Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Nicholas Onuf

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Peter Craumer

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Operational Code, Elite, Foreign Policy, VICS, United States

Date of Defense



American foreign policy think tanks are an important part of the American foreign policy elite. By gathering data, publishing research, and reaching out to the public and government, think tanks help set the public debate agenda. The question I asked was whether these American foreign policy think tanks exhibited a shared worldview during the past three election cycles. I analyzed 7,000 documents (half a million verbs) published by the seven American foreign policy think tanks active in the three general elections of 2004, 2008, and 2012: the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Cato Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Heritage Foundation, and the RAND Corporation. To measure the collective and individual worldviews of these seven think tanks, I used the Profiler Plus software, which answered Alexander George’s operational code questions based on the transitive verbs for the Self and the Other. My research showed that the collectivity of the seven think tanks had three separate worlds of action with three different worldviews. It also showed that the worldview of the American collective Self was very stable across time. Another empirical finding was that from the perspective of the seven think tanks, the United States’ actions were the most similar to the actions of other great powers: Europe, China, and Russia. It was also shown that from the perspective of the seven think tanks, China was the most cooperative nation and Terrorists were the most conflictual actors in the world.





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