city upon a hill” and American exceptionalism is the idea of Manifest Destiny. In 1845 a journalist named John O’Sullivan (1813–1895) first used the term in an editorial for the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, in which he advocates the annexation of Texas, declaring that it is America’s “manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions”. It has been an important by-word of American development and progress ever since. Manifest Destiny was easy to understand as God’s divine intention for America to expand westward, sanctioning the removal of Indians from their lands and the war with Mexico that resulted in America’s acquisition of Texas and much of what is now New Mexico and southern California. The ideology of Manifest Destiny inherited by nineteenth-century writers from the canonical literature of the preceding centuries, captured the imagination of Americans as their frontiers expanded westward, from the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804–1806 to the linking of east and west in the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was only one of many American writers who embraced the idea of divine progress in the expansion of the United States." Gabler-Hover, Janet & Sattelmeyer, Robert (eds.): American History through Literature (1820-1870). Thomson Gale, Detroit, New York, 2006.
John Gast: American Progress

Sociology of Education
"The highly selective review of empirical studies that follows focuses on the two key questions in contemporary American sociology of education: (1) How is education involved in the distribution of life chances? (2) How are family status and school characteristics connected to educational attainment and/or academic achievement? With few exceptions, analyses of education in other countries are not considered. The field is dominated by American research, and American sociologists have engaged in relatively little comparative research. Baker (1994) speculates that this lack of a comparative research tradition in the United States reflects both a belief in American ‘‘exceptionalism’’ (for instance, an extreme emphasis on mass access) and a strong focus on micro-level issues that do not necessarily call for comparative research designs." Borgatta, Edgar F. &  Montgomery, Rhonda J. V. (eds.):  Encyclopedia of Sociology (2nd ed.) Vol.5. Macmillan Reference USA, New York.

Doing the History of United States
"To study U.S. foreign relations is not to assume that the United States has been responsible for every change or problem in the world, that U.S. power is unlimited, or that weaker nations do not possess countervailing power. We need to be aware of the reception issue – how influences from the United States have been received and often altered by recipient nations or groups. Foreign relations history has come a long way since the days of the “nationalist” school of Samuel Flagg Bemis, whose 1961 presidential address to the American Historical Association assumed that the United States was exceptional, for the growth of the American empire extended the “blessings of liberty.” According to Bemis, whites migrated through an “empty continent,” a metaphor that masked the harsh removal of American Indians and the expansion of African American slavery. Although written history has become more inclusive, the grand narrative of American exceptionalism still prevails in public discussions of the past and, more subtly, in some historical scholarship. A grand or master narrative is a foundational story, widely told and retold, that shapes the overall framework in which most history is written and remembered, and that makes only some evidence (in Bemis’s formulation, the liberty of white males) seem relevant. The grand narrative of American exceptionalism assumes, first, that the “rise” of the United States to global power resulted from preeminence descending upon “America,” a divinely favored nation with unique freedoms. Like a Horatio Alger tale,  American exceptionalism is a rags-to-riches story that focuses on the luck and pluck and not on the stealing and killing entailed in becoming a continental and then a global empire. According to this compelling arrative, the United States, despite some mistakes, generally uses its power for benign purposes, a belief that has made it easier to cover up some foreign policy scandals. Another premise is that most people in the world appreciate, or should appreciate, U.S. beneficence. Related assumptions are that U.S.-style capitalism multiplies wealth and opportunity for nearly all; that human progress and happiness are best measured by such wealth and opportunity; that U.S.-style democracy enables the best “man” to be elected, as Woodrow Wilson put it; that U.S. influence is directed toward global peace, prosperity, and democracy; and finally, that the triumph over communism and ascendancy of global markets might mean the “end of history.”
      This grand narrative is told and retold in schools, in most of the media, in churches, and by public authorities. Like a myth, the story of American exceptionalism does have partial validity. The key point, however, is that because this narrative is so satisfying to many people, and because this narrative is retold by such powerful institutions, that partial validity often becomes accepted as the whole story. A master of persuasive narrative, the commentator and novelist Joan Didion acknowledges that constructing narratives requires many “tacit agreements, small and large, to overlook the observable in the interests of obtaining a dramatic story line.” U.S. grand narratives have relied on similar “tacit agreements” to secure dramatic, self-congratulatory story lines. The historian Michael Adas notes that American exceptionalism is not only “more comprehensive and extreme than its counterparts elsewhere,” but it “has also proven a good deal more impervious than most other national variants of divinely inspired mission to the unsettling excesses of human folly and cruelty that have abounded in the twentieth century.” Too few foreign policy makers have followed John Quincy Adams, who balanced his commitment to that “divinely inspired mission” with his understanding that going “abroad, in search of monsters to destroy” would endanger the nation’s freedoms. Instead, many leaders have won at least initial domestic support by couching foreign intervention in terms of the grand narrative. Most foreign conflicts have largely been remembered and recorded in ways that embellish the story. Although cynicism, dissent, criticism, and revisionism have persisted among the general public, counter narratives have generally remained as fragments or as conspiracy myths.
       Inconsistencies in the story, such as the dictatorship and poverty in Guatemala following the U.S. intervention in 1954, or the economic breakdown in Russia following the “shock therapy” of U.S. private and governmental advisers after 1991, have largely been ignored, or explained as necessary or inevitable “transitions” by most U.S. observers. Although triumphalists have argued that the supposed U.S. “victory” in the ColdWar affirmed the grand narrative, other scholars have countered that the Cold War ended because of largely autonomous changes in the Soviet Union. Historians who have analyzed specific aspects of U.S. relations with, say, Guatemala or Russia, have pointed to the holes in the master story." Costigliola, Frank & Paterson Thomas G.: "Defining and Doing the History of United States" in Paterson Thomas G. & Hogan, Michael J. Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press, New York, 2004.

