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The Domestic Conditions for a Paradigmatic Change in US Foreign Policy


Although foreign policy changes reflect transformations in the international system, they are also strongly conditioned by domestic factors. This is particularly true in the United States. Domestic factors have affected US decision-makers' interpretation of the international system and the role their country should play in it. That interpretation has gone through various phases, each characterised by a predominant paradigm or a struggle between competing paradigms. If the period between 11 September 2001 and the 2006 mid-term elections witnessed the uncontested success of unilateralism, after those mid-terms and the elections of 4 November 2008, the necessary domestic conditions for a new multilateral paradigm may have been created.