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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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Civilizing the Other

Civilizing the Other

The War on Terror

(p.9) 1 Saving Civilization
Meeting the Enemy

Natsu Taylor Saito

NYU Press

This chapter examines the emergence of contemporary international law in the context of the Crusades. More specifically, it considers the notion of civilizing the infidel Other and how it provided the ideological underpinnings of the Crusades as well as Europe's “Age of Discovery.” The chapter begins with an overview of the history of the Crusades and goes on to discuss Franciscus de Vitoria's arguments that laid the foundation for an international jurisprudence in the early sixteenth century. It then explains how the presumption of the superiority of European civilization facilitated colonialism and legitimated the violence it entailed. It also outlines themes that continue to shape contemporary international relations and American exceptionalism's resonance in the “civilized” world.

Keywords:   international law, Crusades, infidel Other, Europe, Age of Discovery, Franciscus de Vitoria, European civilization, colonialism, international relations, American exceptionalism

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