Winton is Australian, and says he’s “strongly opposed to American exceptionalism.” But I appreciate his saying that my book makes a stronger case than he’s seen anywhere that America does still stand for high ideals.
“American exceptionalism” is a loaded phrase. I didn’t use it in my book. It’s obvious that, in a lot of ways, America is not “just another country.” And I think the world would be in a lot worse shape if there were no such country. I doubt America’s critics would really prefer a world in which the pre-eminent power were China or Russia. But none of that means America is outside the rules of the international system (such as they are). Great power brings with it great responsibility. I believe America has acted as responsibly — more, in fact — than could be expected of any great power. Perfect? No. Good? Very.