Academic scholars debate the real purpose of the U.S. foreign policy. Some analyze the foreign policies from collected research and investigations to conclude that America implements these polices to foreign nations only because of self-interest. The benefits that the U.S. derives from foreign policies outweigh the benefits foreign nations derive. Other scholars are quick to respond to the U.S. foreign policy as appropriate measures that a primacy should take to maintain national security, promote world peace, foster humanitarian efforts, promote democracy in oppressed nations and lastly enhance the global economy. The mainstream theorists concur with the position America takes on the global market in increasing or decreasing the value of dollar to affect international trade, the war on terrorism and defense resources that enable the U.S. to have the largest military and weapons systems.
The fore fathers of America implemented a neo-conservative system where law and regulations governing the world enhance political, economic and social systems of all countries. This tradition has been carried out regardless of the method used by the U.S. to ensure that the foreign nations achieve the set standards to co-exist in a new world order. America’s use of force is not only effective in some parts of the world, but it also shows that the U.S. is the only super power that has the capability to deploy its military troops in any part of the world to maintain peace, promote democracy and foster humanitarian efforts (Jerick, 2010). The use of force is a quick and easy way to solve conflict as compared to employing the sanctions of the United Nations (UN) that cannot be implemented.
Thesis statement: The U.S. foreign policy is implemented to serve the needs of other nations as well as those of Americans as supported by mainstream theorists, but as a primacy, the U.S. abuses its power while developing other nations to improve and sustain the power it holds.
Traditional Perspectives of U.S. Foreign Policy
The U.S. faces resistance from Islamic extremists, arms dealers and drug traffickers. National Security is protected when other nations or individuals threaten to destruct the defense structure, economic stability and living conditions of Americans. Threats to the National Security are in three distinct categories: state-centered threats, weapons of mass destruction from Islamic extremists and transnational threats (Jerick, 2010).
State-centered threats affect different states in the U.S. when foreign nations use their weapons to cause destruction. Countries that have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons point their attack at the U.S. citizens because of the power the U.S. held in the global community and historical methods of solving conflict, which is through force or weapons. State-centered threats include both internal and external conflicts of foreign countries that hold resources that are valuable to the U.S. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan was to obtain democracy for the freedom of their citizens and to acquire oil, which is a very valuable resource for the economy and production of goods and services in the U.S. The internal conflict in Iraq was due to Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, which prevented free markets and encouraged discrimination of women, children and men who tried to exercise democracy.
Weapons of mass destruction from Islamic extremists such as members of Al-Qaeda contributed to the great loss of lives and property damage in 11th September bombings in the U.S. The terrorists carried the bombs into commercial flights and directed the airplanes to major architectural buildings such as the World Trade Center, hence killing thousands of Americans. The attacked marked the beginning of a new contemporary war against Iraq, the home of insurgents.
Transnational threats occur when offenders come into the U.S. crossing the borders and carrying illegal objects such as drugs, weapons and illegal refugees. Drug trafficking from Mexico and illegal refugees’ immigration are the current transnational threats disrupting the lives and environment of American citizens. Local American teenagers are the target of drug cartels in Mexico. These teenagers receive drugs from drug lords in Mexico and then sell the drugs to fellow students, parents and other citizens with guns on their backpacks. Illegal immigrants cross the border into U.S. territory through dangerous means to achieve the American dream of improved living standards, but they are surprised to work overtime for low pay because they are illegal refugees.
Free markets allow the U.S. improve its economy and sustain the American living standards, which is higher than those of all other nations. Foreign policies created by the U.S. to serve as trade laws for foreign countries contribute to the global economy, because nations trade goods and services that they require for livelihood while coexisting as neighbors who depend on each other for development and sustenance. Multinationals that expand to new foreign markets contribute to the overall development of the global economy, because jobs are created for locals and revenue used to improve the U.S. economy. America controls the global economy, especially in the foreign exchange rates. Countries import or export products to the U.S. under the terms and conditions of the U.S. foreign policy because as a primacy, it has the right and will set trade rules and regulations to benefit its citizens.
Countries that are ruled by dictators prevent free markets (Jerick, 2010). This means that the U.S. will use force to acquire the valuable resources that nation has for the purpose of sustenance. Iraq is a perfect example of a country that suffered under the rule of a dictator and insurgents for many years. The U.S. deployed its military troops in Iraq for three basic reasons: to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, promote democracy and allow other nations to trade freely using Iraq’s oil reserve. Currently American jobs are outsourced to foreign countries because of cheap labor, advanced education, skills and experience worldwide. Accounting jobs that are outsourced to India pay a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $800, which is a good salary for an employee who lives and works in India. Multinationals expand garment industries, computer companies and shoes industries in China and Japan, hence paying low cost of production for human labor but enjoying higher revenues.
