Not as described or labeled

Strategy Page describes how China measures the competition and concludes:

China is also uneasy that America is so different as a superpower. American might is based more on economic, financial and cultural, than military power. Although the United States has the largest military in the world, those troops are often involved in disaster relief, or removing tyrants (like Saddam and the Taliban) from power. When the American military rolls in, they eventually leave the “conquered” nation better off. That sort of thing does not compute using the ancient Chinese foreign affairs calculus.

In this, it appears that China is a bit more realistic than “America’s liberals.” Edward Bernard Glick describes The Grand Illusions of America’s Liberals to bring allegations of racism and imperialism into perspective. He concludes that

America’s liberals have never learned to look at life through the prisms of contrast, comparison, and context. If they would honestly compare our country to ancient Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome, or to Ottoman Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Russia, Britain, and France, then they would have to conclude that America was and is the least imperialistic power in recorded history.

There is something unique about the United States. Whether it is considered special or not seems to depend upon whether someone is trying to compete with it or to live it.

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