March 21, 2011


The idea of American exceptionalism entails an assumption that the US is in any place to dictate the affairs of world politics, as if it were acting from some sort of moral high ground or place of superiority. This destructive assumption places us at the center of global politics, but negatively so, shining a spotlight on the actions of the US in economic, military and social-political spheres. This spotlight feeds our national ego, creating a driving need in the minds of American policymakers that it's their responsibility to fix the naturally occurring problems of local politics in regions outside the normal influence of a given hegemon. American exceptionalism is not different, given our history of violent intervention in foreign theatres. The fire-bombing of Dresden is one such example, in which the "strategic goals" of the US military in ending the encroachment of the Nazi's in Europe superceded necessity and dictated that hundreds of thousands of civilians be burned to death in concussive flames that leveled a beautiful historical city.

My 2 cents on hegemony.


  1. In a world without Exceptionalist mindsets, would policymakers be able to intervene in certain situations in other countries. For example, if the US hadn't entered WW2 there's a pretty good chance that Hitler would have taken all of Europe, and he could *possibly* moved on to take the United States.

    Does a non exceptionalist mindset mean that we don't intervene ever, or that we only intervene when it's in our best interest, or that we only intervene when it's for the greater good?

    Also, what's your definition of intervention? It seems like even internal changes within US policies will spill over to effect other countries through the unpredictable Rube-Goldberg like tendencies of dynamic and complex systems such as IR, which makes defining intervention difficult.