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US STRATEGY BETWEEN THE TWO FALLS: FROM THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL TO BAGHDAD

By MOHAMED KHAMIS ITBEGA

Abstract

This study argues that American foreign policy (AFP) represented continuity rather than change from the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. During this time, the US pursued a hegemonic strategy that aimed to preserve its unipolar moment in the new American century. However, this argument is challenged by two sets of AFP literature. The first sees the 1990s as a period of inconsistency in AFP strategy, and the second identifies post-9/11 policy as a revolutionary change in AFP.\ud This study‘s analysis goes below the surface of AFP‘s to its deep structure (hidden agendas). In contrast to the majority of AFP literature, it argues the 1990s were not a fragmented era but that AFP showed continuity rather than change, and the strategy of hegemony was already in operation. Likewise, putting aside the rhetoric of the Bush II administration, post-9/11 policy cannot be understood except in the context of AFP‘s hegemonic strategy of the post-Cold War (CW) era and 9/11 was no more than a terrorist attack carried out by a terrorist group. However, to serve US hegemonic agenda that was on hold from the early 1990s, the attack was deliberately exaggerated and portrayed as an existential threat to the US.\ud The study does not deny the political fragmentation in the 1990s or ignore the effects of 9/11 on AFP strategy. Therefore, to critique the two sets of literature, the research assesses the impact of domestic politics on the ability of US officials‘ to build on America‘s unipolar moment. In doing so, this study highlights several aspects of US domestic division that curtailed the ability of bureaucrats to handle FP issues. This also demonstrates that AFP‘s failure in the 1990s was not on the strategic planning level but in its domestic context. Congress emerged as a counterweight to the leadership of the president. Societal groups gained unprecedented influence over policy-making as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. This status changed after 9/11 when a new external enemy appeared. The president regained his supreme role and Congress‘s role retreated. Under these circumstances, the study concludes that an unchanging AFP strategy gave the basis for the emergence of an explicit American hegemony

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.dur.ac.uk:575
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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