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By Trevor McCrisken

Trevor McCrisken examines the impression of the idea in American exceptionalism at the background of U.S. overseas coverage because the Vietnam struggle. He analyzes makes an attempt via every one U.S. management either rhetorically and via pursuing overseas coverage supposedly grounded in conventional American ideas. He argues that exceptionalism continually supplied the framework for overseas coverage discourse yet that the behavior of international affairs was once restricted by way of the Vietnam syndrome.

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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’. 11 Not all Americans, however, accepted uncritically the tenets of the Cold War consensus. African Americans in particular focused on the apparent contradiction of the US demanding freedom and democracy throughout the world when such rights were still widely denied to large numbers of its own citizens at home.

Far from signalling the end of American exceptionalism, Fulbright continued to believe that ‘America has a service to perform in the world’ which is to ‘do good … by the force of her own example’ as a ‘free society enjoying its freedom to the fullest’. 55 Fulbright was advocating the exemplar strand of exceptionalism over the missionary one. Although they represented opposite sides in the debate over Vietnam, Fulbright and Nixon shared the same use of language which was based in the belief in American exceptionalism.

Public officials, military strategists, journalists, scholars and the American public could find no definitive answer to the question of what the lessons of the Vietnam War were for American society. The term ‘Vietnam syndrome’ became widely used to describe the collective lessons and legacies of the war, particularly in the political-military realm. 66 Yet even those policy makers who have advocated and utilized the use of force since Vietnam have been largely restricted by a need to apply the instrumental lessons learned in that war.

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