Trump's American Revolution

11 October 2017

Democracy Futures Seminar | Sydney Democracy Network

It is commonplace to read that Trump is a transactional leader without a foreign policy ideology. Where George W. Bush was often criticised as an ideological president who was motivated by neoconservative ideas particularly in the Middle East, Trump is generally described as an unpredictable opportunist. This talk will challenge this view and will argue that all administrations and presidents have ideologies. While some presidential ideologies are more coherent than others, scholars must identify the key ideological currents within all administrations, not just those that fit into pre-existing models. Trump’s ideology, like all American presidents, draws on nationalism. The challenge with Trump is that he is drawn to making statements that aim to distract or provoke rivals, including other nations. In this environment where language is used both loosely and to deliberately distract, it is challenging to sum up Trump’s foreign policy ideology. However, this does not mean that Trump lacks a foreign policy ideology, nor does it negate the need to analyse his foreign policy ideology. Rather, the aggressive and disruptive nature of much of Trump’s rhetoric makes the task of coming to a better understanding of Trump’s ideology all the more important.

Brendon O'Connor is jointly appointed between the US Studies Centre and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney as an Associate Professor in American Politics. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Georgetown University in 2006, a Visiting Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC in 2008 and 2015, and life member of Clare Hall at University of Cambridge. Brendon is the editor of seven books on anti-Americanism and has also published articles and books on American welfare policy, presidential politics, US foreign policy, and Australian-American relations.

Event details

Trump's American Revolution


S226 Seminar Room John

Woolley Building

Entry off Manning Rd

The University of Sydney


11 October 2017

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