Republicans vs Democrats. A Comparative Look at Congress Foreign Policy in the MENA Region


This paper compares US foreign policies of Republican and Democratic members of Congress in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) through 126 laws from 1973 to 2017 and in the light of the concepts of ‘soft,’ ‘hard’, and ‘smart’ powers. The analyses of the laws led to the following findings. Initially, regardless of their party affiliations, all members of Congress agreed on protecting and strengthening Israel through using means of soft and hard powers. Additionally, Republicans are more likely to use means of hard power than Democrats, especially military force. Democrats rely, in fact, more on diplomatic and strategic cooperation. They are also more likely to apply the concept of ‘smart power’, well balancing hard and soft power means. By contrast, Republicans’ resort to hard power is widely unbalanced with that of soft power. Furthermore, they tend to be keener on looking for economic opportunities in the region than Democrats do. Finally, the paper finds out that Democrats are more open and lenient than Republicans in terms of their immigration policies toward the MENA region’s citizens. These findings are generally in line with the available literature. However, the paper’s originality lies in the methodology used to attain them.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v9n2p129

Keywords: USA; foreign policy; Congress; MENA region


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