Many believe America is an exceptional place with exceptional ideals. But over time, this supposed exceptionalism has been corrupted and used as an excuse to wage bloody war. Rather than standing firm as a beacon of humble power, the American military has more often been used as a world police force, traversing the globe, bending nations to its will.
This past Memorial Day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a crowd of veterans that the United States must be on a path “to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.” Arizona Senator John McCain, who attended the event in support of the presidential candidate, noted that Romney believes in American exceptionalism and is “fully qualified to be commander-in-chief.”
This kind of rhetoric, while tapping into the essence of American exceptionalism and stirring up emotions of robust patriotism, is merely a guise to attract support for more war. It is a heavy contradiction to believe in the benevolence of liberty, freedom, and democracy while finding no wrong in needlessly attacking foreign peoples in true imperialist fashion.
In terms of foreign policy, the havoc wrecked by a perverted enforcement of the idea of American exceptionalism far exceeds any actual good that has been done. Promoting peace and American goodness through force and continuous warfare should not make sense to a rational person. Yet there are many who champion these views as the only indubitable way to spread America’s so-called superiority as a dominion of democracy and as an enforcer of human rights; double standards for a crooked nation.
With regards to sheer heavy bruteness, the United States does indeed have the world’s most superior military. But those at the helm of this awesome power hold no restraint in using it. What most politicians and their supporters neglect to realize is that there is a strict difference between having a strong military defense, capable of repelling any possible attack on our shores and mass, unwarranted intervention and war making abroad. Remaining strong, yet humble, brings about more instances of peace than most in Washington, D.C. would like to admit.
If America is to be exceptional and stand high in the world as an example of humble strength and righteous ideas; if the United States is to actually represent something worthwhile in promoting once again, then we must be willing to rid ourselves of this blind adherence to excusing needless violence as some kind of divine right. America is not exceptional enough to wage war while flaunting peace.