Hegemony on a Leash?
: Neo-Conservatism, American foreign policy, and the United Nations

Student thesis: PhD Thesis


In the post-Cold war era, people have declared the “end of ideology”. They have questioned its relevance in an increasingly globalized world. I would like to demonstrate that ideology still retains an influence on policymakers. I shall demonstrate that Constructivism is the most appropriate theoretical framework with which to analyse the influence of ideology, and shall use the case study of the Bush administration’s engagement with the UN Security Council in the lead up to the Iraq War. Much has been written about the influence of Neo-Conservatism on Bush’s post-9/11 foreign policy, but the issue of its precise influence on the Bush Administration’s case to the UN Security Council has not been thoroughly explored. The US’s inability to obtain a broad consensus on the issue of confronting Saddam was symptomatic not only of a clash in perspectives with its fellow UNSC permanent member nations, but also of a wider ideologically-driven ambivalence towards global governance. I am using a Constructivist theoretical perspective to examine the UN’s institutional facts and inter-subjective norms, and to explore the emergence of disparities in socialization and norm acceptance amongst different member states. These disparities laid the foundations for a Neo-Conservatism that claims to be steeped America’s rich history of foreign policy exceptionalism, domestic culture wars, and consequently espouses a morally robust, militaristic notion of America’s national identity that many see as being at odds with the UN charter. This paper will deepen our understanding of America’s post-Cold War attitude toward global governance, and the implications that this has for the future of the world political system.
Date of AwardMar 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorDavid Kiwuwa (Supervisor) & Maria Julia Trombetta (Supervisor)

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