The paper describes the United States’ Foreign Policy as a very important economic, political, and social tool of the nation. The policy has undergone many changes since the start of the 20th century. The paper clearly shows how the U.S. adopted a non-interventionist policy that lasted up to the Second World War. With the Split of the world after World War II, the US adopted a containment policy that lasted up to the last decade of the century when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Since then, the U.S.’s foreign policy has been safeguarding the nation’s interest. The paper further notes how the United States’ foreign policy has been of great impact to the entire nation, and how the policy has affected the nation both positively and negatively. It further highlights how the Obama administration’s government is committed to ensuring that its policy is successful, although facing a lot of criticism from many individuals. The Obama administration is committed to ensuring that the nation uses diplomacy means of solving conflicts as opposed to the earlier government’s militaristic approach. However, Observers have noted that the Obama administration is not correctly administering its foreign policy. Due to increased pressure on the U.S’s current foreign policy, the paper proposes that the government should review and redefine its foreign policy so that it can suit the Americans as well as create a good relationship between the nation and other nations.
The U.S. Foreign Policy
The U.S. foreign policy is the manner in which the entire nation interacts with foreign nations. It involves the set standards that its organizations and relevant stakeholders consider during interactions. The United States foreign policy goals as described by the Department of State is to develop a democratic, secure, and prosperous world that is beneficial to the American citizens and the international community. In the United States, the president’s administration usually is in charge of formulating and enforcing the foreign policy. For instance, since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Obama’s administration foreign policy has been the United States’ foreign policy. The policy being implemented by President Obama’s administration tends to lay more emphasis on diplomacy and development means as opposed to the earlier president’s policies that were more of militaristic (Cox & Stokes, 2008).
The foreign policy that the Obama administration is claiming to be using is good as it considers humanity. However, the Obama administration is receiving a lot of pressure and criticism regarding this policy. For instance, the policy that involves the rebalancing of the Asia-Pacific region has been highly criticized by American citizens including his supporters. The critics are arguing that with the continuation of the Obama administration policies, the United States is going to lose its influential powers over other nations in the world. They further blame the Obama administration from isolating the U.S. from its allies and intensifying the differences that existed between Russia instead of solving them. Observers have clearly highlighted that the current government is using another form of the imperialistic policies that were used by the previous government despite its claims to be using diplomacy (Christensen, 2015).
Upon consideration of the Obama administration foreign policy, it is explicit that it has brought positive changes to the United States. However, with increased criticism and opposition to its foreign policy, there a need for the government to consider the voices of the people. The government should review its strategies and clearly define its foreign policy in a way that can be positively received by the people of the United States.
History of the United States Foreign Policy
The United States is a country that has been changing its foreign policy since the American Revolution. In the early 20th century, the United States adopted a non-interventionism foreign policy that was under use almost up to the Second World War. The U.S. engagement in World War I and World War II highly influenced its foreign policy. With the U.S.’s victory over other nations in the wars, it raised its international reputation a fact that enhanced it to become a global hegemony. In the First World War, President Wilson’s strategies formed the US Foreign Policy. Through his idealistic program, President Wilson was able to deploy a foreign policy whose focus was democracy and highly disregarded militaristic strategies of solving issues. The program was widely applied in the U.S. thereby leading to the termination of the war. For instance, it is the effect of this policy that led to the surrender of German and the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The Wilson initiative provided a basis for peaceful coexistence as it’s the one that facilitated the creation of the League of Nations that the United States was not part of due to opposition from the majority of senators (Cox & Stokes, 2008).
The U.S. experienced real changes in the 1920s in its success on the implementation of the naval disarmament program. Moreover, this is the same period that the U.S. through mutual agreement refunded the economy of Germany. The U.S.’s economy highly developed during the 1920s with New Yolk being universally known as the world’s financial and capital center. However, towards the end of the 1920s when the tariffs and trade reciprocal agreements advocated by the Republican and Democrats respectively determined the American trade policies, the Wall Street Crash occurred leading the entire world into the Great Depression. The depression highly destroyed many countries’ economies with U.S.’s exports drastically going down in the 1930s. The non-interventionist foreign policy was in use during the early and mid-1930s. However, towards the end of this decade, President Roosevelt started supporting the U.S. allies in the war against the Germans. The U.S. only provided the allies with finances and weapons but did not send its army to the war (Rochester, 2008).
