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Exceptional AmericaWhat Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other$
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Mugambi Jouet

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293298

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293298.001.0001

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America and the World

America and the World

(p.232) Eight America and the World
Exceptional America

Mugambi Jouet

University of California Press

America has long been much more inclined than other Western democracies to defy norms of diplomacy, international law, and human rights deemed against its interests, although these stances have at times profoundly divided the U.S. public. Americans were bitterly divided over the Bush administration’s use of torture, its aim to detain alleged terrorists forever without trial at Guantanamo, and its catastrophic invasion of Iraq on grounds later revealed to be false. The Obama administration’s rather different approach to foreign policy proved divisive too. The chapter explores why Americans are far more polarized than Europeans over fundamental issues like war, diplomacy, the United Nations, and human rights. From the ideal of Manifest Destiny to America’s relative geographic isolation, superpower status, and the idea that God chose it to lead the world, Mugambi Jouet’s original analysis explains the interrelationship between the different aspects of American exceptionalism shaping U.S. foreign policy.

Keywords:   U.S. Foreign Policy, War on Terror, Militarism, Imperialism, International Law, Torture, Guantanamo, Patriotism, Chauvinism, Insularity

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