In an OP-ed piece on The New York Times, the Russian ad infinitum president Vladimir Putin, slammed the concept of American Exceptionalism, saying that it is extremely dangerrous to tell people that they are exceptional, no matter what the motivation is. I suppose he was just being a boorish loser ...after the imperialist/expansionist USSR, of which Russia was the major part of, devolved and disintegratedm into various minor republics. Putin being a child of the KGB seems to still pine for the expansionist impulse that once made Russia "great", notwithstanding the fact that Russia ceased to be great when Catherine the Great passed away, centuries ago.
Exceptional... a word that humanists unreservedly applies to the specie Homo Sapiens. A word that atheist and would rather not... for whatever reason, atheist's seem to think that humans are not anymore exceptional than the rest of the living entities that has populated earth.
I part with Obama only to the point that this problem has to be solved by the international community avoiding American unilateralism. I do not wish nor can afford to be the enforcement arm for international violations of UN provisions.
What Assad is doing is everything to avoid having to lose power, who wouldn't? I am not so sure that a post-Assad Syria would be any better. If we are to lead we must lead by example, for what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Complying with international law and dealing with Assad from a global community standpoint is more legitimate. As John Kennedy said over 50 years ago in reference to Vietnam, a Pax-Americana is not a lasting solution to a world problem.
Yes, I am progressive and I say, dispense with American military solutions to the problem that is Syria.
The problem with Obama is that he puts his ideology way ahead of empirical practicality.
His heart tells him that America, despite its much vaunted exceptionalism, is not truly exceptional when it comes to managing its relationships with other countries. And his vague, half-hearted response to the Syria crisis, fully reflects the constant tug of trying to help and do good vs. the fear of being engulfed/entangled in foreign misadventures.
I have to apologize before hand because you might be offended by what I'm going to opine here, but I think it is not outrageous that a leader of another country expresses that he is not a believer in American exceptionalism ,it may come as a surprise to you, but of the billions of people who populate this planet there are very few outside the borders of the United States who believe in American exceptionalism. Now I'm no admirer of Vladimir Putin I do think he is a despicable individual ,but saying that he thinks it dangerous that any one country would consider itself superior to all others kind of makes sense if you think that Russia lost twenty million people in world war two at the hands of a country which also considered itself "exceptional".Please spare me the ridiculous notion that I would compare The United States , a country I love, to Nazi Germany, The United States not only saved Europe ,but saved The world in world war two,meanwhile Nazi Germany wanted to enslave the rest of the world for its own benefit.I was born in Uruguay a tiny country in South America, and I could go on for hours explaining why uruguayan citizens think Uruguay is an exceptional country, but to anybody not born there although it could be comprehended there is no way it could be felt in the same way.So it is perfectly fine for americans to feel and believe in American Exceptionalism but tha same can not be expected from other people from other countries.
No offense taken. I agree with some of the points you are saying... on the other hand I have to emphasize the obvious. America may not be perceived as exceptional by millions of people, but to others, it is plenty exceptional, enough for them to immigrate to the United States so as to bathe in its robust defense of the individual, and the ability of that individual to contribute to its exceptional values of democracy and liberty.
The US isn't into expansionism? Then what is it doing in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq... What are its military bases doing all over the world? You don't know what you are talking about like most of the people on this platform.
If we were so EXCEPTIONAL homelessness, unemployment, corruption in both legislative assemblies, poor education, poor healthcare system... wouldn't exist!
If you don't accept the notion that the USA is a superpower and has worldwide security concerns and issues, then I suppose your abhorrence of its military presence in foreign countries is absolutely valid.
American exceptionalism emanates from its adherence to the principles of the value of human life... ability to preserve individual freedom and liberty... and the pursuit of happiness. The problems that you enumerated in your last sentence are not unique to America and as such is not a poor reflection of its leadership role in the world.
Value of human life? You are joking? Which one? The one of the homeless people that I see everyday dying or the ones of the Syrian children that we inoculated gas in our name? Freedom and liberty to speak out against your government and you are jailed, outcast and banned for life? Pursuit of happiness when most of the Americans are struggling with the crumbs that the elite is deigning giving us? That's the exceptionalism you are referring to?
I can discern from the above post that you have not been exposed to or are exceptionally inchoate about the same inhumanity that the rest of the world population have been exposed to, be it from their own government, from each other, or from outside imperialists occupiers. If you have, then I would suppose you would not be as insidiously critical of the United States.
If the United States is involved in the same insidious activities as the rest of the world, then what supposedly makes us so exceptional, again?
The operative phrase being "....the same insiduous activities".
One really could not say one has experienced "poverty" unless one is a Haitian; or "chaos" unlest one is a Somalian: or governmental totalitarian/dictatorial imposition" unless one is a Russian during the time of Stalin's Gulag and or Mao"s progrom called the Great Leap Forward.
