Symbolic commitment of presidential speeches: A study of American policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict
AuthorAl-sa'd, Sa'd Faisal, 1947-
KeywordsHistory, Middle Eastern.
History, United States.
Political Science, General.
Political Science, International Law and Relations.
Language, Rhetoric and Composition.
AdvisorSullivan, Michael P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore systematically the interaction among nation states by focusing on a single case of American policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, specifically the symbolic rhetoric in presidential speeches. This study seeks to increase our knowledge about international crises, and any possible patterns and fluctuations in presidential symbolic rhetoric toward the Arab-Israeli conflict during the 1948-1992 period. The central objective is to explore whether changes in symbolic rhetoric may be related to the escalation of the conflict, as well as investigating numerous parameters of the rhetoric itself. The measure of presidential symbolic rhetoric was tested in seven Middle East countries: Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Theoretically the study adopts Edelman's classification method in distinguishing between referential and condensational symbols. Attention in this study is paid to condensational symbols or symbolic commitment (i.e pride, anxieties, patriotism), and whether the use of those symbols in the Middle East might have been related to three other primary variables: actual conflict in the Middle East, United States military and economic aid to the region, and U.S. political initiatives in the region. In addition, we focused on five distinct conflict periods to see whether changes in symbolic rhetoric patterned itself differently before, during, and after the five crises. The principle conclusion of this research is that the Arab-Israeli conflict was an important issue symbolically to U.S. policy makers, and the presidents of United States lean toward positive symbols. These symbolic commitments tend to increase during the escalation process, and the amount of attention and symbols decreased when war de-escalated. From these results it is possible to assert that presidential perceptions reacted to events as they developed in the region. Convergence between rhetoric and conflict in this specific study suggests that symbols are important political and social indicators in the way policy makers perceive certain issue-areas, and this rhetoric relates to important political events in the Middle East.
Degree ProgramGraduate College