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Date of Submission


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Open Access Senior Thesis

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Bachelor of Arts



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Jennifer Taw

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© Blaise B Malley


Ever since the end of the Cold War, American exceptionalism and militarism have been ascendant, often resulting in a government that is eager and able to engage in military interventions across the world. This reality has been upheld by a strong bipartisan consensus of liberal internationalists and neoconservatives that, while it often disagreed on means, ultimately shared the same worldview. However, a number of recent global and national trends have led to growing voices on both sides of the aisle—progressives on the left, and populists on the right—to question the assumptions driving this consensus. This growing coalition has convergence on means—military withdrawal from the world—but have divergent worldviews.

This paper explored the Presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama to help define the post-Cold War consensus. Then, it seeks to explore whether these new realities have offered an opportunity for true re-thinking of American foreign policy and to understand whether a coalition built upon an agreement on means, as opposed to worldview, can be successful. The paper concludes that while the political conditions indicate that the country is ripe for a re-thinking, there are still questions to be addressed before a non-interventionist foreign policy can take hold.

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