Making the Grade

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    I am so proud of this paper. I have never worked so hard on a research paper in all of my life. I can't tell you how many hour I poured into research, revision, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes, making sure my citations were correct.

    I wrote about Alexis de Tocqueville's concept of American Exceptionalism and how it had led into European ant-Americanism since the end of WWII to present. As I said I am extremely proud of this paper and of the grade I received.

    ps: If anyone is interested in reading and/or publishing my paper let me know.

    RedArt photographer, RavenDragon, and 9 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. chimphappyhour 60 months ago | reply

      Congrats! Both on the paper and a cool shot! Double bonus!

    2. rakeif 60 months ago | reply

      Gotta love getting A's! Nice shot, and congrats! Sounds like an interesting paper actually. I wouldn't mind reading it.

    3. TheBoyFromLemmonWorld 60 months ago | reply

      Uncorking the American Genie:
      American Exceptionalism and Anti-Americanism

      During the climax of the film, Team America: World Police, Gary Johnston, the film’s protagonist, delivers an outrageously vulgar yet undeniably hilarious speech about the rights and responsibility America and its foreign policy has in defending and enforcing freedom throughout the world

      We're d---s! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid d---s. And the Film Actors Guild are p-----s. And Kim Jong Il is an a-----e. P-----s don't like d---s, because p-----s get f----d by d---s. But d---s also f--k a------s: a------s that just want to s--t on everything. P-----s may think they can deal with a-----s their way. But the only thing that can f--k an a-----e is a d--k, with some balls. The problem with d---s is: they f--k too much or f--k when it isn't appropriate - and it takes a p---y to show them that. But sometimes, p-----s can be so full of s--t that they become a------s themselves... because p-----s are an inch and half away from a------s. I don't know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know this: If you don't let us f--k this a-----e, we're going to have our d---s and p-----s all covered in s--t!(Parker).

      Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s film equally lampoons anti-Americanism and American Exceptionalism without pointing at either as a legitimate philosophy. Rather, Team America: World Police acts as an easy to swallow primer for understanding the fallacies of both.

      Anti-Americanism and American Exceptionalism are not new concepts. The venerable social thinker Alexis de Tocqueville formed the definition for “American Exceptionalism” in his 1835 book Democracy in America. However, since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, both terms have gained new importance in the glossary of American foreign policy. Both terms are used as epithets and as badges of honor and are invoked for causes of action and reaction in America and abroad. These rally cries of American Exceptionalism and anti-Americanism have reduced to meaningless sound bites squawking over cable news programs and semi-literate fringe blogs, words without meaning.

      Fairly judging these two concepts must include understanding America itself; for America’s unique history manifested the notion of American Exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism cultivated anti-Americanism throughout the world, particularly Europe. Three major events in American history illustrate how American Exceptionalism sprouted in the consciousness of its citizen’s: the end of World War II leading to the Cold War and ultimately the September 11th terror attacks and its aftermath. These three events in American history created, in Europe, reactions of anti-Americanism in return.
      Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America in 1835 during the midst of political upheaval in his own country of France. He saw in the fledgling nation of the United States of America a gleam of hope for future political tranquility in his own country and Europe as a whole. He writes in his introduction:

      There is one country in the world where the great social revolution that I am speaking of seems to have nearly reached its natural limits. It has been effected with ease and simplicity; say rather this country is reaping the fruits of the democratic revolution which we are under going, without having had the revolution itself.
      The emigrants who colonized the shores of America in the beginning of the seventeenth century somehow separated the democratic principle from all the principles that it had to contend with in the old communities of Europe and transplanted it alone to the New World. It had there been able to spread in perfect freedom and peaceably to determine the character of the laws by influencing the manners of the country (de Tocqueville 14).

      De Tocqueville essentially defined what is now traditionally known as American Exceptionalism, America’s unique place in the world, a nation of immigrants building a new society based on laws and ideas never seen before in modern times, a nation above all nations due to its new ideals, a paragon to monarchal Old World Europe. Robert Kagan, noted political scientist, reflects de Tocqueville’s sentiment referring to the birth of America as “the great hope for Enlightened Europe” (Kagan 9).

