“America First”: An Exceptionalist Break in the Tradition of Meliorism toward Iran
This thesis focuses on Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy in relation to the concepts of American exceptionalism and meliorism, and the policy’s attitude toward the Middle East, specifically Iran. The U.S.-Iran relation is complex, and has not been as unstable as it is today for quite some time. Trump has pledged to focus solely on the United States and the domestic economy, and has cut ties with several long-standing international deals, among which the nuclear deal. Trump’s nationalist and unilateral objectives are not unique, but his rejection of all involvement with the Middle East might be. Is Trump’s policy of “America First” a break with the American tradition of meliorism toward Iran? This thesis illustrates that, in fact, Trump’s policy is a continuation of views and ideas already established and executed in previous presidencies, although it does break with the essential tradition of promoting democracy in undemocratic regions. It also argues that it might in fact be preceding president Barack Obama who broke the tradition of (the absence of) meliorism toward Iran.
Faculteit der Letteren