"Internationally, the renewed influence of religious actors coincided with a growing willingness of U.S. foreign policy elites, mainly secular in orientation, to privilege force over diplomacy and unilateral over multilateral action—a trend most evident in Washington’s declaration in September 2001 of the War on Terror and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It would be a mistake to reduce the influence of religion in U.S. foreign policy to the G. W. Bush presidency and its immediate predecessors. The historical roots of that influence go far deeper. An expansive scholarly literature explores the origins and manifestations of a deep strain of religious messianism that runs through the master narrative of America’s claims of exceptionalism as a nation-state. From the founding myth of Puritan settlement of the New World as a struggle for religious freedom, to the articulation of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny as a rationale for America’s westward territorial expansion, to Wilsonian internationalism as a public service creed, and the definition of the cold war as a battle with atheistic communism, religion and a religious political culture have been a constant element in “the longstanding U.S. view of itself as morally superior, and therefore exceptional vis-à-vis other powers.” Prodromou, Elizabeth H.: "U.S. Foreign Policy and Global Religious Pluralism" in Banchoff, Thomas (ed.):  Religious Pluralism, Globalization, and World Politics. Oxford University Press. Oxford, New York, 2008.

EU in comparison to USA
"The Presbyterian tradition of America as “God’s chosen country” gives Americans great moral assurance. Their self-image of a “city upon the hill” provides a yardstick with which they measure other actors and distinguish between good and evil forces. In recent years religious fundamentalism has further gained in strength, especially among the conservative right. While in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan stigmatized the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” that belonged on the “ash heap of history,” President Bush has associated Iran, Iraq, and North Korea with an “axis of evil” that needs to be eradicated. From this belief springs the conviction that, if freedom and democracy were brought to the lands of darkness, their people would embrace these values enthusiastically, defeating radicalism and terrorism. The Bush administration’s interventions have been characterized as a mixture of “Wilsonianism and power,” or, in Pierre Hassner’s words, as “Wilsonianism in boots.” The rhetoric of freedom is more than a cloak for self-interest, and disappointment in Iraq has been a setback but no ground yet for changing America’s moral course. In contrast, European societies have become widely secularized though religious beliefs still influence individual behavior. The European project can be seen as a secular humanist application of the Enlightenment. Memories of two world wars and the holocaust, though, prevent most Europeans from entertaining as Manichean views as spring from American exceptionalism."Haftendorn, Helga: "EU–US Cooperation on Non-European Issues",  in Lundestad, Geir (ed.):  Just Another Major Crisis? The United States and Europe since 2000. Oxford University Press, New York, 2008