Democracy is a traditional principle developed by the fore fathers of America in fighting for independence against the British Colony and in supporting its allies in World War II. Democracy sets base for promotion of human rights, world peace and free markets. Without democracy, dictators exercise corruption, violence and discrimination of citizens. The U.S. foreign policy is dedicated to use force and diplomacy for failed countries to achieve democracy, because it marks the beginning of economic, political and social improvement. The democratic countries oppose and express their concerns as the ruling government abuses power. The U.S. continues to nurture countries in South America, Eastern and Central Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to become economic and diplomatic partners.
In Iraq, Saddam had oppressed civilians and repressed the rights of women in voting, because his dictatorship proved to serve his interest as compared to the needs of the Iraqis and the global community. The U.S. foreign policy liberates countries that originate from colonialism oppression to dictatorship. Presidents who abuse power because they are in authority undermine economic developments, humanitarian efforts and world peace.
Countries that continue to defy U.S. foreign policy advances of democracy undermine human rights efforts. The American foreign policies united with efforts from the United Nations (UN) lead governments to practice accepted standards by the international community. In America, the rights of women, children, the disabled and the disadvantaged are protected. Workers in the U.S. job sector work according to salary they are paid and under favorable conditions that allow growth and career development. Other countries, however, lack such institutions that protect human rights. The U.S. foreign policy steps in to help people who are oppressed by their leaders or other members of the community with the intention of improving the global economy and individual living standards.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and prosecutes leaders who engaged in War Crimes. Saddam’s trial in the ICC led to his persecution by hanging in Iraq after he had been found guilty of crimes against humanity among other charges. The perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide were persecuted but some have sought refuge in some African states. The ICC issues warrants of arrests for perpetrators of crime in African states, encouraging them to cooperate with the international community in promoting human rights.
The current situation of human trafficking is exercised in African states where children playing or returning home from school are abducted and sold to European human traffickers. These children become sex slaves in foreign countries and end up homeless when they defy the orders of their oppressors. Some children are trafficked from the Philippines, China and Cambodia. The U.S. foreign policy helps to protect the rights of children who have been trafficked from other poor countries in deporting them to their families or creating an asylum where their rights will be protected from sexual predators. The U.S. also offers free but temporary protection for people who originate from war-torn countries or fleeing from human rights abuses. These asylum seekers will only be returned to their countries after peace or human rights are exercised. In countries that defy human rights, the U.S. imposes sanctions such as economic sanctions, travel bans to the U.S. and U.S. assets freeze of leaders who abuse human rights.
World peace is only achieved through arms control in all nations. Transparency in all defense systems worldwide ensure that world peace is promoted. All nations need to declare the size, structure and budget for arms control, military forces and finally reduce the incentives to declare and initiate attacks. The U.S. foreign policy is intended to create a safer and productive world that depends on the cooperation of all nations to achieve common goals. The reduction of offensive arms in developed nations is currently shifting to destabilizing systems. The U.S. and Russia are destroying their nuclear warheads. Other countries that were affected by World War II or took part in the war have received a ban on landmines and biological weapons that might still be active. These bans increase world peace while preventing or limiting conflict between nations. The U.S. Senate approved the Bill called Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that prevented all nations that develop nuclear weapons from testing them, because it would affect the lives of many people (Jerick, 2010). The U.S. foreign policy also implements security and confidence building in regions that experience instability and tension.
Data from Mainstream Theorists
Neo-conservative convergence can be defined as a political and intellectual movement that favors economic, political and social advancements that arise in antagonism to the current or perceived liberal or radical traditional views of a nation. This system was used in the late 1960s, but it was implemented in Iraq in seeking democracy and allowing its citizens to exercise their rights as human beings. America used excessive power in trying to democratize Iraq during the recent war. President Bush stated that for America to defend its citizens and other nations, advance freedom should be sought (Krauthammer, 2005). This implies that freedom has its costs and people should be ready to face the consequences of acquiring freedom from an oppressive government. The war in Iraq generated a series of heated debate on whether the use of neo-conservative convergence would benefit the country, since it seemed to be failing in the first few years of American invasion.
