Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy

By Tim Aistrope

Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy


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  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3938-2
  • Pages: 184
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: May 2020
  • BIC Category: International Relations, International relations, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Conspiracy Theories, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, United States of America, USA, Society & social sciences / International relations
  • Series: New Approaches to Conflict Analysis


Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy examines the relationship between secrecy, power and interpretation around international political controversy, where foreign policy orthodoxy comes up hard against alternative interpretations. It does so in the context of American foreign policy during the War on Terror, a conflict that was quintessentially covert and conspiratorial. This book adds a new dimension to the debate by examining the 'Arab-Muslim paranoia narrative': the view that Arab-Muslim resentment towards America is motivated to some degree by a paranoid perception of American power in the Middle East. This narrative subsequently made its way into numerous US Government policy documents and initiatives advancing a War of Ideas strategy aimed at winning the 'hearts and minds' of Arab-Muslims.

This study provides a novel reading of the processes through which legitimacy and illegitimacy is produced in foreign policy discourses. It will appeal to a wide cross-disciplinary audience interested in the burgeoning issues of conspiracy, paranoia, and popular knowledge, including their relationship to and consequences for contemporary politics.


'[This] is an excellent scholarly work and deserves to be read alongside books such as Richard Jackson's Writing the War on Terrorism and Stuart Croft's Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror.'
Associate Professor Jack Holland, University of Leeds

'I found Aistrope's analysis compelling. Relevant and timely, Aistrope's book provides critical insights into a process that has profound global implications, the making and projection of US foreign policy and the different ways in which it is perceived at home and abroad.'
Associate Professor Diane Kirby, University of Ulster

'This insightful commentary brings important critical-theoretical analysis into conversation with the study of US foreign policy, an intersection which is all too rare in contemporary IR.'
Dr Aggie Hirst, City University of London

'Aistrope draws upon the burgeoning pool of critical IR scholarship concerned with US foreign policy, positioning this book alongside the works of James Der Derian, Michael Shapiro, Jim George and Richard Jackson. This intellectual lineage is impressive. This book-thoroughly researched, intellectually sophisticated and powerfully argued-signals the emergence of a talented new scholar.'
Dr Damien Rogers, Massey University


Part I: Conceptualising conspiracy theory
1. The paranoid style in international politics
2. Conspiracy culture
Part II: Conspiracy discourse in the War on Terror
3. Strategies of deterrence and frames of containment
4. The War of Ideas
5. Conspiracy, misinformation and public diplomacy
Select bibliography


Tim Aistrope is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Kent, UK

Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy

By Tim Aistrope

Paperback £20.00 / $35.00

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

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