US Exceptionalism

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A presentation created for a final-year university assessment (North America Business and Politics unit).

A presentation created for a final-year university assessment (North America Business and Politics unit).

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  • 1. America’s Exceptionalism Sophie Lockyer 08101196 ~
  • 2. Definition
      • The term “American exceptionalism” is used to describe the belief that the United States occupies a special position in history and on the global stage by virtue of certain characteristics held to be unique to the United States. This belief has undergone a number of incarnations since it developed in the 1800s, and there are both supporters and critics of American exceptionalism. Since it plays a role in political thought in the United States, understanding exceptionalism and the roots behind the idea is important for people interested in history and politics.
  • 3. U.S Government and International Affairs
    • Anti-Americanism
        • ‘ Dangerously nationalist’ country?
        • America In The World website (London) introduced as counter-effect
    • Conspiracy & Suspicion
        • September 11 & War on Terror
        • Allies & Enemies… Britain & Middle East
  • 4. International Business
    • Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Boycott of large American consumer brands
        • e.g. Iraq War affected Coca-Cola, McDonalds & Marlboro
        • e.g. Esso (ExxonMobil) & Kyoto Protocol
    • Influence of American political scene
    • (through media coverage)
  • 5.  
  • 6. Global Governance
    • “ The world’s biggest complaint about the US is that Washington too often acts unilaterally, without concern for the interest of others.” Kohut & Stokes (2006)
    • Partnership & relations with the UN
  • 7. The American’s View
    • Misunderstood
    • The City on a Hill Syndrome
    • New Sovereignty – Anti-Internationalisation
    • Ruggie (2003) – “ American exceptionalism: a perceived need to safeguard the special features and protections of the U.S. constitution from external interference. And it also taps into a core element of American identity: ours is a civic nationalism, defined by the institutions and practices that bind us, not by blood and soil, and none is more foundational than the constitution itself”
  • 8.
    • Ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay
    • and a review of our detention and interrogation policy , and prohibited the use of torture .
    • Appointed Special Envoys for Climate Change, Southwest Asia, the Middle East, Sudan, and a Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    • Announced a plan to responsibly end the War in Iraq .
    • Announced a new strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan .
    • Announced a strategy to address the international nuclear threat .
    • Agreed to negotiation of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia .
    • Established a new "U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue” .
    • Announced new policy steps towards Cuba .
          • THE WHITE HOUSE, January 22, 2009
    Foreign Policy – Current Obama Progress ✔ ✘ ✘
  • 9. Summary
    • Generally relatively negative perceptions – strong anti-Americanism
    • US tendencies to not conform with international regimes pose problems and further support criticisms of American ‘superiority’ attitude
    • Complex area with little hard evidence
  • 10. References What is American exceptionalism? (2009) Ian Tyrrell - Blog for Wordpress American Exceptionalism : A Double Edged Sword (1996) Seymour Martin Lipset – Washington Post article Why US exceptionalism is not exceptional (2010) Michael Goldfarb – BBC article online References
  • 11. The New Sovereigntists (2000) Spiro, Peter J. – Academic Article Globalisation, the New US Exceptionalism and the War on Terror (2006) Robert G Patman – Academic article Website -
  • 12. Washington’s Exceptionalism and the United Nations (2004) Paul Heinbecker – Academic article American Exceptionalism, Exemptionalism and Global Governance (2003) John Gerard Ruggie – Academic article The Problem of American Exceptionalism (2006) Andrew Kohut & Bruce Stokes – Pew Research Centre article