Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Government

Advisor

S.P. Harish

Committee Members

Andrew Tobolowsky

Lenneal Henderson

Abstract

Political polarization and the growing power of the presidency have created new incentives for political actors in the realm of foreign policy that have not existed prior in American his- tory. I argue that these new incentives in formulating foreign policy has created repeating and predictable trends in how America relates to various regime types (here meaning all ruling governments, regardless of political system) due to shared ideological concerns. The foreign policy pushed by the Democratic Party places emphasis on democratization and human rights in the post-September 11th period, which leads to improved relations between America and like- minded liberal left-leaning regimes. Similarly, Republican Party foreign policy, which prioritizes security above democratization and human rights promotion, allows for improved ties between America and like-minded right-leaning regimes. Through examining the case studies of Amer- ican relations with Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines in the post-September 11th period, I find that American relations with liberal democracies - Indonesia, the Philippines pre-Duterte - improved with the Obama administration’s foreign policy, and have worsened under the Bush and Trump foreign policies. Likewise, American relations with authoritarian nations - Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines under an increasingly-brazen Duterte - have improved with Republican Party foreign policy, especially in the areas related to security at the cost of democratization efforts and human rights promotion.

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