“American exceptionalism, when put to good use, has made this world a better place,” wrote DeWayne Wickham in USA Today. He was reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times that suggested the U.S. is arrogant to think itself a special case.
The problem isn’t that we think falsely think of ourselves as exceptional, argues DeWayne. It’s that we haven’t always used those powers for good:
It took a lot of exceptional Americans to develop the atomic bomb. But when just two of those weapons of mass destruction were dropped on Japan, it’s estimated that 220,000 men, women and children were killed by those blasts. That’s a heavy cross to bear by the only nation to use such a weapon — a country that routinely questions whether other nations can be trusted with its destructive power.