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By Trevor McCrisken

Trevor McCrisken examines the impression of the assumption in American exceptionalism at the historical past of U.S. overseas coverage because the Vietnam conflict. He analyzes makes an attempt by way of every one U.S. management either rhetorically and through pursuing overseas coverage supposedly grounded in conventional American ideas. He argues that exceptionalism regularly supplied the framework for overseas coverage discourse yet that the behavior of overseas affairs used to be constrained by means 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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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.

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. It is a very old dream. But we have the power and now we have the opportunity to make that dream come true. For centuries nations have struggled among each other. But we dream of a world where disputes are settled by law and reason.

No matter what their generals or their president might say, the supposedly bankrupt and defeated enemy had shown its ability to strike more fiercely than ever before anywhere in South Vietnam. The war was not on the brink of victory for the US; indeed it appeared the Vietnamese communists would never stop fighting. Progress had not been made and the sacrifice of lives and resources and the war’s divisive effects on the homefront had all been for naught. The official assurances of the previous year appeared now as nothing but hollow lies.

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