PDF Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda: Constructing the War on Drugs

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Summary "The bully pulpit is one of the modern president's most powerful tools - and one of the most elusive to measure. Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda uses the war on drugs as a case study to explore whether and how a president's public statements affect the formation and carrying out of policy in the United States. Contents Presidential leadership and policy construction Presidential rhetoric as policy leadership A presidential history of the war on drugs The words of war: Notes Bibliographic Level Mode of Issuance: Includes bibliographical references p.

View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? These 7 locations in All: Australian National University Library. Open to the public. La Trobe University Library. Borchardt Library, Melbourne Bundoora Campus. Open to the public ; University of Queensland Library. Open to the public ; Online: University of Sydney Library. These 2 locations in Australian Capital Territory: These 2 locations in New South Wales: The Nixon Administration produced the scenario, whereas Jimmy Carter contested certain aspects of it.

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What makes the Reagan administration noteworthy is its reproduction on the War on Drugs. Reproduction appears when there is a discursive crisis that arises from questioning previously constructed boundaries.

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Later, the reproduction by the Reagan Administration would also add another pair of difference signifiers reinforcing the "strategies of otherness. Belief, God, divine providence and crusade. This discourse attaches another level of danger to the menace. Narcotics not only threaten U. When Carter denaturalized the criminal identity of the drug holder, the "other's" signifiers became unanchored. By adding a new pair of differences, the Reagan administration re-articulated Nixon's constructions over the same nodal point, the United States, therefore underpinning the U.

Bush Administration on the Foreign "Other". Bush Administration echoes in the constructions made by the prior administration, the enactment of the first NDCS allows for the analysis of the identity of the foreign "other. This text included a chapter on "International Initiatives," which starts as follows: Few foreign threats are more costly to the U.

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None does more damage to our national values and institutions or destroys more American lives [ Bush Administration recalls the foreign origin of the "deadly poison" that jeopardizes U. This export also threatens Latin American countries in a different way: S discourse stopped naming producer and transhipment countries as "proscribed. Hence, a different identity based on different signifiers surges. Nonetheless, the core signifier of the nation-state, its sovereignty, is articulated with different floating signifiers between Latin American countries and the United States.

So far, the U. Thus, the "official corruption" tag on Latin American countries is salient in the construction of U. Latin American countries hold "negative sovereignty" since their freedom and self-determination are constrained by their own lack of skill to protect their populations and to avoid damaging other countries.

The description continues in the H. Bush's Address to the Nation: The besieged governments of the drug-producing countries are fighting back, fighting to break the international drug rings. Although the War on Drugs always conveys the threat drugs pose to American values, rationality and life, Colombia in this case is still represented as an inferior actor.

Since cocaine killers assassinated public officers before the eyes of its powerless government, we can say that "the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order" is successfully challenged by the cartels. The NDCS continues: By gauging its capabilities against the situation, the United States is able to assess the procedures to follow. It interprets its own agency and gives rational appraisal over the dire situation of Latin American countries, placing its agency on them.

When requested, we will for the first time make available the appropriate resources of America's Armed Forces.

Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda

We will intensify our efforts against drug smugglers on the high seas, in international airspace, and at our borders. Meanwhile, Latin American countries contain flaw, deficiency, uncertainty and harm. The United States was constructed as an actor able to exert its agency in the international arena compared to other countries that may be deemed sovereign, but lack the privileged U.

As will be shown, the United States brings something more than help to its foreign "other. The War on Drugs also provides another interpretation of those negatively sovereign States: The Clinton administration regarded Mexico in these terms: Aggressive Use of the Annual Certification Process: Certification involves evaluating the counternarcotics performance of countries that have been defined as major drug-producing or drug transit countries [ Certification is an instrument of the U.

Congress to assess funds authorization to "transit" and "source" countries based on a report made by the executive branch. By , the Congress pushed Bill Clinton to decertify Mexico in view of some Mexican officers' relations with drug-cartels. Then Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo called the certification an offense and proposed that the United States should apply this procedure to itself. The Mexican Congress called the certification an act of "imperial arrogance. Congress and the Mexican government by certifying Mexico claiming: I certified Mexico because in the last year, we have achieved an unprecedented level of cooperation on counternarcotics [ Clinton uses the transit country construction quoting certification, military cooperation and corruption.

Since intersubjectivity is taken as the common understanding of "norms, identities and discursive patterns," they should be shared by the social actors. We are a transit zone and we are victims of those who produce and consume drugs. Now Mexico itself plays its role as the foreign "other" in the War on Drugs. The division between U. Bush Administration articulated both discourses over Mexico's identity: Across the Southwest Border in Mexico, drug trafficking and associated violence pose a grave threat not only to the health and safety of the Mexican people, but to the sovereignty of Mexico itself [ Sovereignty is again a floating signifier.

