9/11 And US Foreign Policy

David Ryan

in American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748626014
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670673 | DOI:
9/11 And US Foreign Policy

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This chapter makes the case that the events of 11 September 2001 did not represent a major turning point in American diplomatic history. Taking a long historical view, the author, David Ryan, contends that the reaction of the Bush administration in invading Iraq harkened back to old ideas and ideologies associated with the US’s defeat in the Vietnam War and with Cold War tendencies to think in dualistic terms. Concurrent with the resurgence of such mid-to-late twentieth-century ideological positions is the revivification of the 1990s theses of Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington, the ‘end of history’ and ‘the clash of civilisations’ respectively. Ryan argues that their ideas and their constructed notion of ‘the West’, founded on nostalgic and triumphal histories of the Cold War, informed the 2002 National Security Strategy and at a meta-level represent a yearning to inject a particular purpose and morality into American foreign policy.

Keywords: 9/11; Vietnam War; Iraq War; Cold War; Francis Fukuyama; Samuel Huntington; National Security Strategy

Chapter.  6760 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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