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US Exceptionalism


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

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US Exceptionalism

  1. 1. America’s Exceptionalism Sophie Lockyer 08101196 ~
  2. 2. Definition <ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. U.S Government and International Affairs <ul><li>Anti-Americanism </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Dangerously nationalist’ country? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>America In The World website (London) introduced as counter-effect </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Conspiracy & Suspicion </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>September 11 & War on Terror </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Allies & Enemies… Britain & Middle East </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. International Business <ul><li>Corporate Social Responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Boycott of large American consumer brands </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Iraq War affected Coca-Cola, McDonalds & Marlboro </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Esso (ExxonMobil) & Kyoto Protocol </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Influence of American political scene </li></ul><ul><li>(through media coverage) </li></ul>
  5. 6. Global Governance <ul><li>“ 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) </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership & relations with the UN </li></ul>
  6. 7. The American’s View <ul><li>Misunderstood </li></ul><ul><li>The City on a Hill Syndrome </li></ul><ul><li>New Sovereignty – Anti-Internationalisation </li></ul><ul><li>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” </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay </li></ul><ul><li>and a review of our detention and interrogation policy , and prohibited the use of torture . </li></ul><ul><li>Appointed Special Envoys for Climate Change, Southwest Asia, the Middle East, Sudan, and a Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. </li></ul><ul><li>Announced a plan to responsibly end the War in Iraq . </li></ul><ul><li>Announced a new strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan . </li></ul><ul><li>Announced a strategy to address the international nuclear threat . </li></ul><ul><li>Agreed to negotiation of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia . </li></ul><ul><li>Established a new &quot;U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue” . </li></ul><ul><li>Announced new policy steps towards Cuba . </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>THE WHITE HOUSE, January 22, 2009 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Foreign Policy – Current Obama Progress ✔ ✘ ✘
  8. 9. Summary <ul><li>Generally relatively negative perceptions – strong anti-Americanism </li></ul><ul><li>US tendencies to not conform with international regimes pose problems and further support criticisms of American ‘superiority’ attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Complex area with little hard evidence </li></ul>
  9. 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
  10. 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 -
  11. 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