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Is America Exceptional, or Only Great?


Is America Exceptional, or Only Great?

Peter Van Buren

The nuances of foreign policy do not feature heavily in the ongoing presidential campaign. Every candidate intends to “destroy” the Islamic State; each has concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korea, and China; every one of them will defend Israel; and no one wants to talk much about anything else -- except, in the case of the Republicans, who rattle their sabers against Iran.


The two party system is incapable of producing a candidate that will challenge these foreign policy sacred cows. Voting either D or R in 2016 guarantees that war machine will be kept well-fueled and running at top speed. As much as I like Bernie Sanders, he missed the boat on his political revolution by being a more of the same candidate on foreign policy, albeit a possibly more moderate one, given the extremism of his opponents. The only parties that offer a peace platform, now, and probably in the future, are third party candidates and it will take more than a Bernie Sanders styled revolution for one of these to succeed. In the meantime, the bombs continue to fall and the drones continue to fly.


“And then there’s the question no one would have thought to ask back then: If we destroy that movement in Iraq and Syria, will another even more brutish group simply take its place, as the Islamic State did with al-Qaeda in Iraq? No candidate this time around even seems to grasp that these groups aren’t just problems in themselves, but symptoms of a broader Sunni-Shi’ite problem.”

Yeah… the causative factor is the old Sunni-Shi’ite problem… and has NOTHING to do with Western imperialism’s meddling with that region for many decades. And it has nothing to do with Oil interests, geo-political advantages, or propping up the U.S. dollar through its link with global oil sales.

Ridiculous, Mr. Van Buren!

Mr. Van Buren has a trained background in disinformation. I find it quaint that he still instills in the Presidency all these powers when astute observers of today’s political process see the President more as the Master of Ceremonies, chief salesman to the will of corporations, big banks, and the MIC to spread their control over most of the world.

This is also amateurish and juvenile:

"Above all, no politician dares or cares to tell us anything but what they think we want to hear: America is exceptional, military power can solve problems, the U.S. military isn’t big enough, and it is necessary to give up our freedoms to protect our freedoms. Are we, in the perhaps slightly exaggerated words of one foreign commentator, now just a “nation of idiots, incapable of doing anything except conducting military operations against primitive countries”?

The last President who TRIED to decide these things (as in reducing the imprint of the MIC and its deep state contractors) ended up with his brains blown out.


You show how media manipulation can be effective. This guy keeps saying ‘All the candidates’ as if there were no differences between them which is what the mainstream media says as well. Ever notice how the media says two things at once?

How a writer will say that Bernie’s policy doesn’t fit in yet in the same piece they will also say something like that all the candidates say much the same thing or that of them all agree on some position etc?

You did that in your comment btw. AND you did it the same way they do it. You say he missed the boat on foreign policy which sounds specific IF they were all the same on that particular set of issues. So are you also pretending to lump them all together? So where is Bernie’s wall or Hillary’s wall going to be built then (I suggest on the border of New Jersey but I am having trouble getting funding to promote that idea for some inexplicable reason).

Maybe you should try to list specifically the foreign policy statements that you don’t like from the different candidates? That is what this artfully constructed smear with a broad brush piece did. Where does Bernie’s foreign policy views dovetail with Hillary in Libya or Syria or bombing Iran? Forget Trump’s foreign policy because I doubt that he knows much about it. Sure he’ll negotiate - foreign policy as a business opportunity or something. And if negotiations break down? trump promises that when he bombs them that they will know that they have really been bombed!

A former Secretary of State who accomplished nothing and made quite a mess in fact (anybody else notice that Hillary is happy to NOT talk about her Sec of State record of ‘getting things done’).

A billionaire promoter who suddenly will be a foreign policy winner - ‘we will win - America will win again because - we are winners - I am a winner so I know how to win’… Or we will bomb them - 'so that they will know that they have been bombed because I will bomb them and I can really bomb them '.

Bernie >>> I don’t think we should be in an endless war and we should get out of the Middle East and let our allies do what they want us to do for them. We need to cut the military budget and bring our guys home.

Where’s the similarities?


Hillary is wrong - America is not great, not sure that it ever was; at least not in my time. But a unique chance to make it great (Sanders for POTUS) seems lost on many people. Most importantly, lost on those individuals who would benefit the most from Sanders’ candidacy. Why do American people often work against themselves?

If I hear another statement that goes like, “It’s mathematically impossible for Sanders to catch up with delegates” and “Sanders has effectively managed to steer Clinton’s agenda to the left” I’m going to vomit. Do your math and, no, Sanders is not changing Clinton’s agenda, only the perception of her agenda. There is no magic pill to cure brownnosing and poor ethic.


neither !
more like a global pestilence !


Retire the Constitution? YES!!!

And replace it with something that is appropriate for the 21st century. I’m working on it.


My sarcastic/cynical self just can’t resist:

‘‘Is there an endgame for the global war on terror?’’
No. The war-mongers, chicken-hawks, war-profiteers and their supporters
won’t allow for that.

‘‘Do today’s foreign policy challenges mean that it’s time to retire the Constitution?’’
No. Our President and Congress can ignore the Constitution with impunity.
Who’s going to hold them accountable?

‘‘What do we want from the Middle East?’’
Total obedience.

‘‘What is your plan to right-size our military and what about downsizing the global mission?’’
Are you kidding? War means job security, and although the global war on
foreign people isn’t much to brag about, it’s the only war we’ve got.

‘‘Since no one outside our borders buys American exceptionalism anymore, what’s next? What is America’s point these days?’’
The Super-Bowl mentality is the great equalizer. And always remember
that the National Enquirer is the largest selling print magazine in the nation.


You said it. The sooner the pestilence is gone the better. It would be a far better world without it!!


“Are we, in the perhaps slightly exaggerated words of one foreign commentator, now just a “nation of idiots, incapable of doing anything except conducting military operations against primitive countries”?”

Rather looks like it, from 1898 (or earlier) onwards, doesn’t it? Colonel Custer may have lost the Battle of Little Big Horn, but the war continues as his ghost keeps marching on.


Except that is not true. Sanders wants to get us out of the Middle East and just saying end the war on terror is far too simplistic at this point. ISIS needs be dealt with whether Bush/Cheney’s war in Iraq was a phenomenal mistake to begin with.

Hillary seems hell bent on extending the endless war however IMO. She is patently ready to increase the conflict and maybe even to a war with Iran. Bernie does not.


Btw, it is very hard to pick up a thread a day later or even want to when someone drops out without warning. The assumption is that you ended the conversation.

My my, a surprise question. However considering the behavior of the group it would seem that either you don’t know of the group or that you agree with their aims. I do not.

How about being more specific in framing a less general question? For example I support freedom for women. Do you? They do not.

Best I could do with going back to review.