Many Americans, like many Brits past and present, like to live in a bubble where they do no wrong and anyone who highlights uncomfortable truths about their crimes is anti-American or anti-British. Part of growing up is coming to terms with the good and bad in life and that includes the good and bad of one's country's history. When a nation does this, it can say sorry for past offences, seek to make amends, and move on. When a nation doesn't do this, it continues in the same complacent way, clinging to its image of "greatness", breezing from one atrocity to the next, perhaps acknowledging the occasional "mistake" or "tactical error". On present form, I confidently expect America to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for many years to come. Britain is no better.
On the other hand, victors / oppressors can't presume of the peoples who they slaughtered that they should be so magnanimous. It's right for the Japanese to apologise to the Filipinos, the Americans to apologise to the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Iraqis, Afghans etc, and there are no end of peoples that deserve an apology from the British. If a slaughtered people doesn't demand an apology and reparation, we shouldn't breathe a sigh of relief or presume we did nothing wrong. Do you agree with me on this?
So I am now possibly a "fool" who writes "nonsense"? Ad hominem stuff which again dodges the issue - getting uncomfortable is it? Shall we debate this properly and get into the definition of "war crime" and see how many of the estimated 20 million deaths caused by America in the last 50 years come within that category? Or, if you want, you can admit that the USA has committed war crimes in its recent past which have hugely dented its "greatness", and we can call it quits.
When it comes to the politicians who run the country, I say the US fails and is not as great as it once was when it was founded on principles and moral values. The US is ruled primarily by special interest group and capitalism and will put both these particular concerns before the welfare of its people. The Republican Party shut down the US government because of ObamaCare which would benefit low-income people and was at the time already the law of the land. The shutting down of the government cost 24 billion and accomplished nothing of value but cost many Americans a paycheck.
There will never be an acceptable and logical counter to the claim that any nation is the greatest country on earth - because that is simply an illogical claim which can never be proven.
Furthermore it is a claim so heavily invested in nationalistic pride that anyone so lacking in sensibility as to make it, is going to be incapable of accepting any evidence of its illegitimacy.
I have said this before, and I will say it again - there is no such animal as 'the greatest country' and there never has been. There are simply insufficient objective and universally accepted criteria by which to arrive at that judgement.
It may be claimed that Scandinavia offers the most social justice; that Germany makes the best machinery; that Australia boasts the best white-sand beaches; and so on. Many such claims are verifiable, but what do they prove other than the obvious advantages? Is it common to hear Swedes, or Germans, or Australians, claim theirs is the best country in the world? And if they did, should that be taken as self-evident?
"I am the greatest!" claims are most often evidence of an underlying sense of uncertainty, at best, and inferiority, at worst. After all, what self-evidently superior being has to tell others of his superiority? There is an old adage which says "Self-praise is no recommendation." From which one must draw the obvious inference that compliments must come from someone else.
I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. E.M. Forster