By Trevor McCrisken
Trevor McCrisken examines the impact of the assumption in American exceptionalism at the background of U.S. international coverage because the Vietnam conflict. He analyzes makes an attempt by way of each one U.S. management either rhetorically and through pursuing overseas coverage supposedly grounded in conventional American ideas. He argues that exceptionalism always supplied the framework for international coverage discourse yet that the behavior of overseas affairs was once restricted by way of the Vietnam syndrome.
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Additional info for American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US Foreign Policy Since 1974
The American experience in the Second World War had, therefore, strongly reinforced the belief in American exceptionalism. Over the next 20 The End of American Exceptionalism? 21 thirty years, however, events were to unfold that would seriously undermine American faith in their special destiny and special place in the world. The analysis in this chapter will first show how the belief in American exceptionalism provided the basis for much of the discourse of Cold War American foreign policy. The main focus, however, will be on how US conduct in the Vietnam War and the resultant defeat caused Americans to question whether they had witnessed the end of American exceptionalism.
35 ensure that the ‘strand of humanism, tolerance, and accommodation’ remain dominant. He contended that: The foremost need of American foreign policy is a renewal of dedication to an ‘idea that mankind can hold to’ – not a missionary idea full of pretensions about being the world’s policemen but a Lincolnian idea expressing that powerful strand of decency and humanity which is the true source of America’s greatness. Far from signalling the end of American exceptionalism, Fulbright continued to believe that ‘America has a service to perform in the world’ which is to ‘do good … by the force of her own example’ as a ‘free society enjoying its freedom to the fullest’.
The consequences of the Vietnam War, and indeed Watergate, in US foreign policy were also somewhat ambiguous. The US Congress attempted to reassert its role in foreign policy making in order to stem further presidential excesses and abuses of power, most visibly with the 1973 War Powers 38 American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam Act. 65 Yet this consensus would have broken down with or without Vietnam as the international situation changed through the course of the 1960s, particularly in light of the Sino-Soviet split.
American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US Foreign Policy Since 1974 by Trevor McCrisken