The Real News Network has a multi-part interview about American Exceptionalism. As of this writing, only three parts have been aired.
When President Obama spoke at the United Nations, he again said (’cause he had said before) that he considered America an exceptional country. He called it “exceptional”. And I’ll play that quote for you in just a few minutes. But, of course, he’s not the first one to have said that. This idea of American exceptionalism, according to many, goes to the very heart not only of American foreign policy, but of American identity itself.
The worst part of this might be President Obama’s modeling of doing bad things for good reasons. Perhaps he did learn something from the bad reaction he got when he tried to fight the ingrained idea of American exeptionalism. What he may have learned is that it is very hard to go against what people firmly believe, so it is best to try to harness their ignorance for good purposes. Perhaps the President achieves some temporary victory from this sly trick, but the eventual blowback will be devastating. Then the next person to come along and try to educate the people will inevitably learn the same lesson that Obama did. Maybe this is what causes the decline and fall of great nations.
Here is the last part of the series.
KUZNICK: Except that people are learning the lesson of that. If you look at the recent statements by Robert Gates–Gates is one of the architects of the American empire for decades. First he screwed up the intelligence agencies. He was behind the reform of the CIA. And he’s a real planner of the wars and empire for a long time, the head of the CIA, head of the Defense Department. He came out a couple of years ago saying that if an American secretary of defense advises a president to invade another country in Asia or Africa or Latin America, he should have his head examined. But he came out more recently saying after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, that anybody who supports another American military intervention, as in Syria, is crazy.
He says that because what he realized that other people realize is that we create the chaos. He says, we don’t ever know what the unintended consequences are and that what results from these interventions is chaos. We’ve–look at the chaos that exists now in Iraq. Did we leave that a peaceful place? Of course not. So people might make the assumption that what we’re doing is better than chaos, but the reality is we create chaos. We don’t know what the ramifications are. We don’t understand the situations. George Bush doesn’t know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites when we go and start this kind of “crusade,” which he called it.