      Up until the twentieth century, America and its exceptionalism remained parochial in its isolation, a sort of Avalon across the Atlantic Ocean. Squabbling European empires retained its might on the seas and in its other colonies throughout the world. The American nation remained content in its experiment in democracy, forsaking the spiraling conflicts from its emancipated continental parents. In truth America could not, until the twentieth century, compete with Europe’s strength and power. A gap was forming between America and Europe, but so long as America was weak, this alienation was viewed on both sides of the Atlantic as benign (Kagan 10). Anti-Americanism did not begin to sprout until the end of World War II and the implementation of the Marshall Plan and the inception of the Cold War.

      The balance of power in the world shifted after the end of World War II. Europe no longer had the stomach for total war. The governments of Western Europe, dreading Soviet aggression, relied heavily on American protection and patronage for the next fifty years (Kagan 18). Germany smarted from its complete military defeat and faced an uncertain future as ground zero for the Cold War. Germany watched, helpless, as it went from king to pawn on the chess board of international politics and commerce (Stephan 18).

      Europe had uncorked the bottle and let loose the American genie. More or less contained for two centuries in the bottle of the New World, America, despite its specially endowed place in world history, stayed a non-power. However, as Europe weakened after World War II, America gained in military might and prominence politically. The once benign gap between Europe and America began showing signs of malignancy that would become open anti-Americanism decades later after September 11th, 2001.

      Robert Kagan wrote, “Strong powers naturally view the world differently than weaker powers” (27). Europe, having endured two devastating world wars and having watched most if not all its colonial holdings in Africa and Asia slip away, turned towards a more peaceable and co-operative mindset (Kagan 17). The failures of the League of Nations after World War II led to a more hopeful multilateral union of nations under the United Nations; ironically, the United States and its ideals of democracy and freedom for all mankind had a great part in the formation of both international bodies. Western Europe, as well as America, separately formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in response to the Soviet bloc’s Warsaw Pact. Europe was enthusiastic for America to take the reigns of power of the Western world leading and protecting
      European interests. John Lewis Gaddis, a professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University, quoted unnamed British military officers saying, “The United States would soon be ‘plucking the torch of world leadership from our chilling hands’” (Kagan qt. Gaddis 17).

      Once power hungry, blood thirsty, colonizing Europe had been neutered by two devastating wars in half a century, it was ready for its “exceptional” offspring from across the Atlantic to come into its own. Unfortunately, Europe was unprepared for how deep America’s exceptionalism, as defined by de Tocqueville, ran at America’s core. The American genie had thrice granted wishes to Europe: interventions in both world wars and then protection during the Cold War. Legend says once a genie has granted three wishes it is free from its bonds and may wield its power as it sees fit. America, now a superpower, wielded its power and might as it saw fit.

      Ambassador John McDonald noted that most people outside the United States view Americans as arrogant, that Americans present themselves as superior to any other people in the world, and this arrogance is our second nature (9). This is an easy assumption he makes; Americans are bombarded with this propaganda from all sources in the media. Images from movies like Armageddon show slow motion American flags flapping in the breeze while swelling almost patriotic strings play (Bay); Armageddon reinforces Americans’ belief that America is the only country in the world able to save the world with their ingenuity and work ethic. Arrogantly, these kinds of American films are exported throughout the world. Not surprisingly Armageddon earned over $350,000,000 internationally (Armageddon). America exports its belief in its exceptionalism and its arrogance. At the same time, the United States remains insulated from outside cultural influences. Americans chafe with xenophobic hysteria at any foreign cultural seepage. People from around the globe see this as another example of America’s “superiority complex” (McDonald 10).

      The American rise in power, its dominance in commerce and culture, its growing sense of exceptionalism and arrogance since the end of World War II through the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War has created a rift between Europe and the United States that has manifested into a sometimes subtle and sometimes fervent anti-American stance in Europe.

      American leadership throughout the Cold War felt a burden and responsibility in protecting Europe from Soviet aggression; this created, between the two, a sense of tension (Kagan 18). Europe no longer had the ability to wage offensive wars and was relegated to holding their defenses until the Americans could arrive and save them yet again (Kagan 18). European military capacity atrophied during the Cold War; the result from this was the formation of the policy of American unilateralism. European governments were initially happy to fall under the protection of the American military (Kagan 19). This changed with the end of the Cold War.

      The European Union slowly developed from a loose affiliation of European states to a sort of power in its own right at the end of the Cold War. The EU proceeded to create its own military force with the hope of no longer needing to rely on American forces (Kissinger 53). Despite success with actions during the Serbian crisis, the EU military forces faced a more serious challenge in Kosovo in 1999. They also faced a chilling reality; they were unable to meet the challenge alone. American forces were needed as well (Kagan 46). In a sense, asking Americans for help meant asking America to take over the mess. The United States, after the Cold War, became more entrenched in its unilateral approach to issues around the world (Kagan 45).

