It is at this liminal point in his jeremiad, which, as I have suggested-and Huntington's rhetorical anxiety in the last sentence confirms-is a spectacle- producing instrument, that Huntington dramatically brings the bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which he has strategically marginalized, to center stage.
What comes more immediately to hand for this task of exposure--especially if we recall the spectacular rhetoric Senator Kerry uses to characterize President Obama's pursuit of Osama bin Laden ("he promised to focus like a laser on al-Quada')--are two epiphanic--but neglected--troubling moments from two texts of the American literary tradition itself, counter-mnemonic texts written by Herman Melville that, in the middle of the century of Westward expansion, revealed the Puritan origins of the American exeptionalist ethos and its cumulative hegemonic power and, in so doing, proleptically disclosed the violent underside of its alleged benignity at the liminal point of its unerring logic.
Equally, if not more important, he discloses, by way of locating his interrogation of the unerring logic of American exceptionalism at its liminal point, the deep onto- psychological structure that "justifies" this contradictory worldly violence: the will to power, authorized, indeed, commanded, as a Calling by a Transcendental Signified (or Logos) that, ruthlessly reduces the "threatening" differential many to a spectacular objectified (or personified) One to render it, in the uncannily proleptic terms Melville uses to epitomized the culmination of Ahab's "fiery pursuit" of the ultimately unpredictable White Whale, "practically assailable.
In pursuing these imperatives to their liminal point, as I have observed, the nationalist discourse of American exceptionalism has self-de-structed.
Agamben is not necessarily addressing contemporary America--and American exceptionalism--in pointing to the Achilles' heel of the society of the spectacle that exposes itself at the liminal point of its spectacular logic and thus suggesting the positive possibilities concerning the coming polis.