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Is America Exceptional?

We’re the shining city on the hill and the last best hope of Earth. Or are we?

 

Is America responsible for leading the Earth’s way to worldwide liberty and democracy? Or are we following a path of decline already well-traveled by nations older and wiser than we?

How you answer those questions probably says a lot about your political beliefs.

Alexis de Tocqueville first called America “exceptional” in its pursuit of commercialism and practical matters versus “science, literature, and the arts” in 1831’s Democracy in America. Jay Lovestone, the Communist leader from the late 1920s, noted America’s resistance to Communist revolution because of our strong capitalist mindset and natural resources, which Joseph Stalin refuted as “the heresy of American exceptionalism”  — ironically, the first time the phrase was used.

Although the idea that America is unique among nations in its global responsibilities has been embraced by both sides of the aisle, President Barack Obama observed that while Americans believe they are exceptional, so did other once-dominant nations such as Britain and Greece; thus, the delicate unwinding of a nation’s hubris begun by its leader.

He isn’t totally wrong: America has a history of expansionism and hypocrisy to contend with, and it isn’t pretty. In the Philppines at the turn of the century, in World War II, in Vietnam, in Nicaragua, in Iraq and Afghanistan, American forces have killed civilians, sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. And we are neither better nor the more popular for it.

Once upon a time on the campaign trail, President Obama promised that hostility against America would ease on his first day in office. He set out on a worldwide near-apology tour where he promised enraptured crowds that, if elected, his administration would treat the world with more respect — provided they respected us in return.

Yet just this past week the world watched as a strong wave of anti-American sentiment spread quickly across the Middle East as well as Australia, Africa and Europe, resulting in the death of our Libyan ambassador and staff. Rumors persist that the Libyan government warned the administration about the attack in advance, although U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice stated that the protests resulted from an Internet video that disparaged the Islamic prophet Mohammed, apparently made by an American.

Unfortunately, it seems that our policy of appeasement has resulted in little more than violence and threats. It’s also resulted in visible frustration on the part of our closest Middle Eastern ally and friend in democracy, Israel. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested a meeting with Obama to discuss the worsening situation in Iran, which apparently is attempting to enrich uranium, a key ingredient in nuclear weaponry.

Obama denied the request. Who is on the calendar instead? None other than Muslim Brotherhood leader and newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, who supports amending Egypt’s Constitution so it more closely resembles the Koran and Sharia law.

Of course, Obama has plenty of time to make an appearance on David Letterman and attend a reelection fundraiser hosted by Jay-Z and Beyonce.

A point of fact: the Anti-Defamation League identifies the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as do many political observers. The Council on Foreign Relations referred to the Brotherhood as a stepping stone to membership in militant terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Hamas, and many dangerous terrorists are former Brotherhood members.

Although the U.S. State Department won’t classify the organization as a terrorist group, Obama won’t confirm that Egypt is a current U.S. ally, calling their relationship a “work in progress,” despite a decades-old treaty stating otherwise. And while it appears Morsi was elected fairly, foreign relations watchers can only purse their collective lips at what the Arab Spring will mean for Israel, and America.

Former Egyptian President (dictator) Hosni Mubarak at least stuck to the terms of the old peace treaty and kept a distance — albeit a cold one — from Israel. With the new leadership in place, and a potential alliance between the Brotherhood and Iran forming, one can only wonder how long that delicate peace will last.

Will our imperfect exceptionalism keep us shining on the hill? 

