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In search of enemies: Donald Trump’s populist foreign policy rhetoric

Hall, Jonny ORCID: 0000-0002-4268-3845 (2021) In search of enemies: Donald Trump’s populist foreign policy rhetoric. Politics, 41 (1). 48 - 63. ISSN 0263-3957

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0263395720935377


This article asks how Donald Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric during his presidential campaign and presidency has affected US foreign policy in the area of overseas counterterrorism campaigns. Looking at two case studies – the May 2017 Arab Islamic American Summit and the US role in the counter Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) campaign, it is argued that Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric has failed to accurately describe or legitimate his administration’s counterterrorism strategy, as per the conventional wisdom. Instead, Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric has largely been aimed at creating a sense of crisis (as populism requires) to mobilise his domestic base. In making this argument about the purpose of Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric, not only does the article contribute a new perspective to the extant literature on elections, rhetoric, and US foreign policy, but also to the burgeoning scholarship on governing populists and their foreign policies. Although these findings could be unique to Trump, the article’s novel framework – combining International Relations and populism scholarship to elaborate on how the foreign arena can be used to generate a state of perpetual crisis – can hopefully be applied in other contexts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2020 11:45
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2024 21:30

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