Squanderer in chief

At a stop on his grand global apology tour this spring, President Obama was asked by a reporter in France if he believed in “American exceptionalism.” This is the notion that our history as the world’s oldest democracy, our immigrant founding and our devotion to liberty endow the United States with a unique, providential role in world affairs.

Rather than endorse the proposition — as every president in recent memory has done one way or another — Obama offered a strange response: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

By James Kirchick
The Los Angeles Times

This is impossible. If all countries are “exceptional,” then none are, and to claim otherwise robs the word, and the idea of American exceptionalism, of any meaning. Besides, American exceptionalism is demonstrable — Cuban journalists, Chinese political dissidents, Eastern Europeans once again living in the shadow of a belligerent Russia and, yes, even some Brits and Greeks look toward the U.S. and nowhere else to defend freedom.

Viewed within the context of the first 100 days of his presidency, Obama’s nonsensical statement is part of a disturbing pattern. Since swearing the oath of office, our president has traveled the world criticizing his predecessor, confessing America’s supposed sins and otherwise flagellating the nation he leads on the altar of international “public opinion.”

Obama delivered his first collective mea culpa on our behalf in an interview with the Arab Al Arabiya television network, in which he said that he hoped to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.” (Would that be when Iranian revolutionaries held our embassy hostage for 444 days?) Obama neglected to identify what exactly had caused the rift between the United States and the “Muslim world,” leaving his audience to believe that Islamic radicalism is as much our fault as it is of the Islamic radicals themselves.

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