Many people who supported the Bush administration during the war abandoned his bandwagon after the results of Iraq’s post-war seemed to be the greatest failure in history of all implemented foreign policies. The Bush administration was accused of being incompetent, criminal and deceitful (Krauthammer, 2005). The crimes against the Iraqis ruined a traditional policy that was created and implemented by the fore fathers of America. Currently, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan has taken the world of critics by surprise when the first free and fair Afghani and Iraqi elections were held. The mainstream media could not understate the elections in Iraq because of the controversy over the neo-conservative convergence method applied by the Bush administration during the war that destroyed the nation. Women and men voted in both Afghanistan and Iraq while the other Arab countries watched and wondered why they are still under dictatorship. This sparked civil unrest in Arab countries that had suffered under the rule of powerful dictators such as Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gadhafi. The harsh critics who disregarded the Bush administration in using neo-conservative convergence now wonder whether the former President was right. In Iraq, the insurgents have the ability to instill fear, kill and destabilize the elected government but the elections confirmed that the insurgents lack a strong political program, ideology and mind to assume power in Iraq. Neo-conservative convergence administered by President Bush has made Iraq a democratic nation, a country that was marked for sorrow, brutality, and terrorism and undeveloped.
A World Without a Super Power or Primacy
According to Ferguson (2004), people who disregard power tend to believe that power exists in a vacuum and that it should be evenly distributed among people. This concept will lead to chaos, violence and discrimination, because individuals will desire and strive to rise above each other (2004). Power is can be equated to money in the contemporary society. Money comes and goes, but this entirely depends on the efforts of the spender. Power belonged to Spain, then France and most recently the UK. All these power houses utilized power the way they desired some took colonies while others took economic and social strategic positions in the world. In the contemporary society, the United States holds power in its political, military, social and economic structure. The super powers in the past succumbed because of overstretching. The U.S. is overstretched with most of the funds directed to defense but if the U.S. fails as a super power the alternatives: Japan, China and Germany will not take its place because of poor military, economy and social bases. America has two rivals in the power seat: China and the European Union (EU). China’s economic growth doubles at a fast rate, but recently, its economy has slowed and this is good news to the U.S. The EU is slowly becoming powerful in its efforts in world peace, global economy and humanitarian efforts. Power struggle is a universal mastery that is adopted by different nations that have the resources and force to take strategic position. The EU has displayed an impressive economic enlargement, but it cannot be a super power because of its demography and rise of life expectancy. The fertility rates in the European societies have dropped drastically making Europe have 60 year-olds by 2050. This means that the EU cannot function as a super power, while its citizens are old and weak members of the global community. China on the other hand cannot play on the power field because its industrial production is more that the domestic consumption. This means that China depends entirely on exports for its economy, while communist domination breeds corruption and obstructs fiscal transparency. The moral decay of the Chinese citizens cannot serve as a role model in the global community taking a recent case of hit and run accident of a Chinese toddler. Wang Yue, the Chinese toddler who was hit and ran over by two tracks and ignored by 19 passers-by died of organ and brain failure. The footage of this accident and people neglecting the injured toddler from surveillance cameras was uploaded in Chinese local websites. It was later spread at the websites all over the Internet for the world to see the decay of China, a nation that wants to play in the power field.
Data from Critics
The Power Problem
Christopher Preble is a critic of the U.S. foreign policy imposed on other countries for the benefit of the U.S. and its citizens. He is an executive of foreign policy studies in Washington at Cato Institute. Preble takes a different perspective concerning the power theme vested by the U.S. He considers the American defense on its borders to be the solitary legitimate use of American military power. Preble and his colleagues assert that the U.S. has the right to protect its citizens from threats and insecurity, and the military does that in it borders by preventing illegal emigrants transporting arms, drugs or illegal information (Preble, 2009).
The rest of the military actions deployed to foreign countries are illegal and cost many resources including human capital. Preble denies his being an isolationist, but he is strongly inclined to free trade. Preble asserts that deploying military troops at foreign countries to wage wars leaves the U.S. vulnerable (2009). Creation of permanent alliance of interests with foreign countries distorts America’s foreign policies. Preble objects to spending money on ventures in foreign countries because it will bring the U.S. great losses. This money should be routed to social welfare programs that will only benefit Americans, or this money should be left in the pockets of American taxpayers.
President Roosevelt described the military intervention during the Cold War as America’s power. Even though the Cold War was ended through negotiations, some people claim that as a primacy, the U.S. is allowed to endorse strong military personnel ready for any response but it should not be used frequently. Preble disagrees with this concept, because a military ready at any moment to wage war against foreign nations will be irresistible to temptation in intervening civil unrest and unprovoked war (Preble, 2009).
The U.S. should consider using fewer resources in the defense department because it would save money for social welfare and it would fund other projects that can create employment opportunities for the youth in the U.S. Preble’s ideology coincides with those of the America’s founders. The founding fathers asserted that America did not need a large military to be constantly wage war against foreign nations (Preble, 2009). America is a nation that can rise from the ruins and create the strongest economy, defense and social life, but when it is inclined to defense, all funds will be directed to that sector leaving the whole system unbalanced.