So for Americans equating their "suffering" to that of the rest of the world is just not believable/acceptable... and doing so just makes the case for them being labeled "spoiled brats"
I don't know A.V., but it can be said that China or Russia has worldwide security concerns? Why are our concerns any more valid than that of any other nation? Why are we to get a green light to pursue an aggressive foreign policy, while we tell others to stand down or get behind us? Your explanation as to why America is 'exceptional' is subjective and may not hold depending upon who is evaluating it. We do have to allow for the fact that America is not exceptional in the eyes of millions as you stated earlier.
Obama's concern is valid, address a violation of international law, without starting another major conflict in the region, using more precious resources in a time where everyone has to tighten the belt. This is the last thing we need right now. Who wants to circumnavigate the planet just to put out fires?It is a fool's errand.
The idea that American foreign policy justifies a stance that we are better than anyone else, giving us to right to pursue our national interest while China and Russia cannot pursue theirs is a formula for disaster.
China and Russia are quite free to pursue their own national security interests, and the United States can only counteract if those Chuinese and Russian pursuits run smack against ours.
Obama's response to the Syria crisis has been marked by flaccidity and fatuity.... incoherence to the nth degree, and in the process he has greatly damaged his presidency and American international credibility to boot.
I also find it almost humorous that you're overlooking American expansionism. Exceptionalism is in the eye of the beholder, so I'll leave that debate for the rest of you - but you can't even begin to argue that America is not expansionist. I've no idea what it's got to do with atheism either. In fact, your entire post is incoherent.
It's not often innersmiff, but on this occasion +1
The OP incoherent? I am stunned that you just did not get the similarity (apparent or otherwise) between Americans denying their exceptionalism, and atheists denying Homo Sapiens exceptionalism.
In both situation the reason for denying exceptionalism comes from just one: false sense of insecurity.
OK, we've been here many times before, but tell me just one way that the average American is more exceptional than the average English man, or French man or German, or Russian, or any other nationality.
I am not talking about exceptionalism on an individual basis.. American exceptionalism is a mind set that has evolved over the centuries, but has become more evident over the past 50-60 years during which time America achieved its sole superpower status.
Yeah, a "mind-set", otherwise it's completely in people's imaginations. Thanks for clarifying.
"Imagination" could be very powerful indeed, by way of giving impetus to consequential actions. In the case of the United States, those actions are neither expansionist nor imperialistic, but rather interventionist.
Wasn't it Albert Einstein who said?: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."....or something to that effect.
Well, as I predicted, you haven't even tried to argue against the existence of American expansionism. You're going to have to expand on what you think 'exceptionalism' is, and what you think the atheist's arguments are, because I don't see it. Many eastern religions are theistic but also share the view that the human race does not possess any more or less value than any other creature on the Earth - what's their excuse?
America and its political/military leaders, at some point in its history, tried to be an expansionist and imperialist power... but lo and behold, it/they were not very good at it for various reasons , the most compelling being that expansionism/imperialism just run counter to their ideas, ideals and ideologies. Now that America has attained its sole superpower status... it has to act like one. So it finds itself in all sorts of foreign entanglements that no other country would countenance to undertake. The glory days of England, Spain, France and other European imperialist powers are long gone and just faded memories. So America being in so many places at once is just the natural result of it having the power and the prestige, and perhaps the chutzpah to do so... not to expand but to keep some semblance of order in all chaotic places, that if not contained could very well impact America's security and national interest.
I disagree totally with your notion that eastern religions, theistic as they are, find no less or no more value to their existence, than say the local garbage dump rat, or the slug that eats someone's else's petunia.... otherwise, why would they even conceptualize the idea of a God. The rat and the slug sure doesn't.
Just because the countries the US has invaded and occupied are not physically administered by them does not make them any less expansionist. These days, power is asserted by coups, sanctions, bombs and installing dodgy dictators. This is still expansionist, and almost equal in human loss to the Russian communist regime.
First of all, you're factually wrong. Buddhism on animals:
"Every religion advises us to love our fellow humans. Some even teach us to love them more if they belong to the same religion. But Buddhism is supreme in that it teaches us to show equal care and compassion for each and every creature in the universe. The destruction of any creature represents a disturbance of the Universal Order."
This more than suggests a philosophy that places equal value on all living creatures. Buddhists concede that humans are the most intelligent beings, but this only represents a quality - we do not possess the sense of smell of a dog, nor the eyesight of a hawk, etc. Only humans come up with value judgments on qualities such as these.
Logically, it still makes sense for there to be a God that places equal worth to all animals, even those that can not conceptualise him.
Man, aren't you a lot overstating your case? I mean ...." almost equal in human loss to the Russian communist regime" That communists regime was responsible for millions upon millions of dead humans, and to measure the interventionist (not expansionist) policies/actions of the United States via that parameter is pure unadulterated non-factoid.
Now about Budhism-- "..showing equal care and compassion for each and every creature in the universe." is quite a overarching concept, considering that when a Budhist stumps and kills on a cockroach that has contaminated his dinner, does he feel the same tinge of remorse or regret, as when he stumps and kills a fellow human that has invaded and desecrated his temple? I seriously doubt it. Therein lies the difference between giving equal care/compassion and giving equal value.
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