America: What it is?

Something McCain said tonight that gives me pause (my emphasis in bold):

The fact is America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world.

Maybe I’m unpatriotic to question that, but I don’t really think I am.  I think trying to paint our society as something it isn’t is unpatriotic.  We’ve done good and bad like any other and we ought remain humbly human.

But that’s beside the point.  The question is did McCain mean fact or was that just the form that his thought took at the time?  Does he mean “Gee, we’re a good country that tries to make things better on earth?”  Or does he mean, literally, that of all causes, men, ideas, emotions, and species, above them all sits this nation of states united?

For the record I vote for trees as the greatest earth-based force for good in the history of the world.  If we are free to choose outside of earth, I’ll go with the universe.