Skip to main content
Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law (Critical America #65)

Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law (Critical America #65)

Current price: $30.00
Publication Date: June 1st, 2012
New York University Press
Usually Ships in 1 to 5 Days


Since its founding, the United States has defined itself as the supreme protector of freedom throughout the world, pointing to its Constitution as the model of law to ensure democracy at home and to protect human rights internationally. Although the United States has consistently emphasized the importance of the international legal system, it has simultaneously distanced itself from many established principles of international law and the institutions that implement them. In fact, the American government has attempted to unilaterally reshape certain doctrines of international law while disregarding others, such as provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the prohibition on torture.
America's selective self-exemption, Natsu Taylor Saito argues, undermines not only specific legal institutions and norms, but leads to a decreased effectiveness of the global rule of law. Meeting the Enemy is a pointed look at why the United States' frequent--if selective--disregard of international law and institutions is met with such high levels of approval, or at least complacency, by the American public.

About the Author

Natsu Taylor Saito is a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at Georgia State University's College of Law in Atlanta. She is the author of Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law (NYU Press, 2010), Settler Colonialism, Race, and the Law: Why Structural Racism Persists (NYU Press, 2020), and From Chinese Exclusion to Guantánamo Bay: Plenary Power and the Prerogative State (University Press of Colorado, 2006).