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American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US by Trevor McCrisken

By Trevor McCrisken

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

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Americans could not help but feel that all the lives and resources expended in Vietnam had been wasted. The US was supposed to be an exceptional nation, above the corrupt immorality of the rest of the world. Yet in Vietnam, its leaders had conducted a war whose legitimacy was questionable and objectives often unclear and increasingly unattainable. The nation’s leaders were accused of employing inhumane forms of warfare and of persistently lying to the American people about how the war was progressing and what was being done to bring about a victory.

In many ways, it had the desired effect. In the four years leading to the Paris peace accords which ended the American war, the level of US troops in Vietnam was reduced from 550,000 to 24,000, the weekly American casualty rate declined from hundreds to less than 25, and the annual expenditure on the war fell from a high of $25 billion to around $3 billion. The South Vietnamese regime had also been bolstered with military equipment and training assistance to a point where the Nixon administration believed the Saigon regime had a ‘better than even chance’ of holding off the communists.

Johnson’s overall approval rating also fell from 48 per cent to another new low of 36 per cent. 42 Yet if the American public could not trust President Johnson, their faith in the exceptionalism of their nation would be challenged even more severely by his successor. The Tet offensive had revealed the reality of the inconclusive nature of the war in Vietnam. However, US involvement in Vietnam was to drag on for five more years. 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.

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