This edited volume is an innovative analysis of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, security and counter-terrorism policy, specifically within the context of ending the now infamous War on Terror. The book adopts a comparative approach, analysing change and continuity in US foreign policy during Obama’s first term in office vis-à-vis the foreign policy of the War on Terror, initiated by George W. Bush following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Despite being heralded as an agent of change, since his election in 2008 Obama has faced criticism that his foreign policy is effectively the same as what went before and that the War on Terror is still alive and well. Far from delivering wholesale change, Obama has been accused of replicating and even reinforcing the approach, language and policies that many anticipated he would reject. With contributions from a range of US foreign policy experts, this volume analyses the extent to which these criticisms of continuity are correct, identifying how the failure to end the War on Terror is manifest and explaining the reasons that have made enacting change in foreign policy so difficult. In addressing these issues, contributions to this volume will discuss continuity and change from a range of perspectives in International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis.
This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of US foreign policy, security studies and American politics.
Introduction: Why is change so hard? Continuity in American foreign policy from Bush to Obama Jack Holland 1. Obama’s War on Terrorism in rhetoric and practice Trevor McCrisken 2. US decline and systemic constraint Adam Quinn 3. Structural shifts and strategic change: From the War on Terror to the pivot to Asia Nicholas Kitchen 4. A Constructivist-Institutionalist analysis of democracy promotion under Bush and Obama Oz Hassan 5. The War on Terror as hegemonic discourse: Institutionalisation, interests and the sedimentation of counterterrorism ideology Richard Jackson 6. Continuity we can believe in: Escaping the War on Terror Michelle Bentley 7. Affective investment in the War on Terror Ty Solomon 8. US nuclear weapons policy from Bush to Obama Andrew Futter 9. Drones and the issue of continuity in America’s Pakistan policy under Obama Wali Aslam 10. Interventionism in US foreign policy from Bush to Obama Mike Aaronson 11. Thinking about time in US foreign policy and its study Lee Jarvis Conclusion: Conceptualising change and continuity in US foreign policy Jack Holland and Michelle Bentley