Center for Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Unlike the situation in 1945, when the U.S. truly was the world's political Archimedean point, global governance in the 21st century is being stitched together by a multiplicity of actors and interests -- in considerable measure reflecting the success of America's own postwar transformational agenda. While the American state remains by far the most powerful force among them, platforms and channels for transnational action that it does not directly control have proliferated -- and are deeply entwined with American society itself. Therefore, enacting a strict exemptionalism posture has become much harder than it seems, the author argues. Although some of the issues raised by the recent upsurge of U.S. resistance to global governance involve highly technical questions of constitutional law, the author argues that the exemptionalist position also reflects a distinctive set of doctrinal preferences and feeds into a specific ideological agenda. In the conclusion, the author spells out some implications for the future relationship between U.S. power and global governance of the continuing dialectic between the two forms of American exceptionalism.
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