Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)





Committee Chair

Heather Stur

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Andrew Wiest

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Andrew Haley

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Brian LaPierre

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Member 5 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


The end of the Cold War created a dilemma for American foreign policymakers as the strategy to contain the spread of communism became obsolete. The presidencies of George H. W. Bush and William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton were forced to create grand strategies for American national security and foreign policy to replace the forty-plus year strategy of containment that continued to rely on traditional themes and principles of US foreign policy. Both men had to overcome lingering Cold War attitudes about the United States role in the world and its national security interests. As they struggled to do this, they faced an American public that was supportive of and reluctant of American participation in conflict resolution around the world.

This dissertation argues that even hat even as the international context changed following the end of the Cold War and during the early post-Cold War period, presidents George H. W. Bush and William “Bill” Clinton relied on pre-Cold War US foreign policy and national security strategies from the early twentieth century to devise a non-containment grand strategy. Clinton’s and Bush’s national security strategy and foreign policies returned to cooperative security arrangements that relied on international and regional institutions to respond to international and intranational conflicts that threatened to world security and stability and American interests. Their efforts occurred as post-Cold War technological advances in satellite transmissions, the growth of the internet, and electronic email increased public opinion’s and the mass media’s ability to influence foreign policy decisions. This dissertation focuses on the intranational or intra-state conflicts the United States intervened in between 1989 and 1995.

Using Bush and Clinton’s national security strategies, presidential documents, documents from the National Security Council, US State Department, and Central Intelligence Agency this dissertation examines the development and execution of Bush and Clinton’s grand strategies. The dissertation also uses public opinion polls, newspaper editorials, and archived television news reports understand public opinion and its responses to mass media and presidential framing and agenda setting.