US Foreign Policy in Theory and Practice: from Soviet era Containment to the era of the Arab Uprising(s)
Marianna Charountaki

This paper aims to pursue a brief but enlightening comparative study of US discourse and practice as applied by the Presidencies towards the Middle Eastern region since World War II up to the present day in order to evaluate the current status of US foreign policy on the occasion of the Arab uprisings and with the intention of disclosing the centrality of the ‘national interest’ in the formulation of US foreign policy making. The “Arab Spring” and the transformation of the Middle East as a vital region for US interests has emerged as a golden opportunity for US strategy to reassess itself and reconsider both policies and tactics. The analysis argues that a gradual intensity characterizes both discourse and policies. I present arguments about five different phases US policy has undergone coupled with a discourse of ‘Individual Realism’ and ‘Opportunistic Humanitarianism’ that US foreign policy has been founded on and shaped by. Barack Obama’s Presidency has not altered US foreign policy discourse or practice much; even more significantly, it does not seem to have left a sixth mark of its own.

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