I was born immediately after World War II. It was a time when America became the most powerful nation on the planet. We had triumphed over evil during the War and “deserved” to be #1 among nations. We were truly “exceptional”. As a young man (and especially when I wore my Army uniform), I walked with a swagger . . . because I was an American and damn proud of it!
As I travel through the provinces around Shanghai, I am again seeing that swagger but from the Chinese, of course. I recall that airy confidence of young men who believe they are exceptional but don’t think I recall seeing that back in the U.S. in a long time. Strutting with an attitude is not the same thing as walking with a swagger.
After being occupied by the Japanese from 1933 to 1944 and suffering thru a four year revolution between the Communists from 1945 to 1949, before the Cultural Revolution when 30-40 million of their countrymen starved to death, and then created the greatest economic leap in history, the Chinese feel they have the right to walk with a swagger. I agree!