Monday, January 08, 2007

American Exceptionalism.

Heres a quoute from an article by Joshua Kurlantzick in January's issue of Prospect, entitled 'Ecxeptional America':

The Democrats must reclaim the most important narrative in US political history - that America is not one leader among many but an exceptional, moral and generous country that can inspire other nations. Europeans may cite examples of amoral or self-interested US foreign policy. But the exceptionalist narrative, drawing as it does on the country's founding utopian vision, resonates with Americans.
I think Kurlantzick is right. The exceptionalist (or manifest destiny) narrative is the dominant American narrative.

In the last 30 years Republicans, particularly under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, have successfully been able to appeal to an messianic vision of America's role in the world. Democrats, on the other hand, have been hesitant to extol American virtue.

This is a shame because Democrats could offer a much better vision of American exceptionalism. An America dominated by the exceptionalist visions of Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman, would have much greater positive impact on the world than the Neo-Conservative imperialism which has dominated under Bush.


At 08 January, 2007 17:08, Anonymous Charles said...

But....But....But.....Bush is "The Decider"


At 09 January, 2007 15:30, Blogger Perez said...

Oh how much I can disagree....Well I am from Southern California...As you may know by my last name I am 'Mexican'...Well not really....I am an American and I don't speak Spanish...But I think the Democrat won't do anything about immigration...Over 50% of the students were mexican when I was in high school..I think illigal immigration is killing American...I can go places and the advertisement is in Spanish...So I really don't like the fact that neither party can do anything to fix an issue I find important...I mean right? Charles don't you think that this congress is out of touch...Yes I know the last one was too...But everyone knows that this congress is setting themselfs up for 2008...What are the important issues to you...Is it stem cells, or there poor example of over spending reforms...I could go on...But I won't...I just wish this congress would stop playing politics with the American people-Take care and God Bless-perez

At 09 January, 2007 21:07, Anonymous Charles said...


I found your comments interesting, specifically from the illegal immigration debate. So I will tackle that.

If I had my way, and I am sure I could be branded by some (no-one here hopefully) as either xenophobic or racist, there would be a rather large and lengthy structure between Mexico and the USA. I think that there should be one between Canada and the U.S. as well, but that border is so much larger (duh!) and is much less of a problem for the moment. Now, I want readers to be careful here - this is only in response to threats to our sovereignty and to innocents within our borders. This is NOT to cordon off America. This is only to regulate and monitor the flow of people in and out. Keep em coming, I say! The more immigrants here, the merrier. My great grandparents and great great grandparents were immigrants. I don't have a problem with immigration.

I get irritated at the whole illegal immigration debate. Blows me away. I firmly believe everyone should have the chance to immigrate to this Great Nation, however, it must be within the confines of legality and civility. It angers me that the majority of the Democrats and a good portion of the Republicans are hiding their collective heads in the sand on the seriousness of this issue. It's all about voting blocks and power. Not about the welfare of either the illegals, legals or citizens.

Documentation and research can prove that the Mexican government regularly executes on-site those that they catch illegally immigrating to their country from Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, etc), yet actively promote that Mexicans can, and should have the right to do whatever, because they are poor and need work, and are helpless, etc. WHAT? How about Mexico become a more responsible government and provide for their own people. Now there is a thought. It's the height of hypocrisy and taking advantage of the U.S citizens.

Now, back the morons in Washington. Very few get the seriousness of the issue. Drugs. Gangs. Terrorists. All infiltrate through that southern boarder. Yes, I know, that is not representative of the block of people coming through that border. There are genuine cases need and nobility. There are people trying to start a new life. But at the expense of what?

I don't think that any European nation would allow this kind of illegal activity to go on unchecked. Torsten, correct me if I am wrong. But everyone expects America to allow it.

Who is getting in the way of our protection and identity? The ACLU, NAACP, Mexican Nationalists, Democrats and money hungry Republican appeasers like John McCain and George Bush.

Now, Perez, I don't hate George Bush. I voted for him. I think that he and his administration have moved away from many ideals that espouse true Regan Republicanism. I voted for him knowing that he wanted a guest worker program, so technically, I have no room to complain. But seriously, does he not get it?

And honestly, in regards to the comments from Torsten about our nations Manifest Destiny, I doubt that Roosevelt, Truman, or Wilson would have stood by and accepted this kind of blatant law breaking and moral relativism. Except for Wilson, maybe.

Wow, here I am yammering again. I am long winded. Apologies to all those reading. :-)

At 10 January, 2007 17:06, Blogger Perez said...

Okay you did make a good point Charles...Okay my issuse is with the border not being protected...Have you guys heard of Jafar the Pilot? Well if you haven't then let me tell you a little story from Mexico...This Jafar guy is a terroist and he came over from Mexico with nuclear material and is lose some where in America. What a nice thought, right? No not really...

So I guess I am just saying is that is all these mexican and a few other illegal immigrants from other places are going to break down our middle class...How you ask...Well they live in poverty and when they get hurt, where do they go, County Hospital...Now don't get me wrong, I have gone to county and it suchs, but it is free care...You don't have to pay for it and collectors don't came after you and sue you...See what I am getting at

Okay but my other thing I asked you about is, do you think congress is in touch with America? Just like you said when you first started your agruement is 'If I had my way, and I am sure I could be branded by some (no-one here hopefully) as either xenophobic or racist'....And that is why nothing will ever get done on the border...No body wants to hurt anyones little feeling...Back to the whole PC issue we talked about a while back....

