First Advisor

Birol A. Yeşilada

Term of Graduation

Spring 2006

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy


Public Administration




Language policy -- United States, Presidents -- United States -- History -- 20th century, Presidents -- United States -- History -- 21st century, United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989, United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-1993, United States -- Politics and government -- 1993-2001



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vi, 224 pages)


Highlighting presidential values brings to center stage the leadership dimension of foreign policy. Because values play an instrumental role in the policy process, understanding the dominant values of powerful leaders is crucial to sustaining democracy at its most basic level. An empirical study of public statements on Iraq by Presidents Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush from August 2, 1990, the date Iraq invaded Kuwait, through March 19, 2003 provides the data for analysis. Combining Lasswell's theory of political values and dictionary construct based on the language of values provides an analytical tool to minimize influence of political ideology and researcher bias.

Results indicate a causal relationship between the expressed values of Presidents Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush and references to military force in Iraq. In expressing concern about Middle East energy resources, President Bush demonstrates wealth values and the legitimacy of the United Nations. President Clinton considers the consequences of military action through expression of well being and respect values, uniquely focusing on values fundamental to democracy. President W. Bush communicates the dominance of power rationalized by political myths. While the value of power is commonly expressed by all three presidents, power dominates solely for President W. Bush.

In order to infer a causal relationship, linkage must be established between a president's policy decisions on Iraq and values articulated in policy discussion. Both Presidents Bush and W. Bush made decisions to take the country to war with Iraq. Patterns linking resources with military force, as evident in presentations by President Bush, are historically established. President W. Bush's expressions of power rationalized by political myths demonstrate an integral characteristic of politics that often leads to military conflicts. President Clinton elucidates values describing well being and respect as significant in explaining his decision not to declare war on Iraq. The analysis suggests that dominant expressions of wealth and power values are likely to predict foreign policy decisions involving military force, while expressions of respect and well being values are associated with non-military policy options. The analysis lends credibility to the supposition of causality between values and policy decisions.


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