Summary of Benjamin R. Bates. Audiences, Metaphors, and the Persian Gulf War To discover the construction of American leadership, Benjamin Bates explored George Bush’s diplomatic efforts as rhetorical efforts. Benjamin Bates first underscored the significance of Bush’s international audience, one comprised opinion leaders from other countries that could help the military alliance. Having indicated some of the compulsions that an international audience puts on foreign policy rhetoric, Benjamin Bates observed the significance of Bush’s mass-mediated public speeches as a representative anecdote for the persuasion of this international audience.
The American public was crucial to the Persian Gulf War. A number of communication scholars viewed Bush’s actions as critical to acquiring and retaining this domestic public endorsement. However, some appeals that might work wonders with a domestic audience are not likely to be convincing to an international audience. For instance, appeals to American nationalism, American civil religion, or American exceptionalism may work well for an American audience, but are not likely to influence Omani, or Senegalese audiences. Other appeals, though, may persuade both domestic and international constituencies. Appeals that cross audiences are especially important in war rhetoric. Instead of being the persuasion of the whole cosmopolis, international persuasion can be considered the persuasion of opinion leaders that hold power in other states. In constructing persuasive appeals to international opinion leaders, Bush cannot simply speak however one wishes.
According to Bates research Bush did four things successfully to persuade international opinion leaders. First, Bush identified appropriate international opinion leaders for persuasion. The Persian Gulf War was framed as a military issue. Therefore, Bush sought to convince the heads of other states to join the American military coalition. Bush also created the manifestation of consultation and dialogue through telephone diplomacy and personal consultations.
Considering the constancy between the mass-mediated addresses given by Bush and other discourses surrounding the Gulf War, the Bush administration’s grand rhetorical strategy gets clear. Because Bush’s public statements are internally reliable, Benjamin Bates treats Bush’s public speeches as a representative anecdote. Benjamin Bates chooses Bush’s mass-mediated addresses for several reasons. As mass-mediated and public statements, these addresses were accessible to both a domestic and an international audience, increasing the scope of the speeches’ coverage as a representative anecdote. Bush’s first speech in this set was delivered on August 8, 1990, immediately after the Iraqi invasion.
The eleven speeches selected by Bates gave an idea of Bush’s main rhetorical strategy. Bush also emphasizes that Bush uses private meetings with foreign leaders to extend public presidential statements. Given Bush’s recognition of the need for a consistent body of statements, his public rhetoric can be read as a self-chosen representative anecdote as well as a representative anecdote chosen by the analyst.
Bush’s speeches evidently fall into the category of war rhetoric. In the analysis of war speeches and other discussions that draw on war as an organizing principle, one of the essential concepts for rhetorical analysis has been metaphor.
The support of war presents, decorates, and, eventually, literalizes the metaphor. Bush constantly employed a bunch of terms centered on the savage symbol. The need for international support and proof that it was not an American program required the U.S. to attack Kuwait seem more than a border row. Bush’s use of the civilization image meant pluralism, multiplicity, and integration seriously, as he pointed out that the revulsion of Iraq was the will of the international community, not just the U.S.
The recognition of the savage and civilization metaphors by numerous opinion leaders abroad is not without cost. Haven chosen the metaphor of civilization and the material enactment of that metaphor through a coalition once, the U.S. may be expected to do so in future international actions.