A new phrase entered the vernacular in 1927. Its creator was Joseph Stalin, who rejected “the heresy of American exceptionalism” to an American communist who thought his country’s character obviated Marxism. Thus, a convenient name for the already-common idea that America was unique among the world’s nations was born.
In May of 2010 while operating in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as an infantryman, I was attached to a unit that was employing a female engagement team to supplement their already robust outreach campaign to the local villagers of Marjah. While the Marines—or “lioness” team—did an admirable job, it was clear that their presence in the midst of an all-male infantry company currently involved in combat operations clearly restructured the dynamic on the ground.