|Abstract||Interest in Barack Obama’s status as a philosophical pragmatist has recently surged in scholarly circles, particularly within the disciplines of Philosophy and Political Science, as well as among policy pundits and conspiracy theorists. Arguments and speculation concerning Obama’s pragmatist credentials can be found in philosophers’ blogs (e.g. Michael Eldridge’s “Barack Obama’s Pragmatism” and Mitchell Aboulafia’s “Obama’s Pragmatism”), political commentators’ blogs (e.g. Robert Reich’s “Obama and Pragmatism: Thinking Through Values” and Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten’s “Barack Obama: Pragmatic Progressive”) and even academic papers (e.g. Bart Shultz’s “Obama’s Political Philosophy" and Michael Eldridge’s “Adjectival and Generic Pragmatism: Problems and Possibilities"). One could dismiss the phenomenon as equivalent to the surge of speculation during the past eight years that philosophical Straussians (or followers of the late Leo Strauss, such as Paul Wolfowitz) had captured the Bush administration’s policy agenda: that is, a species of conspiracy theory with only circumstantial evidence supporting it. Yet, more evidence seems to confirm the Obama-as-pragmatist hypothesis than the Straussian-capture theory. However, the lacunae in these Obama-as-pragmatist accounts, whether in the scholarly journals, the blogosphere or the traditional news media, concerns whether his pragmatist approach extends beyond domestic affairs. Some only address his pragmatism in the realm of domestic politics; others uncritically assume that it does carry over to international politics. So, is Obama also a pragmatist in international affairs? Although pragmatism does not fit nicely into any of the traditional theoretic frameworks in foreign policy/international relations (realism, liberalism and constructivism), I argue that it represents a mixed-methods approach that floats freely between multiple frameworks, tailoring them to the conditions of the international situation and crafting tools to resolve or ameliorate particular global problems. In defending this thesis, I rely on two papers authored by the classic American Pragmatist John Dewey: “Three Independent Factors in Morals” and “Imperialism is Easy.”.|
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