Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Political and moral myths in American foreign policy: the neoconservative question

Buy Article:

$10.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

The United States, under the two presidential terms of George W. Bush, entered in two major wars and saw enacted a series of controversial anti-terrorism measures (warrantless wiretapping, military prison at Guantanamo Bay, the use of enhanced interrogation techniques [torture]). In light of these extreme policies in post-September 11 America, much attention has been paid to the neoconservative ideology and its shaping of Bush Administration policy. Appropriately, opponents of the policies of the Bush administration including John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 have suggested a return to a traditional American foreign policy, emphasizing military restraint and multilateral cooperation. Underlying these appeals is the notion that neoconservatism represents a break from American foreign-policy tradition, an aberration that can be reversed. The approach in this essay instead treats neoconservatism not as an aberration in American thought, but as a virulent strain of the enduring American ideology, chiefly exceptionalism. The recurring moral motifs in America's foreign policy are examined, with particular focus on the Cold War era and the subsequent post-Soviet era, which culminated in today's War on Terror. It is further argued that the recurring rhetorical themes of US foreign policy its moral example, its democratic mission, permanent threats to democracy were drawn upon to justify the War on Terror, and more particularly, the Iraq war. Because of the nature of the enemy in this case (Islamofascists in their parlance), this American narrative took on interesting mutations, stressing the supposed medievalism and backwardness of the enemy which drew upon well-established Orientalist motifs and stereotypes; the selling of the war was hence facilitated by these cultural reference points, which characterized America's War on Terror as a struggle between modernity and the premodern.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: American exceptionalism; American foreign policy; Islam; Islamism; September 11; neoconservatism; war on terror

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Calgary.

Publication date: February 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Intellect Books page
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
UA-1313315-26
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more