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Meeting the EnemyAmerican Exceptionalism and International Law$
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Natsu Taylor Saito

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814798362

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814798362.001.0001

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(p.229) 9 Confronting American Exceptionalism
Meeting the Enemy

Natsu Taylor Saito

NYU Press

This book explores the phenomenon of American exceptionalism in international affairs and the contradictions embodied within it, as exemplified by the Bush administration's “war on terror.” It considers how the United States's assertion of a “uniquely American” posture toward international law undermines specific legal institutions and norms. The United States claims that freedom, democracy, and human dignity are peculiarly “American” values that have been generally accepted in international law, but this book argues that it has consistently distanced itself from many established principles of international law, as well as the international institutions that have evolved to implement such law. The book also examines the more familiar approaches to American exceptionalism and the dangers posed by the new “American internationalism,” as well as ways in which American exceptionalism can most effectively be countered.

Keywords:   international affairs, United States, international law, freedom, democracy, human dignity, international institutions, American internationalism, war on terror, American exceptionalism

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