Globalization, the Obama administration and the refashioning of US exceptionalism
- 290 Downloads
The Obama leadership has seemingly gone further than previous administrations in recognizing that globalization has fundamentally reshaped the structure of world politics, and made the idea of US unilateralism deeply problematic. In the words of Susan Rice, while US leadership in the world ‘is necessary it’s rarely sufficient’. But the Obama team’s fresh emphasis on diplomacy, its tilt towards multilateralism and its desire to lighten the US global military footprint has not led to the abandonment of US exceptionalism. Rather, US exceptionalism has been reframed in terms of the resilience and power of the American democratic and economic example in an interconnected world. History, the Obama administration contends, is on the side of the American democratic political system. In contrast to authoritarian rival states, the US democratic model is not only more prosperous and stable, but is also able to more successfully adapt to the pressures and opportunities of globalization.
KeywordsObama unilateralism democracy US exceptionalism diplomacy world politics
- Bell, D. (1991) The ‘hegelian secret’: Civil society and American exceptionalism. In: B.E. Shafer (ed.) Is America Different? A New Look at American Exceptionalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 46–70.Google Scholar
- Britton, G. (2006) September 11, American ‘exceptionalism’ and the war in Iraq. Australasian Journal of American Studies 25 (1): 125–141.Google Scholar
- Brooks, S. (2013) American Exceptionalism in the Age of Obama. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Bush, G.H.W. (1992) State of the union address. United States Department of State Dispatch 3 (1): 73.Google Scholar
- Bush, G.W. (2004) State of the union address: Complete transcript f president Bush's Speech to congress and the Nation, The White House. Official website of george W.Bush, Newsroom, January 20, http://whitehouse.georgewbush.org/news/2004/012004-SOTU.asp.
- Clark, I. (1997) Globalization and Fragmentation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Cohen, M. (2014) John McCain: Mitt Romney and I were right about Russia. CBS News 4 March, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-mccain-mitt-romney-and-i-were-right-about-russia/, accessed 12 January 2015.
- Cohen, R. (2007) Obama’s American idea. The New York Times 10 December, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/10/opinion/10cohen.html, accessed 11 January 2015.
- Hartz, L. (1955) The Liberal Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political Thought Since the Revolution. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.Google Scholar
- Held, D. and McGrew, A. (1999) Global Transformations. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Ionescu, G. (1991) Leadership in an Interdependent World: The Statemanship of Adenauer, De Gaulle, Thatcher, Reagan and Gorbachev. Harlow, UK: Longman.Google Scholar
- Jones, J. (2010) Americans see U.S. as exceptional; 37% Doubt Obama Does. Gallup Poll 22 December, http://www.gallup.com/poll/145358/americans-exceptional-doubt-obama.aspx, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Karabel, J. (2011) American exceptionalism and the battle for the presidency. Huffington Post 22 December, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerome-karabel/american-exceptionalism-obama-gingrich_b_1161800.htmlx, accessed 10 January 2015.
- McEvoy-Levy, S. (2011) American Exceptionalism and US Foreign Policy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2007) Renewing American leadership. Foreign Affairs July/August, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/62636/barack-obama/renewing-american-leadership, accessed 11 January 2015.
- Obama, B. (2008) A World That Stands as One. Speech at the Strasse des 17 Juni. Berlin, 24 July.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2009) News Conference at Palaiz de la Musique et Des Congres. Strasbourg, 4 April.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2010) Remarks by the President and the First Lady in Town Hall. Speech to students at St. Xavier College. Mumbai, 7 November.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2011) Address to the Nation on Libya. Speech to the National Defense University. Washington DC, 28 March.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2012) Remarks by the President at the Air Force Academy Commencement. Speech to the Air Force Academy. Colorado Springs, 23 May.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2013) Speech on Syria. The White House. Washington DC, 10 September.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2014) Remarks by the President at the United States Military Academy Commencement Ceremony. Speech to U.S. Military Academy. West Point, 28 May.Google Scholar
- Obama, B. (2015) State of the Union Address. The White House. Washington DC, 20 January.Google Scholar
- Parker, K. (2011) President Obama and that ‘exceptional’ thing. The Washington Post 30 January, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/28/AR2011012805190.html, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Patrick, S. (2002) Multilateralism and its discontents: The causes and consequences of US ambivalence. In: S. Patrick and S. Forman (eds.) Multilateralism and US Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, pp. 1–44.Google Scholar
- Ponnuru, R. (2010) An exceptional debate: The Obama Administration’s assault on American identity. National Review 8 March, https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/339276/exceptional-debate, accessed 11 January 2015.
- Reifowitz, I. (2012) Yes, Obama does believe in American exceptionalism. New York Daily Times 10 October, http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/yes-obama-american-exceptionalism-article-1.1179394, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Schlesinger, R. (2011) Obama has mentioned ‘American exceptionalism’ more than Bush. U.S. News 31 January, http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2011/01/31/obama-has-mentioned-american-exceptionalism-more-than-bush, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Scholte, J. (2001) The globalization of world politics. In: J. Baylis and S. Smith (eds.) The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 13–32.Google Scholar
- Sharma, D. and Gielen, U.P. (eds.) (2014) The Global Obama: Crossroads of Leadership in the 21st Century. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Singh, R. (2012) Barack Obama’s Post American Foreign Policy: The Limits of Engagement. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Tumulty, K. (2013) American exceptionalism, explained. The Washington Post 12 September, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/09/12/american-exceptionalism-explained/, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Walt, S. (2011) The myth of American exceptionalism. Foreign Policy 11 October, http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/the-myth-of-american-exceptionalism/, accessed 11 January 2015.