And one more thing...I understand illegals don't take away American jobs-Take care and God Bless-perez

At 10 January, 2007 19:47, Blogger Perez said...

This is a story of an 19 year old women from Iran who will be hung for stabing and killing one of three men who tried to rape her and her 16 year old niece...Help save her life at:

At 11 January, 2007 18:21, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Hi Charles and Perez.

First let me say that its an honour having both of you as active commentators on my little blog.

At the moment I'm reading a the newly published book: "Immigration: your country needs them" (London, Little Brown, 2006) by the British economist and journalist Phillipe Legrain. Legrain argues for freer immigration and that it is counterproductive for Europe and America to try and prevent it.

As an immigrant, I don't really know what to think about immigration. If you are for free markets, then its hypocritical to prevent the free movement of people/workers. At the same time I don't think societies can cope with too much immigration, too fast.

Immigrants may not be an economic burden, but socially they definitely can be. Unless society has minimal level of shared identity and narrative will not be socially cohesive. To much immigration alienates large parts of the population from society and from the changes happening around them.

However, only a society that subscribes to the values of tolerance and acceptance of diversity can be truly free. So if we adopt a exclusive and hostile policies to limit immigration, which is the only way to really stop it from happening, we will also undermine our own freedoms.

Lagrain, in response to Peter Brimelow suggestion, in his book "Alien Nation", that the US - Mexican border should be sealed with a fence or ditch, argues that: "Spain's experience in Ceuta and Melila [spanish possessions in North Africa], whose borders are a tiny fraction of the 2,000 mile US-Mexican border, is that even that [a guarded wall] isn't enough, because desperate migrants will find ways to breach the barriers"

To keep out illegal immigrants only a wall, with barbed wire and armed guards willing to shoot to kill, will do. Also, the US Navy/Coast Guard will have to intensely patrol the US coast. Finally, the US will have will have to stop issuing tourist and student visas.

It seems to me that neither the Democrats or Republicans have found an appropriate policy to the issue.

At 11 January, 2007 19:05, Blogger Perez said...

Okay I am sorry I feel like I have just made it seem like I think all immigration is bad...I think illegal immigration is bad...If it was not for immigration I would not be in American either...So I just want to say that...
But all I was asking Charles is if he thought American congress was in touch with Americans

At 11 January, 2007 20:25, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...


I didn't think you were arguing that immigration is bad. Rather, I thought you were saying that the new Democrat majority in Congress will not, in a satisfactory way, address the immigration issue, which is both a divisive and important important subject.

My comment (and I think also Charles') was not a direct response to your remarks. I just tried ot address the immigration issue from where I stand, which is one of comflicting opinions. Immigration is to me, and I think most voters and politicians, a gordian knot.

At 11 January, 2007 21:39, Anonymous Charles said...

Glad to have civilized exchange of ideas! Perhaps congress should do all debating on blogs. :-)

One thing that I do want to point out again - I am not against immigration. As I said, I am a product of immigration. What problems I have are with the unchecked and unprosecuted immigration.

I have no problem with legal immigration, etc.

I just see no one with any legitimate solution to the illegal immigration problem here.

Only finger pointing and rhetoric.

And, from both sides of the isle.

Thanks for the comments!

At 11 January, 2007 22:40, Blogger Perez said...

I agree with you both..But the finger pointing? We are think that immigration is a goo thing, but nobody can figure out what to do on fixing it...Both parties are stupid and play games with immigration and nobody will do anything...Was there a whole bunch of money sent to border seurity fro a fence but the money got used some other way...And then the Mexican government is helping immigrants come here to America...Immigration is helping Mexico and there ecomomy...Im just saying

At 12 January, 2007 00:35, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Charles, I understand your point about unchecked immigration. What I was trying to say is that migration today is basically uncontrollable.

Lagrain offers these figures (from Pew Hispanic Center and The Economist):
Legal migrations to US: 1 Million a year.
Illegal: estimated 500.000.
Legal into Europe (EU): 2.8 Million.
Illegal: estimated 800.000

In Europe, which hasn't seen itself as immigrant countries, this creates a lot of tensions. The changed demographics challenges long held national identities.

The US is much better geared at accepting immigrants. This is in part due to a self identity of being immigrants or descendants of immigrants. But even in the US, as you know much better than I, the growing spanish speaking population gives rise to questions of identity. See for example Samuel Huntington's 2005 book "Who Are We? America's Great Debate."

I don't believe in opening up the borders completely, but nether do I think the way America and Europe controls its borders is either effective or without great suffering for those who try to enter.

At 12 January, 2007 02:26, Anonymous Charles said...

Warning!!!! Comments unrelated to this blog.

I have wanted to reply to the Carter blog earlier, but all I could do was just sputter. :-) Thought you might get a laugh out of that, Torsten! I know Kiersten was giggling at that comment.

Anyhow, when you get a second,check out the following story at the below links. I am sure you are already aware, though.,2933,243082,00.html

Take care!

At 12 January, 2007 18:18, Anonymous Charles said...

Here are a few links representing the new heights (or should I say lows) of the Democrat controlled congress. This is something!

Pelosi's Hypocrisy:

Boxer's Low Blow:

Rangel's Angle:

I hope things improve, or we are in for a bumpy two years.

At 12 January, 2007 18:29, Anonymous Charles said...

One more on the new party in power:


At 12 January, 2007 23:32, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

"We are not amused!" ;-)


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