By Daniel McAdams
When Russian President Vladimir Putin took his American counterpart to task in a recent New York Times Editorial over Obama's invocation of the standard neoconservative boilerplate "American exceptionalism" to justify an aggressive US foreign policy, US neocons shrieked in unison. How dare he, they cried.
But to the neoconservatives, American exceptionalism has nothing to do with civil liberties, personal freedom, limited government, free markets, and the like. It is only the exeptionalism of the US sword, going abroad to seek monsters to destroy. It is only the exeptionalism of military might to force the world to follow US dictates.
Putin pushed back against this kind of false and ahistoric American exceptionalism and, likely because his argument made so much sense to the average American who is sick of war and aggression overseas, the neoconservatives suffered fits of convulsions and intestinal distress. Neoconserative Senator Robert Menendez, who has long dreamed of another Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, felt like he "wanted to vomit" after reading Putin's words. House Speaker John Boehner felt "insulted" by Putin. John McCain felt his intelligece insulted by Putin's comments.
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