US Foreign Policy and The Use of American Military Power Essay

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“As Long as The Personal and Societal Safety of American Citizens Is at Risk from External Threats, Historical Precedents Suggest That Rather Few Limits Will Be Placed on The Use of American Military Power, Or on The Constraints the United States Will Impose on The Peoples of Other Countries.”

The government of America exists for its citizens’ welfare, an obligation which encompasses being in charge of both its internal and external affairs. US foreign policy’s key principles are: defense of the physical territory of America, safeguarding citizens from attacks by enemies, promoting the status and economic interests of America, and promoting the nation’s democracy- and freedom- related values across the world. By end-twentieth century, the US’s foreign policy entailed relationships with a total of 159 states that were typically competitive, supportive at times, and at other times clearly unfriendly (Deutsch, 1997).

The government’s executive wing has largely remained in charge of US foreign policy. The President of the United States is accorded constitutional power to forge treaties, command the nation’s army, and enter into executive agreements which don’t require Congress approval. Consequently, he is ideally positioned to delineate as well as pursue the international aims of the nation (Rosen, 2003).

A number of entities give advice and attempt to influence the President on matters of foreign policy, including the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, high-ranking citizens, the Council of Foreign Relations and similar interest groups. Additionally, public opinion shapes foreign policy. The threat of getting ousted from office for an unpopular decision typically restrains excessively-aggressive lawmakers. (Deutsch, 1997).

The Soviet’s disbanding was accompanied by a post-Cold War intermission in the US. It can be better understood now as a transitional era marked by insecurity, with the nation struggling to ascertain its role within a global system having no one existential threat remaining.

The decades-long Cold War’s culmination meant that military dissuasion was not so relevant to America anymore. Terrorist acts (e.g., 9/11) were more pressing threats to the nation’s security. For safeguarding the nation and its citizens against such attacks, the DHS (homeland security department) was instituted by the US Congress in the year 2002. The Department’s mission was preventing terror attacks and aiding with recovery efforts if such attacks did occur. It combined numerous federal organizations such as the US Secret Service, Coast Guard, and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) (Deutsch, 1997).

Thus began America’s fight against terrorism, which targeted terrorist outfits as well as the states which supported them. The foremost action on America’s part was leading an armed expedition with global coalition to eliminate the al-Qaeda terror outfit based in Afghanistan. Besides this organization, which claimed responsibility for the twin-tower attacks of 9/11, the mission also aimed at overthrowing the Taliban rule – the Afghan government which supported and sheltered the al-Qaeda. Consequently, in the year 2002, the regime fell, with al-Qaeda terrorists being forced to take flight. The US vowed to keep up its struggle against terrorism worldwide (Gill, 1993).

The Defense Department reflects a constant ethic of military control by civilians, with the Defense Secretary and individual army branches’ secretaries being civilians. The Department initially combined the naval and army departments, integrating them with America’s Air Force. But with time, this structure became more dispersed, growing to add to itself organizations like the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Joint Chiefs of Staff, and NSA (National Security Agency) (Rosen, 2003).

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The Defense Department’s jurisdiction largely covers the sizable quantity of military-devoted tax money. During the latter part of the 90s, its yearly budget was more than 250 billion dollars. Further, over three million individuals (defense force members as well as civilians) were in the Department’s employ. The figure for the year 1998 was: 480,721 individuals actively serving within the US Army, 377,039 working for the Naval Forces, 365,639 Air Force employees, and 173,031 employed as Marine Corps members (Deutsch, 1997).

The start of this century saw US citizens’ lives interwoven into global affairs, events, and problems with local repercussions. With the collapse of the USSR in the year 1991 marking the culmination of the decades-long Cold War, America came up with novel foreign policy doctrines. Of these, the most salient included an attempt at…

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…US develops and imposes. The Japan-US defense pact, NATO, and ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand and United States) treaty aren’t exactly pacts between equals; rather, they may be regarded as security guarantees America accords to its subordinates and serve as means to codify interstate hierarchy. The American government’s proposed role in the year 2002, of taking pre-emptive action for destroying enemy states’ WMD construction efforts, logically extends from that policy; it is enabled by America’s improved position of power in the post-Cold War world (Haass, 2002).

In the year 2003, America attempted to basically tackle the self-same issues using, basically, the same theoretical choice of reactions. Its military strength may still reach breaking point if faced with multiple enemy parties unable to directly challenge the nation using military force, but capable of using unconventional methods to wreak havoc. Even prior to the al-Qaeda attacks, America’s armed forces were worn down by sweeping campaigns targeted at the maintenance of appropriate international order within Haiti, Bosnia and other places. Growing international terrorism indicates hostile parties’ capability of exploiting American borders’ penetrability. The nation’s response, up until now, has entailed applying force, and subsequently, withdrawing and ruling indirectly. Less emphasis has been laid on developing defensive zones or impediments (Rosen, 2003).

As in previous times, one cannot expect such impediments or offensive raids to be entirely successful; more superior internal security may be achieved economically. Tactics ought to be evaluated based on measures of economy of force, rather than as tools to guarantee absolute safety (Haass, 2002).

Another distinctive element of the US Empire in the present day is its putative nature, being governed by a democratic form of governance which espouses equality and sets store by the formal limits imposed on its personal power. The aforementioned principles are at odds with the imperial inclination of hierarchy and exerting extra-legal, unreserved violence. The nation is certainly capable of immense ruthlessness and hypocrisy, though its most blatant demonstrations of imperial influence have remained sporadic: intense, though of limited scope and duration. As imperial governance needs to self-sustain for several decades to actually work, a question worth posing is whether America, keeping in mind….....

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Dougherty, J. E. (1997). Contending theories of international relations: a comprehensive survey. Addison Wesley Publishing Company.

Gill, S. (Ed.). (1993). Gramsci, historical materialism and international relations (Vol. 26). Cambridge University Press.

Gill, S. (Ed.). (2013). Gramsci, historical materialism and international relations (Vol. 26). Cambridge University Press.

Haass, R. N. (2002). Defining US Foreign Policy in a Post-Post-Cold War World: The 2002 Arthur Ross Lecture, Remarks to Foreign Policy Association.

Haass, R. N., & Director, P. P. S. (2002). Defining US foreign policy in a post-post-Cold War world. Remarks to the Foreign Policy Association.

Kroenig, M. (2017). The Case for Trump's Foreign Policy: The Right People, the Right Positions. Foreign Aff., 96, 30.

Rosen, S. P. (2003). An empire, if you can keep it. The National Interest, (71), 51-61.

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