Considering American Exceptionalism

An opinion piece published in the South China Morning Post by a veteran columnist has voiced vehement opposition to the United States Senate’s proposed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. While I do not agree with the author’s invective—he denigrated the bill as a”cynical anti-China posturing by some extremist politicians”—his perspective has made me question my own stance on Senators Rubio, Cotton, and Cardin’s proposed Act.

I have always found myself perplexed by the U.S.’s modern interventionist policies. The policy of containment popularized by George Kennan’s famous “Long Telegram” during the Cold War has set a precedent for the government’s tendency to interfere in foreign affairs—take the Korean War, Vietnam War, or Iraq War, for instance; American exceptionalism has become a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy for decades. Yet, the essential question remains: should the U.S.’s desire to preserve, protect, and defend their democratic institution and provide humanitarian aid justify their intervention in another country’s internal affairs? Should the United States be admired for its commitment to “containing” China’s encroaching Communist influence on Hong Kong, or should we, as this skeptical SCMP columnist has done, question: “why is it America’s business to be concerned about cross-border relations in Hong Kong” anyway?

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