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Title: The politics of US foreign assistance : poverty, terrorism and children in the era of the global war on terror
Author: Burt, A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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The study examines the role of deep-rooted American cultural and political traditions in the formation of US foreign assistance policy during the War on Terror era, including case study assessment of US aid policies in Jordan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Sudan’s Darfur region. The key research questions are: How did the enduring mythologies of American culture influence the policies and practices of US foreign assistance under the Bush administration, with a particular focus on their interaction with theories of poverty, childhood and terrorism? And what impacts have these para-ideologies had in terms of contributing to or detracting from the coherence of the aid programme and its ability to meet the goals stated for it by the Bush administration? The pervading principles of the US political mythos – including a belief in the overarching superiority of capitalism and the subsequent pathologization of poor people; the panacea-like qualities of democracy promotion in developing countries; and the securitization of development policy – firmly underpinned US aid policy after 9/11. The interaction of these influences inform the study’s detailed analysis of Bush’s aid agenda, including examination of the role of the White House, Congress, public opinion and NGOs. The study examines how a number of the myths of the American worldview proved crucial in the creation of a national purpose in the face of terrorist attacks. However, these ingrained para-ideologies also exposed more about the United States’ own deterministic scripting of its identity and worldview than the socio-economic and political actualities of the contemporary world. Consequently, a number of US aid policies during the era of the War on Terror did not achieve maximum impact in reducing poverty, somewhat paradoxically then failing to achieve the primary goal of US assistance: improving living conditions in developing countries to act as a foil to extremist ideologies, thereby making the world safer and more secure for the United States.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available