A Call to Arms Against ‘American Exceptionalism’ (Izvestia, Russia)
Is the notion of American exceptionalism a danger to the world and its march toward equality in all its forms? For Russia’s Izvestia, columnist Boris Mezhuyev calls on ‘the best of the world’s philosophers, the heads of traditional churches and representatives of all the world’s religions, and countries’ to join with Russia in depositing American exeptionalism into the dustbin of history, along with German exceptionalism, Maoist exceptionalism, and Islamic exceptionalism.
For Izvestia, Boris Mezhuyev starts off this way:
The oral and written discussion between the presidents of Russia and the United States over the exceptionalism of America as a nation is in itself unprecedented. Not for many years have superpower leaders discussed abstract, almost metaphysical issues. And by all appearances, judging by Obama’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly, in which the U.S. president reaffirmed his belief in a special role for his nation, the argument has the potential to drag on. His Russian colleague, or perhaps other Russian officials, will have to make a worthy rejoinder, but under no circumstances should Obama be allowed to have the last word on the subject.
Let us draw our attention to two important points that often elude observers when analyzing this debate taking place at the highest level.
First, the debate shouldn’t be treated as a mere exercise in political rhetoric among statesmen. The subject is far from being as innocuous as it first appears. Already, political commentator Robert Kagan, unlucky mastermind behind the “League of Democracies,” has on the basis of Obama’s reasoning asserted that disarmament – either chemical, nuclear or other – should in no way concern the United States, as it is a supposedly exceptional country, populated by an exceptional people. If the world keeps silent as Obama speaks, then one imagines that the same will be said of global initiatives on any subject unpleasant to America, which, according to its president, has been placed by God himself as “first among equals.”
Second, note that today only Russia is standing up to America and its president. The rest of the world, including Europe, has kept quiet. Europeans are happy and satisfied enough that Obama isn’t Bush, not realizing that with his arguments on exceptionalism, Obama is preparing the ground for a new Bush, who is undoubtedly on the way, and we will all end up paying for it. Yet the rest of the world goes quietly about its affairs, failing to grasp the meaning of this skirmish among titans.
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