This chapter introduces “enlightened” realism and “cowboy” liberalism, making the case for studying presidential worldviews, particularly with the Bush administrations, and then examines the particular worldviews of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Throughout the chapter argues that different emphases within the realist and liberal models combined to create the “enlightened” realist and “cowboy” liberal worldviews. Thus, George H.W. Bush’s risk-averse approach and emphasis on international institutions and multilateral processes combine to create the “enlightened” realist view, while George W. Bush’s risk-acceptant approach and emphasis on the importance of the democratic mission in American foreign policy combine to create the “cowboy” liberal view. The chapter concludes by briefly laying out the cases for further analysis: the wars in Iraq and the Middle East peace process.
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