Core Values and Priorities Contested? : Discourses in the US Congress Surrounding Saudi Arabia and the War in Yemen.
Salonen, Jaakko (2020)
Master's Degree Programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research
Yhteiskuntatieteiden tiedekunta - Faculty of Social Sciences
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This master’s thesis conducts a political discourse analysis to explain how members of the United States Congress utilize discursive practices to support or oppose the alliance between the USA and Saudi Arabia. Their arguments are analysed through a historical perspective on US policymaking with the assistance of Walter Mead’s four ideologies of US foreign policy. The analysis shows how the defenders of the alliance emphasize the threat coming from Iran and the need for strong allies in the Middle East and argue that US military assistance serves to lower the number of civilian casualties in Yemen. The opposers, on the other hand, point out the cruelty of the Saudi regime towards their own and Yemeni citizens and how those actions reflect negatively on the United States and its values. The members also use a wide variety of discursive devices to strengthen their point of view and discredit their opponents. The findings show how different discursive strategies influence the point the speaker is trying to advance and what approaches are the most important regarding this topic. Furthermore, there are clear efforts found in the data of demonizing and dehumanizing Iran and Saudi Arabia by the US Congressmembers. The research results have implications for those wishing to gain a better understanding of the alliance between the USA and Saudi Arabia and the ways political discourse is constructed in the US Congress.