Nations and states around the globe construct and deconstruct different concepts and ideas to establish their separate identity and distinct existence. The distinctiveness of their existence acts as an instrument that is ultimately reflected in their domestic and internal society, and politics. The Neo-Classical school of thought of the Realist tradition argued that domestic politics reflect itself in the foreign policy behaviour of states. Under this lens, the constructed ideas eventually become the cornerstone of the foreign policy behaviour of states. The overwhelming majority of the American people are those who migrated from different parts of Europe for trade, to escape religious persecution, and to break away from the war dominated kingdoms. This Diaspora of European people were deeply religious and took refuge in the North-Eastern territories of today’s America. This peaceful refuge and piece of land was translated by them as a special gift of providence to live their lives in harmony and amity. Trevor B McCrisken in his book ‘American Exceptionalism and the Legacy of Vietnam: US Foreign Policy since 1974’ (2003) averred that in 1630 John Winthrop — a priest by profession called the refuge as a ‘city upon the hill.’ It was a true manifestation of this belief that the European migrants considered themselves to be the most blessed one. Similarly, Andrew J. Bacevich in his book ‘The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War’ (2005) argued that the people started to think that America is thoroughly religious and God gave them a New Jerusalem. These thoughts of Americans being the children of a superior God laid down the foundations of a strategic or perhaps grand strategic concept called American Exceptionalism. The concept has overtly two versions — i) Exceptionalism of the American nation being the torchbearer of freedom, justice, and democracy, and ii) American Exceptionalism in terms of religion being the missionary nation. It is one’s assertion that perhaps there exists — a third strand of American Exceptionalism ie the sense prevailing among American people of having an exceptional and unique military force. These three constituent elements of American Exceptionalism are exhibited right from its inception and have remained a vital or perhaps the foundational pivots of U.S. foreign policy. The sense of being superior in terms of political system and religious foundations are pedestals of American Exceptionalism. French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville during his visit to America observed it to be a ‘land of wonders.’ The exceptional character of America in world politics was specifically spearheaded by the followers of Leo Strauss commonly known as Neo-Conservatives or Neo-Cons. This community of like-minded intellectuals and people have had a great impact on America to adopt a ‘Liberal Hegemony’ overshadowed by American Exceptionalism. In the contemporary world, a clear transition of power — at least in economic terms — can be observed with China being at the receiving end. Consequently, China intends to project a benign image of its power around the globe. It is conceivable that great power comes with great responsibility — and to fulfil this prerequisite of being a great power — China is using its cultural, diplomatic, social, political, and economic powers in many dimensions. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its two components One Belt One Road (OBOR) and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) can be argued to be the manifestations of Chinese benevolence. Similarly, Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIDB) and its enormous investments throughout the world can be seen as Chinese attempts to project a bona-fide image. China has an uninterrupted civilization of almost five thousand years and is a historic great power. After the Communist Revolution led by Mao Tse-tung and his Communist Party of China (CPC) — Beijing saw a new era in its history. The very creation of China was a result of long and bloody war of independence just like America. Mao and his followers fought an unprecedented war as it was fought by General George Washington and his Continental Army; however, Washington fought it from 1775 till 1783 with French assistance but unlike Washington, Mao fought for more than three decades till 1949, mostly relying on indigenous resources. The acquisition or perhaps annexation of Tibet by Chinese Red Army was the earliest demonstration of the exceptional character of Chinese nation. Similarly, the East Turkestan was established by Uighur Muslims and subsequently subdued by the Reds. Chinese expansion in the South and West was more or less the same as American Westward-Southward expansion. The Sino-Soviet Split in the 1960s was the true manifestation of Chinese Exceptionalism. Chinese Communist leaders actually distinguished themselves from Soviet version of Communism — apparently on the account of the global leadership of the Communist International. Similarly, the decade long Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was an attempt by the Chinese nation to exhibit its superior moral and cultural foundations in relation to the world — especially the Western world. A clear transition of power — at least in economic terms — can be observed, with China being at the receiving end China has many exceptional attributes since its political system and religious foundations just like America — are exceptional and distinct — so is its history. The hinge and epicentre of Chinese Exceptionalism is the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its unique position in Chinese politics. The CPC maintains the identity of the ‘vanguard party’ as it was argued by Marx and Engels while it remains the symbol of the proletariat. The survival of the Chinese state and existence of the CPC are synonyms. Moreover, Chinese Exceptionalism can only be observable and maintainable while CPC remains in power. CPC reiterated the word ‘harmony’ in its literature for many decades. However, harmony is the linchpin of Confucius thoughts; nevertheless, the word ‘harmony’ was used dominantly. Quite recently, the CPC has re-introduced terms such as ‘Confucius thoughts’ in its communication and literature. The rhetoric of ‘connectivity’ has its roots in Confucius thoughts such as harmony and it is the master narrative of China under the leadership of Xi-Xinping. Arguably, every state travels through four basic phases of its existence from its independence, namely as; i) survivability, ii)sustainability, iii) partnership, and iv) leadership. Apparently, China is on its way somewhere between partnership and leadership — since America has asked China many times to use the latter’s influence in resolving the North Korean issue. Moreover, America can be seen clearly being on the back foot in relation to China in the economic sector. While, it is just a matter of time when Beijing may translate its economic power in to offensive military capabilities — as it was argued by John Mearsheimer in his book ‘The Tragedy of Great Power Politics’ (2001). Ostensibly, American Exceptionalism is fading and subsequently ending. Daniel Bell, an American, in his article ‘The End of American Exceptionalism’ authored at the end of the Vietnam War and the humiliating defeat inflicted by Communists — argued and equated American defeat with the demise of its exceptional characteristics. Similarly, Andrew J Bacevich, an American Realist, in his book ‘The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism’ (2008) emphasized on the limits and overstretch of U.S. Military Forces which brought an end to the Liberal idea of American Exceptionalism. It can be averred that great powers are inherently obsessed with power projection around the globe; however, regardless of the nature of this projection — great powers intend to keep a benign and benevolent lid on it. The most important attribute of Exceptionalism with Chinese characteristics is its internal Realist and external Liberal orientation e.g. the Tiananmen Square Protests of June 1989 and the subsequent crackdown. Chinese global engagements and investments including BRI while connecting the world especially in terms of economy are the genuine strands of Chinese Exceptionalism. However, it remains uncertain that when and how China is likely to employ its military muscles in order to spread ‘Chinese Values’ to the dark and bright corners of the world. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, June 4th 2018.