Column One: A prayer for 5771: "A reporter there asked him, “[Do] you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of ‘American exceptionalism’ that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy?” Obama replied, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” That is, the US president said, no, he does not believe in American exceptionalism. He rejects the American creed."
Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post discusses political creeds in an emotional article. Lexington, the columnist in The Economist, rejected writing about American exceptionalism the other week. Is this true? Is the magic of the beacon for the world gone?
In Sweden people are very optimistic right now on the performance of the nation and on the excellent governance by the center-right coalition. In the US they are more gloomy. David Brooks writes today in his column that 65% of Americans think that the US is in decline. The economic downturn is structural not cyclical. Like Brooks, however, I am optimistic over the future of America.
President Obama has shown that he has a bad conscious since he has apologized for the behavior of America. Now it seems he does not think Americans are better than other people but the question is rather if the American system is better or not. If the American idea is better. If freedom for more people in the world is better. With the rise of China, freedom has almost become a bad word unfortunately. I think I know why and I have earlier written in my blog about what I think might be American exceptionalism. It is the degree to which society can withstand the onslaught of new management technologies. Time will tell.
Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister that was assassinated in 1986, probably thought that the US should emulate Sweden. During his reign the diplomatic relation between Sweden and the US was almost severed. The crisis in Georgia demonstrates what happens if you even blink with regimes like present day Russia. In Palme's time the Soviet Union was probably worse. What I think is important is to recognize the difference in the roles of Sweden and the US. The US can lead but Sweden remains an opposition party.