Dr Jonny Hall

Lecturer in Politics and International Relations
PhD International Relations (LSE); MA US Foreign Policy (Warwick); BA History and Politics (Warwick)
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Academic and research departments

Department of Politics.


My qualifications

Higher Education Academy Full Fellowship


Research interests




Hall, Jonny (2022), '“Winning” the Forever Wars? Presidential Rhetoric and US Ontological (In)Security', Global Studies Quarterly

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Hall, Jonny (2021), 'In search of enemies: Donald Trump’s populist foreign policy rhetoric', Politics

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Jonny Hall (2022) “Winning” the Forever Wars? Presidential Rhetoric and US Ontological (In)Security

Like success at the individual level, ideas of “winning” and “victory” in war have reaffirmed American exceptionalism, its place in the world, and its ontological security. This has been true in response to both policy successes and failures. As other studies have noted, the indeterminacy and longevity of the War on Terror has brought US perceptions of order and control into question, thus generating widespread ontological insecurity. Conducting a discourse analysis of the rhetoric of Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, this paper is the first to explore how the ideas of “winning” and “victory” have manifested themselves in political discourse on a national scale. All presidents utilized different components of American identity narratives for their own political purposes, but the inability to produce results commensurate with previous American wars produced significant national ontological insecurity in each case. Accordingly, this paper has implications for politics and policy. Contrary to scholarship that predicts that presidents will avoid predicting unrealistically short conflicts against transnational terrorist groups, the paper shows how the unique promise of ontological security associated with “victory” encourages presidents to use the decisive language of interstate warfare. However, the realities of postmodern war and great power competition mean that presidents will ultimately be unable to create a consensus around what “winning” or “victory” might look like in these conflicts, thus producing widespread ontological insecurity. In that way, the paper illustrates the significance of identity-based issues in policy evaluation processes.

Jonny Hall (2021) In search of enemies: Donald Trump’s populist foreign policy rhetoric

This article asks how Donald Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric during his presidential campaign and presidency has affected US foreign policy in the area of overseas counterterrorism campaigns. Looking at two case studies – the May 2017 Arab Islamic American Summit and the US role in the counter Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) campaign, it is argued that Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric has failed to accurately describe or legitimate his administration’s counterterrorism strategy, as per the conventional wisdom. Instead, Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric has largely been aimed at creating a sense of crisis (as populism requires) to mobilise his domestic base. In making this argument about the purpose of Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric, not only does the article contribute a new perspective to the extant literature on elections, rhetoric, and US foreign policy, but also to the burgeoning scholarship on governing populists and their foreign policies. Although these findings could be unique to Trump, the article’s novel framework – combining International Relations and populism scholarship to elaborate on how the foreign arena can be used to generate a state of perpetual crisis – can hopefully be applied in other contexts.

Jonny Hall (2022) Drones and the Study of Public Opinion: Continuity or Change?

Book review of James Igoe Walsh and Marcus Schulzke, Drones and Support for the Use of Force (2018). 

Jonny Hall (2019) Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order

Book review of Hal Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (2016).