Futter, Andrew James (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis explains the evolution of US ballistic missile defence (BMD) policy between 1989 and 2010, by moving beyond the political rhetoric and intellectual obfuscation that surrounds the policy in the literature. By developing an explanatory framework to rigorously and systematically analyse the impact of different dynamics on policy, it explains the rhythms of day-to-day policy in particular context; explains the medium term shifts in the domestic political space within which day-to-day policy debate occurred, and explains the long term move towards acceptance and the gradual normalisation of BMD in American security policy. The primary argument of the thesis is that the particular configuration of domestic political institutions and party political pressures at any given time has been far more important in shaping BMD policy during each presidential administration since the end of the Cold War than has previously been acknowledged. Secondly, it argues that developments in the international system and technology have gradually altered the context within which this domestic political debate has occurred. Finally, it shows that domestic political influences, and the gradual shift in the contours of the domestic debate are the key reasons why BMD has gone from being one of the most divisive, zero-sum political issues in American national security thinking, to something that has largely become normalised, with debate now only occurring at the margins.
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