By William V. Spanos
Connects the yankee exceptionalist ethos to the violence in Vietnam and the center East.
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Extra resources for American Exceptionalism in the Age of Globalization: The Specter of Vietnam
Unlike the latter, he would argue, the violence of the former is not—of course—inherent in its logic. ” To defend themselves from this threat, liberal democracies were led to adopt military strategies like the bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima that in the earliest ages would have been called genocidal. (EH, 6) More usually, these apparent violences are rationalized as the consequence of the betrayal of liberal capitalist democracy’s fundamental principles or of a partial or imperfect view of its logic’s benign practical imperatives.
As a necessary result, it fails to perceive the emancipatory political potential inhering in the relay of “differences” released (decolonized) by an interrogation of the dominant Western culture’s disciplinary representation of being. 36 I also mean “the pariah” (Arendt), “the nomad” (Deleuze and Guattari), “the hybrid” or “the minus in the origin” (Bhabha), “the nonbeings” (Dussel), the subaltern (Guha), “the emigré” (Said), “the denizen” (Hammar), “the refugee” (Agamben), “the queer” (Sedgwick, Butler, Warner), “the multitude” (Negri and Hardt),37 and, to point to the otherwise unlikely affiliation of these international post“colonial” thinkers with a certain strain of post“modern” black American literature, “the darkness” (Morrison) that belong contradictorily to and haunt “white”/imperial culture politics: History and Its Specter 29 The images of impenetrable whiteness need contextualizing to explain their extraordinary power, pattern, and consistency.
But it is precisely if we look not just at the past fifteen years, but at the whole scope of history, that liberal democracy begins to occupy a special kind of place. While there have been cycles in the worldwide fortunes of democracy, there has also been a pronounced secular trend in a democratic direction. . Indeed, the growth of liberal democracy, together with its companion, economic liberalism, has been the most remarkable macropolitical phenomenon of the last four hundred years. (EH, 47–48; Fukuyama’s emphasis) In the counterlight of my retrieval of the global scope and significance of the Vietnam War, Fukuyama’s ocularcentric obliteration of its disclosive singularity in his euphoric representation of the end of the Cold War assumes a glaring visibility of epochal historical proportions.
American Exceptionalism in the Age of Globalization: The Specter of Vietnam by William V. Spanos