American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

The Role of Metaphors in U.S. Foreign Policy: Global Leadership and the Carter Administration
Steven J. Campbell

Attention to metaphor usage by political leaders can lead to a fuller understanding of the political process in U.S. foreign policy. However, metaphorical analyses of foreign policy have focused more on metaphors as rhetorical or legitimating devices rather than as cognitive “guides” for officials. In this light, the article assesses the usefulness of the metaphorical approach for understanding foreign policy by examining U.S. global leadership during the Carter Administration. The study begins by describing the evolution in metaphorical thinking by President Carter, his National Security Adviser, and his Secretary of State. Then the study explains the policymakers’ stability and change in metaphorical thinking over time. The findings indicate change in metaphorical thinking from optimistic to more pessimistic imagery during the administration. In addition, this change coincided with a shift in global leadership during the Carter years, reflecting a role for metaphors as cognitive guides through the foreign policy terrain.

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