AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM DURING THE AFGHAN SOVIET WAR 1979-1989
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This thesis looks at the Soviet–Afghan war as a crucial event at the Cold War final stage. It analyses the U.S.’s involvement in the conflict, focusing on the role of American exceptionalism in U.S. administrations’ policy towards Afghanistan through 1970s–1980s. The research elaborates on the interpretation of American exceptionalism by U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, its implications in their foreign policy strategy in general and in Afghan policy specifically. The analysis of Carter’s and Reagan’s speeches, and their primary foreign policy advisors’ public statements, provided a considerable platform for an overall complex study. It has been argued that Carter’s “pragmatic moralism” and Reagan’s “messianic Americanism” were made the tenets of the U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union as its main rivalry in the Cold War period, and that the developments in Afghanistan had been framed to fit in the American exceptionalism theory. The Carter and Reagan administrations substantially supported the Afghan Mujahideen, identified as “freedom fighters,” who were oppressed by the “Evil Empire” and the U.S.’s historical mission was to liberate them, assisting them in their “right cause.” That again fell within exceptionalism narrative. This work doesn’t reject the determinant role of the U.S.’s national interests in its foreign policy under the conditions of the Cold War. However, it mainly focuses on the American exceptionalist narratives, values and beliefs, thus, introducing a new perspective on interpretation of U.S. policy towards Afghanistan during the Soviet military intervention.