Chapter 4: Conservative foreign policy: Reagan to Trump
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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