First, the usual depressing stuff:
Charles Crawford, Britain’s former ambassador in Serbia and Poland, called last Monday “the worst day for U.S. and wider Western diplomacy since records began.” Obama set it in motion at a press conference last year by drawing his famous “red line.” Unlike, say, the undignified scrums around the Canadian and Australian prime ministers, Obama doesn’t interact enough with the press for it to become normal or real. So at this rare press conference he was, as usual, playing a leader who’s giving a press conference. The “red line” line sounds like the sort of thing a guy playing a president in a movie would say — maybe Harrison Ford in Air Force One or Michael Douglas in The American President. It never occurred to him that out there in the world beyond the Republic of Cool he’d set an actual red line and some dime-store dictator would cross it with impunity. So, for most of the last month, the bipartisan foreign-policy establishment has assured us that, regardless of whether it will accomplish anything, we now have to fire missiles at a sovereign nation because “America’s credibility is at stake.”
So then, skipping ahead, past the bit about Putin saying something snarky about American-exceptionalism:
Eager to mend bridges with the base after his amnesty bill*, Marco Rubio insisted at National Review Online that America was still, like, totally exceptional.
Sorry, this doesn’t pass muster even as leaden, staffer-written codswallop**. It’s not the time — not when you’re a global joke, not when every American ally is cringing with embarrassment at the amateurishness of the last month. Nobody, friend or foe, wants to hear about American exceptionalism when the issue is American ineffectualism.
GOD. THANK YOU. Ahoy Republicans! Waving a flag and shouting about how much better we are than all the old Europe small GDP commie pinko fascist brown people in the world IS NOT WINNING YOU ANY FRIENDS.
* Emphasis mine. Ahem.
** Now what are the chances I’d use the word Codswallop in the title of the post I wrote last night (but only published this morning) and there’s the word again in this column?