Putting aside ‘American exceptionalism,’ JFK proposed cooperation in space

In response to my question on Wednesday, a reader sent this video.  (H/T David)


  1. David Regan says:

    President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union secretly sought ways to find a diplomatic settlement to the war in Vietnam – The Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/06/06/papers_reveal_jfk_efforts_on_vietnam/?page=full

  2. Ramon F Herrera says:


    An issue has always fascinated me about this, my adoptive country. The term “American Exceptionalism” has not only different, but opposite meanings, specially the Conservative definition versus the Liberal one.

    In my view, proposing cooperation space cooperation was not an act of putting aside, it was indeed based on, and completely consistent with “American Exceptionalism”.

  3. Ramon F Herrera says:

    Let me put it this way. The definition of American Exceptionalism in which our friends across the aisle -Conservatives- believe has a Rooseveltian quality (Teddy, I rush to clarify) and extends to things like the murder of nuns and those kinds of actions that you witnessed in Central America. The Trail of Tears comes to mind. [Yes, we know that Andy Jackson was a co-founder of the Dems.]


    Notice that at its core both definitions agree on one thing: We are the Leaders.

    For us Liberals, such exceptionalim is rather related to initiatives such as “La Alianza para el Progreso” led by Sargent Shriver, not to mention “Ich bin ein Berliner”, or the Cuban rapprochement.

    In a nutshell, here’s the difference at its core:

    Conservatives keep on forgetting (by nature? on purpose? – this always puzzles me!) this most essential of reminders:

    With greater power comes greater responsibility.

    • Photon says:

      Exactly when did Sargent Shriver lead the Alliance for Progress, or even have anything to do with it?
      Does exceptionalism include factual errors ?

      • Ramon F Herrera says:

        Thanks for keeping me honest, Mr. Photon. Allow me to rewrite:

        “For us Liberals, such exceptionalism is rather related to initiatives such as “La Alianza para el Progreso”, The Peace Corps led by Sargent Shriver, not to mention “Ich bin ein Berliner”, or the Cuban rapprochement.”

        Per Google searches, both initiatives are often mentioned in the same breath.


        Department of State Office of the Historian:

        Incidentally, Mr. Photon. Cold you please clarify your ideological position for your loyal readers? Frankly, I am so confused that at some point I wondered: “Perhaps more than one person is posting under that pseudonym?”


    • Mr. Herrera,
      As far as the term “American Exceptionalism,” I have found that historically it refers to “the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.” I have also found that that very definition itself is simply self serving myth, jingoistic bias, and self congratulatory hubris.
      You know like, “The only good Injun is a dead Injun” – that sort of wraps it up in a Manifest Destiny sort of way.

      • Ramon F Herrera says:

        Mr. Whitten:

        You seem to be using the same caliber ammunition to attack president Kennedy and the people who murdered him (*). That would make you holder of a Nihilist view (**):

        Is that the case? Do JFK’s principles as depicted in:

        • “Profiles in Courage”

        • “Why England Slept”

        • “A Nation of Immigrants”

        qualify as “simply self serving myth, jingoistic bias, and self congratulatory hubris.”?

        (*) I am assuming the Far Right.

        (**) https://www.google.com/search?q=nihilist&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

        • Mr. Herrera,
          I am perfectly familiar with what the term “nihilist”, I reject such a characterization as applied to myself. But this is neither here nor there.
          Your metaphor as to the same caliber of ammo to “attack” each side is however interesting. I have described previously the falsity of the Left/Right paradigm. If this isn’t sinking in for you, then th following will doubtless be read in the same way as your earlier interpretations of what I am saying.

          You ask of the following:

          • “Profiles in Courage”

          • “Why England Slept”

          • “A Nation of Immigrants”

          qualify as “simply self serving myth, jingoistic bias, and self congratulatory hubris.”?”

          Yes I do. And again, this is not a matter of Left or Right, it is a matter of the arrogance of ‘American Exceptionalism’, the hubris of ‘Manifest Destiny’, and an ignorance of what true human equality of rights means, as misapprehended from the time of the first interlopers arriving on this continent.

  4. Ramon F Herrera says:


    Speaking of “American Exceptionalism”…

    The Heritage Foundation launched a Spanish language website, “libertad.org”, 5 years ago:


    How are they doing in term of number of readers, and general impact? Well, it is safe to say that their acceptance has been less than overwhelming.

    See, for instance, this article about this very topic:

    “¿Por qué es América excepcional?”

    In 4 years, the article has amassed…

    [drum roll, please]

    Two comments !!

    The bottom one is from a guy who is pissed off about what he perceives as “America” being a stolen name (IOW: I wouldn’t count on him voting for any Heritage candidate).

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