United States Engaged in a World Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3295 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … United States engaged in a world wide war against terrorism in the wake of September 11th, it is believed that we have become much more isolationist in our economic and foreign policies. Many view this as a reactionary step to the events of September 11th, however this view obscures a longstanding and growing set of dysfunctional relationships that have been developing between the U.S. And other nations. Ever since the post Cold War era, the United States seems to have become disconnected with the rest of the world, ignoring their particular interests and perspectives and engaging in our own set of strongly isolationist and unilateral actions. Although it is true that the Bush Administration has aggravated this circumstance through much of its own internal policies, the current administration cannot be blamed entirely for the current state of American foreign policy. The current disdain for multilateral institutions and cooperatives have been the standard operating norm of the past decade. The failure to connect with the international community on fundamental issues cannot be attributed to one party or one doctrine, but rather the guilt is shared by administrations and congressional leaders in both parties. The sad fact that America is at the forefront of modern globalizations as corporate and social entities, yet faces strong governmental resistance on a political level is truly disturbing. This analysis will examine the current strategies that the United States has adopted in regards to its foreign policy agenda. The effects on the United States and the rest of the world in the long-term cannot be correctly anticipated, but a detailed cost and benefits of current American isolationist policies will shed light on the predictable outcomes.

TOPIC: Term Paper on United States Engaged in a World Wide Assignment

The first and most obvious question to consider, is when the current American attitude towards isolationism began. After all, it was a strong consideration for world affairs and multilateral cooperatives that resulted in the Allies victory in World War II. Even in the decades after, American interest in containing the Communist bloc led to unprecedented creations of multilateral protectionism and aid agreements. No defining events seems obvious that would attribute the current state of isolationist policy to something tangible and concrete. Sanford Ungar noted in a research analysis in 1985 that "the United States is estranged from the world - separate, aloof more alone than even the most cynical of pessimistic observers might have predicted in the heyday of American postwar power" (Ungar, 120). Ungar's research indicates that as early as 1982, with Reaganomics still the foundation of economic recovery in America, the country's foreign policy approach turned decisively isolationist.

Many within the academic world point to the rise of multilateral initiatives in the wake of September 11th to contradict Ungar's 1985 assessment. However, a deeper examination of international relations show that several events stand out in the review of American isolationism. A look at only a few examples will show that America has deeply lost touch with the fundamentals of international sentiment. In 1982, the Convention on the Law of the Sea was drafted within Congress to create a provision that would make the precious resources of the oceans a common global treasury for all humanity. Many saw it as the next step towards creating resource equality within the world of entrenched superpower resource consumption. This convention, which received strong support from every international partner, was rejected by the U.S. government. Today, the U.S. makes up more than 60% of all ocean drilling in the world, stripping resources from countries that desperately needs them for economic and political infrastructural development. In 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women was ratified by the governments of over 150 countries, the United States was not one of them. In 1996, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was ratified by every member of NATO and Russia, this policy would have halted all nuclear testing and further nuclear weapon development programs. The United States congress rejected it by a strong opposing majority. These are only a sampling of the broken connections that the United States government has fostered in the past twenty years. Although not one can be pointed to as the core issue that caused the current isolationist perspective, a collective examination of these policies reveals the true nature of American foreign policy of the past three administrations. These connections have deepened anti-American sentiment on the world stage and aggravated our estrangement from the world community as a whole.

An examination of the policies of the past twenty years show that while the majority of all international accords and actions are condoned and supported the American general public as well as the nation's mainline churches, and spiritual organizations, they have all been rejected by the government. Together, these actions serve as broken bonds that other developing and developed nations view as an extremely unilaterial, isolationist and enstranged foreign policy agenda. The warning are only now beginning to pile up as, the American foreign agenda has become more exposed in the wake of September 11th and our fruitless Iraq invasion and occupation. In one strong criticism of current American foreign policy, Joseph Nye, former State and Defense Department official writes, "on intrinsically cooperative issues, effective solutions cannot be achieved except by multilateral means" (Nye, 32). Nye notes that are many such agenda items within the next half century that will require the true cooperation of all nations to achieve. Among them are such issues solving the global warming crisis, eliminating the spread of infectious diseases, the instability of the global financial market, current deficits and imbalance in world trade, the elimination and reduction of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of criminal syndicates, growing narcotic trafficking, and the spread of fanatical terrorism. All of these are examples of problems that the United States government cannot pursue unilaterally, they will take a consortium of effort from many different nations. However, this is not to say that the current policy towards isolationism have not reaped benefits for the United States. To the contrary, isolationist policy has been the root of much of America's current wealth and economic progress.

The beginning of American's policy decisions towards an isolationist agenda is impacted by two practical considerations, the safety of the United States, and the ability to mobilize unprecedented economic growth. It is both of these considerations that led to the American understanding and trend towards isolationism. There have been many benefits to the United States as a result of its isolationist foreign policy agenda. The first key benefit is the increased security on the national stage through a strong mobility of the military. While other nations have limited themselves through several impacted treaties that leads to disarming nuclear and conventional weaponary, these policies have little or no affect on the current American government. The United States under President Bush have continued to develop new technology additions to nuclear weapons to make them safer and more efficient, the result of our approach towards military isolationism has made the distance between the United States military and other military superpowers a substantial gap. As a result, the American military has enjoyed two significant benefits for the United States. The first is the creation of strong influence in other nations that seek American military protection, which has dramatically increased the leverage of the United States in foreign affairs. One of the principle examples is the current U.S. military presence in South Korea. Unable to sustain themselves as a military force against the onslaught of a hostile North Korean government, the United States has become the chief protector of the border between South and North Korea. Implicit within this agreement of protectionism is the strong affirmation of support from South Korea to the United States government and infrastructure. South Korea is the third biggest buyer of U.S. currency, making China and South Korea the two biggest Asian supporters of the U.S. economy. South Korea also has followed the lead of the United States in most of its attempts to engage bilateral agreements in the United Nations. Our ability to mobilize a strong military unconstrained by international convention has given the American government the upper hand in world affairs for a prolonged period. By instituting an unfettered approach to military expansion and development, including nuclear proliferation, satellite technology, and even espionage, the United States has created a strong American umbrella around all of North and South America. Using this leverage it has led to many ancillary benefits.

One of the primary benefits that America's current isolationist policy has created is its current grip on the world's resources. Although America is most known for its strong plays for energy resources around the world, our internal natural resources are not insubstantial. The United States, were it to fully access its internal resources in both the continental United State as well as Alaska would become the third biggest supplier of oil to the world, as well as place in the top five in almost every natural resource category. However, America has never had to fully… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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