30 Issues: American Exceptionalism

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and author of Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership,


Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of The Return of History and the End of Dreams, offer different views of American exceptionalism and U.S. foreign policy.

Bobby Ghosh, world editor at Time Magazine, discusses the South Asian perspective on US Leadership in the world and what the international community is looking for in the next president.

Madeleine Albright will be taking questions and signing books at the Borders on Park Avenue and 57th Street on October 29th at 7pm.


Madeleine Albright, Bobby Ghosh and Robert Kagan

Comments [25]


So now, comments about the show, and false claims made by hosts, can't be commented on?

What exactly was off-limits about pointing out that Kagan/Albright don't represent a spectrum of opinion?

Oct. 21 2008 11:17 AM
Brian from BX

Madeline Albright and Robert Kagin? Apparently the issue is not American Exceptionalism, but two hawkish views celebrating American Exceptionalsism. McCain can hire Kagin if he wants, but Kagin and the PNAC crowd had bad ideas that sounded crazy before they were put in practice and failed murderously when they were. Why give him air time? Dissapointing.

Oct. 21 2008 11:17 AM
NWP from CT


The punishment of poluting companies has to come in the form of fixed pricing. If they are taxed, the price will increase to cover the new 'cost'.

As long as the consumer pays, what difference is it from just taxing the consumer and use the 'fund' to support the green industry.

Oct. 21 2008 11:16 AM
{{BL Show}}

A gentle reminder: please remain on-comment and lay off the name calling.

Oct. 21 2008 11:02 AM
AWM from UWS

Thanks for NOTHING Kagan!

Once again a McCain surrogate spends his/her time putting Obama down saying he/she "doesn't know what his position is" when we have heard it repeatedly over th course of the past 2 years.

As for their candidate, his position needs no explanation because he's been around for 26 years? Please, remind me! I need more info on a candidate who championed the Iraq disaster and conflated Iran and Al-Qaeda several times before he got it right.

Oct. 21 2008 11:00 AM

Nice Colbert reference Brian!!

Oct. 21 2008 10:53 AM
Dave from NYC

So now Kagan's sliming... Colin Powell?! C'mon. Perhaps "Country First" should be changed to "Slime First." Shameful. And to think in 2000 I was a supporter of Sen. McCain's.

Oct. 21 2008 10:52 AM
Henry from Katonah

So a McCain administration would continue divide and defeat politics domestically and arrogance in foreign policy? No thanks, not this time.

Oct. 21 2008 10:51 AM
Gramsci from nyc

Isn't there also misapprehension that "in here" there is a stable status quo? Aren't we also suceptable to giving our executive branch too much power (haven't we already) thus resulting in an unchecked power, usually defined as 'dictatorial' or hegemonic? These are really arrogant assumptions.

Oct. 21 2008 10:43 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

We'll get thru it cause we are America! Nice assessment of the situation.

Oct. 21 2008 10:37 AM
shaun from Union Sq

our ideas are not exceptional, of course. the element elevating "American exceptionalism" above the rest of the world is the naive concept that indeed, our ideas are unique and special.

perhaps the world would look a little different if Norway had our military capability... "Norwegian exceptionalism" could be interesting.

Oct. 21 2008 10:31 AM
shaun from Union Sq

Ms. Albright should qualify her statement that the U.S. supports democracy outright in that we only support democracy when a pro-American government is elected. Witness our dismissal of democratically elected Hamas in Palestine. Would the U.S. be so eager to support a legitimately (re)elected Chavez or Chavez-like leader in Venezuela? Obama or not, I think not.

Oct. 21 2008 10:21 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

AH...yup I posted it too...she isn't 1 to tell anyone whats right and wrong.

Oct. 21 2008 10:17 AM
SF from NYC

There is a broad spectrum of ideas in this country. Give all ideas a chance to be heard.
Even if we don't like them or they are hard to hear.

Oct. 21 2008 10:17 AM

We (americans) often presume that we are the parents and the other nations, our children.

But living abroad (Asia) for some years revealed to me quite the opposite --for its weaknesses, missteps and vanities, America is seen as the world's child, full of potential and goodness and strength.

When the US and/or its elected representatives do something stupid, most people are disappointed because we have fallen short of our idealized potential, as a parent to a child.

Oct. 21 2008 10:16 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

I love when a person like MA lectures on how we should do thongs better...she supported sanctions that led directly to deaths of 1000s and now wshe lectures about freedom and democracy.

Oct. 21 2008 10:16 AM
Robert from NYC

Unlike the others on this list I don't really care what Albright has to say because it's the same old hash that she's been proposing over the past years while out of an administration. And, AND all the same proposals we hear her say on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ALL the other news programs. It's time for new people and new minds and new ways of thinking. She always seems to be seeking office somewhere. Feh!

Oct. 21 2008 10:16 AM
Gramsci from nyc

How about the authors of "Empire", Negri and Hardt? That might be a more dynamic conversation.

Oct. 21 2008 10:16 AM

I see no substantive difference between our military/economic empire today and Britain's in the 19th Century. We leverage an army and navy to gain access to import/export markets. And the reality is that it's easier to negotiate with dictators than with democracies; our foreign policy reflects this. 90% of our claims to support international democracy are cover for this.

Oct. 21 2008 10:15 AM
Jacob from Brooklyn

So a neoconservative (Kagan) and a realist (Albright)? That's the framework of the debate? Couldn't you get real opponent of American exceptionalism on if that is the debate? I expect more from you guys...

Oct. 21 2008 10:13 AM
Lorenzo from NY/NJ

I am a 37 year old Italian man who moved to the U.S. 4 years ago. I am always ever so slightly annoyed when either candidate refers to the United States as the "best country in the world". It would be an act of nationalist chauvinism for any European president or Prime minister to say anything similar. One could also argue that there are several indicators of this country's democracy that compare very poorly with others: poverty, military might, judicial, death penalty, separation of church and state, etc

Oct. 21 2008 10:12 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Maybe if we didn't kill people (and give oppressive govs money too) we wouldn't have to be looking over our shoulders so much...
Ask MA how she feels about this

Oct. 21 2008 10:09 AM
Roger Copeland from NYC

You know that old adage about how countries "hate American politicians but they love America"? I wonder how the economic collapse has affected that perception. American politicas hasn't been something to aspire to in a decade; and now American-style capitalism is crumbling... What's exceptional these days?

Oct. 21 2008 10:08 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I would be interested in knowing what Albright thinks about the recent action by Congress allowing trade of nuclear material with India, despite their testing of a bomb and non-compliance with the non-proliferation agreements. Is it a good idea to look like we play favorites -- i.e. it's OK for India, but not Iran etc.

Oct. 21 2008 09:52 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Could you please ask Secretary Albright what she would advise the next president to do in regards to Israel and the Palestinians. In retrospect, what did Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross do right? Did the W. Bush approach of taking a big step back from hands on Israeli/Palestinian diplomacy offer the next president any opportunities?

Oct. 21 2008 08:06 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.