I tightened this piece up a bit.
Exceptional nations and exceptional individuals have the same two characteristics: They are strong. And they are well balanced.
Just as strong and well balanced individuals have a greater capacity to utilize their goodness, so do strong nations.
We are the most powerful nation in the history of the world. And incredibly restrained, given how much power we have. Are we perfect? No. Abu Ghraib reminds us of that. But then again, exceptional doesn’t mean perfect.
We are well balanced in our traditions, which include stability, prosperity, respect for democratic principles, respect for law, and a tradition of having an orderly transfer of power every four or eight years.
Sweden is another well grounded country. But it’s not powerful. China is a powerful country. But it’s not well grounded. Iran and North Korea? They are strange, strange countries. Who is to keep an eye on them? Sweden? China?
No, it falls to America. No other country is capable. No other country is willing. And no other country is as exceptional.