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Old 05-25-2011, 09:10 PM   #1
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Default A special or essential relationship?

BBC - Found 2 hours ago
Barack Obama's historic state visit to London has led to much discussion in the media about the fabled 'special relationship' between the US and UK. During the trip both the President and David Cameron also referred to the 'essential relationship'. So which phrase best defines the current ...
Watch: Obama Praises U.S. and U.K. 'Exceptionalism' - ABC News
VIDEO: Day two of Obama's state visit to Britain - BBC
Obama Heralds US/UK Exceptionalism - ABC News
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A special or essential relationship?
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:57 AM   #2
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American exceptionalism in a time of American malaise
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 - Though a Frenchman was the first person to describe America as "exceptional" and a Soviet, Joseph Stalin, inadvertently helped popularise the phrase "American exceptionalism" - he called it a "heresy" - the notion the United States is not just unique but superior has long been an article of national faith.
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Writing in Democracy in America, which set out to explain why the American Revolution had succeeded while the French Revolution had failed, Alexis de Tocqueville observed Americans were "quite exceptional", by which he meant different rather than better. Over the centuries, however, the idea has taken hold here that America is liberty's staunchest defender, democracy's greatest exemplar and home to the usually brave - a country like no other.


That America has emerged as the leader of the free world is not regarded as some cosmic fluke. Its global role and mission, a responsibility to spread American values around the world, was divinely sanctified and historically preordained, thanks to the genius of its founding fathers. Jefferson's "empire of liberty", Roosevelt's "arsenal of democracy", and Reagan's "shining city upon a hill" are variants on the same theme of American pre-eminence, a country that sought to colonise the planet with its ideas.

Losing faith

Early in his presidency, Barack Obama looked set to retire the rhetoric of exceptionalism, even though many in America and around the world regarded his election, after the shocks of 9/11 and the Great Recession, as proof of its salience. "I believe in American exceptionalism," he told a journalist in 2009 during a visit to Strasbourg, "just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Now, though, his speeches are essays in exceptionalist thinking, even if qualified with reminders about the constraints of US power and his personal preference for multilateral co-operation. The problem, globally, is that American exceptionalism has increasingly come to have negative connotations. The hitch, domestically, is that Americans seem to be losing faith in the American system and American dream, hence the rise of populists like Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt used the slogan the "arsenal of democracy" in World War Two

Consider the face that America has recently presented to the rest of the world. The frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination has called for almost a quarter of the world's population to be barred temporarily from entering the country, a nativist cry that has boosted Donald Trump's popularity. America's Grand Old Party has been in a state of open civil war. The idea of a Clinton restoration has failed to generate much enthusiasm - to many it smacks of a country going backward not forward, despite its promise of a female first. The campaign, rather than being a beacon of democracy, has often been a viral joke.

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