Colonial Presumptions: The War on Terror and the Roots of American Exceptionalism
Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives, Vol. 1, p. 67, 2009
46 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2010 Last revised: 8 Apr 2010
Date Written: 2008
The United States' current "war on terror" has been framed as a struggle for "civilization"; one which requires a "new paradigm of international law." The rationale for the United States' selective self-exemption from otherwise applicable international law in conducting this war has been that new and imminent threats require the re-shaping of legal doctrines. This essay considers this rationale against the backdrop of three centures of American visions and policies, and the legal justifications put forth to justify Euroamerican expansion. It concludes that the justifications for American exceptionalism have been remarkably consistent throughout its history and that, as a result, contemporary exceptionalist policies can only be effectively countered if the presumptions of the underlying paradigm are confronted directly.
Keywords: exceptionalism, international law, foreign policy
JEL Classification: K00, Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation