Obama finally hails American Exceptionalism

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After years of downplaying America’s supposed exceptionalism, Obama’s recent West Point speech finally confirmed once and for all where he stands in this who-gets-to-police-the-world creed.

From a belief in everyone else’s exceptionalism, last week’s West Point speech calls for Obama’s belief in “American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” He elaborated on what this means for the unsuspecting world: the US military has “the power to launch unilateral attacks when America’s interests are directly threatened.” Notice the subtle word changes: from the right to intervene when America’s “security” is directly threatened to “interests” directly threatened.

Indeed it is astonishing how American elections can mask the fundamental differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. It can be remembered Obama distinguished himself (and his party) from McCain’s and Bush-Cheney’s global conquest bidding when he famously decalred “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism” in a NATO summit in 2009.

At the time, this disbelief in a sole American exceptionalism and the enduring threat of isolationism ruffled some feathers, especially among conservatives, and was widely interpreted as vindication of Obama’s plan to retreat America from the world. This meant, first and foremost, rolling back the US war machine from overseas deployment, especially from the dreaded adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite Obama’s proposal to retreat from the Middle East, it can be recalled that during his first few years in office, he proposed and got Congress approval for an increase in the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan, famously known as the ‘surge’, lasting until 2012.

Now halfway into his second term, Obama is no longer a wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing; that the guessing game on what his intentions for America’s global military domination is finally over: American will remain the sole policeman of the world whether you (Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela) like it or not.

Another word change worth nothing includes the shift from “war on terror” of the Bush-Cheney years to “the capacity of terrorists to do harm” and from “coalition of the willing” to “mobilize allies and partners to take collective action.”

Obama’s term, marketed as a move away from Bush’s imperialist policies, have so far been defined by more violations of international law and by increases of some kind, including more eavesdropping (even of allied leaders), astronomical increase in the Pentagon budget, the refusal to close illegal overseas prisons, the hijacking of popular uprisings, and support for disputes against its perceived long-term enemies.

Obama ends his West Point speech in a reassuring note, just in case his audience elsewhere doubts his exceptionalist revelation: “the military that you have joined is and always be the backbone” of US “leadership.”

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Why American Exceptionalism Leads to Oppression

It is fashionable among the conservative elite to overplay, commend, and acquiesce America’s greatness. Their political correctness insists that America is ’embraced’ by people around the world who share their will to defend ‘freedom.’

In his book, A Nation Like No Other,   Newt Gingrich points out that the perceived decline of American primacy has its roots in downright unsound policies and bureaucracies back home. To him, even to deny America’s “Exceptionalism” is to run against the very principles to which the ‘Founders of Independence’ held on to in the past. He finds utter distaste in Obama’s belief that other nations, especially those who held power in the past, have the right to believe in their own exceptionalism. Indeed, Gingrich joins his fellow egotistical citizens who condemn Obama’s statement “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

His book presents the most insipid experience yet on American braggadocio; it offers a peak into how virtues are undermined by political agenda. Allow me to guide you to his unfortunate thoughts.

In the book, Gingrich expresses his derision of the concept of what he calls ‘Big Government.’ Quoting Professor John Wallis at the University of Maryland, Gingrich points out that the creation of “groups within the government…to the power profit, or protection they acquire by the favour of these persons, (are) but enemies to the constitution.” He concludes that “the biggest threat to civil society today is the growth of Big Government.”

Has he forgotten that the transfer of immense wealth to the ‘one percent’ was actually the brainchild of Ronald Reagan himself by enacting wanton deregulation? Is he even aware that it was during those times when the elite started dismantling the industries and relocated them offshore? It seems Gingrich is not aware that the 2008 recession was the cause of unsound republican policies and military posturing around the world. He seemed to forget that the strict regulation of the private sector was what’s needed to solve this unprecedented economic apocalypse.

If he is truly concerned with “people’s liberties and security through hard work”, then how come did he and his fellow Republicans allow labor and all that work be transferred overseas? To be responsible for the dismantling of factories and production ironically backfires against securing private property rights, which he hypocritically and deceivingly defended in his book.

