Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Katja Favretto

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

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© 2018 Margaux J Arntson

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Since his election into office, a cloud of uncertainty has surrounded President Trump’s foreign policy ambitions. Much of today’s scholarship concerns its unpredictable nature and scope. President Trump, like previous presidents who have come before him, entered office with very little foreign policy experience. A key feature of his non-principled, fast-alternating foreign policy is that few people know exactly what he is going to propose next in terms of his international strategy. Coupled with this strategy is Trump’s desire for international credibility and a strong reputation. This desire seems fundamentally at odds with his foreign policy strategy, as Trump proposes isolationist measures and countries learn to fear his foreign policy’s unpredictability.

This paper aims to take a critical look at the role of humanitarian intervention in a country’s foreign policy. It analyses whether countries like the United States can successfully introduce humanitarian intervention as a successful foreign policy prescription. More specifically, it aims to answer the following research question: is it possible for the United States to reclaim its founding values through intervention in humanitarian crises without hindering the country’s military credibility?

This paper first proposes theory, then aims to cement that theory in a real-world scenario through the analysis of a specific case study. It uses a combination of primary sources, secondary sources, and more qualitative methods of data gathering to deeply analyze the relationship between humanitarian intervention, military credibility, and the United States’ founding values. It then goes on to critically analyze the application of these findings to the genocide currently occurring in West Sudan.