The Dynamics of Change in United States Foreign Policy: Contexts, Leadership, and Hegemonic Legitimacy

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This article examines the dialectical relationship between continuity and change in the foreign policy of the United States, a hegemonic power. The article begins by exploring the agent–structure problem and the factors that affect changes in foreign policy and the legitimacy of hegemony. It compares the hegemonic leadership styles of three former United States Presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. The article aims to contrast the foreign policy approaches of the three presidents and present two main arguments. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of foreign policy, it is imperative to analyse dynamic components such as contextual factors and leadership. This includes the leaders’ worldviews and their ability to adapt to unanticipated crises. The gradual decline of the United States’ hegemony in the international order can be attributed to structural transformations within the international order and the erosion of its social capital and its role as hegemon. Yet, the leadership styles adopted by American presidents have a significant impact on the erosion of the nation’s hegemonic leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Article number560
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Sciences (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2023


  • Foreign policy change
  • Leadership
  • International order
  • Hegemonic legitimacy
  • George W. Bush
  • Barack Obama
  • Donald Trump


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