- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2008


Sen. Barack Obama’s supporters must be praying that Sen. John McCain takes Brett Joshpe’s campaign advice (“America’s identity,” Op-Ed, Friday). The “exceptionalist” identity Mr. Josphe and his inspiration, Natan Sharansky, promote have done more to harm America’s future in the world than any multiculturalism could.

The only thing more damaging to our freedom and security in today’s interdependent world is American’s unexamined identity of “independence.”

The Constitution is an exceptional document forwarding basic principles like protection of inalienable rights and a sensible balancing of power that should be applicable to all the world’s people and nations respectively. Unfortunately, that idealism hasn’t been applied in U.S. foreign policy. It isn’t practiced by the Bush administration, which often talks about freedom and democracy but continues to support domestic policies and foreign governments that undermine these universal ideals.

It is this profound hypocrisy that had the Reagan administration and President Bush’s father in the late 1980s arming Iraq. Our then-“ally” Saddam Hussein used these weapons as he warred against Iran and mass-murdered Kurds.

Even after Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush supported undemocratic governments in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China in hopes of gaining some short-term advantages such as lower oil prices, help in killing suspected terrorists or buying cheap manufactured goods.

The International Olympic Committee slogan, “One World, One Dream,” is closer to American idealism of “liberty and justice for all” than this exceptionalist ideology of “might makes right” or “my country, right or wrong.”

Mr. Obama’s “multicultural” types don’t “regard all nations and governments as equally righteous.” Most of us do believe, however, that all the world’s people are deserving of equal protection for a basic set of universal rights.

To the degree that past or current American foreign policy ignores this fact is the degree to which people like Mr. McCain will justify attacking Iran, yet refuse the use of military force in stopping genocide in Darfur.

We will apparently go out of our way, and risk Armageddon to protect ourselves and our exceptional ally Israel from an unlikely genocide, yet we won’t lift a single rifle to stop the ongoing genocide of poor black people with no oil under their feet.

Mr. Joshpe should realize that “E Pluribus Unum” means “Out of many, one,” not “one (or two) over many.”

“Yes, we can” do more to put into global practice what our Founding Fathers preached. Not because the United States or Americans are exceptional, but because the universal ancient ideals that were used to create this great nation are. Mr. McCain is a good man, but if he can’t make this simple yet profound distinction, he doesn’t deserve any American’s vote.



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