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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Robert Watrel


Because of the history and power invested in the presidency of the United States, the president has the ability to create and recreate perceptions of places. Former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush have created and recreated perceptions of Pakistan, including Pakistan’s nuclear program, in order to further U.S. foreign policy. Using critical geopolitics and discourse analysis, this research seeks to uncover what perceptions of Pakistan were created by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. This research is based on the remarks and addresses of Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush that mentioned Pakistan, which were collected from the presidential papers of each president. Through the use of discourse analysis, key words, terms, phrases, and paragraphs were coded to analyze and determine what perceptions of Pakistan each president established and how these perceptions changed over time. President Reagan characterized Pakistan as an ally of the United States because he needed Pakistan to contain the spread of communism. President Clinton was more negative in his characterization and commodification of Pakistan because of the 1998 nuclear test. President Bush’s characterization of Pakistan was mixed, with both positive and negative aspects. Because of Pakistan’s history of harboring terrorists, President Bush was critical of Pakistan; however, President Bush was constrained in his criticism of Pakistan because of Pakistan’s strategic significance in the war on terror. The analysis of these speeches showed that each president characterized and commodified Pakistan in a different way but sill justified U.S. foreign policy.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Reagan, Ronald -- Oratory
Clinton, Bill, 1946- -- Oratory
Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946- -- Oratory Rhetoric -- Political aspects -- United States
Communication in politics -- United States
Presidents -- United States -- Language
Political oratory -- United States
Discourse analysis -- United States


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-73)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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