Quote of the day (so far, as Continetti says), from the champion of the Polish Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa:

"The United States is only one superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it, militarily," the Polish leader said. "They also lead economically, but they're getting weak.

"But they don't lead morally and politically anymore. The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we lost that hope."

President Obama has said as much. During the campaign he rejected the idea of American exceptionalism, which essentially is a rejection of America's responsibility as a global leader. But, paradoxically, he still wants the power to influence the international tempo. Only instead of the language of freedom and hope, Obama's America is to be the shining city on the hill for tired left wing boilerplate issues like climate change and nuclear disarmament.

That vision of America's global leadership role is far more invasive than George W. Bush's or Ronald Reagan's, but with a softer title. It's a strange, new Wilsonian outlook, where we're just one average nation among many, but will -- simultaneously -- usher in sweeping socialized changes to global economics, politics, and security. In a sense, his foreign policy communicates that America isn't really all that special, but is still important enough to dictate to the citizens of the world how often they can drive their cars, when they can defend their borders, and where the Olympics will be held.

Color me old-fashioned, but it seems as if inspiring the world to a higher standard, rather than forcing it down its throat, is a more honorable way to conduct the business of foreign affairs. Lech Walesa experienced real American leadership first-hand, and indeed -- after Reagan unapologetically captained the free world-- tyranny suffered. President Obama should take note.

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