Essay on Common Foreign and Security Policy between the Last Five Presidents

December 1st, 2016

PLSK 450 Foreign Policy

Ms. Whisper Williams

Common Foreign and Security Policy between the Last Five Presidents

America nation  always treats Europe as its partner in addressing important global challenges. Given the extent of transatlantic relationships, most of the congressional foreign policies activities and interests mostly involve Europe (Müller-Brandeck-Bocquet, 2002). The relationship between US and EU has been growing increasingly in the recent years. In this context, the Congress seeks to understand the EU policy making process, its complexities and assessing the effectiveness of EU and US policy approaches, or even understanding the implications of the transatlantic dynamics in the long run. The CFSP were developed by European Union in playing  a dynamic part in the global affairs. The 28 EU member states are very influential and exert a powerful effect on foreign and security issues. Although this influence is said to perform as a counterweight to US power, most maintain that the capable EU is much in favor of United States. More so, the focus of transatlantic relationship has taken a different direction since the Cold War. According to various experts, US-EU cooperation is strongly capable of tackling many of today’s threats and concerns and particularly the issue of terrorist attacks. The United States looks at Europe for a partnership on global issues like security and other issues concerning international politics and economics. Americans and Europeans tend to share same values and often pursue common goals. The United States maintains a strong bilateral relation since the 1957 Treaties of Rome. This relation is between individuals of European and transatlantic defense relationship mainly centered in the North Atlantic Organisation (NATO). Some observers, however, assert that the transatlantic partnership in mostly set in the context of the US relations and EU.

The sensitive issue of terrorism is something that needs foreign cooperation. The US and EU have been working together on the issue of terrorism and on the part of US. This has been a global peace of foreign policy in fighting terrorism in the US. The US, therefore, realizes it needs global efforts through foreign policy in fighting terrorism and this has been clearly evident during the administration of the last five presidents and especially in response to terrorist attack. The foreign policy cooperation has been a tough journey in its growth, but even with so many difficulties in establishing because of dealing with terrorist attacks in the US resulting from retaliation against US intervention through its foreign policies, the eventual outcome has been willingly and flexible efforts with interests of countering terrorism.

Beginning with the foreign policy during President’s Ronald Reagan’s administration of 1981 to 1989, Reagan believed that foreign policies regarding military preparedness could achieve a stable peace. His presidency shows the roots of United States and Europe Association in providing the world security. At the beginning of his presidency, he had only one defined foreign policy goal, which was easing relations with the Soviet Union. His intention was to fight the kind of association that had been created already through foreign association. This means that as various US presidents worked hard to maintain a foreign policy in the global peace, some came in to destroy that policy and initiate their own. Reagan disliked the long-term Détente that had been started by President Nixon, and his intention was to ease relations with the Soviets. He believed that the union used Détente and Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) for the benefit of US and this would enable  Moscow  to attack US  and its nuclear system (Ross, 2016).

One of the programs initiated by Reagan, in an effort to provide US security, was an investment in the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) in 1980, which could target and destroy any incoming enemy missiles before reaching the US. Unfortunately, this strategy was a fantasy that would destroy technology, and its trail failed miserably. Americans protested for global peace and sought to fight the notorious programs of Reagan, something he could not ignore considering he aimed at seeking re-election the second term.

The cooperation, once again, was reborn when Mikhail Gorbechev became Soviet Union leader and sought to ease tension between the US and the Soviet Union. The leader approached the US to discuss possible peace. This led to a kind response by Reagan an eventually signed agreement, and concession regarding foreign policy that aimed at finding global peace and especially American security. Also, during this time, the US military policy led them to disagreements by some countries claiming that they interfered and this explained the suicide terrorist that bombed the US embassy and the reaction of Middle East who funded a terrorist organization to destroy American because they disliked their involvement. Even though Reagan particularly retaliated against Libya, he backed away from Anti-American terrorist movements to find global peace and secure America.