MAC September 20, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Yes, Lisa, but Obama has nearly destroyed that "Exceptionalism." He promised to "Transform America" and has failed at most every promise but that one, sadly. If given another term, he will so greatly diminish our nation into "decline" that we will not recognize our formerly great Nation!! I plead with Patch readers to read your excellent information here about the threats of Obama's friends, such as Muslim Brotherhood leader and newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi. It is simply appalling that Obama favors him and his own "Celebrity in Chief" appearances over attending PDBs (only having attended 43 % of them), meeting with our only middle eastern ally, Israel's Netanyahu, and our national security!!! Anyone who has been deceived about Obama and wants the Truth, and to know "why is President Obama hell-bent on seeing America fail?" could start by watching the movie "2016: Obama’s America" http://www.2016themovie.com/theaters/ Don't delay, though. It was playing at about 20 CT theaters, but maybe not much longer, as it started about a month ago.
MAC September 24, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, "America's Comeback Team," is our only hope for returning the U.S. to Prosperity, and restoring the American "Exceptionalism" that Obama has nearly destroyed. If you are not fully aware of the existential Muslim threat to our survival, please watch "The Project," a two-day documentary on this, on TheBlazetv.com (free 2 week memb. available) or on Dish Network channel 212, starting Wednesday. Obama's assessments of democracy coming out of middle eastern riots are as deluded as Woodrow Wilson's support of the Russian Revolution which brought Communist dictators into power! Obama apologizes to and courts favor with despots and dictators, as vividly illustrated when he caressed the knee of Medvedev while overheard telling him "I'll have more flexibility after the Election." The reply was "I'll transmit to Vladimir [Putin]." Those who want the Truth, and to know "why is President Obama hell-bent on seeing America fail?" should see the movie "2016: Obama’s America" http://www.2016themovie.com/theaters/ Don't delay, though. It was playing at about 20 CT theaters, down to a dozen now. If given a second term, Obama will completely destroy our democratic (representative) Republic and any semblance of the great and unique nation given to us by the Founders!
MAC September 27, 2012 at 12:31 AM
There is an ^^existential Muslim threat^^ to our survival, so please watch "The Project," a two-day documentary on http://www.theblaze.com/theproject/ or on Dish Network channel 212, starting tonight at 8 p.m. If you don't have DN, you can go to theblaze.com/tv and start your 14 day FREE trial of TheBlaze TV Plus. Then you can watch 'on-demand.' 

In 2001, an inconspicuous manifesto now known as “The Project” was recovered during a raid in Switzerland: A manifesto that turned out to be a Muslim roadmap for infiltrating and defeating the West. Today, files containing evidence from the largest terror financing trial in U.S. history, which include details about “The Project”, are being withheld by the Department of Justice. 

In an explosive two-part mini-series, TheBlaze documentary unit investigates how the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the American government and exposes how our nation’s safety is in jeopardy as a result of this dangerous government cover up. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/white-house-visitor-may-have-ties-to-the-project-a-muslim-roadmap-for-infiltrating-the-west/ As Paul Ryan said recently: "If we project weakness, they come" and if the nation is "strong" our enemies "will not test us." Obama's assessments of democracy coming out of middle eastern riots, and calling the murder/torture of Amb. Chris Stevens "a bump in the road" are deluded, misguided, unconscionable and DANGEROUS to Americans and our sovereignty!
Will Wilkin September 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Hi MAC, Have you considered that it is Muslims in the Middle East who would see an existential threat coming from the USA? For example: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/09/every-person-is-afraid-of-the-drones-the-strikes-effect-on-life-in-pakistan/262814/ EXCERPT: A new report published by the international law clinics at New York University and Stanford grapples with dead innocents. But it also highlights interviews with people living through the drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas. They are human reminders that America's drone campaign affects not only those hit by missiles, whether rightly or wrongly, but also innocents all around them. Our drones are attacking the community where they live. END EXCERPT http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/brave-new-war/ EXCERPT: Drones are “killing civilians in disputed but significant numbers in the Pakistani tribal borderlands, creating enemies and animosity wherever they strike, and turning us into a nation of 24/7 assassins beyond the law or accountability of any sort,” Engelhardt warns. “Thought of another way, the drones put wings on the original Bush-era Guantanamo principle—that Americans have the inalienable right to act as global judge, jury, and executioner, and when doing so are beyond the reach of any court of law.” END EXCERPT
Erich Bruhn September 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Lisa Bigelow: your use of WWII and Vietnam as examples of American " expansionism and hypocrisy" is truly shocking. First, we did not enter WWII untill after being attacked at Pearl Harbor, even though England, France, and other European countries were pleading with us to help and become involved. Second, we helped to rebuild Germany and much of Western Europe after the war. Remember the Marshal Plan? Third, we guided Japan into becoming a democracy and rebuilding their economy. As to Vietnam, we entered that war at the request of the then South Vietnam government Lastly, the only ground we still "occupy" in our former enemy's lands are the cemeteries for our dead. Had we not become involved and won, much of Europe might now be speaking German, and who knows what the Pacific area would be like. I just dont know what to make of your comment. Are you too young to remember? Were you brain washed in college? Are you a historical revisionist with an agenda? In any case, your use of these examples in this context is an insult to all who died and were injured in those wars! As to the film 2016, I believe it will be showing on the Fox channel THIS Sunday, the 9th, at 9PM

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