"The US public, socialized within a strong national narrative of American exceptionalism, responds to missionary concepts of global transformation. European publics, in contrast, are preoccupied with different national constraints and traditions. There is no comparable European narrative, no foundation for an instinctive European vision of global order and international role, no more than there is a European federation to balance the United States. It is part of the myth of American exceptionalism that people of reason and goodwill in other countries should share America’s view of the world.
Wallace, William: "Leadership or Partnership?" in Lundestad, Geir (ed.):  Just Another Major Crisis? The United States and Europe since 2000. Oxford University Press, New York, 2008

2. Some Recent Video and Audio Contributions

  • Senator Sam Brownback speaks about American Exceptionalism

  • Unknown Panelist

"I would define American exceptionalism as a belief in American uniqueness and American chosenness: that whether we are chosen by God or chosen by providence that - we collectively - have a special mission to the world and in crudest terms the mission is to remake the world in our own image based on the conviction that American principles are universal principles."

  • Howard Zinn: Lecture on "The Myth of American Exceptionalism"

March 14, 2005, Running Time: 1:32:02
"sometimes [...] if you criticize the United States of America [...] you're met witht the exhortation "So why don't you go somewhere else?". [...] A friend of mine who is a comedian [...] and in his serious comedy he would very often be critical of certain things that the United States had done in the world. And if people would say "so why don't you move somewhere else", he would say "I don't wanna move somewhere else because I don't wanna become the victim of American Foreign policy"." (Howard Zinn)

  • David Rieff: The Death of American Exceptionalism

"In such a situation [economy] the United States cannot exert the kind of hegemony that made the idea of American exceptionalism possible. Because the idea of American Exceptionalism and the idea of American hegemony go hand in hand.Maybe not at the beginning of the republic - you know, the shing city on the hill and all that - but in the induration that American Exceptionalism has had, certainly in the eighteen-nineties, since this creation of this informal American empire in the Philippines and in Cuba and elsewhere."

  • American Exceptionalism Vs. European Socialism (radio interview, 5 parts, religious)

Dennis Prager: "You have the best description of what I call the "soullessness" Of Europe.
Charles Murray (senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute): I'm afraid that what happens is that the European system takes too much the life out of life. And by that I mean - as far as I can tell - there is among Europe's young people a spreading mentality which goes like this: human beings are collections of chemicals ... and they're activated and then, for a period of time, they're deactivated. And, the purpose of life is to while away the time as pleasently as possible between activation and deactivation. [...] Here's what bothers me about Europe: it is the most secular civilization in world history. No other civilization has tried to survive as a secular civilization the way they're trying to do ... and I don't think they can do it."

  • Newt Gingrich Explains American Exceptionalism

"Despite the fact that our current president has managed to avoid explaining - at least on four occasions - that we're endowed by our creator -  that fact is what makes American Exceptionalism different is that we are the only people I know of in history who say "power comes directly from God to each one of you". You are personally a sovereign, so you are always a citizen and you're never a subject."

  • What Is American Exceptionalism?

President Obama: "I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British
exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
Newt Gingrich: "President Obama's explanation of American exceptionalism is truly alarming. President Obama did not understand the question and did not have any idea of what American exceptionalism is."

Here's the full quote of the President's viewpoint:
"I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I'm enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don't think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we've got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we're not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone."

  • Btw, Newt Gingrich: go here, or watch A City Upon A Hill: The Spirit Of American Exceptionalism - Official Trailer

  • Russia Today CrossTalk: American Exceptionalism

  • And finally, a contribution of the more refreshing style by this young American lady "cateematthews", playing the anti-hegemonic card, surely not the worst:

"A think a world without hegemony, without superpowers would be a fine one to live in and I often look forward to it. But every country more that's exceptional, every country that is developing and producing and evolving is one more for a struggling world."


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