On May the 6th, I will be presenting a paper at the “Trump’s America” conference hosted by the Clinton Institute at UCD.
I will be part of a panel focusing on US foreign policy.
The abstract of my presentation is below:
Could President Trump represent a major break with the tradition of US democracy promotion in the Middle East? Wilsonianism has long represented one of the most influential approaches in the tradition of US foreign policy. The focus of Wilsonianism has been on the advancement of US values abroad, especially of liberal democratic values. Accordingly, US foreign policy rhetoric has commonly referred to the promotion of US values to describe and justify US international behavior. Evidence from the 2016 US presidential campaign and President Donald Trump’s first months in office indicates that this may no longer be the case, especially with regard to the Middle East. Many commentators have consistently argued that the new president has completely dropped the Wilsonian aspects of US foreign policy; therefore breaking with more than 100 years of US foreign policy.
In this paper, I will:
1) maintain that Trump’s departure from Wilsonianism may be a temporary phenomenon likely to change during his time in office. To make this argument I will present historical evidence of similar dynamics playing out during the George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s administrations.
2) identify the key reasons, at both the national and systemic levels, that could explain Wilsonianism’s past, present, and future resilience as a core approach to US foreign policy.