Historical Social Research

Oxana Gaman-Golutvina: Political Elites in the USA under George W. Bush and Barack Obama: Structure and International Politics. [Abstract]

The article is devoted to a comparison of different U.S. administrations’ foreign policy in the beginning of the 21st century. This period was chosen because it appears to be a critical moment in American history. The analysis shows that, despite the differences in party adherence and other ideological affiliations, successive administrations tend to follow identical or similar guidelines while implementing foreign policy. The author suggests several possible reasons for this continuity. First, there is the stability of the institutional and decision-making systems and mechanisms, which, in turn, are based on a stable system of interest representation. More broadly, it is the persistent system of values and basic attitudes, political and philosophical traditions, ideology and long-term be-havioral patterns – those phenomena forming the core of political culture – that are the most important non-institutional factors driving the continuity of American foreign policy. So, comparison of the foreign policy courses of the Bush and Obama administrations leads to the conclusion that the mechanism of U.S. foreign policy is impersonal to a great extent. The key biographical parameters of the politicians play an only limited role in defining their political course.

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