Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


John Torpey

Subject Categories

American Politics | Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Public Administration


Trump, international liberal order, norms, multilateral agreements, China, North Korea


This paper’s main objective is to develop potential theories on the future of American foreign policy within the Trump Administration. The paper will begin by evaluating the norm of statehood and will discuss the contributions of John Meyer to the statehood discourse. Through analysis of Meyer’s work, this paper will develop a standardized structure of statehood within the global order. Furthermore, the paper will analyze the Westphalian international order and discuss the viability of this system leading up to 2017. The Westphalian international system has been the primary system for which nation-states aim to gain acceptance and its norms provide the basis for all nations. The norms of statehood and sovereignty are some of the fundamental elements of the system and they provide the constructs for the nation-state entity to function within the trade, politics, and cultural exchanges of Westphalian order. Sovereignty will be analyzed within this construct and will be developed based on Max Weber’s work on the nation-state. This paper will then evaluate the norm life-cycle as proposed by Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink. It will then discuss some of the most pertinent norms in the international liberal order.

This paper will then evaluate the emergence of Donald Trump during the American election cycle and his eventual inauguration, including how his views on foreign policy will affect the legacy and future of American foreign policy. A discussion of isolationism and nationalism will frame the analysis of certain areas of foreign policy that he has already begun to address, such as American relations with China, North Korea, and Russia. Thorough analysis will be conducted on the speeches he has given, as well as the actions that he has taken thus far, i.e., his conversation with the President of Taiwan and the conversations of his advisers with Russian counterparts during the transition period. The Trump administration has illustrated and communicated that it intends to undertake severe departures from past foreign policy agendas. The dangerous tone of some of these departures have the potential to create turmoil within the current international order. This paper will evaluate and hypothesize about the potential impacts that a Trump foreign policy agenda will have on the world and how well the world’s institutions might fare in this potentially chaotic time.