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Foregin Policy Essay, Research Paper

Foreign Policy

With the world balancing on the edge of destruction, foreign relationships are

extremely important to the United States of America. The United States is fully

recognized as the most powerful nation on the planet earth, and with that power comes a

definitive sense of responsibility. The U.S. needs to pay close attention to this

responsibility if it hopes to keep its place on the throne as king of the nations. This is

where the United States foreign policy comes into play. Foreign policy is essentially

positive or negative interaction with other nations as well as the goals and principles that

are included. The United States have a couple of choices concerning

their position; they could play the part of world leader or the part of world loner. Let’s

look at the viewpoint of an average college student whose knowledge of world affairs is

somewhat lacking and then discuss the possible positions the United States can take in

regards to their place in the world. I will also go over an example of each and get a grasp

of what our government’s two political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, say

about these.

The main purpose of every countries foreign policy is to survive and stay stable in

today’s world. It is policy that provides a strong national security,

keeps a good economy with other nations, and it is a chance to provide influence in the

world; but above all this is the want for international peace. One of the main ways

to conduct good foreign policy is that of diplomacy, where nations negotiate and

compromise problems they might have in order to get along. By these diplomatic

relations, countries can interact with one another and learn to work together for a better

understanding of each others nations. Another method of foreign policy is that of being a

loner or isolationist. Isolationism is the idea that we keep to ourselves and our own

western hemisphere rather than venture into the affairs of the eastern world. This was basically the accepted perspective taken by the United States up until

about the first world war when President Woodrow Wilson decided to plunge into the war

effort. Then a peacekeeping association came about called the League of Nations, which

Wilson helped propose, but the United States Senate gave it a firm “no”. This kept

the United States in its loner state once again.

Some years later the United States entered a period of awakening concerning

getting out and about in the world. We journeyed into a time of Internationalism after the

second world war but it was many earlier events that led up to this, particularly our

interaction with Latin America. Back when the United States was just breaking away

from Britain and starting as a nation, President James Monroe came up with a declaration

called the Monroe Doctrine. In 1823 he wrote this, telling European nations to keep

their noses in their own hemisphere. What Monroe didn’t know was that he was

establishing a beginning to a leadership responsibility in not only the western hemisphere,

but in the entire world. The United States began sticking up for nations such as Mexico

and Puerto Rico, and soon got involved in various other Latin American countries. In

fact, the United States got involved eight times from 1904 to 1934, then again in the

affairs of Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and the destruction of the leftist

government of Brazil after the second world war. It was during the beginning of

World War II that the United States began to get more involved. At first the United

States tried to keep to itself and stay out of the fighting. But when Germany, Japan, and

Italy tried to expand by force into China, Ethiopia, Poland, Austria, and present day Czech Republic, Britain and France declared war on Hitler, and the United States did nothing. It wasn’t until that fateful day of December 7 in 1941 when the United States

had had enough. Pearl Harbor was attacked and Americans died, which was more than

enough for us to start our trek into Internationalism and intervention. After World War

II, the United States began its journey as world leader. It was now time for America to

help other nations rebuild and start its hate of Communism. George Marshall, an Army

General for the United States came up with the Marshall Plan, one that would provide

extensive help for other nations in Europe by providing loans for economic recovery.

Later America plunged itself into a war with North Korea to protect its neighboring South

Korea, this was possible through the United Nations Security Council and although many

Americans lost their lives, we created a bond with the South Koreans. The next set of

foreign aid came when John F. Kennedy was President. Kennedy not only began the

counterinsurgency force called the Green Berets to stop communism, but also invaded

Cuba and posed the question of war with Russia. Then came one of the biggest

interventions in Americas history of foreign policy.

