Date of Award

6-12-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Mary E. Stuckey - Chair

Abstract

This project examines the foreign policy rhetoric of Bill Clinton in the post-Cold War world. My reading of Clinton’s rhetoric reveals that a change/order binary underwrote his oratory. Clinton defined change as being the underlying guidepost of the post-Cold War international setting. Order was defined through how he could guide, shape, direct, and manage American foreign policy in a sea of change, represented through his use of what I call America’s foreign policy vocabulary. This lexicon is based on three rhetorical components—the definitions of America’s role in the world, identification of the enemies we face, and the grand strategy we use to achieve American interest—have been a resource for presidential foreign policy discourse since America’s founding. Clinton’s use of this vocabulary maintained continuity in its use with his predecessors, but he also modified it in key ways to deal with the changes of the global environment. These modifications positioned Clinton to direct and manage the change to serve American interests which offered a semblance of order for American foreign policy in a sea of international disorder.

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Communication Commons

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