Saturday, March 19, 2011

213. What Makes the United States Exceptional?

Recently, Fareed Zakaria, the well-known writer of politics, told his readers that he decided to be an American, not by accident of birth but by choice. He wanted to be an American because he believed that the United States was "exceptional." There's no doubt that the United States is an exceptional nation in the world. However, I have to make it clear that I have no inclination to strengthen the theory of American exceptionalism.

My understanding is that the United States was grown out of European cultural tradition; it is hard to cut the cultural tie. However, it is culturally incorrect to say that the United States is a simple extension of Europe, or another European country. Dr. Dave Wang's efforts to examine Chinese cultural influence on the colonial and republic era of the United States might help us understand what has made the United States exceptional. The founding fathers' wisdom, vision and efforts to draw nourishments from foreign cultures, including Chinese culture, and determination to build a new nation are among the elements that contributed to the exceptional character of the United States.

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