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

Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-07

46 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2010 Last revised: 8 Apr 2010

Natsu Taylor Saito

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

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

Saito, Natsu Taylor, Colonial Presumptions: The War on Terror and the Roots of American Exceptionalism (2008). Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives, Vol. 1, p. 67, 2009; Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1546023

Natsu Taylor Saito (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
299
Rank
81,534
Abstract Views
1,473