He also maintains that “the Founders sought to diffuse governmental power so that no single person, group, or governing branch could accumulate enough to encroach on the people’s unalienable rights.” Then again, how come did he and his fellow Republicans ignore the voice of its people who argued against waging an ostracized war against Iraq? Didn’t George W. Bush went ahead and snubbed them in their faces? Indeed this ignoring traces its justification in his belief that “the Founders were adamantly opposed to direct democracy” which ironically goes against the same’s assertion that it “would fail to protect true liberty and would allow for the “tyranny of the majority.”” He further quotes John Adams: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

And yet he has the nerve to share that “subsequent presidents heeded Washington’s caution to prepare for war while seeking to avoid it…America showed the world that, though it did not seek war, it would defend itself from foreign attack.” But the opposite is what Gingrich prescribes his country to do. He encourages maintaining peace and safety which “is best maintained through a robust military capacity”. And here again, he goes on a hypocritical assertion that “America leads the world in spending on the military and on national security precisely to ensure that our wars are as rare and as swift as possible.” Do we need to mention America’s yearning to destroy another country accused of aspiring for nuclear parity with Israel? As such, it is undeniable that he and his fellow Republicans endorse, focus, and thrive on and heed to the economic juggernaut that is the military industrial complex run by their elites.

He also focuses on America’s flawed foreign policy in the 1970s when the US scaled down (at least the overt ones) on its military commitments and disengaged with its allies elsewhere, especially in Vietnam. He was deeply concerned with the policy of détente adopted during that time as well as with the signing of the second SALT II with the Soviet Union because “the treaty…erode(d) U.S. strategic advantages” and that Carter adopted “policies that accepted declining power in the interests of “peace.””

Gingrich eulogized Ronald Reagan’s policy of “peace through strength” where America once again started building up its military might in the 1980s. Reagan added that “we’re not a warlike people…We resort to force infrequently and with great reluctance.” He encouraged Americans to take sides and take action by warning to “label both sides equally at fault” and caution “to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

The former House Speaker also exaggerates what role, if any, the US has played in the dissolution of the other superpower. This is often overlooked by the West. It is often cited that Reagan, together with Thatcher and John Paul II where the tidal forces that pushed their rival to its demise and eventual collapse. Gingrich believed that “the disappearance of the Soviet Union was the end result of a comprehensive and morality-based strategy to promote freedom around the world.” Is this not aggrandizing and self-serving—credit grabbing as they call it?

Indeed, Mr. Gingrich’s assertions belong to the unpopular. He is among the American leaders who fall trap to using military might as a diplomatic vehicle of conflict resolution. He is opposed to “Big Government” at home while backing America’s ‘Big Government’ treatment of the world. He is utterly opposed to Obama’s “reset with Russia” policy, with Obama’s engaging in ‘dialogue’ with problematic states, and accuses his president of “elevating the tool of multilateralism into an end in itself…categorically rejects the very idea of American dominance.” He finds delight in fear mongering, where he accuses Obama of being a ‘socialist’ and that America is headed in a more Europe direction.

Gingrich even rejects the promotion of sustainable energy in his homeland. He categorically opposes Obama’s moratorium on drilling, saying that it increases the United States dependence on foreign oil. Instead, he calls for “an all-out effort to increase domestic oil and gas drilling” and allow “producers to do what they do best: creating affordable and reliable energy.” He further adds that encouraging energy production, including domestic drilling, will create jobs and grow the economy.” It is thus tempting to deduce that Mr. Gingrich is not aware of the merits of pursuing renewable energy, not to mention the catastrophic effects of climate change.

In the end, it is he and his Republican partners who are guilty of protecting and advancing the interests of the privileged few while also discounting the welfare and liberties of the majority.   And to think that like-minded people rule Washington all the more confirms the menace of America’s supposed exceptionalism.  Indeed, they are exceptional, but in a negative way.