The influence of neoconservatism on US foreign policy debates during the Obama administration

Spence, Henda Catherine Gillian Spence (2016) The influence of neoconservatism on US foreign policy debates during the Obama administration. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (2MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


Neoconservatism reached its zenith as a school of thought when it became associated with the Iraq War. Although the war was largely considered a failure, it raised the profile of neoconservatism as a school of thought. Many studies were completed which pointed to the influence of prominent members of the George W. Bush administration who were considered to be ideologically neoconservative. When Obama won the presidency in 2008, it was assumed that the influence of neoconservatives, or neoconservatism more broadly, would be over. However, given neoconservatism’s historical foundations and the tenacity of its adherents it seemed important to consider whether this has been the case. Therefore, this thesis set out to answer the question: To what extent have neoconservatives, and neoconservatism more broadly, influenced foreign policy debates during the Obama administration?
I argue that neoconservatism has remained not only salient within foreign policy debates, but prominent in these debates, during Obama’s two terms in office. An examination of US foreign policy towards the nuclear crisis in Iran and the Syrian civil war indicates that neoconservatism had a substantive influence on the policy debates and the options considered within them, particularly in Congress. In some instances, neoconservative policy entrepreneurs contributed to legislation. Furthermore, this thesis finds that neoconservatism has been the predominant approach to foreign policy within the Republican Party on the issues of Iran and Syria during the period under review.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: US foreign policy, Middle East, neoconservatism, security, policy networks, advocacy coalitions, ideology.
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Supervisor's Name: Kollman, Dr. Kelly
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Miss Henda C.G. Spence
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7761
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2016 16:17
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2016 16:49

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year