American Exceptionalism Kritik 1NC

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American Exceptionalism Kritik


1NC American Exceptionalism Kritik

The aff is an attempt to convert non-believers to the religion of American law of war, eliminating difference and producing a global American legal consciousness

Mattei 3 (Ugo, Hastings College of the Law; Univ. of Turin, Italy, “A Theory of Imperial Law: A Study on U.S. Hegemony and the Latin Resistance”, Global Jurist Frontiers , Vol. 3 [2003], Iss. 2, Art. 1)

Neo-colonial practices in the Third World are to a great extent originated by the evolution of advanced capitalism in the United States (what I have referred to as the neo- American model) and by its diffusion at the periphery within a reactive philosophy of governance that, outside of effective “reactive” institutions such as the one developed in the United States, paves the way to exploitive opportunistic behavior.71 Of course, it would be thoroughly inaccurate to see colonialism as a vehicle of Americanization. Only post-colonialism can be fairly seen as such.72 The unfolding of U.S. rule has indeed been a phenomenon that is better captured by the notion of imperialism than by that of outright colonialism.73 To begin with, imperialism is not limited as a relationship between “developed” and “developing,” or between a colonizing nation-state and colonized people kept under foreign rule. An imperialistic desire attempts the global imposition of its values and fundamental structures of government and modes of thought worldwide. In this sense, it is clear that communism has been an imperialistic attempt aiming at final worldwide success. Imperialism requires an “imperial ideal,” a stronger ideological apparatus that can be reached only by means of strong and well-developed “ideological institutions.”74 The ideals of a global market, of international human rights, of freedom throughout the world, and most notably of the “rule of law” perform this ideological role.75 Imperialism does not necessarily need to be a conscious effort,76 nor must it spell out an imperialistic doctrine, prescribing steps towards a final condition of imperial hegemony.77 The recent transformation of international law from a decentralized system of foreign sovereigns to a progressively more centralized legal system governed by professional elites staffing (international) courts of law is a more or less conscious reproduction of the reactive philosophy of the U.S. government by courts. As such, it is reproducing on the world scale a professional legal ideology of neutrality, democracy, and rule of law, granting legitimacy to the worldwide exercise of the United States’s unprecedented political strength. Just as U.S. domestic doctrines of separation of powers, political questions, and sovereign immunity allow the U.S. government a quite extended and unnoticed degree of unrestricted power,78 similarly an international law governed by courts of law (on the Nuremberg model), rather than by negotiation between decentralized sovereign States, should produce the façade of legitimacy for the exercise of worldwide hegemony. Of course, the fear of counter-hegemonic use of such an international centralized legal system explains the reluctance of the U.S. government to support the International Criminal Court.79 The moment is ripe for introducing, within the legal field of international law, the notion of counter-hegemony as used in this article.

American exceptionalism allows the spread of ideals in the name of innocence covering the cloaks of imperialism, extermination, and racism

Cuadro 11 (Mariela, PhD in IR at the National University of La Plata, BA in Sociology at the University of Buenos Aires, Master in IR at the National University of La Plata (IRI), Researcher at the Department of Middle East in International Relations Institute (IRI) at the University of La Plata, Member and researcher at the Center for International Political Reflection (CERPI), “Universalisation of liberal democracy, American exceptionalism and racism" Transcience Volume 2—Issue 2,

