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April 23, 2020

Comments

Me, I have always believed that America was exceptional. Not in the ways generally ascribed by those who basically use it as an excuse for inflicted horrors or failures. It was the aspirational part of of evolving towards a more perfect union and its admittedly stutter step welcoming of those who would join the body politic. I wouldn’t say yet that these beliefs have died. They haven’t.
Other conceptions of American exceptionalism on the other hand are deader than a door nail and have been since Trump was elected. No one, for example, uses the phrase Leader of the Free World in reference to Trump unless their intention is to provoke gales of laughter. No nation on earth does not consider their nationalist interests as a primary goal of policy and politics. For the most part though, in the post war era, American policy was enlightened by the recognition that other countries had their own interests and that mutual interests required considerable compromise to produce mutually desired outcomes. Failures notwithstanding it made for a stable world order and a better world.

The difference now? Consider the word ‘only’. It is simple yet subtle word. Adjective, adverb or conjunction, it basically describes America under Trump. Only American interests matter now, and short term interests at that. The trailer park boys rule the day. No one trusts American alliances or intentions anymore except idiots and maybe a few dictators of the oilier
variety. Much of the damage done is undoable. But some will be repairable, starting at home. That will be quite easy to accomplish I think. Just go back to the era before Trump and in time the world will go back to trusting American leadership. In a decade or two.

That particular photo always disturbs me more than any other of this trashy man. The look on his face, the way he's hugging the flag like it's a prop - no he's fondling it. Molesting it. It's just so sleazy. That's the President of the United States. No other would have dreamed of doing that. I want to throw up on him.

It’s like that flag was an underage beauty pageant contestant in one of the pageant changing rooms that Trump used to tour.

"That America's postwar stature engulfed the notion of exceptionalism is incontrovertible".

Oh no it's not! America's *self-styled* "exceptionalism" is no more exceptional than, say, Greenland's 'exceptionalism', or Tahiti's, or Switzerland's. America is America, warts and all, and believing your own, dare I say, 'trumpety-trump' propaganda is silly. Of course, you are an enormously powerful nation but even a passing knowledge of history will inform you that nothing is forever. We Brits once had a world-wide empire, so did Rome in a much smaller world view but empires come and, with regular, unstoppable motion, they go!

Your test is yet to begin and I hope, fervently, that you pass because the thought of Chinese 'exceptionalism' is vomit-inducing!

I suppose you could,alternatively, learn German or French. But I am not holding out much hope.

I would make some small distinction between American power and that of the British Empire. The Americans after 1848 never really made a habit of conquering other people’s countries and ripping off their natural resources, human and otherwise. While telling them it was for their own good. An important distinction I think.

Yes! Like that.

I wish it could scream out "#metoo!"

Thank you. Also, after becoming a super power, we not only didn't power grab from other countries, but we've been very generous to most every country. We rarely get thanked for it. But I'm glad we have been that way. We're a generous people. As an American I'm very glad of that. And contrary to the opinion up above, we are exceptional. When you consider the age of our country in contrast to others, we've accomplished a great deal, sometimes amazing things. I'm proud of that.

The British Empire took the natural resources from many countries so that America didn't have to. You were spawned from that empire, make no mistake about that. More recent wars have had no guiding principles either, unless the protection of oil supplies count as a moral approach. Iraq was a debacle.

"The Americans after 1848 never really made a habit of conquering other people’s countries and ripping off their natural resources, human and otherwise."

Mostly, I suppose, because being a 'yuuuuuuuuuuge' continent they didn't need to!

Also, of course, America had the early, er, 'benefits' of nearly a century of slave labour to assist your economic growth! It is, of course, an *enormous* credit to your country that eventually you revoked slavery.

America, in my view, is a giant of a country; one beset, like nations everywhere, with enormous fault-lines but blessed with an under-lying foundation of benevolence, mainly due, in my humble opinion, to the genius of your Constitution and the exceedingly wise men who who drew it up - many of whom, I am proud to say, were of British stock!

You should be.

Oh, izzat so. If Britain never had slavery then why did they have to outlaw it? Where, I ask, did all those Black Jamaicans come from? Your knowledge of history seems a bit skimpy.

Interesting perspective. That century of slavery that David mentions? Britain ended slavery in 1833, prior to that they had slavery for a long time before America even existed. The cotton mills of Britain were fed by American slavery, not the other way around. It was touch and go during the American civil war as to which side Britain would back. The Confederates certainly hoped for British recognition. I am curious as to what natural resources you think Britain hauled off from their colonies to benefit America. If you ask the locals about Britain’s policies during the time of the Empire they will be happy to give you an earful.

Normally I do not bother replying directly to you but your response to me reached even lower levels of imbecility than is your norm!

Please point out from comment above where, exactly, I stated or even implied, that "Britain never had slavery"?

Your knowledge of history is vast, mainly because you appear to make it up as you go along! Britain abolished slavery in 1833. America finally got around to it in 1865.

Actually, of course, the dates do not matter that much, what does matter is that, in the end, both countries did the decent thing. There is more that binds us than divides us - despite your childish, Canadian snarks!

"The Americans after 1848 never really made a habit of conquering other people’s countries and ripping off their natural resources, human and otherwise." Um, no. For starters, in the Philippines after we conquered per the Spanish-American war, 1898, paid an enormous price in civilian slaughter, at least one million dead.

The estimated number of civilians around the world, killed by the U.S., after World War II, is approximately 10 million; Nixon/Kissinger probably account for no fewer than 4 million dead; perhaps more. As a small aside, how did Gulf+Western manage to acquire 9% of all the arable land in the Dominican Republic, after the American invasion under LBJ in '65? What happened to all those union leaders there after this? Where could they have all gone?

Going back farther, prior to 1848, there was of course this indigenous peoples genocide. A couple million? The human cost of slave trade of Africans to the U.S. across the Atlantic Ocean is estimated at 5.1 million dead. The cost to Black America ever since they set foot on this continent, to this very day.

This is merely scratching the surface. "The United States is not a country to which peace is a necessity." - Grover Cleveland

Each empire builds and takes from the last one. That is why, if the British are to carry the guilt of their ancestors then so should America. The people who arrived on American shores and created the brave new world were Europeans. Many Americans are their descendants.

A lot of Americans feel as Freesia does...that you're very generous and barely get thanked. Sorry Freesia, it is true that the Marshall Plan was a life saver for the beneficiaries after the war that allowed European economies to rebuild but it was also a great power building exercise for the USA. and your strategic interests were served by it. Your assertion that the USA never made a grab for power is wrong.

Today China is hugely benevolent with its Silk Road initiative whereby out of the kindness of their hearts they're pouring money into impoverished countries and demanding thanks, influence, and a port here and there. They're insisting that public praise be heaped upon them for providing medical equipment that is needed due to a virus that originated there (Trump is right about that) and they're calling out racism in western countries whilst keeping millions in camps and stopping foreign black workers (small fry) from eating in McDonalds. The irony is delicious. They work hard, control their people, punish transgressors, take over foreign companies, provide cheap labour in return for intellectual property until they can do it all without help and for a lot less money. Which is why they're destined to be in charge very soon. The next empire is being born.

And the USA, for now the world's only super power, is letting this happen. Because you don't care about anyone else. It's America first. Probably not for much longer. Of course the decline is being hastened by a half-witted President who advocated for his own people to try an injection of Dettol in order to combat a deadly virus. It's high-tech stuff.

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