Towards the end of the 1930s, the US was again gaining more power, President Roosevelt then developed four fundamental rights that were to be universally enjoyed. Roosevelt was very significant at this time in promotion of peace as he helped the allies to come up with the post-war terms at the Atlantic Conference. In the early 1940s, the American foreign policy was structured to threaten Japan and propel it out of China as well as prevent it from attacking the Soviet Union. In 1941, Japan launched an attack on the Pearl Harbor. The attack pushed the U.S. to join the war against Japan and Germany. Roosevelt collaborated with his allies who included Stalin of the Soviet Union and Churchill of Britain and sent forces to various parts to attack Japan, Germany, and Italy. Towards the end of the Second World War, the American economy was once more rapidly developing (Ali, 2010).
The U.S. emerged as a very powerful non-colonial nation after the Second World War having together with its allies gained victory over other nations. At this particular period, the U.S. deployed the Marshall Plan alongside the Truman Doctrine as its policies. With time, the world underwent a split into two parts. One side was ruled by the Soviet Union as the U.S. took control over the remaining part. As a result of this division, the Non-Aligned Movement later developed. Thereafter, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were in constant power and ideological struggle, a trend that existed up to the late years of the 20th century. During the struggle, the U.S. deployed a containment policy that was intended to control the Soviet Union from extending its portion of the control. However, the policy was constantly supported by a number of wars. The policy was used up to 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved to form independent nations. Since then the containment policy became obsolete as the U.S. recognized the newly formed independent nations separately. With the end of Cold War, the U.S. foreign policy was to secure the national interests.
The U.S.’s foreign policy in the 21st century is somehow different from that of the 20th century. The policy focuses on controlling and eradicating terrorism, the eradication of Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the division of NATO. Currently, the Obama policy is focused on securing the Americans through eradicating the terror groups as well as enhancing a peaceful world. In its effort to ensure that peace is attained all over the world, the Obama administration prefers diplomatic means as opposed to the previous government that highly relied on militaristic means. Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to make use of diplomatic ways, many individuals have criticized the way it is handling issues. Some people are alleging that the policy that is deployed by the current government is ineffective and that the president is timid in the use of American powers (Cox & Stokes, 2008).
United States Government Mainstream Position
The United States has been experiencing changes in its foreign policy due to constant changes of governments. However, the U.S. foreign policy always has a link to the George Washington whom provided great advice to the U.S. on how to relate to other nations. As mentioned earlier, the containment policy was used over the period after World War II until the early 1990s when Cold War ended. As from the 1990s, the U.S. government had to redefine its foreign policy as containment no longer made sense. The Department of State that is responsible for administering the foreign policy clearly indicates that the policy’s goals are; promoting peace all over the world, enhancing democracy and human rights, cooperating with other nations in solving international challenges, and ensuring that the national security of the United States is well preserved (Applebaum, 2015).
In the United States, the president through representatives such as the Department of State is responsible for administering the foreign policy. The Obama administration, however, does not have a clearly defined foreign policy. In 2009 during the Inauguration of President Barrack Obama, the president promised the U.S. citizens that the government was going to redefine the America foreign policy by ensuring that there is a balance between defense, development, and diplomacy. It is evident that the government’s stand was to demilitarize the U.S. foreign policy as it enhances diplomacy (Christensen, 2015). The government efforts to implement this strategy are depicted in Obama’s governance, for instance, the formulation of the 2015 National Security Strategy whereby the government disapproves militaristic means as being not the only way of achieving the nation’s set goals concerning security. It further offers alternative ways such as diplomacy and development as the best ways of protecting America and securing the national interests. This clearly indicates that the government is trying to avoid defense and rather use diplomacy like for the case of Iran and Israel (Applebaum, 2015).
The government’s foreign policy has been criticized by many individuals including the president’s supporters. The government’s strategy depends on aspects such as development, diplomacy, and political as the key ways of solving issues. Typically, these aspects take a longer duration before results can be seen as opposed to the previously applied militaristic strategies that bear results immediately. The government further is challenged that it has not yet implemented its policy as in its budget; fiscal data shows that it spends highly on defense as opposed to development and diplomacy. Besides, there were allegations that the Congress had increased the powers of the Department of Defense regarding security cooperation. The step is risky in the sense that the department may end up using extra powers in dealing with issues that could have handled diplomatically. In addition, other civilian observers are arguing that the civilian instruments embraced by the Obama administration foreign policy do not have the capability of handling complex challenges that are currently facing the nation (Ali, 2010).
