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Title: Framing the 'war on terror' : American, British and Australian foreign policy discourse
Author: Holland, Jack
ISNI:       0000 0004 2688 7703
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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In September 2001 several states launched a series of counter-terrorism policies under the banner of the 'War on Terror' that were unprecedented in their scope, intensity and cost. Extensive domestic legislative agendas and surveillance programmes at home were matched by increased military interventionism abroad, most significantly in Afghanistan and Iraq. This thesis is concerned with examining how this 'War on Terror' was possible: how it was conceivable for policy-makers and how it was 'sold' to domestic audiences. More specifically, this thesis considers three principal members of the 'Coalition of the Willing' in Iraq - the United States, Britain and Australia. Aside from adopting similar and overlapping policy responses in the context of a commitment to the 'War on Terror', these three states share a common language, intertwined histories and institutional similarities, underpinned by perceptions of cultural proximity and closely related identities. However, despite significant cultural, historical and political overlap, the 'War on Terror' was rendered possible in these contexts in different ways, drawing on different discourses and narratives of foreign policy and identity. In the US, President Bush employed highly reductive moral arguments within a language of frontier justice, which was increasingly channelled through the signifier of 'freedom'. In the UK, Prime Minister Blair framed every phase of the 'War on Terror' as rational, reasoned and proper, balancing moral imperatives with an emphasised logical pragmatism. In Australia, Prime Minister Howard relied upon particularly exclusionary framings mutually reinforced through repeated references to shared values. This thesis explores these differences and their origins, arguing that they have important implications for the way we understand foreign policy and political possibility. They demonstrate that foreign policy is both discursive and culturally embedded. And they illustrate that foreign policy discourse impacts on political possibility in rendering some policy responses conceivable while others unthinkable, and some policy responses acceptable while others illegitimate. This thesis thus contributes to our understanding of political possibility, in the process correcting a tendency to view the 'War on Terror' as a universal and monolithic political discourse.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC) ; Arts & Humanities Research Council (Great Britain) (AHRC) ; American Study and Student Exchange Committee (ASSEC) ; Europe and Asia Nexus Partnership ; International Studies Association ; British International Studies Association
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare ; JF Political institutions (General)