This may just be a return to traditional American diplomacy a.k.a American exceptionalism; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the importance of what he called “America’s essential rightness”.
That honestly has to be one of the most Orwellian things a Secretary of State has said in recent memory. While it may seem benign at first, if thought about for a moment, what he is saying is that Americans must believe that America is essentially always right.
Mike Pompeo said this when speaking to his state department staff, at a closed briefing, though the State Department released parts of his speech. Pompeo would like his staff to always carry their “swagger” with them, entrenched in the belief that America is always right. According to RT, Pompeo said:
“Swagger is not arrogance; it is not boastfulness, it is not ego,” Pompeo said. “No, swagger is confidence; in one’s self, in one’s ideas. In our case, it is America’s essential rightness.”
That is hardly any different from what Hitler taught Germans, the idea of a master race, or a supreme nation that is always right. Trump’s America First, is not at this same level, because that simply suggests US interest should be the primary concern of the US Government.
It’s actually always been that way. Most sensible countries put their own interests first; this is what Russia does.
America First, does not necessarily mean “America is always right.”, though it’s hard to view the perceived “essential rightness”, as anything less. Taking the view that you are always right, is also bad for your own interests, because it blinds you the truth, that nothing beneath heaven is always right. Believing you are always right can make you dangerously self-confident, and such pride can lead to a fall. Knowing your own faults and sins, however, is the key to improving and becoming better.
Hammering home the point, Pompeo said that America’s “aggressiveness” was simply “born of the righteous knowledge” that its cause was always just. As such, State Department staff should carry their “diplomatic swagger” to “the ends of the Earth,” he said. In a somewhat contradictory fashion, Pompeo then added that all this should be done “humbly” rather than with boastfulness or ego – lest anyone think there was a hint of arrogance or sense of superiority attached to his remarks.
Pompeo’s comments echo statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearing last month, when he called the US a “unique, exceptional country,”…
Pompeo is far from the first American official to express a belief in the essential rightness or “exceptionalism” of the US. In a comment that she was widely mocked for, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said during her 2016 campaign that “America is great because America is good.”
Clinton had made similar comments in the past, calling America the “last, best hope of Earth” and a “great, unselfish, compassionate country” with an “unparalleled” ability to be a force for peace in the world.
As noted, this is nothing new, the idea of American exceptionalism, but its very alarming that this is coming from the Chief Diplomat of the US Government. Exceptionalism is not diplomacy, it’s very frightening. In contrast, I think President Vladimir Putin said it best:
It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.