Sunday, February 22, 2015

Obama Loves America — Just Not the One We Live In

From Kyle Smith, at the New York Post:
Rudy Giuliani thinks President Obama doesn’t love America. That’s not true. Obama surely loves America, though not the actual existing country. He is head-over-heels gaga for a fictional America, a notional America, an enlightened America, America with an asterisk.

This is a great country, potentially, if it ever grows up and learns a few things.

Whenever Obama praises America, especially in foreign lands, he is careful to append caveats that make it clear America should, as he once said in another context, get off its high horse. He doesn’t apologize, exactly, but he makes it clear that his overall image of America is of a morally shrunken, chastened land whose sins render it unfit to exert much authority in the world.

“There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive,” Obama said in France.

We need “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” he said in Egypt, suggesting the US had not previously respected Muslims much, adding that “fear and anger” has “led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals.”

In Prague, he said America has “a moral responsibility to act” on arms control because only the US had “used a nuclear weapon,” as though winning a war that Japan started was shameful.

Obama’s famous view of American exceptionalism — “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism” — is curiously qualified: When you ask a mom whether she thinks her baby is cute, you expect to hear, “Of course!” not a reflection on the nature of subjectivity.

Sometimes, though, the automatic response, going with your gut, is the correct one: America really is exceptional. The data prove it. We routinely stand as an outlier in surveys of international attitudes, because we have unique features, and those features make us better than other countries. Somebody has to be the best country on Earth. It happens to be us.

Except it didn’t just happen. We are the oldest democracy, and the succeeding ones — our many imitators around the globe — were far more suspicious of freedom, individual rights and tipping too much of the balance of power to the people rather than an elite class.

America: Heck, yeah...
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