Albert Einstein regarded people from all parts of the world as same species, and he appealed to all nations to consider working as a unit in achieving a single goal to avoid waging war and ending the human race. Chomsky asserts that the world accords itself the freedom, and it will to wage war under the cloak of self-defense (2006). Foreign nations follow strict international laws, rules and treaties, but the same laws are not relevant to America. The Bush and Reagan administrations enabled the U.S. to be free from strict laws that are termed as foreign policies that only apply to alien countries (Chomsky, 2006). Traditional moral standards of the U.S. declare that Americans must apply the same standards to their allies and neighbors as they do in their lives. This principle of universality is however ignored and sometimes termed as outrageous because foreign nations are inferior to the U.S. in many ways. In 2002, President Bush declared that his administration was sympathetic to poverty, hunger, sexual discrimination, child mortality, disease, primary education and maternal health in Africa. He created a program called Millennium Challenge Boost intended to collect $10 billion to boost the living standards of the Africans (Chomsky, 2006). This program failed, and the Bush administration responded appropriately to show the world that someone should be held accountable for the failure. The head of the program resigned and the statements from President Bush’s speeches about being sympathetic to Africa’s ailments were deleted from the program’s website. President Bush even rejected an official call from Tony Blair, the previous Prime minister of the U.K., in contributing some funds to help Africa. Bush only agreed to contribute to the aid only when the funds were consistently reduced, which would lead to deaths of about 6 million Africans due to preventable diseases, hunger and poverty. President Bush’s new ambassador, John Bolton, demanded the elimination of all phrases that talked about the Millennium Development goals from all the documents prepared after intensive research and negotiations had been made to combat sexual discrimination, poverty, hunger and child mortality in Africa (Chomsky, 2006). In the war against terrorism, the U.S. is quick to point fingers that the terrorist damage lives and properties while neglecting to show how America’s terrorism destroys innocent lives and property in war torn countries. In response to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. term their actions as appropriate measures to combat terrorist and the innocent lives caught in the middle of the war zone are accidents or collateral damage. Democracy defined by the U.S. includes blood being shed, properties damaged and later democracy emerging as the recent case in Libya where NATO’s military damaged property and innocent lives in the name of democracy.
Middle East Failed Democracy
Lance Selfa is amazed at the way the U.S. citizens joined the Bush administration bandwagon in claims that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted neighboring nations to consider democracy such as Egypt and Syria (2005). This did not happen because President Hosni Mubarak only stepped down after his country threatened to go into civil unrest and the pressure for the Obama’s administration. Syria’s civil unrest is currently underway with death toll of thousands of civilians fighting for a democratic nation. The Bush administration neglected to listen to the plead of Americans who condemned the war by saying that a problem cannot be solved by the same mechanism that was used in causing it: violence. However, the Bush administration declared war on Iraq and Afghanistan and deployed troops to search for weapons of mass destruction and fight for democracy. The opponents of the war against terrorism were demoralized when President Bush was reelected to serve the second term in office. Democracy became the new reason for the war in Iraq after the other ones turned out to be lies or have been eliminated (weapons of mass destruction, Al-Qaeda, disarming Saddam and eliminating terrorists) (Selfa, 2005).
The U.S. only choses the countries it wants to democratize because of valuable resource or free markets. America’s Fifth Fleet headquarters is located in Bahrain. The locals of Bahrain always protest the U.S. military base in their country but due to the country’s dictatorship, their concerns are muted. The emir of Bahrain declared himself sovereign in 2002 (Selfa, 2005). He further explains that in 2005, about 80,000 locals disobeyed the government’s ban on protests against his appointees. The nation’s Sunni rulers who are the minority used force to repress the demonstrators and the U.S. did not comment on the repression of democracy (Selfa, 2005). The Bush administration invaded Iraq because of oil, a natural resource that could sustain the economy of the U.S. for decades. In acquiring the oil, the war against terrorism has to be used to cover up the real purpose of the unprovoked war.
America plays both parts of being an empire and a republic. The U.S. foreign policy causes both good and harm to Americans and foreign nations. As an empire, the U.S. has complete power over global economy, defense system, information and entertainment. The U.S. can increase and reduce the value of the U.S. dollar to improve and sustain its economy, it can deploy its military troops to any country that has valuable resources and its culture is adopted in almost all countries worldwide with the exception of some African countries and all Arab nations. America deserves the power it has because of the efforts, resources and intelligence that were used to acquire and maintain it. Other alternative super powers such as China and Japan do not have the military personnel, stable economy or appropriate culture that can be imposed on other nations once they have the power. On the other hand, the U.S. foreign policy causes destruction; death and trauma to nations that do not abide by the rules and regulations set by the U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan have both witnessed the dangerous side of the U.S. foreign policy in acquiring valuable resources such as oil and promoting democracy to enhance free markets.