The two main ideological tendencies in US -conservatism and liberalism- share the same historical roots: they both derive from “classical liberalism” (Rosati, 1993). This explains that, while their conception of domestic politics differs (liberals defend some kind of state intervention in the country’s economy, conservatives are in favor of a more “laissez-faire” economy; liberals encourage individual freedoms, conservatives try to protect the traditional institutions –e.g., the family-), in terms of Foreign Policy they can find some points in common. As a current example, we cite the interventionist policies of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama (of course, with differences that are not taken into account here) destined to protect the civilian populations of Iraq and Libya, respectively. This is expressed in “the moralization of US Foreign Policy” (Rosati, 1993: 394), based on the assumptions of innocence, benevolence and exceptionalism. The three are extremely intertwined. Indeed, from US rhetoric, the US Foreign Policy is always aimed at ‘doing good’, and acts are carried out in the name of Humanity. They, therefore, assume that when others damage them (in one way or another) they have become victims of evil people. This is how the US denies its power and political involvement in the world, putting their actions and those of the others outside History. In this sense, the repeated rhetorical question that George W. Bush asked himself and the Americans about why the terrorist acts of 9-11 happened had only one possible answer: evil. “...why would this have happened to America? Why would somebody do this to our country? These attacks are from some people who just are so evil it’s hard for me to describe why. It’s hard for us to comprehend why somebody would think the way they think, and devalue life the way they devalue, and to harm innocent people the way they harmed innocent people. It’s just hard for all of us adults to explain.”4 Innocence does not just imply not recognizing historical and political responsibilities, but it also has another effect: prevent critique of the self. Indeed, innocence can be defined as a constant need to put one’s own problems out. This mechanism generates the closure of the totality, the homogenization of the ‘We’, through the establishment of a difference. It is in this sense that David Campbell argues “that United States foreign policy [is] understood as a political practice central to the constitution, production, and maintenance of American political identity” (Campbell, 1998: 8) But the most important line uniting liberals and conservatives is the assumption of American exceptionalism5, which -in order to put the US in the field of history- can be understood as a fervent nationalism. This assumption, which emerges at specific moments, has very deep roots, going back to 1630 and arrival of Puritans in North America. Nevertheless, the way in which they understand this constructed assumption –that reified takes the form of a fact- indicates which political impulse prevails: internationalism or isolationism. Indeed, exceptionalism can be read in two different ways. On the one hand, it can be understood in terms of uniqueness (this reading comes from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America), in which case “America”6 is considered a model to be emulated -“the city upon the hill”-. On the other hand, “exceptional” can be understood in the sense of being the best socio-economic model. From our point of view, both readings permit imperialist policies based on the idea of superiority that underlies American exceptionalism. Indeed, the belief in being the chosen people that accompanied the Puritans formed the basis of their “right” to kill the natives inhabiting the conquered territory. In the same sense, this led to the 19th century’s idea of the “manifest destiny” to expand democracy from coast to coast in North America, a discourse which had the effect of conquering Mexican territory, for example. The meeting of exceptionalism, liberalism and the colossal US military machine is explosive. Because the idea of exceptionalism (reified as it is, not being criticized) expresses some sort of superiority that not only gives the US the “right” of lecturing other people on how to organize their societies, but also establishes a sort of hierarchy of life value, at the top of which rest American lives. If we add to this the disproportionate military apparatus and a liberal discourse affirming US action is carried out in the name of Humanity and not because of self-interest, the real possibility to carry out extermination policies towards those who do not agree with the way of life that is being imposed on them emerges. This is one way to understand a fundamental US paradox: While it has had the leading role in constructing the most complex international legal order to maintain peace, it has, at the same time, constructed a colossal military machine -without a peer competitor- that cannot be understood solely in terms of defense (of Humanity). What we are trying to emphasize is the intrinsic linkage between US democracy and violence and the danger that accompanies it when used in the name of universality, because it can lead to an exterminating violence. As Benjamin once said, this violence is not just a conservative one, but can act as a founder one (1995). And this is important too: No democracy works without violence and -we do not have to forget- violence is in the origins of US democracy. Indeed, it was built on the genocide of natives and slavery. Furthermore, must consider this an open chapter in history: in Libya, in Afghanistan, in Iraq (just for citing some examples) US is currently exercising founder violence. Whether the exceptionalism is understood as an example or as a right and a duty to impose particular values on other people, both meanings shed light on the sense of superiority that permeates US identity. We can affirm thus that American exceptionalism is no more than a form of racism. This assertion deserves further development.

Our alternative is to vote negative to reject the Affirmative’s notion of American exceptionalism – it’s time to step out of our “superpower” pedestal

Lifton ‘3 (Robert Jay, Visiting Professor of Psychiatry @ Harvard Medical School, Superpower Syndrome, pgs. 190-192)

To renounce the claim to total power would bring relief not only to everyone else, but, soon enough, to citizens of the superpower itself. For to live out superpower syndrome is to place oneself on a treadmill that eventually has to break down. In its efforts to rule the world and to determine history, the United States is, in actuality, working against itself, subjecting itself to constant failure. It becomes a Sisyphus with bombs, able to set off explosions but unable to cope with its own burden, unable to roll its heavy stone to the top of the hill in Hades. Perhaps the crucial step in ridding ourselves of superpower syndrome is recognizing that history cannot be controlled, fluidly or otherwise. Stepping off the superpower treadmill would enable us to cease being a nation ruled by fear. Renouncing omnipotence might make our leaders-or at least future leaders-themselves less fearful of weakness, and diminish their inclination to instill fear in their people as a means of enlisting them for military efforts at illusory world hegemony. Without the need for invulnerability, everyone would have much less to be afraid of. What we call the historical process is largely unpredictable, never completely manageable. All the more so at a time of radical questioning of the phenomenon of nationalism and its nineteenth- and twentieth-century excesses. In addition, there has been a general decline in confidence in the nation state, and in its ability to protect its people from larger world problems such as global warming or weapons of mass destruction. The quick but dangerous substitute is the superpower, which seeks to fill the void with a globalized, militarized extension of American nationalism. The traditional nation state, whatever its shortcomings, could at least claim to be grounded in a specific geographic area and a particular people or combination of peoples. The superpower claims to “represent” everyone on earth, but it lacks legitimacy in the eyes of those it seeks to dominate, while its leaders must struggle to mask or suppress their own doubts about any such legitimacy. The American superpower is an artificial construct, widely perceived as legitimate, whatever the acquiescence it coerces in others. Its reign is therefore inherently unstable. Indeed, its reach for full-scale world domination marks the beginning of its decline. A large task for the world, and for the Americans in particular, is the early recognition and humane management of its decline.

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