The Congress of United States has never ignored the issue of terrorism as the most significant threat in the United States, especially with the world face at the beginning of 21st century. In 1998, during Bill Clinton’s administration, the high-level US official acknowledged that terrorist had obtained the likelihood of being able to obtain nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Congress had realized that US was putting more effort unnecessarily on what did not help combat terrorism to a large extend saying that the US focused on preventing  terrorism before it strikes  and reacting against it. The Congress further provided that the strong involvement of the US and international situation is what increased terrorist attacks as terrorist retaliated against US intervention overseas. In response to a 1998 radio press justifying the terrorism on Afghanistan and Sudan, in revenge to the destructive activities of terrorism in the Us embassies, the US president, Mr.Clinton said, “Americans are targets of terrorism in part because we have unique leadership responsibilities in the world, because we act to advance peace and democracy, and because we stand united against terrorism” (Hook and Spanier, 2015).

The Bill Clinton administration was, therefore, focused on restraining from foreign policies as it saw the importance of adopting a policy of military restrain overseas to prevent attacks. This was with the view that adopting a policy that would restrain military across borders which would in the long term significantly reduces the quantity of overwhelming and possibly disastrous terrorism in US. The retrain however, has never been a solution to terrorism and no matter how much any administration tried to withdraw its global cooperation to maintain peace, foreign policy has never stopped serving security issues for the United States as no country can fight terrorism alone, no matter how powerful it may seem. This is why Bill Clinton’s decision of retraining the military troops was a failure in combating terrorism.

Historically, American foreign policy motives have been ranging from isolation to universal, especially based on the moral imperative for leadership. These trends can be defined to extend from the political realism to altruistic pluralism. In the post-cold war, a challenge arose on whether American policy would be extended and adjusted to fit in the geopolitical reality in such a way that it provided sound leadership in the world and at the same time meet the European allies’ expectations of equal partnership. Immediately after World War 1, Wilson introduced new ideals that would under allies be safer and better for everyone. Since World War 1, the United States had become the most resilient partner of European nations. The lack of Soviet danger had led Europeans to consider their long partnership relationship with the US and adopt policies that aimed at providing security for both nations. Although that was a ‘civilian power’ with no common foreign policy, EU became a reliable partner of US. Although EU and US have had differences with the claims that EU disregards, the American choices when it comes to foreign policies, for example, its responses to various terrorist attacks in maintaining global peace, the response of foreign polices to 9/11 terrorist attacks on American has minimised this differences and people started positively viewing the importance of the foreign policies (Cini, and  Borragán, 2016).

American policy to attacks contributed to  discussion the American foreign policy institution aimed at responding to attacks especially the Islamic activism. Islamic resentment of the United States has its roots and Washington does not have the powers to fully lower its profile as a terrorist target. When the Cold war ended, which was at the peak during Reagan administration due to disconnection with the Soviet Union and military action taken by the Congress, there was an emergence of sectarian conflicts and ethnic. As terrorism reduced when  Soviet Union was falling ,Islam revolutionized its hatred towards the US. The Afghan War  against Afghanistan gave skills to Iran Afghans and facilitated extremist networking opportunities. According to Smith (2013), extremism shares a perception that American culture has interfered with values and traditions of Islamic culture. They view violence as a natural and justified way to fight between evil and good. These sanctions and beliefs provide a basis for their fighting, which they symbolize by American intrusion .American realized that it could not escape terrorism by simply withdrawing military from Middle East because they had a duty to serve their foreign and security interests. The partners of US and Israel is an important foreign policy in maintaining global peace and its maintenance sound the only choice because withdrawal may discourage more terrorism.

The United States Counterterrorism Strategy in the context of United States foreign policy and objectives is a major effort to maintain national security, and its integration in all foreign policy decision making is even a better strategy. This is revealed in the combined efforts of US and EU in fighting Iran terrorism in Kuwait, where EU aims at maintaining global peace and US support.US efforts played a major role in finalizing the fight. Foreign policies are, therefore, a backbone to maintaining the security of nation and although the US may seem all powerful and able to independently provides its own security, it is not possible to fight terrorism alone. The US realizes that cooperation with powerful unions like EU is an advantage because they will attend their call as well when in agent needs.

The tenets of the US foreign counterterrorism foreign policy were outlined as first, no deal should be made with terrorist, terrorists should be brought to justice for their crimes, there should be isolation and pressure which should be applied to only states that sponsor terrorism and finally cooperate with countries capable of countering terrorism and willing to work with the US. Foreign governments who are willing and capable and especially the EU, have been governed by this policy. The September 11 attacks in America can bring meaning to the tenets of this policy. Based on the reasoned argument in Terrorism and American Foreign Policy, the tenets would argue that nations should carefully and deliberately respond well to the terrorist attacks and threats against the Americans while the foreign policy objectives get upheld (Wallace, Pollack, and Young, 2015).

