By Trevor McCrisken
Trevor McCrisken examines the effect of the assumption in American exceptionalism at the historical past of U.S. international coverage because the Vietnam struggle. He analyzes makes an attempt by means of every one U.S. management either rhetorically and by means of pursuing international coverage supposedly grounded in conventional American ideas. He argues that exceptionalism constantly 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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Extra resources for American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US Foreign Policy Since 1974
Loss of faith in the institutions of government had almost doubled between 1968 and 1973, and 88 per cent of Americans in 1974 mistrusted ‘the people in power in this country’. The public felt ‘that the great national institutions command an excess of power, which they abuse for selfish ends’. The loss of confidence could, therefore, be attributed to a ‘crisis of moral legitimacy’. 62 Vietnam and Watergate had, as so many commentators, public officials and ordinary Americans declared, inflicted deep wounds in the American psyche.
Like so many presidents before him, Johnson insisted that the US had nothing but benign intentions: ‘We have no territory there, nor do we seek any. ’ This lack of desire for dominion over others was such a strong American principle that ‘no nation need fear that we desire their land, or to impose our will, or to dictate their institutions. But we will always oppose the effort of one nation to conquer another nation’. The reasons for this commitment were highly moral, Johnson declared, and very much entwined in the belief that the US was brought into existence to serve a special purpose in human history: [O]ur generation has a dream.
David Stockman, who later in life would become President Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, expressed his opposition in such terms 36 American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam as an anti-war leader at Michigan State University in April 1967: A nation is not defined by the particular policy, of a particular administration, in power at a particular point in time. Rather, the genius of a nation is expressed in those lofty ideals and broad spiritual currents which have threaded their way through the fabric of its history.
American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US Foreign Policy Since 1974 by Trevor McCrisken