Arrogance of power/American exceptionalism
Critical Evaluation of the Concept of Arrogance of Power
Nobody can deny that the United States of America (USA) is the world military, political, democratic and economic superpower. As a nation, USA has got sets of ideologies that are peculiar to its own. In its expansive history, the nation has been applying its American Exceptionalism ideologies in making important domestic and international decisions. This paper presents a critical analysis of these ideologies with references to Senator William Fullbright’s arguments in ‘On the Arrogance of Power.’
In the book ‘On the Arrogance of Power,’ Sen. Fulbright provides a comprehensive critique on American Exceptionalism. In his critique, Fulbright insinuates that the ideology has been misused on several occasions. Although he acknowledges that the strength of a nation comes with responsibilities, USA has not been using this power in an appropriate manner. It has been viewed as a divine gift to exercise political and military control over the world. This implies that the country has been trying to assert its strength to act as a perfect for all the other nations in the world. Hence, the country feels that it should be using excessive force to bring peace and democracy in the world.
As a conscious citizen, I would like to give openlygive my support to Fulbright. As a statesman, Fulbright was right for faulting the government of US for abusing its powers. It is true that the US is a very powerful country. Although it should responsibly use this power, the government has been acting contrarily. It is misleading for the country to assume that it can use its powers to solve all problems affecting humanity across the globe (Ignatieff 83). Even if offering intervention to international crises can be a good idea, the country is always wrong because it adopts to use wrong methods when doing so. For example, to resolve the South-North Vietnam antagonism, the country chose to join Vietnam War in support of its ally-South Vietnam. This was a tough decision that brought disastrous results as it led to the death of innocent Americans and Vietnamese as well.
American Exceptionalism does not mean that the country is unique and should be leading in doing bad things. It means that the US should be a model nation because its founding fathers believed in the ideology of democracy, egalitarianism, liberty and individualism. At one time was it concluded that the country should be exercising control over all the other countries across the globe. It is a direct abuse of power-what Fulbright refers to as power arrogance because it leads to the infringement of the law. It is true that there are many countries in which war have been the order of the day. However, the solution does not lie on the arrogance of power, but on a wise use of the American ideologies like democracy and liberty (LeBlanc 66).
I concur with Sen. Fulbright for suggesting that the US should be a role model to other countries. The actions of President Bush’s Administration were proving that the USA is not committed to observing the law. The offensive attacks on Iraq, for instance, were a sign of violation of human rights. It clearly demonstrates that the US is a hypocrite advocating for justice and democracy. It appears to be violating the law and acting as if it is above the law and indispensable. So, to regain its glory and build its damaged reputation, the country should be ready to act as a model to be emulated by everyone else (Hodgson 20). It is nonsensical to put pressure on other countries to be democratic while the US is not. It will not help to bring sanity to the global community whatsoever.
The US double speak should be eradicated because it has nothing substantial to offer to the Americans non-Americans. The country has a bad history associated with immoral acts like slavery, racism, civil rights and social welfare issues that need to be addressed. It is not logical to spend lots of resources in ‘solving’ international problems. In fact, it is a total wastage to allocate a large portion of US budget to use in war. Instead, such resources should be used in developing the country as well as the prevision of essential services to the ordinary American populations (Fulbright 49). After all, Americans are just like any other human beings who struggle with high costs of living and require government intervention to access education, houses, jobs and medical care.
In conclusion, ‘On the Arrogance of Power’ is an insightful publication that provides important information about the excesses of the application of American Exceptionalism. The USA is a world super power that has lots of responsibilities. However, as a nation, it should not abuse its strength by unnecessarily offering intervention on all matters affecting the global community (Lloyd 71). Instead, it should responsibly use its powers by promoting democracy, human rights, constitutionalism, peace and unity at all times. Its resources and powers should not be arrogantly applied, but used to set good examples to be copied by everyone.
Fulbright, William J. “On the Arrogance of Power, 1966.” Department of Physics: University of Washington Online. n.d. Web. 11 May 2012.
Hodgson, Godfrey. The Myth of American Exceptionalism. Yale University Press, 2009. Print.
Lloyd, Brian. Left Out: Pragmatism, Exceptionalism, and the Poverty of American Marxism, 1890–1922. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Print.
Ignatieff, Michael (ed.) American Exceptionalism and Human Rights. Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.
LeBlanc, Paul and Tim Davenport (eds.), The “American Exceptionalism” of Jay Lovestone and His Comrades, 1929–1940: Dissident Marxism in the United States, Volume 1. Leiden, NL: Brill, 2015.