Benefits of the U.S. Foreign Policy
The American policy governing the foreign matters affects the entire nation’s development. It serves both the citizens and the nation as a whole. A foreign policy with a well-established base can generate quick national development while a policy that is badly set can trigger negative effects on a country’s progress of the economy and humanity as well. The American foreign policy safeguards the rights of citizens and facilitates the national economic progress. Thus, the policy is a fundamental tool for the economy of the U.S.
The American foreign policy is designed to offer the citizens with protection of their interests. The policy aims at enhancing the Americans’ rights protection within the nation and the entire world. It is largely concerned about the right to live by making sure that Americans are safe. The administration has the duty to ensure that all citizens are safe from keeping in check the production of hazardous weapons, for instance, the nuclear weapons by other nations. Besides, the U. S. commitment to fighting terrorism activities is a vivid step in making sure that citizens are safe. The government endeavors to curb terrorism as portrayed in its role in exterminating the leadership of the terror groups as well as of diversity. For example, the United States has been warred with the Al Qaeda and led to the death of a globally influential terror group leader, Osama bin Laden. This was fundamental to Americans as they can safely live with the exception of attack threats by the Al Qaeda (Rochester, 2008).
The American foreign policy enhances peace and harmony with other nations. In most cases, the policy dictates the kind of relationship that U. S develops with other nations. For example, via the Obama administration, a good relationship has existed between the Israel and the U. S with minimal diversities on their ideologies. The contemporary administration is working to ensure a harmonized coexistence with the pacific countries with the aid of John Kerry, the Sectary of the State. It is, therefore, clear the foreign policy application by the United States enables it to have a good relationship with other nations (Rochester, 2008).
In addition, via the U. S. foreign policy, America influences the status of its economy in a positive way. It is through the foreign policy that America creates a harmonized relationship with other nations that facilitate regional trade. Free trade among nations, as a result, has improved economic growth in the U. S. To exemplify on this, the foreign policy has culminated in the signing of a trade agreement between America and other countries that act as the foundation for the development of its economy. In the recent past, advancement on the signing of Trans-Pacific Partnership has been conducted with the aim of enhancing trading activities among the 12 pacific nations. The American economy, as a result, has is anticipated to experience further growth since its goods can now find a ready market in other nations. In addition, the other nations will have an opportunity to trade freely in the U. S. with the exception of many limitations (Christensen, 2015).
The U.S foreign policy is further fundamental to America as a nation as it makes advancement meant to cover the interest of the America to the world and as well gaining an understanding at the international level pertaining the values and policies of the nation. The foreign policy offers reinforcement to the diplomats of the U.S. as well as other in the whole world. In addition, the foreign policy has a strong base and thus accords America great prowess and of significant influence on the primal global aspects. For instance, the policy has facilitated operations conducted by the U.S. embassy in Iraq in a normal way. In 2014, the Obama administration deployed military forces in Iraqi to offer protection to the embassy and prevent any terror threats. By then, an intelligence report had been issued with terror threats that the embassy could experience a heinous terrorist attack.
Drawbacks of the U.S. Policy
Although being of great use to America, the policy has elements of negative implications as well. For example, America had employed many resources in ensuring the security of its citizens. Even though the pledge made by President Obama on striking an equilibrium between diplomacy, defense, and development to cut down the incurred expenses on defense overreliance, still, America engages a lot of resources in the defense sector. Excessive resource use in the foreign policy has led to reduced progress of the American economy. The United States has, in addition, lost a significant number of soldiers in through defense in many parts of the country and most particularly, in the Middle East. It has experienced huge costs while struggling to make enforcement of the foreign policy. It is, therefore, clear the foreign policy sometimes has effects on the standards of a nation’s development (Christensen, 2015).
Moreover, the foreign policy adopted by the U.S. risks the Americans’ lives. For example, the foreign policy fueled the launch of the year 2001 bombs that resulted in numerous deaths. Thus, this appears to be a vivid indication that when the U.S. adopts a stringent policy governing foreign matters, it also risks facing an attack from the terror organizations. In addition, the United States stands to develop conflicting grounds with the other countries because of ideological diversities. For example, the rivalry has heightened between Russia and U.S. over the Ukraine War. At times, through the intervention of its foreign policy, the U.S. endeavors to damage its public image.
