ABSTRACT

This chapter sets out the relevance of a constructivist theoretical approach to the book. Constructivism does not take ‘interests’ as pregiven and fixed. Instead, it treats state (and non-state) interests as objects of analysis, which can only be understood in relation to an evolving social context. Moreover, as is demonstrated a major premise of constructivism is how actors identify socially with who they are and what they want. In this way, the United States’ discursive formation of the Afghan ‘freedom fighters’ during the Cold War or ‘terrorism’ in the 9/11 milieu has provided Washington with a reaffirmation of its identity and interest as a benevolent actor supporting Afghanistan’s independence. Furthermore, the chapter examines how Washington justifies its foreign policy approach within a normative framework, which is largely premised on the idea of American exceptionalism. This is the notion that the United States has a unique and benign role to play in the world due to its distinctive ideals and history. Finally, the chapter ends with further constructivist theoretical insights and its significance for the study.