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Title: United States’ Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era: An Exploration of International Legitimacy
Authors: Müller-Germanà, Annatina
Supervisors: Futter, Andrew
McCormack, Tara
Award date: 9-Apr-2018
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The thesis provides a systematic analysis of the international legitimacy of US foreign policy (US International Legitimacy, USIL) in the post-Cold War era (1989-2017), a topic not comprehensively addressed in scholarly literature. The thesis examines the extent to which US foreign policy can be considered legitimate in the post-Cold War era from an academic/scholarly perspective. It develops a framework consisting of four key elements (‘International Values and Norms’, ‘Inter-national Order’, ‘International Consensus’ and ‘International Society’), and combines this with the use of a ‘Family Resemblance Concept (FRC)’1 approach to analyse and compare these elements across US presidential administrations. This framework is utilised as a lens to evaluate the extent that each US administration’s foreign policy can be considered legitimate. The thesis makes five arguments and contributions to the scholarly literature: First, the thesis argues that the understanding of USIL evolved in the post-Cold War era. This was influenced by multiple different factors. Second, it shows that US foreign policy didn’t necessarily have to meet each of the four elements of the thesis’ framework to be considered legitimate. Third, it explains that in terms of USIL, there are differences between the various US administrations: The foreign policies of the George H.W. Bush and Obama administrations can be considered mostly legitimate, of the Clinton administration partially legitimate and of the George W. Bush administration weakly legitimate. Fourth, it illustrates that for hegemonic states like the US, USIL acts both as a constraining and enabling component of US foreign policy. Finally, the thesis concludes that US foreign policy can be considered relatively legitimate in the post-Cold War era.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, Dept. of Politics and International Relations

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