American exceptionalism is an old idea. It was written about by the famous Frenchman Alexis de Toqueville, who traveled our country in the 1830s, by Abe Lincoln who looked upon Americans as the chosen people, and to Ronald Reagan who talked about America as a shining city on a hill. It is true that we are unique as a nation. Unlike other great powers in history, we do not hunger for empire. We are the only great power who, upon arriving in a foreign country, asks the question, "what's our exit strategy?" Certainly the colonial powers never asked that question.
We are not sure that our President shares this vision about the United States. When asked about American exceptionalism, Barack Obama replied: "Yes, there's American exceptionalism, but I suspect the Brits also believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks in Greek exceptionalism." Well, if everybody is exceptional, then nobody is.
President Obama went around the world criticizing our country in a way that no American President has ever done. He was on an apology tour. He apologized for our actions in Iran, in Guantanamo, in Iran, for our relations with Europe, and for our alleged lack of respect for the Muslin world. In addition to denigrating American exceptionalism and his apologies, President Obama implied an equivalence between our country and some really nasty dictatorships. He seems to want a world in which there is no dominate power. He paid respect to the United Nations Human Rights Council, even though Libya holds a seat on that council. He seems to want a world that is run by international consensus.
Most Americans believe that our country is truly exceptional, and we wish our President shared our view.
Listen to the radio commentary here: