Sometimes when presidents are elected, they siphon off old vestiges of previous administrations. Perhaps they discard a rarely used perk or discontinue a tradition such as the playing of “Hail to the Chief.” But never has this nation seen an administration treat the idea of American exceptionalism in the same manner you would a used Oval Office carpet. Sure, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden recognize that America was once the leader of the free world, they simply think that the line of thinking is something to be admired in a museum, taught in history books, but practiced no longer.
Vice President Biden is responsible for the latest example of this White House’s disregard for American leadership. Speaking to the European Parliament in Brussels on May 6, Biden said: “As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the “capital of the free world.” But it seems to me that this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.”
This is not a case of Joe being Joe. This was a deliberative statement read from a Teleprompter that abdicated American exceptionalism, and replaced it with a misguided view of European dominance. A speech of this magnitude is not drafted on the plane ride over, and this line was carefully considered. This ladies and gentlemen, was the Obama White House in living color.
Liberals haven’t even finished watching the video and are already thinking of defensible reasons for this statement. Reasoning such as: ‘He was merely complimenting his hosts’ or ‘America should be more humble’ or ‘It beats George Bush thumping his chest’. But the problem is that the abdication of American exceptionalism isn’t a choice that should be made by a president, and surely not for political reasons.
American presidents earned the title ‘leader of the free world’ not because “some American politicians and American journalists” decided so as the Vice President so obtusely and condescendingly implied. The title was earned during the nearly seventy years that the United States has been the last beacon of hope for nations and people yearning to be free. The U.S. has always acted in the best interests of liberty, especially when the United Nations or even European allies sat on the sidelines. It is in fact this leadership that gives nations in the European Union the comfort to not build up strategic defense operations knowing they can rely on our protection.
It is not an act of humility to give these cold hard facts the credit they’re due. Continually apologizing for America’s global leadership and strength has not bought us any international goodwill, but does further erode the confidence our strategic partners have in our ability to maintain this footing. Never was this more evident than when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was joyfully flanked last week by the leaders of Brazil and Turkey, two key American allies, as they moved forward with a nuclear fuel deal, against the interests of Washington.
President Obama has ceded even the most obvious federal authorities to independent commissions, with the latest example being his commission to study an oil spill that is actually still occurring. Rather than accept accountability, it is easier for this White House to pass the buck. And in foreign affairs, the United Nations and the European Parliament are those places where problems can be passed around for deliberation, and no action.
Now all of this may be a different scenario if Brussels and the European Union were wrestling the leadership role from our hands, if the European Parliament were now fighting for democracy and human rights in the way that America has for decades. But even Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament, knows this not to be the case. Hannan recently said: “European Union is not safeguarding democracy, either internally or externally. Abroad it is doing business with Castro’s Cuba, with the Ayatollahs in Tehran, it’s demanding the right to sell arms to Communist China.”
Washington is indeed the capital of the free world, and will continue to be so, if we choose to accept it. It is high time that the American journalists that the Vice President credits with incorrectly identifying this nation as exceptional, ask the White House why they think we as a nation are so ordinary?