Mexico's sovereignty is associated with negative sovereignty signifiers: Thereby, Mexican agencies can only achieve good results when helped and in cooperation with the United States through the "DEA and other U. Mexico might be the country most coerced by the United States in drug control policy. Mexican governments chose to perform the role assigned for Mexico in that U. In doing so, they have militarized drug policy on Mexican soil causing power abuse and human rights violations.

Nevertheless, those discursive representations could not be protracted without the performance of States like Mexico along the lines of this War on Drugs script. Reconstructions of the New Strategy. The Obama administration changed U. The Obama administration aims to reduce drug consumption by balancing education and treatment with law enforcement towards drug users, potential users and dealers. In the international arena, its drug policy seeks to reduce the southbound flow of U. This denaturalizes the War on Drugs discourse in which the only southbound flow was "help" to transit countries.

Nonetheless, none of these policy patterns are new. Prior administrations talked about domestic drug use reduction and exterior responsibilities.

War on drugs - Wikipedia

What is salient about the Obama administration is its reconstruction in which features that were overshadowed by the War on Drugs claim salience over law enforcement and military cooperation. In the New Strategy, the U. The Obama Administration divides the "domestic other" among the drug user, the potential user and the dealer and reconstructs identities for each one: The drug user is portrayed as a being in recuperation, the potential drug user is mainly a teenager, and the dealer is still a criminal to be chased by police officers. By August , Obama settled the way to define the drug user identity: With personal determination and the support of family and friends, community members, and health professionals, they have turned the page on an illness and sought the promise of recovery.

In this excerpt, there is an illness discourse using words such as determination, recovery, and support. This domestic "other" is differentiated through a more complex process of differentiation from "we," the "healthy people. The way the United States should assist drug users is as follows: A healthcare environment in which care for substance abuse is adequately covered by public and private insurance programs is necessary.

People with addictions must take the responsibility to seek help and actively maintain their recovery [ Here, the United States manifests itself through its duty to offer adequate social networks to address drug addiction. While users have "responsibility to seek help and maintain their recovery," the United States will provide healthcare. This creates a relationship of trust between the drug user and its nation-state which could be termed as one of general reciprocity because "involves mutual expectations that a benefit granted now should be repaid in the future.

Drug prevention must become a bigger priority for communities, with support from all levels of government [ In the War on Drugs, U. This is the U. The State helps teenagers resorting to reciprocity through educational institutions, but the complementary signifier in this case is the teenager's interest for self-actualization. In these institutions, they will be taught how to develop civic virtue.

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For some lower-level offenders, however, intense supervision in the community can help prevent criminal careers while preserving scarce prison space for those offenders who should be behind bars. These lines fragment the criminal identity into lower-level and higher-level offenders as the Obama administration claims to use "incarceration judiciously. The United States provides support and reciprocity towards the drug user containing and self-commitment. The United States also offers orientation and reciprocity to U.

The United States controls and establishes community surveillance towards lower-level offenders. Therefore, the United States performs as the top actor in the hierarchy of identities by using alternative control mechanisms other than incarceration, such as healthcare, public education and community supervision. There are more possibilities for preventing and treating addiction in the United States for the domestic "other" at a school or a clinic, or by doing community service, rather than being inside a cell.

The Obama Administration kept using the "transit country" articulation to name Mexico as the foreign "other.

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Recalling the War on Drugs discourse presenting the U. This affirmation denaturalizes what seemed to have been exogenously given, quoting the prior administration: If the State were perfect and could achieve complete security for its population, then its rationale would be accomplished and it would cease to exist. Before, the United States helped through certification and military cooperation. Now, the role of the United States is that of "the supplier of illegal cash and weapons to the cartels.

Presidential Rhetoric and Leadership: From Kennedy to the Present - Part 1

Constitution, which states that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. The United States not only provides help, but also exports harm, and its incapability to curb the flow of weapons to Mexico is understood in terms of a self-restriction imposed by its own Constitution. Thus, the signifier "self-constraint" is established. The five most common substances with which American youth initiate use are largely produced in the United States: Jeff Yates is a professor of political science at Binghamton University and the author of Popular Justice: Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda is a well-conceived contribution to the literature on the rhetorical presidency and bureaucratic action.

Whereas most previous studies of presidential rhetoric have focused on appeals made to the mass public, they focus on the effects of public speeches on field agents charged with implementing policy. That such an effect might exist is not obvious. Nonetheless, their argument is nuanced and well-crafted and their evidence—both qualitative and quantitative—is compelling.

The end result is a thought-provoking study that challenges standard views of executive power. I have no doubt that this book will become required reading for all students of the presidency and the bureaucracy.