      American unilateral approach to foreign crises stems from an evolved definition of “American Exceptionalism.” No longer was “exceptionalism” simply defined by America’s unique place in the world and history; it was a rallying cry from conservative thinkers to maintain the United States jealously guarded sovereignty. American leaders express a sentiment that no bodies, such as the United Nations nor the World Court (Stephan 23), nor international
      treaties such as the Kyoto Accords hold higher sway than the Constitution or American interests (Wooing the World par.10) The crisis in Kosovo shows this unilateralism in practice; Robert Kagan gives examples of how the American military during the Kosovo crisis turned a NATO multilateral exercise into a demonstrable American unilateral effort, “The United States flew the majority of the missions, almost all of the precision-guided munitions dropped in Serbia and Kosovo were made in America, and the unmatched superiority of American technical intelligence-gathering capabilities meant that 99% of the proposed targets came from American intelligence sources” (Kagan 46). Relegating European military personnel to the sidelines not only wounded their pride, it reinforced American arrogance and sense of infallibility and invulnerability (Kagan 46). General Wesley Clark, showing his dissatisfaction with nominal multilateralism, said, “We never want to do this again” (Kagan 49).

      America, it seemed, outgrew even the mere term “superpower.” The United States, the genie uncorked, now wielded power and might never seen before. She stood alone in the world, a “hectoring hegemon a hyperpower, or as France’s former foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, coined America, hyperpuissance (Kagan 43). Europe’s criticism of America may have remained an amusing footnote in history if not for 9/11.

      The ratcheting tensions between the nations of Europe and the United States halted on September 11th, 2001. Despite the differences that had developed the past half century, these terror attacks drew the Western World together. Zakaria notes, “On September 12th, 2001, Jean-Marie Colombani, the editor of Le Monde, famously wrote, ‘Today we are all Americans’” (47). The world shook as it mourned with America as it faced its worse catastrophe since the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. This sentiment quickly faded in the ensuing months. President George W. Bush addressed Congress, the nation and the world with his now infamous “Axis of Evil” State of the Union Address in 2002. The British press dubbed the speech the “Hate of the Union” (Alterman par. 10). President Bush was greeted in Berlin with boos and protests in May of 2002 (Stephan 29). European good will and sympathy towards America seemed to have been squandered by President Bush’s reactions and implementations of policies in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. It was written in Economist, “Mr. Bush is so loathed abroad” (Wooing the World par. 9).

      Alexander Stephan clearly defines the Bush Doctrine as America’s right to protection of its ideals and ways of life and its aggressive stance against real and perceived enemies wherever in the world they are harbored. The doctrine also allows preventative measures, including military force, to deny the United States’ enemies from gaining the capability to attack America and its interests around the globe.( 27). The Bush administration invoked this policy to pursue the “War on Terror” preemptively in Iraq. President Bush believed Saddam Hussein was in league with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The rest of the world, noticeably in Europe, balked at America leading a unilateral war so blatantly without sanctions from the UN. Anti-Americanism clearly took a more personal bent towards Bush’s policies (Zakaria 47). Europe, long in the shadow of America’s protection, now a growing economic, political and military
      power as the European Union, began defining itself as a separate voice from George W. Bush’s America.

      Europeans thought of anti-American sentiment as a way to define themselves (Zakaria 48). Europe resented the Bush doctrine of unchecked aggression in the Middle East (Zakaria 48). A recent Pew research poll showed that global opinion has degraded since the 9/11 attacks; twenty-six out of thirty-three nations held a less than favorable opinion of the United States (Wooing the World par. 2). In Le Monde, the very same French magazine that once declared “We are all Americans,” decried Bush’s policies as “unjust and arrogant (Alterman par. 6).”

      Anti-American sentiments lingered through the remaining years of Bush’s administration. Eric Alterman recounted in his article “Anti-Americanism Is Not Wide Spread in Europe,” French newspapers criticism of American policy, British publications belittling Americans’ clutch on conservativism and fundamentalist religion, demonstrations in Italy against America and Germany’s own shocking flavor of anti-Americanism (par. 6-9). “Today ‘much of the psychological drive for Euro-nationalism is provided by anti-Americanism’” Alterman quoted John O’Sullivan as saying (par. 12).
      The deep ideological confrontation within and beyond America’s borders existed even before 9/11. The dislike of America is as old as the country itself. In the twentieth century alone, the level of anti-Americanism abroad has been influenced by two world wars, the Cold War, the increase contact between nations, new technologies and most significantly by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States emerged in the 1990’s as the most powerful country whose influence in culture, economics, and politics spread to each corner of the globe (Shiraev, Shlapentokh, Woods vii).