The U.S. Foreign Policy’s Effects on Other Nations
The effects of the American foreign policy have been felt in many global parts. During the campaigns of President Obama, promises were made on withdrawing the U.S. troops from Iraq within the early periods of power. In an effort to keep this promise, President Obama successfully withdrew the American soldiers from Iraq in the year 2011 after the accomplishment of mission engrained in the foreign policy of killing the Al Qaeda leaders. In 2013 when Iraq’s premier, Nouri Malik, met President Obama, Obama promised partnership with the exception of public assistance. The remarkable contribution made by the policy was to exterminate the Al Qaeda terrorist group and facilitate promotion of democracy in the nation. In addition, via the U.S. foreign policy, President Obama appointed special convoys with the sole aim of creating peace in the Middle East countries that include Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nevertheless, despite the importance of the foreign policy of Iraq, it as well culminated in the death of many innocent citizens behind the name of wiping out the Al Qaeda (Ali, 2010).
Putting the Obama foreign policy administration under consideration, the relationship existing between Israel and the U.S. has greatly deteriorated. For example, when Joe Biden, the American Vice President made visitation to Israel in the year 2010, Israel made claims that it will put up 1600 homes on the Eastern side of the Jewish region. In agreement with a message from Hillary Clinton, then the Secretary of the State, this portrayed negativity with regard to the two nation’s motion. However, Israel was supplied by the Obama administration with the many bunker-buster bombs. The foreign policy heightened military activity and offered $ 3 billion in support for Israel. Obama has made provisions over the past years in support of the Israel, attempting the surety that peace prevails in the Middle East countries.
The U.S. foreign policy, in addition, negatively affected Libya via its support for aerial attacks in the nation. The former President of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was barred from applying strategies characterized by violent in suppressing demonstrations made by people when Obama’s administration offered support to the United Nations Security Council in the use of aerial invasions in Libya. In logic, this was not precisely a good decision since using aerial attacks had the capacity to cause deaths of innocent of citizens and thus violating their rights. Thus, reflecting on the Libya wars, the foreign policy adopted by the U.S. affected the nation in a negative way, though it also facilitated the achievement of stability (Carter, 2015).
The Obama’s administration has revived and enhanced the United States’ cold war with the Russia through supporting the Ukraine’s new government under the premier Arsenity Yetsenyuk. As it was noted, the U.S. President Barrack Obama issued a warning to Russia when it started to occupy the Crimean peninsula of every severe repercussion. The Russian government occupied the locality and began negotiations. To date, the set negotiations have culminated to no noticeable resolve since Obama had signed with the Ukraine the Freedom Support Act of the year 2014 and had passed it into law. Numerous persons and organizations have since suggested a variety of ideologies with respect to the Obama administration’s stance regarding the Crisis in Ukraine.
The American government has made several alterations in its foreign policy since the time of the American Revolution. Up to the end of the 20th century, the United States altered the policy of containment that has domination in the time of the Cold War to protect the wider nation’s interests. America’s foreign policy remains a fundamental tool for the nation. Among its significance, the policy endeavors to ensure that all citizens’ rights are protected as well as making sure that peace and harmony prevail among the many nations at the global level. Despite this kind of significance, the United States’ foreign policy extends some negative effects on the state. For example, it has the capacity to extend threats to the citizens’ lives since the terrorists, for instance, encountering fights can penetrate into country and offer vengeance through committing terror invasions (Carter, 2015).
Obama’s administration has enacted a relatively good policy, though not thoroughly implemented, the contemporary policy passed by the Obama’s administration that revolves around employing diplomatic strategies in generating revolves to problematic situations, as opposed to materialistic, is a relatively admirable policy. The policy observes that that high rate of humanitarianism has emerged and thus making it attractive to the society. With reduced defense use in getting solutions among nations, the world it is more probable that the world will lead peaceful life liberated from wars. Nonetheless, the Obama administration has not implemented this policy in an effective way. In accordance with the fiscal information, it is evident that America employs double the amount incurred in the diplomatic defense activities. The nation has been in constant improvement of its weapons. It thus a vivid indication that America still is dependent on the defense as a mean of solving issues (Selfa, 2005).
The administration has indulged in a variety of crises that some persons consider getting worse in the manner it relates to other countries for example, its support for Ukraine against Russia. Conclusions from observers have depicted that the foreign policy has revived the cold war that existed between America and Russia. In addition, Obama’s diplomatic use of strategies has received criticism based on the truths that America is declining it influential prowess. In consideration of these claims, evidence has it that America’s foreign policy requires to be redefined. The State’s Department collaborating with the president ought to clearly designate a policy that is effective within the legitimate ethics and offers the promotion to the Americans’ interests at large. It should as well revive the worsening power of the American nation and keep a well reputable relationship with the other nations. The U.S. government ought to undertake reforms on the contemporary differences with other nations via engaging in diplomatic dialogues. Therefore, the contemporary foreign policy needs to be subjected to alterations for the U.S. to achieve effective international relations.
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