“The rhetoric of American empire comprises three main aspects: the assumption of the unique moral virtue of the United States, the assertion of its mission to redeem the world by the spread of republican government and more generally the ‘American way of life,’ and (184) the faith in the nation’s divinely ordained destiny to succeed in this mission. The rhetorical triad of virtue, mission, and destiny suggests the messianic dimension of the American experience in which foreign policy issues are not subject to reasoned debate but rather reduced to a choice between Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, pro- and anti-American, ‘us’ and ‘them.’ In this rhetorical context, opponents to the advance of the American empire have been considered to be misguided, if not depraved and traitorous.”
“The theological aspect of these narratives has meant that facts that contradict the narrative are either explained away or ignored.”
“Beneath this rhetoric of empire there has consistently been an elite reluctance to trust the nation’s foreign policy to the uncertainties and vacillations inherent in democracy.”
“While the universalistic rhetoric of American foreign policy has frequently masked realities distinctly less honorable than advertised, American statesmen (sic) have been of the conviction … that serving what they perceive to be the national interest is the greatest good.”
“The public’s tacit acquiescence in this duplicity is explained by the fact that its desire to believe is stronger than its desire to know, and by its perception that beneath the patriotic fictions its concrete interests are being served. This being so, statesmen (sic) have been able to define morality as that which serves the American nation and, more generally, the global republican revolution. Rather than following a ‘double standard’ as is sometimes charged, they have actually adhered to one standard throughout the nation’s history: the standard of American national self-interest. The potential ethical pitfalls of this formulation are obviated by the assumption of congruity between the progress of humanity at large and the survival and success of the United States. God bless America. Or so the thinking goes.”
William Earl Weeks, John Quincy Adams and American Global Empire (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1992).