Mark McClelland

The Unbridling of Virtue: Neoconservative Foreign Policy Thought between the Cold War and Iraq War

Supervisors: David Dunn and Adam Quinn

Neoconservatism, although frequently referred to in both the academic and popular literature, is more often vilified than understood. My thesis utilises a history of ideas approach to unpack the evolution of neoconservatism following the collapse of the Cold War, analysing why it changed from embracing a form of cautious realism to advocate policies that were far more ambitious and ‘ideological’. My thesis suggests that change in neoconservative thought is too often overlooked or simply attributed to a more ‘ideological’ second generation of neoconservative intellectuals replacing a more cautious and less conservative cadre. To explain this shift in thought, the thesis places special emphasis on the work of Francis Fukuyama; the decline of Cold War bipolarity; a democracy promotion discourse that emanated from within the Democratic Party as much as it did from the GOP; and a wider ‘ideological’  and religious turn in conservative politics in the United States during these years.

Profile

After completing my undergraduate degree in York, I initially came to Birmingham in 2005 to study for a Masters degree which focused on Diplomacy and US Foreign Policy. I then returned in 2007 to begin an ESRC-funded 1+3 studentship, which started with an MA in Research Methods, before beginning the PhD in the autumn of 2008, examining the evolution of neoconservative thought. In between my two periods in Birmingham I worked in local government for the Conservative Party. I am spending the first half of 2011 completing fieldwork in Washington DC where I am a Visiting Research Associate at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-Johns Hopkins).

Qualifications

  • MA Political Science (Research Methods) (Birmingham) - Distinction
  • MA International Studies (Diplomacy) (Birmingham) - Distinction
  • BA History and Politics (York) - First Class

Research interests

  • Neoconservatism
  • Conservatism
  • US Foreign Policy
  • British Foreign Policy
  • Conservative Politics in the Anglosphere

Professional memberships

  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • British International Studies Association (BISA)
  • BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group

Teaching responsibilities

  • POLS 218 - International Security (Second Year Undergraduate Module)

Conference papers

McClelland, M. (2010) ‘Exporting Virtue: Neoconservatism, Democracy Promotion and the End of History’, presented to BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 15 September.

McClelland, M. (2010) ‘Neo-Cam? David Cameron and the Future of British Foreign Policy’, presented to the Postgraduate Research Colloquium, School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham, 19 February

McClelland, M. (2009) ‘The Unbridling of Virtue: Neoconservative Foreign Policy Thought between the Cold War and Iraq War’, presented to the Graduate Colloquium, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, 21 October

Publications

McClelland, M. (forthcoming, May 2011) ‘Exporting Virtue: Neoconservatism, Democracy Promotion and the End of History’, The International Journal of Human Rights.

McClelland, M. (2010) ‘David Cameron, Neoconservatism and the Future of British Foreign Policy’, World Defence Systems, Vol. 1,  pp. 17-20.

Contact

Email: mjm527@bham.ac.uk