US Exceptionalism? Parsing foreign & domestic pig-headness just the same


obama-friedman-libya-videoSixteenByNine540-v2Thomas Friedman’s recent interview with President Obama was a reminder of why America might occasionally be right in boasting about its exceptionalism. A country that produces so clear-eyed a president has to be exceptional. Now and then.

Consider Mr Obama’s views, as described by Mr Friedman.

“At the end of the day, the president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us. We have so many things going for us right now as a country — from new energy resources to innovation to a growing economy — but, he said, we will never realize our full potential unless our two parties adopt the same outlook that we’re asking of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians: No victor, no vanquished and work together.”

It needs a special sort of clear-sightedness for an American president to discern such similarities, equating logjams at home and abroad with an unenviable pig-headedness of similar proportions.