      It seems de Tocqueville’s America had come to fruition. The United States had indeed taken its mantle as unique and special above all nations on the face of the planet. Despite civil wars, world wars and devastating terror attacks, America for better or worse, remained a shining example of freedom and democracy. It may appear that America’s exceptionalism has painted a grim and lonely picture for America and its people. It may appear that all hate is directed at
      America by all others, even its closest allies. However anti-Americanism is not as universal in Europe as it seems. Anti-Americanism, after 9/11 and during the campaign in Iraq, suggested a disappointment with America’s relaxation of its time honored values; “Many…were furious with the Bush administration precisely because of its refusal to live up to American ideals that served the country so well during the second world war” (Wooing the World par. 18). European politicians run on platforms of emotion as well as American politicians it should come as no surprise that they invoke an emotional appeal in regards to the United States (Ajami par. 3). Eric Alterman points out that anti-Americanism in Europe is not directed at average Americans; they “think rather well of Americans” (par. 18). Reciprocally, 80% of Americans support strong leadership from the European Union (Alterman par. 18). America is not Europe’s whipping boy after all. The Bush administration encouraged Americans’ beliefs in widespread anti-American sentiments to disseminate and deflect foreign concerns about U.S. foreign policy (Alterman par. 5).

      With the American Presidential election in November of 2008, the flair of recent anti-American feelings in Europe has a chance to die down. European people see the election of Barack Obama as a return, for the United States, to de Tocqueville’s definition of “exceptionalism,” a return of leadership and co-operation in the world (Marquand par. 6). Marquand continues to explain, “Exceptionalism has been put to many uses. Some are called selfish, arrogant, parochial, ideological; others are grand, liberating, experimental. And they include everything in between” (par 17). For Europeans, President Obama represents the best qualities of American Exceptionalism. President Obama, at the recent G-20 summit in London, made it known America is only one actor in the global community (Scherer, par. 1). He promises to “listen, not lecture” to the world (Scherrer, par. 2). President Obama, speaking in Strasbourg, France, said, “In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world…there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” (Scherer par. 4). President Obama’s statements showed stark contrast from the former president’s unilateralist, neo-conservative bent regarding America’s place and responsibility on the planet (Scherer par. 5).

      Anti-Americanism in Europe ebbs and flows with the whims and policies in place during any given administration, any given crisis and any given disagreements across the Atlantic. De Tocqeville’s explanation for America’s exceptionalism does accurately display the United States in history and geo-political arenas. The United States bears a burden in the world for good or ill. She is the only true superpower remaining on the face of the atlas. She is the genie let loose from the bottle of historical circumstances. America has granted the wishes of the world and in this she now wields power that seems frightening and irresponsible at times. Genies are not inherently evil nor are they always thinking in the best interests of those whom released them.

