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America the Exceptional

America is an exceptional country; Americans are exceptional people.

Anyone who didn’t get goose bumps at the redemption of America’s unique promise wasn’t paying attention. Anyone who didn’t hear an echo yesterday of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King – and Lyndon Johnson – has no soul.

We will go, as we often have, with Senator McCain, who said:


America is an exceptional country; Americans are exceptional people.

Anyone who didn’t get goose bumps at the redemption of America’s unique promise wasn’t paying attention. Anyone who didn’t hear an echo yesterday of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King – and Lyndon Johnson – has no soul.

We will go, as we often have, with Senator McCain, who said:

Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this greatest nation on Earth… Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans, and please believe me when I say, no association has ever meant more to me than that.

Or to us.

On this, Senator McCain and President-elect Obama agree. In his acceptance speech, the President-elect said:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer…Americans…sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

We will measure and assess President Obama’s foreign and military policy against JINSA’s unchanging priority of a strong and capable American security establishment working with like-minded, democratic allies – especially Israel. We promise to cheer when we think he is right, adamantly stand our ground when we don’t, and offer policy alternatives where we believe they would be prudent. In this too, we think we – as Americans, not as JINSA – are exceptional because we are prepared for more than one eventuality.

It is more than a little disconcerting to hear both friends and adversaries of America talk as though the world is a different place this morning. America may be different this morning, but that is our affair. The world is still full of people who believe America – not one President or another – is an impediment to their radical, anti-Western and anti-Semitic goals. They didn’t like us before the Bush administration; they will not like us now. Russia will not change its view of its place and its neighbors. Iran will not stop pursuing nuclear weapons. Syria will not stop meddling in Lebanon and supporting Hezbollah. Venezuela will not stop supporting terrorist groups in South America and courting Iranian money and Russian arms. China will not let the UN Security Council pass a serious resolution on Sudan despite the depredations in Darfur. They do these things because they believe in them and believe them to be in their interest, not because an American President approves, disapproves or is confused.

Adversaries – of America, of Israel, of freedom and liberty – may think an Obama administration will be more pliable, more willing to see their point of view, more na├»ve, less willing to take a fixed position, less willing to support Israel or Poland or Colombia. They may be right and that would pose additional serious problems for American interests and security.

But we’re equally worried about our friends. (See the next JINSA Report.)