US Foreign Policy

US Foreign
Power, Peace, Prosperity
and Principles in American
decision making…
Foreign Policy
• Strategies and Goals to guide a nation with
other countries
• Changes with each president
• All nations look to find ways to make their
country safer
• Sometimes that has meant moving towards
aggressive action
• Diplomacy: the attempt to negotiate with other
countries in order to solve crises
What is the International
• It’s a Quasi-Anarchic System
• What does that mean?
• No recognized central
government (No World Govt.)
• “War of all Against all”…
• Difficult to get the “world” to
back any specific,defined sets
of laws
• Attempts at controlling world
conflict and economies: UN,
• To what extent do the UN, IMF
and WTO serve the interests of
the wealthiest states
(US,Western Europe,Japan,
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Influences of US Foreign
• In deciding what policies to follow, most
states are influenced by the following 4 ideas
known as the 4 P’s
• Power
• Peace
• Prosperity
• Principles
• They work together, and sometimes at odds
with one another.
• That the US should put military power at the
forefront of all objectives
• Key requirement, most basic goal of US
Foreign Policy decisions
• Self Defense, preservation of independence
and territory
• Projection of power deters aggression
• This reflects Realism= World view that
emphasizes the objective of power when a
state makes decisions
• According to realists, states pursue interests,
not peace. Therefore, securing Iraq for
cheap oil makes logical sense.
• Many argue that military power is supreme
over principles, peace and even economic
prosperity. Without it, a state is weak and
subject to destruction
• Sees Conflicts in the world as Inevitable and
states must prepare and be vigilant
• Those that advocate negotiations for
peace above all other objectives
• Also knows as International
• “Cultivate a garden” view of the
international is difficult but
possible to reduce conflicts in the
world much like keeping a garden in
• The anarchy of the world system can be
managed with international rules
• United Nations as institution of ‘peace’
• In a sense all the P’s seek peace in that
power is meant to promote and
establish peace for a nation state
• The bigger the country, usually, the
more capable the country is to help
‘broker’ peace between feuding nations.
Could the US establish peace in the
• Putting economic interest above all
other concerns
• Seek gains from low cost imports,
markets for US exports and
international economic opportunity
• A place to sell our stuff and receive
cheap goods from overseas
• Trade policy; foreign policy with Oil
• WTO, IMF= attempts to control and
manage the world economy
• Recent trend of putting US economic
interests high on list of US objectives
• Economic goals drive US foreign policy
• Examples: NAFTA-economic
agreement between
US/Mexico/Canada to produce more
goods at cheaper cost
• Democratic Idealism
• Right makes might…if you do the
‘right’ thing, you will have the might
• Feeling that the US should stand
for democracy, freedom, tolerance,
self government
• Critics of US foreign policy point out
the failure of the US to promote
principles in its foreign policy
• Does it hurt the US to choose
power or prosperity over
• Case studies: Somalia (operation
Just Hope), Guatemala (Removal
of President Arbenz), Chile (coup of
• Overwhelming military victory:
projection of US power on the battlefield
• 1/3 the troops used as in 1991
• Regime change
• US uses: technology; special operation
for success
• However, Bush Doctrine of pre-emption
clearly meant to project power also
creates a policy of ‘who’s next’? North
Korea and Iran begin/finish developing
WMD’s to stall a US invasion
• Winning the Peace: the real task is to
instill peace in Iraq. The prospect has
been dwindling since the successful
January elections. Can the US military
power translate into economic
prosperity and democracy?
• What is the current issue with Iraq?
Quagmire or
Post 9-11 World
• Allows for single defining US agenda: Fight Terrorism
• 1990’s Osama Bin Laden had attacked a number of US
outlets (USS Cole, Kenya embassy)
• Why did they attack?
• Osama was backed by the CIA to stop the USSR in
• Unhappy with US presence in the Middle East, failure of the
technological advances of the West to help usher in prosperity
for the globe
• Today’s agendas:
• Regional conflicts still large part of atrocities
• Darfur, Colombia, Afghanistan and Iraq are experiencing civil
conflicts today
• WTO and prosperity: failure of the wealthy countries to
enhance the wealth of all nations (Global North V. Global
• How are the 4 P’s incorporated into the US War on Terror?
What exactly is
the Bush
• Pre-emptive use of military action
before an enemy attacks
• Willingness of US to unleash
military action against opposing
countries based upon intelligence.
• Previously, it took a military action
to warrant ‘self defense’
• Countries focused on: Iran, Syria,
North Korea, Libya
• Problem: attacking a country
based on intelligence can be
specious (deceptively attractive).
Look at the ‘proof’ Saddam had
WMD’s before the US invasion of
• Bush Doctrine argues that the US
has the right to attack a country to
deter an attack before it occurs
• Blowback: unintended
consequences of US Foreign
• US support of Israel seen as
immoral to many
fundamentalist Muslims
• US troops stationed in Saudi
Arabia during 1st Gulf war
seen as offensive to members
of Al-Qaeda
• Israel’s attack on Lebanon in
1983 has also been tied to AlQaeda’s desire to retaliate for
anti-Muslim atrocities
Why did
Why did 9-11 occur?
• Bin Laden accused Bush of misleading Americans by saying
the attack was carried out because al-Qaida "hates freedom."
The terrorist leader said his followers have left alone countries
that do not threaten Muslims."We fought you because we are
free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you
undermine our security we undermine yours," bin Laden said.
• He said he was first inspired to attack the United States by
the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and
buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the
capital."While I was looking at these destroyed towers in
Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be
punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in
America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be
deterred from killing our children and women," he said.
80 years of humiliation
• After World War I, the Middle East was
divided and cut apart by Britain. The
US has been implicated in taking over
the mantle for the British after World
War II and thus inherited the unique
position of continuing what some see as
unjust regimes in the need for oil flow.
Future of US Foreign Policy
• Go it alone nature of the Bush Administration seems to have run
its course
• Need for allies
• Recent activity in the ‘Arab Spring’ suggests more reliance on
allies (France in Libya)
• Economic pressure still viable (Sanction on Iran going ‘nuclear’)
• Yet Obama Admin has kept in place much of the framework
begun under Bush (Guantanamo Bay, increased troops in
Afghanistan, use of drones for targeting suspected terrorists)
• Empire of Bases--nearly 800 set up in the world
• Militarism, empire and economics versus representative
democracy. Roman Example---See ‘Imperial Presidency’ for
further explanation
• Future of United States power--> is it waning? Is it in decline?
What is the next stage?
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