      Works Cited
      Armageddon. Dir. Michael Bay. Touchstone Pictures. 1998
      “Seeing The World As It Is. U.S. News and World Report. (28 Jan. 2008): 26+. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. 24 Feb. 2009 165.173.10.10:2273/login.aspx?direct=true&db=afh&... .
      Alter, Jonathan. “How The World Sees Us, And How We See Ourselves.” Washington Monthly (Aug. 2008): 12+. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. 24 Feb. 2009 165.173.10.10:2273/login.aspx?direct=true&db=afh&... live
      Alterman, Eric. “Anti-Americanism Is Not Widespread in Europe.” At Issue: Does the World Hate the United States?. Andrea C. Nakaya. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 25 Mar. 2009. 165.173.10.10:2279/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet+GSRC&....
      Boxofficemojo.com. 3 April 2009. www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=armageddon.htm
      De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. New York: Vintage Books. 1945
      Kagan, Robert. Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order. New York: Knopf. 2003
      Kissinger, Henry. “Troubling How U.S., Europe Pulling Further Apart.” U.S Foreign Policy Since the Cold War Ed. Richard Joseph Stein. The H.W. Wilson Company. 2001.
      Marquand, Robert. “For Europe, Obama Revives Positive Image of America’s Unique Identity.” Christian Science Monitor 17 November 2008:World; pg. 1.
      McDonald, John W. “An American’s View of the U.S. Negotiating Style.” U.S Foreign Policy Since the Cold War Ed. Richard Joseph Stein. The H.W. Wilson Company. 2001
      Scherer, Michael. “Barack Obama’s New World Order.” Time. 3 April 2009. 4 April 2009. www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1889512,00.html
      Shiraev, Eric and Vladimir Shlapentokh and Joshua Woods. America: Sovereign Defender or Cowboy Nation?. Ashgate. 2005.
      Stephan, Alexander. “The Historical Context of the German Reaction to 9/11.” America: Sovereign Defender or Cowboy Nation?. Ed. Eric Shiraev and Vladimir Shlapentokh and Joshua Woods. Ashgate. 2005.
      ----
      “The German Perception of the United States Since September 11.” America: Sovereign Defender or Cowboy Nation?. Ed. Eric Shiraev and Vladimir Shlapentokh and Joshua Woods. Ashgate. 2005.
      Team America: World Police. Dir. Trey Parker. Paramount Pictures. 2004
      “Wooing The World.” The Economist 386.8573 (29 Mar. 2008): 12-14. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. 18 Feb. 2009 165.173.10.2273/login.aspx?direct=true&db=afh&AN=...
      Zakaria, Fareed. "Hating America." Foreign Policy 144(2004): 47-49.

    4. electrifying enigma 60 months ago | reply

      i think the picture is better than the essay!
      haha i'm sure the paper is great too :D
      but the photo is awesome!
      great shot
      ** This comment comes from A Happy Ending **

    5. Fish.outof.Water 60 months ago | reply

      Ah! You're a student too! I just poured more hours than I can tally into a research paper for my history class. Neat shot! Congrats on that great big "A"!

    6. TheBoyFromLemmonWorld 60 months ago | reply

      Oh yeah, I didn't just get an A on the paper I got an A in the class. finals aren't until the 11th but I can sleepwalk through it and still keep my A for the semester.

      btw I got a 4.0 cumulative for the semester

    7. RavenDragon 60 months ago | reply

      Great shot!

      Love the angle most of all. The red really Pops (for good Reason, too -congrats!) and the fuzziness and vignette relaly add.

      Seen in Flickr's Red

    8. chimphappyhour 60 months ago | reply

      Cool! Thank you for posting up your paper! No wonder you got that comment! :)

    9. Fish.outof.Water 60 months ago | reply

      Awesome! Me too! I am hoping to finish up the semester (as well as my time at this college) with a 4.0:) I hope to treat myself to a night out if I hold onto my A's. You should give yourself a pat on the back too. You have earned it!

    10. stellarius 60 months ago | reply

      haha, coool shot.. :)

    11. suescrapsjames 60 months ago | reply

      Congrats on the paper, grade and shot!

    12. Velvet Elevator (Pandy Farmer) 59 months ago | reply

      Liked the picture, was fascinated by the paper. Thank you for posting it. It was informative, well-written, and deserving of the grade!

      In particular, this part interested me, as apparently I was a victim of it:
      The Bush administration encouraged Americans’ beliefs in widespread anti-American sentiments to disseminate and deflect foreign concerns about U.S. foreign policy (Alterman par. 5).

      Although, to be fair, most of my ideas on the subject these days come from Fark travel threads. :D

      Thanks again for an interesting read, and a cool photo.

      --
      Seen next to a fellow photo of Farktography. (?)

    13. TheBoyFromLemmonWorld 59 months ago | reply

      the really funny thing is the idea for the paper originated in Fark threads about Americans traveling to Europe while pretending to be Canadian. I wanted to explore that phenomenon but unfortunately the data was not out there for me to research it. So I modified the paper to cover anti-Americanism as a whole.

    14. feliciaatwell 59 months ago | reply

      Congrats on the A and a really cool shot!

    15. New Hampshire Public Radio 48 months ago | reply

      Hi there,

      Just wanted to let you know we used a copy of this photo for our show Word of Mouth, for a segment about "virtual TA's" doing grading for professors from overseas. Here's a link if you'd like to see it:

      www.nhpr.org/node/32324

      Thanks for sharing this photo through Creative Commons - and congrats on the A!

      Best,
      Brady
      NHPR

    16. mamamusings 44 months ago | reply

      Great photo; I'm going to use it in my lecture on Monday. Thanks for making it available via CC!

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