The issues of counterterrorism and terrorist financing have been of interest to the US and EU legislation. The expansion of EU foreign and security policy has been assessed by many members of the Congress on whether it affects the US interest in the long run. The war in Afghanistan was the first step of EU on its long-term commitment to fighting terrorism. The EU has managed to act collectively and with flexibility in the post-September era and until the end of the Afghanistan War. One of the fields that EU doubted was if American requests were real EU however, strongly supported Americans in its immediate action of the September 11, and also in its military campaign against Afghanistan. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks presented a new momentum to EU take initiatives to combat terrorism and improve the political and intelligence cooperation. The EU efforts were aimed at promoting European integration and justice and home affairs since the 1950s and in an effort to protect policies in that context EU was critical and preservative in its international affairs and limited it to cross-border crimes and police and judicial cooperation. Extending its affairs was said by European individual as an infringement in justice and home affairs. The 2001 attack, however, challenged this status quo and served as wake-up call to serve foreign policies and cooperate with other nations to counter terrorism. On December 2001, an agreement was signed between Europe and United States which aimed “to enhance cooperation between the members’ states … and the US in preventing, detecting, suppressing, and investigating serious forms of international crime” (Archick, 2010). This was a form of cooperation and commitment of member states to the common values and identifying its relation to EU. From that point and during the post –September 11 era, the EU has strongly worked for diplomacy and succeeded in convincing national governments to use diplomacy to precede national preference. After the Afghanistan War, the long-term commitment to counterterrorism took over and more action was needed to occupy the agenda rather than just diplomacy.

As Europe has fuelled their effort since 9/11 to combat terrorism, it has made improvements in the law enforcement and intelligence cooperation keeping the United States a highest priority. The preceding administration of George Bush and other many members of the Congress had welcomed this EU initiative with confidence that it would help combat terrorism in Europe and beyond that prevent any terrorist attacks planned against the United States. The growing US and EU cooperation was precipitated by 9/11 attack, and the Commission recommendations were that US should develop “comprehensive coalition strategy against Islamic terrorism, exchange terrorist information with trusted allies and improve border security through international cooperation” (Armitage, 2007).

The US and EU cooperation on foreign and security policy against terrorism has brought a new dynamic in their relations through fostering talks on security and law enforcement of homeland issues that were only reserved for bilateral discussions with individual member states of EU. Despite the frictions, most of the policies of US view the developing partnerships with positivity. Just like George Bush, the Obama administration also supported the US cooperation in combatting terrorism.

In November 2009, US and EU held a summit in Washington where they reaffirmed their promise to working together to counter terrorism and improve cooperation in protecting home affairs and justice regarding terrorism. In June 2011, the US and EU adopted “Declaration on Counterterrorism” with the main aim of deepening their relationships and combat terrorism on both sides with bigger respect to the rule of law (Kartal, 2006). Later in 2011, President Obama administration on their national strategy for counterterrorism asserted that US would work together in the bilateral relations and also the United States will continue to partner with the European Parliament and the European Union to maintain and advance CT efforts that provide mutual security and protection to citizens of all nations while also upholding individual rights. The Europe has also been a main partner of the United States 30-member Global Counterterrorism Forum, which was founded in the year 2011, the month of September, followed the terrorist attack of that time. The Forum was founded as a multinational body with the aim of mobilizing resources and expertise to combat terrorism based on violent extremism, strengthen the judicial service and the rule of law, and also enhance cooperation in counterterrorism at international level.

The Obama administration has been characterized with extensive regard to foreign and security policy with intense and willing cooperation with EU. The officials of both sides have discussed and outlined ways that prevent terrorism issues including preventing Europe and American Muslims from being enrolled to combat with Islam groups in Syria and Iraq. Since the problem of fighting in Syria, the return of the countries foreign and security policies have been given much concentration to prevent any attacks on the European countries and United States. In 2014, the White house and US official from justice and home security department were working closely with EU to address measure that can enhance counterterrorism, border security, and information sharing.

