Topics in the News: American Exceptionalism

Seth Moulton on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Jul 30, 2019)
Venezuela: US should not try to be world's policeman

The Trump administration's approach to Venezuela is a throwback to the Cold War: intervene in support of a coup, blame Cuba for everything, and in the process, make America a foil for Maduro to use with his people as the reason his economy is faltering. We should continue to sanction Venezuelan leaders and encourage the opposition. But if my time in the Marines taught me anything, it's that the United States is not the world's policeman. Nor should we try to be.
Click for Seth Moulton on other issues.   Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 presidential primary

Joe Biden on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Mar 27, 2019)
Work with NATO, with U.S. as the indispensable leader

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source:, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Arvin Vohra on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Mar 30, 2018)
America should be the greatest country on earth

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Support American Exceptionalism"?

A: Strongly support. America should be the greatest country on earth. That will come from ending the welfare state, including government schools, shutting down foreign military bases and bringing the troops home, and abolishing the income tax. Let American genius and innovation, not welfarism, guide America to legitimate greatness.

Click for Arvin Vohra on other issues.   Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Maryland Senate candidate

John Kasich on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Feb 13, 2016)
US should not be world's police in places like Iraq

Dr. Ben CARSON: I was not particularly in favor of us going to war in Iraq, primarily because I have studied the Middle East, recognizing that those are nations that are ruled by dictators and have been for thousands of years. When you remove one of those dictators, unless you have an appropriate plan for replacing them, you're going to have chaos.

Sen. Marco RUBIO: Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn't do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.

KASICH: I don't believe the United States should involve itself in civil wars. Civil wars are not in our direct are interest. The fact is, is that we should go to war when it is our direct interest. We should not be policemen of the world, but when we go, we mean business. We'll do our job. We'll tell our soldiers, our people in the service, take care of your job and then come home once we've accomplished our goals.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Donald Trump on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Feb 11, 2016)
U.S. has become dumping ground for everybody else's problems

While the Trump and Sanders campaigns both represent insurgencies against party elites, they represent insurgencies aimed at taking America in radically different directions. One way of understanding those different directions is through American exceptionalism. Sanders voters want to make America more like the rest of the world. Trump voters want to keep America a nation apart.

American exceptionalism today generally denotes Americans' peculiar faith in God, flag, and free market--the Sanders campaign represents an assault on all three [while Trump supports all three].

Trump's entire campaign is built around the idea that foreign influences are infecting the United States. "The U.S.," he declared upon announcing his presidential campaign, "has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems."

Trump's supporters like the fact that he's rich, blunt, and hasn't spent his life in politics. But his pledges to keep the rest of the world at bay are core to his appeal.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: The Atlantic magazine, "War Over American Exceptionalism"

Barack Obama on American Exceptionalism: (Technology Oct 22, 2012)
World leadership via cutting-edge technology & workers

Q: What is America's role in the world?

ROMNEY: America has a responsibility and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful.

OBAMA: America remains the one indispensable nation. And America is stronger now than when I came into office. And our alliances have never been stronger. But what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding America. That's what my plan does: Making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back to our shores so that we're creating jobs here; making sure that we've got the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow; developing clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our imports in half by 2020. And we've got to reduce our deficit, by cutting out spending we don't need but also asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more; that way we can invest in the research and technology that's always kept us at the cutting edge.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Hillary Clinton on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Jun 14, 2012)
America is the "indispensable nation"

Quite a few of the ideas voiced by Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders today date back to the period of ferment in the 1970s. One was the idea of America as the "indispensible nation." Hillary Clinton used this phrase as Obama's secretary of state, explicitly borrowing the words used in the 1990s by Bill Clinton and his secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

But the words didn't originate with them, either. In a 1976 article in "Foreign Policy," Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote of "America the indispensible." Despite its defeat in Vietnam, he argued, American power remains "central to global stability and progress." During that period, Brzezinski argued that the US should start to give a much higher priority to its relationship with its allies.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 20-21

Barack Obama on American Exceptionalism: (Foreign Policy Jan 24, 2012)
America is the one indispensable nation in world affairs

The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. From the coalitions we've built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we've led against hunger and disease; from the blows we've dealt to our enemies; to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about. That's not the message we get from leaders around the world, all of whom are eager to work with us; where opinions of America are higher than they've been in years. Yes, the world is changing; no, we can't control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs--and as long as I'm President, I intend to keep it that way.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2012 State of the Union speech

Barack Obama on American Exceptionalism: (Principles & Values Nov 23, 2010)
American exceptionalism is same as any other exceptionalism

Many people don't believe we have special message for the world or a special mission to preserve our greatness for the betterment of not just ourselves but all of humanity. Astonishingly, President Obama even said that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Which is to say, he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism at all. He seems to think it is just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life. To me, that is appalling.

When President Obama insists that all countries are exceptional, he's saying that none is, last of all the country he leads. That's a shame, because American exceptionalism is something that people in both parties used to believe in.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: America by Heart, by Sarah Palin, p. 69

Hillary Clinton on American Exceptionalism: (Principles & Values Nov 11, 2007)
Cultivates grassroots groups & “grass-top” leaders

Clinton’s field organizing in the states, early on, has been stellar: monied, methodical, and smart. Her team makes a habit of plugging into grassroots groups like ACORN (whose support has been indispensable to her in New York) as well as to what she calls “grass-tops”--community leaders and local legislators. In N.H., [a pundit] described Clinton’s campaign as “flawless,” the only risk being that there’s little room left for the kind of spontaneity that keeps volunteers excited.

In Nevada, every candidate is lobbying hard for the kind of influential “grass-top” endorsements that have the power to turn party faithful out to the caucus. By mid-July 2007, it was hard to find a single Democratic legislator in Nevada, Iowa, or Hew Hampshire who hadn’t received a call or visit from the woman-who-would-be president.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 29-30

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