The impact of the New Right on the Reagan administration : Kirkpatrick & UNESCO as a test case
The aim of this research is to investigate whether the Reagan administration was influenced by 'New Right' ideas. Foreign policy issues were chosen as test cases because the presidency has more power in this area which is why it could promote an aggressive stance toward the United Nations and encourage withdrawal from UNESCO with little impunity. Chapter 1 deals with American society after 1945. It shows how the ground was set for the rise of Reagan and the New Right as America moved from a strong affinity with New Deal liberalism to a new form of conservatism, which the New Right and Reagan epitomised. Chapter 2 analyses the New Right as a coalition of three distinctive groups: anti-liberals, New Christian Right, and neoconservatives. Each group is examined in turn. Chapter 3 looks at whether the Reagan administration was a New Right administration. The chapter is divided into three sections; economic, social and foreign policy. In each domain one can see the administration's attempt to fulfil its New Right agenda with varying degrees of success. Chapter 4 investigates Kirkpatrick's approach to the United Nations. Her themes at the UN ('America First', liberty and the Western political system, politicisation and the 'rights debate') were very much in line with what the New Right was seeking of Reagan both internally and externally. Chapter 5 examines the reasons behind the American decision to withdraw from UNESCO in 1984. It demonstrates that the reasons for the withdrawal were essentially political, as the justifications given by the administration were weak. In conclusion the essence of the thesis is to show that the Reagan presidency embodied many of the ideas of the New Right. Although in domestic policy its success was debatable. However, in foreign policy and especially in US-UN and US- UNESCO relationships the ideas of the New Right were predominant.