American power and the racial dimensions of US foreign policy

Mark Ledwidge
Content Type
Journal Article
International Politics
Issue Number
Publication Date
March 2011
Palgrave Macmillan
This article consists of a critical discourse that examines the meteoric rise of Barack Obama within the context of international and domestic race relations. The article explores the impact of American racism on domestic and foreign affairs, in addition to providing contrasting viewpoints on the significance of Obama's election to the presidency. The article utilises the Obama phenomenon to assess US perceptions of the North–South divide, race, ethnicity, religion and anti-Americanism, in addition to unpacking the controversy surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright's characterisations of American power. The Obama campaign's post-9/11 context will be used to ascertain whether conservative efforts to associate Obama with Islam represent a conservative backlash that represents an ethnocentric re-articulation related to race, religion and the War on Terror, followed by an assessment of whether the Obama phenomenon is indicative of the perfectibility of US democracy, which would justify the exportation of American values. The article will engage in an interdisciplinary discourse grounded in political science, history and IR to provide the depth of knowledge and theoretical competency to frame the discussion in a historical and contemporary context that acknowledges Obama's relevance to domestic and international politics.
Political Geography