The foreign and security policies as outlined in the tenets work to under three strategies namely: to track and suppress terrorist financing, design terrorism individual groups and sharing information (Webber and Smith, 2014). Tracking and suppressing terrorist financing has been evident during President Obama’s administration. EU and US have been cooperating frequently in global forums like United Nations on this issue. The two sides have been benefiting and continue to benefit from an agreement which allows United States’ authorities to assess data held by the Belgium-based Consortium in international banks. In that regard, Treasury Department of the program of terrorist financing and tracking have shared leads from the Consortium to US and EU, and these leads have helped prevent and investigate terrorism in United States and Europe.

The second strategy that EU and US have worked on during Obama’s administration is Designing Terrorism Individuals and Groups. The two unions have successfully bridged gaps in group and individuals that are on their list as those engaging in terrorist activities. In this context, the EU foreign policies that aim in preventing terrorist attacks against the US and its own states have two separate lists of terrorism organization and individuals. The first list is that which focuses on groups and people associated with Al Qaeda and Taliban. This list looks at enacting into EU law the post September 11 security sanctions against those organizations. The list has frequently been updated time after time and now it includes the Al Qaeda, an affiliated group like Jabhat al Nusra. The second list is what has been referred as ‘black list,’ and its composition has been under debate. All these foreign and security policies are aimed at maintaining global peace through preventing terrorism in America, European and other nations round the world (Jervis,2013).

The other focuses of foreign and security policies aimed at preventing terrorism in American is promoting information sharing and protecting data privacy. This focus has been under friction with claims that it infringes privacy rights of EU citizen rights, but EU and US recognize the importance of sharing information in disrupting terrorist activities. The distrust and conflicts on the issue can be based on the UN authorized disclosures, since 2013 of US National Security Agency and followed allegations that the US collected activities of Europe from computer networks and mobile phones among others. The future of this particular focus remains at stake because as approval is been considered as a requirement, European Union is likely to demand changes in the arrangements something it has not been shy about in the past.

In the light of today’s terrorist attacks, the most important thing of any administration and any elected president in the US, is doing the right thing. This means improving and expanding information sharing strategies and uniting more with willing and able nations and particularly extending the EU relations which has shown interest in fighting terrorism attacks against the United States. This will help the US focus on taking steps that improve their ability to detect and investigate terrorists before they strike. President Trump comes with his criticism against decisions taken by earlier presidents, and especially President Obama’s administration, saying that their action in Iraq is what has got America more targeted by terrorists and proposed a new approach of working closely with NATO with the focus of combating terror threats. Trump also believes that America can find common ground with Russia and fight against ISIS. Trump comes in office when US and Russia relations are at their lowest point since the period of the cold war. The EU and US cooperation during the Obama administration has had an influence in combating terrorism. The fact that Trump might reconsider sanctions against Russia means that if the United States drops sanctions, then European countries could follow and this would break the 28 EU’s tenuous concessions on sanctions.

Also, France has been an active member of NATO. Trump did not address the critical area US and France cooperation will be on counterterrorism. French leadership will definitely take an initiative of talking about the issue considering the several terrorist attacks it is experiencing on its soil. As such, that becomes critical security partner to the US. Even with so many Republicans complaining about alliances, Trump has no choice, but to ensure his administration sustains ties with the long-term coalition partners who are necessary for global counterterrorism.

The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has been effective in providing global peace and particularly preventing terrorism attacks in the US. Foreign policies have had back and forth operation in the period between the last five American presidents starting from Reagan administration to current Obama’s administration. The US has been in a dilemma on whether it should be providing support to other nations in fighting terrorism from providing military troops to providing financial aid. This dilemma has been based on the various terrorism attacks from retaliation from these interventions. Various presidents, for example, President Reagan, have tried to withdraw military troops from other nations and such decisions have always failed in combating terrorism. The following presidents, and especially the Obama administration, have defined the true meaning of CFSP as US and EU cooperations has proved effective so far. The foreign policies, therefore, remain important in maintaining global peace and US has a duty of welcoming efforts from foreign policies in helping counter-terrorism in America. The EU and US association can, therefore, be said effective and important to maintain.


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