The American Right After Reagan
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The American Right After Reagan

Edward Ashbee, John Dumbrell and Alex Waddan

This timely and significant book provides a comprehensive overview of right-wing ideology and policy-making in the years since Ronald Reagan left office. The authors assess the ways in which the Reagan legacy, rather than the empirical realities of his tenure, has impacted economic, social and cultural policy formation and conservative efforts at reshaping the United States. Against this background, they provide an explanation for why the Republican party turned towards Donald Trump.
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Chapter 4: Conservative foreign policy: Reagan to Trump

Edward Ashbee, John Dumbrell and Alex Waddan


In a political tradition dominated by liberal ideas, the very concept of “conservative” foreign policy is problematic. This chapter identifies four distinct strands in rightist American foreign policy: Republican Party pragmatic internationalism, neo-conservatism, anti-interventionism, and nationalism. The first two of these strands – Republican pragmatic internationalism and neo-conservatism – draw upon liberal as well as conservative ideas. The chapter follows the evolution of these four foreign policy strands through the Reagan, George HW Bush, Clinton, and George W Bush presidencies. The provenance of Trumpian foreign policy, as it expressed itself in the 2016 presidential election, is traced to the nationalist tradition as well as its recent roots in the “new populism” of the 1990s.

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