American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US by Trevor McCrisken

By Trevor McCrisken

Trevor McCrisken examines the effect of the assumption in American exceptionalism at the heritage of U.S. overseas coverage because the Vietnam warfare. He analyzes makes an attempt by means of each one U.S. management either rhetorically and via pursuing international coverage supposedly grounded in conventional American ideas. He argues that exceptionalism regularly supplied the framework for international coverage discourse yet that the behavior of international affairs used to be restricted by way of the Vietnam syndrome.

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Finally, it will be concluded that despite the best efforts of each administration, US foreign policy action was frequently out of step with its exceptionalist rhetoric. As a result, doubts do continue to exist about American power and the American role in the world even though a general belief in American exceptionalism persists. ’1 With these words, Gerald R. Ford signalled to the American people that, after years tainted by civil unrest, a divisive war, the assassinations of major public figures, and widespread political scandal, his presidency would offer the United States ‘a time to heal’.

9 For example, the authors of the secret National Security Council Paper No. ’ They described the Cold War as ‘a basic conflict between the idea of freedom under a government of laws, and the idea of slavery under the grim oligarchy of the Kremlin’. It was ‘imperative’ that the forces of ‘freedom’ prevail, and the US The End of American Exceptionalism? 23 must, therefore, build up its political, economic, and military strength. NSC 68 further emphasized, however, that US strength also lay ‘in the way in which we affirm our values in the conduct of our national life’.

For centuries nations have struggled among each other. But we dream of a world where disputes are settled by law and reason. And we will try to make it so. ’19 Johnson was suggesting that the moral superiority of the US purpose and the purity of its conduct would ensure ultimate victory. As with all the major foreign policy actions in US history, the intervention in Vietnam was justified publicly in terms consistent with the belief in American exceptionalism. The Vietnam War The Vietnam War was the longest foreign conflict in which the US had been involved and the first in which it was defeated.

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