One Historical Event Where U.S. Foreign Policy Was Deeply Engaged Term Paper

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¶ … U.S. foreign policy was deeply engaged

The Iraq War is one of the most controversial conflicts performed by the U.S., given that the country's policy in regard to the war was at times confusing. While President George W. Bush constantly pressed his case urging his countrymen to join a presumably just cause, the general public slowly but surely started to disapprove of the war. U.S. citizens have engaged in debates on the topic of the war in Iraq for most of the George W. Bush administration and generated a series of political and idealistic convictions. It is uncertain whether or not the masses initially appreciated the actions initiated in March 20, 2003, but considering that the 2004 elections brought more votes for George W. Bush, it would seem that the majority of U.S. citizens were determined to support him in fighting the Iraq War (Klinkner, 2006).

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The 9/11 events brought significant changes in the way war was perceived by the general public and made it clear that terrorism was an actual threat. The George W. Bush Administration immediately began preparing to go to war as a consequence and less than two years after the terrorist attacks U.S. troops were marching into Iraq. It was crucial for the U.S. To change its policies in regard to international security and to human rights. Certain measures took on by the government are divisive, with the international public being unable to comprehend if the U.S. employed a multilateral approach in the condition (as most expected it to-given its superpower status) or if it acted on behalf of its own interests (Weiss, Crahan, & Goering, 2004, p. 4).

TOPIC: Term Paper on One Historical Event Where U.S. Foreign Policy Was Deeply Engaged Assignment

The international public was both supportive and uncooperative concerning the involvement of the U.S. In several wars that were fought with the intention of protecting human rights. The country's actions abroad are considered to reflect the American Dream and all the concepts related to it-freedom, equal rights for everyone regardless of their backgrounds, and condemnation of immorality. Some of the performances carried out by the U.S. As a result of the Iraq War are at least controversial, seeing that "the U.S.A. Patriot Act, the detention of immigrants without charges, together with the designation of the Guantanamo detainees as "non-combatants, " rather than "prisoners of war" under the Geneva Conventions" (Weiss, Crahan, & Goering, 2004, p. 4) have influenced some in expressing a skeptical attitude as regards the war.

Americans were virtually presented with what they identified as an ethical dilemma during the war in Iraq. They were uncertain whether they should support their government in fighting a war against the country that was believed to hold terrorists within its borders or if they concentrate on doing what was right and refrain from committing any irremediable errors. Of course, considering their position at the time, it was only natural for most Americans to believe that they are entitled to get revenge. Reprisal was however an extreme act, as ethical behavior involves leaving sentiments aside and acting on account of what is right.

It is in point of fact very difficult to decide what is right and what is wrong in particular situations. The U.S. behaves differently from other countries mainly because it "was created differently, developed differently, and thus has to be understood differently -- essentially on its own terms and within its own context" (Lichtenberg, 2004, p. 69). This theory was first devised by Alexis de Tocqueville in order to try to elucidate why the country never had a prominent socialist or labor association (Lichtenberg, 2004, p. 69). Even with that, one can consider all countries to be unique in some way. It apparently seems that although all countries are exceptional, others are more extraordinary than the majority. It is thus explainable why the U.S. is likely to act differently when being presented with certain circumstances.

The involvement of the U.S. In the Iraq War can be put in plain words by referring to humanitarian intervention. The Iraq War was a military intervention initiated by the U.S. with the understood purpose of putting an end to the violation of human rights. This comes in divergence with particular concepts promoted in the U.S. before the start of the war. While the country went to war with the motive of assisting the oppressed people of the Middle East, it previously related to notions such as national security and self-preservation. From a strictly moral point-of-view it seems logical for a nation to believe that it would act in accordance with its principles if it were to intervene in another country's internal affairs with the purpose of preventing oppressors from violating human rights. Thus, it can be said that the U.S. acted in self-defense of its convictions when it decided to go to war against Iraq.

It would seem that the expression "you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs" perfectly applies to the American intervention in Iraq. The American authorities carefully analyzed all the factors involved in a military intervention in the Middle East and decided that the success of their mission is a strong enough motivation for them to risk hurting non-combatants in the process (Weiss, Crahan, & Goering, 2004, p. 72).

The U.S. was devoted to protecting human rights long before the George W. Bush Administration decided to go at war against Iraq. This started in the 1970's when it became a top priority for the country to intervene whenever it thought its assistance was needed. There was much controversy regarding the country's intrusion in the affairs of other countries, for example Kosovo, Somalia, and Rwanda. Even with that, most individuals were approving of these interventions and did not hesitate to support the country in its endeavor to put an end to what was an obvious violation of human rights (Lichtenberg, 2004, p. 70). However, given that matters are more complicated when taking into consideration the Iraq War, opinions are divisive and most individuals are inclined to be in opposition of the war (Forsythe, 2004, p. 77). The U.S. was known to employ several ideologies in its attempt to protect human rights. The Woodrow Wilson Administration chose to use liberalism in this matter "through reliance on international law, organization, and human rights" (Forsythe, 2004, p. 78). In contrast, the more realist ideologies employed by American presidents like Henry Kissinger and Theodore Roosevelt related to how the existence of an international government to act in case of human rights violations was absolutely necessary. Both of these presidents believed that physical force is not mandatory when coming across incidents involving the violation of human rights. All things considered, both the liberalist and realist foreign policies accepted by U.S. presidents stressed the importance of cooperative security (Forsythe, 2004, p. 78).

None of the humanitarian interventions taken on by the U.S. before 2003 reached the magnitude of the Iraq War. It is uncertain whether the Iraq War was fought because of the 9/11 events or whether it was due to George W. Bush's strong determination to protect human rights. In both cases, it is obvious that the Iraq War would mark a period of change in the U.S.'s foreign policy agenda (Forsythe, 2004, p. 77).

The notion of U.S. exceptionalism was first developed by de Tocqueville and can to some extent be compared to the Manifest Destiny. The only difference between the two being that the former is expected to involve ethics instead of promoting absurd concepts. Most presidential administrations in the U.S. were engaged in encouraging people to believe that the U.S. has the divine mission of helping the oppressed. This is partly reasonable, as it is morally right for one to act in favor of another when the first individual has the ability to do so. George W. Bush's involvement in the Iraq War is somewhat similar to the one Reagan had in the Cold War. Americans started to perceive Saddam's dictatorship similarly to how they perceived communism, with both systems being pure evil which came against everything the U.S. stood for. As a result, everyone who believed they were honest people considered it rational for them to be supportive toward the actions undertaken by the U.S. government in various parts of the world.

People in the U.S. gradually become convinced that it is their country's role as a superpower to intervene in the places where humanitarian assistance is needed. Surely, notions like oppressed and oppressor are sometimes divisive and it is virtually impossible to compare the oppressed people in Rwanda to those in Iraq. Considering that the U.S.'s intervention in Rwanda was rather limited and came when disaster had already struck, it can be obvious why the superpower was more rapid to take action when it was directly involved in the matter through the 9/11 events. The exceptionalism put across by the U.S. is in some occasions is equivalent to unilateralism, making it possible for the country to be absolved from any responsibility when it shows reluctance in intervening in behalf of oppressed people (Forsythe, 2004, p.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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