The Hubris of American Exceptionalism Devalues the Rest of the World

A Trump supporter carries an American flag as police monitor the scene during a "Make America Great Again" rally in Salem, Oregon, on March 25, 2017. (Photo: Alex Milan Tracy / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)A Trump supporter carries an American flag as police monitor the scene during a “Make America Great Again” rally in Salem, Oregon, on March 25, 2017. (Photo: Alex Milan Tracy / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

No, the United States is not exceptional and David Swanson explains why in Curing Exceptionalism: What’s Wrong With How We Think About the United States. Get the book now by donating to Truthout. Click here. 

US exceptionalism is a hubris that reeks of bigotry and is harmful to life in other nations, David Swanson argues in this excerpt from his book.

What we’re dealing with is not just valuing the United States, but also devaluing the rest of the world — and not just as observers, but as people who believe they have the right, if not the duty, to impose their will on the rest of the world. Exceptionalism is an attitude that tends to include arrogance, ignorance, and aggression, and these tend to do a great deal of damage.

In recent polling on possible future wars, a majority in the United States is willing to support an air attack, even a nuclear attack, on a foreign country, such as Iran or North Korea, that kills 100,000 civilians if it is an alternative to a ground attack that could kill 20,000 Americans. In fact, the US public has largely sat by for the past 17 years of wars in which the nations attacked have suffered tens and hundreds of times more deaths than the US military. Americans overwhelmingly tell pollsters that it is fine to kill non-Americans with US drones, but illegal to kill US citizens. Keith Payne, a drafter of the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review, back in 1980, parroting Dr. Strangelove, defined success to allow up to 20 million dead Americans as the price for killing a much higher number of non-Americans. The US government has placed compensation for an Iraqi life at no more than $15,000, but the value of a US life at no less than $5 million.

When people ask how President Harry Truman could have used nuclear weapons that killed so many Japanese…

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