Tag Archives: American exceptionalism

American Empire

Andrew Sullivan collects commentators on American imperialism, such as it is, while Salon wonders why we can’t call a spade a spade. My own take is, it’s entirely proper to consider America an empire, in the sense that empires still exist in the modern world. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We […]

“At Least We’re Not India!”

The right’s solution to income inequality and poverty, apparently. W[h]ither American exceptionalism? Curious how the side of the aisle most invested in screaming about our perfect, blameless, unimpeachable city-on-a-hill is also the one least willing to do the hard work to preserve (or rebuild) that status.

The American Concept in Libya

A few months back, The New Yorker attempted to set out a synthesis explaining the President’s foreign policy strategy, as applied to Libya, the “Arab Spring,” and beyond. They concluded that the administration was attempting to “lead from behind” — which David Remnick corrects to “leading from behind the scenes” — by pushing for American […]

The American Justice System Works

Arguments in favor of torture must assume, as a necessary condition, that the American justice system for whatever reason doesn’t work on Islamic terrorists. ProPublica flags another instance of the assumption breaking down: confessed terrorist David Coleman Headley not only supplied information on new terrorist plots, but went undercover to help the United States catch […]

President Obama’s Origin Story, and the Power of the Personal Narrative

When John McCain’s presidential campaign released the “Celebrity” ad — which attempted to equate candidate Obama with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, by dint of nothing more than the Senator’s popularity — we knew that the rational, bipartisan John McCain, the one who truly would put “country first” and in some part deserved the presidency, was […]

Answering American Exceptionalism

Richard Cohen takes a crack, arguing that the right erroneously suffuses the phrase with religiosity, creating a dangerous situation where we view all our acts as justified, because God’s on our side. To him, the American right, led by the likes of Palin and Gingrich, wields exceptionalism like a shield against error, in the process […]

The Price and Command of Exceptionalism

At issue in debates over our conduct with foreign nations, and our commitment to the rule of law despite the war on terror, is the critical question of whether “American exceptionalism,” a term the right wields like a sword to argue that our chief executive shortchanges our future everytime he so much as speaks with […]

Cause and Effect in Cultural Integration

A horror story out of England, describing children, in Saudi-backed schools, being asked to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, will shock anyone with a basic amount of decency. But it will also likely draw the ire of cultural conservatives here, eager to flag this as an example of the failures of multiculturalism. This would […]

Credible Threats

What is the nature of the war on terror? A police action on a massive scale, or a global war? A counterinsurgency writ large, or a retaliatory invasion? None of these labels fit comfortably, but the American right, at least thus far, seems to have settled on one dominant narrative. Beecause it furthers their domestic […]

Obama & American Exceptionalism, Continued

The New Republic does a fairly good job dissecting Bill Kristol’s last screed of 2009 — but I think they missed something. A regular in Kristol’s arsenal is the assertion that President Obama somehow betrays the notion that America occupies, and ought to occupy, a special place in the world: The American public seem to […]