Obama’s Peace Prize an end to “American Exceptionalism”

I cannot let this Wall Street Journal editorial on Obama’s Peace Prize pass without comment. Here are the key paragraphs for your perusal and analysis where the Journal laments the end of American exceptionalism:

The Europeans are applauding that at long last there is an American President willing to let himself and his country mingle as equals with this amorphous global “majority.”

Mr. Obama sees the U.S. differently, as weaker than it was and the rest of the planet as stronger, and so he calls for a humbler America, at best a first among equals, working primarily through the U.N. The world’s challenges, he emphasized yesterday, “can’t be met by any one leader or any one nation.” What this suggests to us—and to the Norwegians—is the end of what has been called “American exceptionalism.” This is the view that U.S. values have universal application and should be promoted without apology, and defended with military force when necessary.

Heaven forbid if The U.S. might “mingle as equal with an amorphous global “majority”. Let’s say it straight out — the concept of “American exceptionalism” being promulgated here is little better than racism. It promotes the idea that one group (in this case America), for whatever reason, comes to believe that it is better than others. This “better” group has the right to apply its values as it sees fit and to use force to implement said values.

Lately, I’m not even sure what those values are anymore….

I am going to bite my tongue at this point and let a great crusading journalist, the American Martha Gellhorn, speak for me here on the historical upshot of this belief in exceptionalism. This extract is taken from her 1989 book A View from the Ground:

American, the giant power, blindfolded by the fear neurosis, staggers all over the globe, meddling, not necessarily with success or in its own interests. No real enemy can damage America as badly as it damages itelf….  How I long for someone in public life with the moral and mental stature to free America of the fear neurosis.

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6 Responses

  1. Check out the President’s reaction when he learned that he had won the Nobel Prize.

    Best Regards

  2. That Gelhorn quote captures perfectly the essence of our foreign policy back in the 80s. Had we not meddled in Afghanistan and armed the mujahideen, al-Qaeda may not have ever formed, we might not have been attacked on 9/11, and we wouldn’t be stuck in the quagmire in Afghanistan right now.

    We also armed Iran and Iraq during the 80s, as well as the Nicaraguan contras.

  3. I think it’s called “Manifest Destiny” and is a policy that was signed off on in the 50’s but I may be wrong, especially about the years
    Anyway you can’t go far wrong with Gellhorn. No Gellhorn, no Pilger et al. The Grand Dame of journalism, and I’m sure would be proud to be called dame.

  4. Thought maybe this would add something to the debate. Resurrecting the American Civil Religion


    • Spell it out Tim — i had to go to your website to find out what you might add to the debate. Here’s an excerpt I particularly liked from your admirable policy of glasnost:

      “I believe in the glory of the United States and I feel sorry for those who think this nation must apologize for its place in the global community. I think this nation is truly a “City upon a Hill” and I think that all Americans should carry pride in their hearts and responsibility in their souls to spread the American message to every citizen of this world because such a cause is just and desirable.”

      It sounds like its straight out of the George HW Bush playbook. What you still have to learn, however, is a little humility. Even a shining “City on the Hill” screws up from time to time and refusal to acknowledge these mistakes is blind patriotism of the worst kind.

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