Rhetorical diplomacy involves pressing U.S. foreign policy initiatives and vision of U.S. presidents through their rhetorical actions. In the rhetorical presidency paradigm the president encounters a resistant regime or government who refuses to pass or adopt U.S. policy. In order to press a regime a president then must form alliances with two parties: the first are those with whom the resistant regime is allied. This is commonly accomplished by influencing trade associations or regional associations with whom the U.S. has alliances and who then may force the resistant regime to acquiesce to U.S. demands. The second group are those social movement actors within the resistant governments country who press the regime internally. These actions involve giving speeches, remarks, and statements by the president and those who represent the Executive Branch. No other international leader, at the present, has the prestige and capability of speaking to world peoples and leaders with such rhetorical impact, and these rhetorical impacts are made possible through rhetorical diplomacy without the high cost of military intervention. The Burmese pro-democracy remains one of the few cases where, through presidential diplomacy, a totalitarian regime has acquiesced to the demands of local and nonviolent social movements without foreign military intervention. This dissertation examines the last two decades of U.S. presidential involvement in the Burmese democracy movement and assesses how rhetorical diplomacy has successfully motivated a resistant military regime to institute democratic reforms. I also analyze the political, financial, and military relationships involved in rhetorical diplomacy that presidents must balance. This dissertation provides a space for Burmese peoples and democratic leaders to voice their opinions concerning U.S. involvement in their country. The second half of this dissertation analyzes surveys and interviews I conducted in Burma in the Summer of 2014, where I asked respondents to assess their agreement with U.S. policy, strategy, and engagement style. Thus, this dissertation offers a comprehensive analysis of rhetorical diplomacy and explains how rhetoric of U.S. presidents are meaningful to those who U.S. foreign policy ostensibly assists.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication. Advisors: Ronald Greene, Tun Myint. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 568 pages.
Rhetorical Diplomacy and U.S. International Influence: The Path of Democracy in Burma.
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