In the late 1950’s the United States, under John F. Kennedy sent 16,000 American

military “advisers” to Vietnam. The southern based republic of Vietnam was in

desperate need of help against the Viet Cong, which was the Communist funded North

Vietnamese. This was actually the beginning of two wars. The first was a struggle

between Vietnamese nationalists and the French colonial regime which was aided by the

United States at the time. During this second war the United States stepped in to take the

place of France against the northern based Communists and the southern insurgents. The

United States felt it had to get involved to stop this Communist attack, if it were to

happen that the Communists won, we thought that the “Domino theory” would go into

affect. Basically what this theory said was, that if one southeastern country were to fall to the Communists the rest would follow like dominoes. After Kennedy was assassinated

Lyndon B. Johnson stepped into the role of Vietnamese protector and current Communist

bane. He increased the United States troops and started a plan to bomb the North

Vietnam area. During the course of the war Johnson relied heavily on the use of Selective Service, the drafting of Americans into the military, to send for support. All this support was for naught though, fore in January of 1973, a truce was signed in Vietnam and the United States withdrew their troops and involvement as Vietnam was taken over by the northern Communist government. Americans now began a series of skepticism regarding foreign relations that ended up in war. Some Americans were not very happy about the United States getting involved with other nations’ civil wars, but there were some that feel as I do; that we were helping to put and end to Communist control in the world. Although we were unsuccessful in the particular instance of Vietnam, I think that the United States should take on the role as world protector.

I believe that the United States should definitely play the part of world protector

whenever and wherever possible. In the beginning, I was essentially for the United States being Isolationist, but as time progressed I decided that this is the only way that our nation can go. The United States is the most powerful nation on earth, both economically and militarily, this is a statement hardly anyone can deny. The fact that we are the most powerful nation only says that we should take initiative, and guide the world towards peace. It is a responsibility that the United States has to other nations in the world. The reason for this is simple. Not only does taking the initiative of world leader show the fact that we have power but also other things. By concerning ourselves with other nations affairs we can make allies that will be good for the future. Granted some look at this as sticking our nose in other countries business, but I don’t look at it that way. I look at it like this, there will always be those that are weak in the world and there will always be the strong, therefore I feel those that are in power and are strong, should stick up for these nations, and let them know that they do have some one else in the world that cares. By involving ourselves as world police if you will, we also gain power in the process of doing our share of helping others. Now that I have proposed my opinion, it is important that we see what our national leader and our government say about foreign policy.

Lets take a brief look at the Clinton administration over the last term. Many say

that by and large Bill Clintons’ foreign policy for his first term is passive and reactive. Leading Republicans say that the Clinton administration was a foreign

policy of wish fulfillment and that it wanted China to respect their people and their rights,

for Bosnia to be one nation once more, Hussein to be cowed, and North Korea to be

totally rid of nuclear arms. This timid and wishful approach to foreign

policy made some Americans quite upset; it is not like the United States not to keep an

active role in the world. Clinton feels that he is doing a good job though, and likes to be

actively involved as a world peacemaker. In fact, recently Clinton has began an expansion of his presidential power concerning foreign policy, and many historians say that the only other president to rival this power was Nixon. Clinton has a bold attitude when it comes to intervention. He showed the power of the United States Chief Executive with his sending of military power to Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq, and Somalia. He completely ignored the existence of the War Powers Resolution which was put into action in 1973, says Political Scientist Louis Fisher. The War Powers Resolution was made in order to keep the President from sending troops to other nations without Congress approval. Clinton does not want to come across as a forceful leader though. In fact, President Clinton saw this forcefulness as a threat to him becoming a symbol of peace in the world. He thinks that only America can achieve global peace

because of its unrivaled power and stature. In the ‘96 campaign for

Presidency, Clinton had a profound statement considering his agenda for foreign policy.

He talked about his election seasons foreign policy as not being very interesting to the

average Joe in a barber shop or in the cafes of small town America and then said, “ There

are times when only America can make the difference between war and peace, between

freedom and repression, between life and death”. It’s this concern by Clinton that has made him a good foreign policy President.

When our founding fathers were fighting the British for independence and their very lives, they never knew just what a symbol of freedom the United States of America would become. They didn’t know that one day, this nation of rebels would have the responsibility of maintaining order in the world we live in. The government has an obligation to Americans to keep them in touch with other nations, not only for our sake, but the sake of the world. As the superpower on earth, we should make foreign policy an important aspect of our governing. In the winter of 96/97 Bill Clinton gave a profound speech to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He summed it up best with this, “We cannot save all the world’s children, but we can save many of them. We cannot become the world’s policeman, but where our values and our interests are at sake and where we can make a difference we must act and we must lead. That is our job and we are better, stronger and safer because we are doing it”.

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