By Trevor McCrisken

American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam examines the impression of the assumption in American exceptionalism at the background of U.S. overseas coverage because the Vietnam struggle. Trevor B. McCrisken analyzes makes an attempt by means of every one post-Vietnam U.S. management to restore the preferred trust in exceptionalism either rhetorically and through pursuing overseas coverage supposedly grounded in conventional American rules. He argues that exceptionalism regularly supplied the framework for overseas coverage discourse yet that the behavior of overseas affairs used to be constrained through the Vietnam syndrome.

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The Vietnam War and the Watergate revelations seemed finally to reveal that the United States was just as fallible as any other nation. As the above analysis shows, however, there were indications that the belief in American exceptionalism would survive the period intact. As with earlier periods of crisis and change in American history, advocates on both sides of the Vietnam issue continued to utilize the rhetoric of American exceptionalism in their arguments. The idea that the US was a special nation with a special destiny seemed as though it might not lose its currency in American discourse.

Republican candidate Richard Nixon won the presidential election in November 1968 pledging to end the war in Vietnam, but he was not interested in ending it immediately. He insisted that the American withdrawal must be ‘honorable’. Any rapid abandonment of the commitment to South Vietnam would be callously out of character with the American tradition of defending free peoples under the threat of aggressors. Nixon and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, also argued that US credibility was at stake.

Presidents feel the need to maintain public support for their foreign policy largely because this grants it the moral legitimacy that became so lacking in Vietnam. To avoid ‘another Vietnam’, policy makers have therefore, followed the central criteria of the Vietnam syndrome, namely that the US should not employ force in an international conflict unless: just cause can be demonstrated, the objectives are compelling and attainable, and sufficient force is employed to assure a swift victory with a minimum of casualties.

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