INTL 5590 W3 Exceptionalism Discussion

Week 3: Exceptionalism Discussion

Consider one of the nations discussed in this week’s reading on “Every one is special,” or one of your own choosing. What are the main elements of the country’s exceptionalism, master narrative, or myth? How might these elements of a nation’s forging of its identity have implications for regional or international security?

John P. (Write 205 words response to John)

China has and always will view itself as the world’s dominant force. No other nation has the longevity and relative stability that China promotes. A Nation that was formed in 2100 BCE is still the most powerful country in Asia. As explained in “Everyone is special” Chinas sees itself as being “the lodestone of regional and world history, and how other countries ought to (but fail to) respect and defer to China”(Grosack 2013). China is deeply distrustful of Western powers after their relative fall during parts of the 20th century. The country is reverential in its support of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its founder Mao Zedong. China believes that the world should defer to them in all matters. China has proved itself to be a hyper sensitive nation when suffering criticism, especially from Western powers. The NBA apologized after the General Manager of the Houston Rockets expressed support for Hong Kong protesters. Disney went out of their way to thank the CCP for allowing them to film the movie “Mulan” in the country. The authors suggest that taking a soft diplomatic approach with China might be more impactful: “encourage China to assume the responsibilities worthy of a great and powerful nation is, in general, more likely to resonate with Chinese audiences than is a hectoring about the need to follow rules dictated by Western intellectuals and governments” (Grosack 2013). China has increasingly been expanding their international reach whether through their “belt and road initiatives”, social media disinformation campaigns, or military flexing. China sees itself as not just the regional power within Asia, but a global superpower equal to or greater than the United States.

Aaron Harms, Nils Gilman, and Michael Grosack, “Everyone Is Special – The American Interest,” Monitor 360, 12 Feb 2013,

Matthew Frebert. (Write 205 words response to Matthew)

One of the most seemingly profound examples of a state’s exceptionalism playing a major role with observable results in how they interact with other states, is the United Kingdom (UK). The UK defines themselves as being unique, with almost a pre-ordained destiny in the history of the world and therefore entitled among nations, they have enjoyed centuries of economic and military power, also having the distinction of never having been invaded during their time as a great power, much in thanks to the defense provided by the English Channel. They were able to found and maintain an empire to feed their growing economy around the world, through their establishment of numerous colonies. Their individualistic tendencies were enabled by their geographic separation from their European neighbors, sowing distrust and a desire to stay apart from European affairs. Recently, their belief in their exceptionalism has brought about their hubris and led them to take the drastic step of leaving the European Union, following the national referendum held in 2016. This has guided them to believe that they are above the other European states, and should not have to be held to EU regulations or be subjected to immigration from other states. To make matters worse, many states and areas within the UK did not want to leave the EU, such as London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, leaving the remainder of England and Wales with the majority of the leave vote. “Only when Britain breaks free from the chains of make-believe history will the recurring cycle of unwarranted superiority end” (English, 2020).


English, O. (2020). Cruel Britannia: Coronavirus lays waste to British exceptionalism. Retrieved from Politico:

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