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

By Trevor McCrisken

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

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Extra resources for American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US Foreign Policy Since 1974

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This sense that the American people could no longer trust their leaders was further compounded by the events and revelations surrounding the Watergate affair. The United States seemed to have shown itself just as fallible and unexceptional as any other nation in history. Yet there was no consensus on any of the matters that indicated to some Americans that the US was no longer, if indeed it ever had been, an exceptional nation. The questions concerning the legality and morality of the justifications for the Vietnam War and the conduct of the fighting found just as many answers among supporters of the campaign as they did among dissenters: It was the North Vietnamese who had broken the Geneva Accords.

52 But it could not hide the fact that the US had failed to achieve its objectives in Vietnam. For the first time in the nation’s history, the United States had lost a war. Americans could not help but feel that all the lives and resources expended in Vietnam had been wasted. The US was supposed to be an exceptional nation, above the corrupt immorality of the rest of the world. Yet in Vietnam, its leaders had conducted a war whose legitimacy was questionable and objectives often unclear and increasingly unattainable.

While all the other major combatants had suffered massive devastation, the US emerged from the war relatively unscathed with its industry booming, its fighting forces the largest and best equipped in the world, and with a monopoly on the ultimate new weapon, the atomic bomb. 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.

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