Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Douglas Foyle

Major

Government

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

President Obama and President Trump are typically perceived as being spectacularly dissimilar in their understanding of, and idealized reactions to, policy of all kinds, including foreign policy. In 2010, the wave of political upheaval that is popularly called the Arab Spring spread to Libya and the Obama administration was forced to decide how they would address it. Humanitarian concerns drew them in to what they hoped would be a brief conflict and transition of power. By the end of Obama?s second term, he had faced political scandal due to terrorist attacks and expanded a series of executive orders to allow for an indefinite continuation of the conflict. The newly elected President Trump came in with a dual rhetoric that encompassed both the need to avoid meddling in foreign wars and the desire to crush terrorism abroad. He has now engaged in the slowly imploding Libyan state in much the same manner as his predecessor, despite his insistence that he would be able to avoid President Obama?s mistakes. This thesis examines the factors that drove these two disparate figures towards an area of near-overlapping policy about the contentious Libyan conflict.

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