America Against the World

Fascinating- gotta put this on my reading list.

“America Against the World,” a recent book based on comprehensive polling data from the Pew Research Center‘s Global Attitudes Project, makes the point that our exceptionalism is not exceptional with particular force. While a robust 60 percent of Americans agree with the proposition that “our culture is superior to others,” such self-confidence pales next to that of South Korea and Indonesia, where some 90 percent of the population assents to the idea. The book’s authors, Andrew Kohut and Bruce Stokes, also note that “poll after poll finds the Japanese to be the most pessimistic of people, expressing far less satisfaction with their lot in life than might be expected given their relatively high per capita incomes. Yet, compared to other Asians, the Japanese are, like Americans, highly self-reliant and distrustful of government and, like Europeans, secular. It is the Japanese public, not the American public, that is most exceptional in the world.”

…in our soberer, less celebratory moments, we know that there are no unilateral American solutions to multilateral problems and that most of the great challenges we face in today’s world are multilateral — from terrorism to global warming, and AIDS to mass migration. In the streets of Baghdad and the deserts of Al Anbar, we have learned that optimism and self-reliance are simply not enough.

I’m not sure who the royal “we” is that is referenced here- it’s certainly not the Bush regime.

America the Untethered – New York Times

One comment on “America Against the World
  1. Christian Gates says:

    Gen this post mostly reveals two things:
    1) The author apparently doesn’t understand what American exceptionalism means; and,
    2) Neither do you.
    How disappointing. The Japanese are exceptional in the strict definition of the word, as are all island cultures. Outside of that, any “Japanese exceptionalism” that you wish to tout is largely defined by how the U.S. elected to create Japan post-WWII – in other words, within very strict boundaries, in its own image.
    By the way, Bush doesn’t lead a “regime” except in the most technical sense. Connotatively, he doesn’t even lead a “government” in the Euro sense. He’s the President of the U.S. He hasn’t installed a bureaucracy to cement his position, for example, didn’t seize power through force of arms or corruption (don’t start, or I’ll start talking about Congress and that’s a lost argument) etc. etc.