I am a Russian Asset

Tom Nickel
5 min readOct 26, 2019

I never intended to be. It happened slowly at first, and then before I knew it — I was thinking Unauthorized Thoughts.

Now I wonder, ‘why does the United States get to say what is a pro-democracy regime change and what is a terrorist rebellion?’

I also really wonder why the United States can say, ‘we won’t trade with this country,’ and that also means no one else can.

I understand that by many, but not all, important measures, the United States is the most powerful nation in the world at this time. I am a student of history. I know about the rise and fall of empires and I am well aware of the so-called ‘Thucydides Trap’ that China and the US may be approaching.

There are advantages to having a clear #1 in any field as well as transnationally. There are disadvantages too.

The Authorized position is that, yes, the US is the strongest country on earth, but that strength and the dominance that comes with it are used for good. The country makes mistakes and no one is perfect, but overall, the US should be where it is because the American Way is best.

This is the American Exceptionalist position. In case you think only foolish people would believe it, you would have to think President Barack Obama was either lying or pandering, because he is definitely not foolish, when he trumpeted his belief many times:

I believe in American exceptionalism … We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

President Obama said this in an interview with Edward Luce of The Financial Times on April 4, 2009, early in his first term, and he then went on to say:

I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we can’t solve these problems alone.

I would call this position the ‘Enlightened Self-Interest Version of American Exceptionalism.’ We are the Extraordinary ones but we get high with a little help from our friends.

I believed in American Exceptionalism 100%, and mostly this version of it, from age two, when kid history books…

Tom Nickel

Learning Technologist focusing on VR, Video, and Mortality … producer of Less Than One Minute and 360 degree videos