Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Robert Hislope




terrorism, foreign policy, military, counterinsurgency, neoconservatism


Beginning in 2002, President George W. Bush charted a new American foreign policy against international terrorism, asserting the right to unquestionably advance and protect American values and interests above all others, using all means available, including unilateral military action. This doctrine was crafted by a group of scholars known as neoconservatives, whose ideology overwhelmingly controlled the Bush administration’s foreign policy decisionmaking. Their policies exacted an incredible toll on the United States, and now policymakers must find a way to rebuild in their wake. This thesis explores these ideas, and provides suggestions of how best to proceed. The work deals with the history of neoconservatism, addressing its origin, development, and policy issues including how to ensure American dominance in the Middle East. It begins tracing its theoretical supports, comparing neoconservatism to common international relations theory. The influence of neoconservatism on the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks is then addressed, drawing attention to policy developed by neoconservative thinking, enshrined in the Bush Doctrine. Recounting the development, planning and execution of the Iraq War under neoconservative policymaking, and the abysmal results of the invasion, the thesis then explores a variety of criticisms, depicting the cogent opposition to neoconservative foreign policy. Lastly, while comparing the neoconservative ideology to worldviews of the previous century of American history, the thesis notes the failure of neoconservatism, which is declared an imperialistic and misguided movement. It explores where the United States can learn from neoconservatism to develop a foreign policy which emphasizes diplomacy, multilateralism, and humility.