Us Role In Foreign Policy


Us Role In Foreign Policy Essay, Research Paper

US Role in the World

The role of foreign policy in the United States is a widely disputed area of

politics. There are two distinct schools of thought that I believe, upon combining, will

lead to a better approach to foreign policy. The first school of thought is hegemonic

realism, the second, prudent realism. Through these two approaches America will be able

to do a better job in helping other nations, while achieving our national interests. The

advantage of combining these two schools is in a sense, combining the best of both

worlds. It is not my belief that this approach is in any way the best. However, I firmly

believe that this is the best of our current options.

When considering foreign policy we, (The US) must take into account and

constantly remind ourselves that the US makes up a small population of the world. The

importance of this reminder is quite obvious. We can not without justification put

national interests ahead of our humanity. We have learned from mistakes in the past that

harsh reparations drive a country to instability, resulting in the rise of dangerous leaders.

For instance, Adolf Hitler rose to power because of the harsh reparations after WW I. The

ideals behind prudent realism stem from the results of WW I. My approach to prudent

realism is to synthesize only a couple points from that school of thought and apply them

to hegemonic realism. One aspect of prudent realism that is beneficial is, the analysis of

the importance of different global affairs. Prudent realism breaks the severity of threats

down into three different categories. The exact details of what the categories are, are

irrelevant. The important part about this is the notion that we can apply our resources to

the most needed areas of the world, while still protecting our national interests.

Humanitarian disasters will be more successfully diminished when all life comes

into the national interests of the United States. Currently however, the prudent things

consist of oil and other monetary justification. For instance it would not be prudent to

allocate all of our resources to lesser developed countries, while we are losing money and

respect with our oil rich allies. The responsibilities of a super power in the world system

may enter into another countries borders upon crimes against humanity. We have this

exemplified through the NATO intervention in Kosovo. The complication of these

certain instances confuse the prudent realists. This is because it would not be in our

national interests to interfere with a civil war. However, the advantage to the

combination of prudent and hegemonic realism is that, while we know we can not predict

the future, we can shape it to make the future better. This gives us (and NATO) the

justification to enter in such a conflict.

There are numerous advantages to hegemonic realism. One advantage is the

acknowledgment that, we are the most powerful country on the planet. We possess the

power to both destroy and glorify the years to come. This simple acknowledgment makes

us fully aware of the importance of America and it s role in foreign policy. Now that we

have established the importance of our role in the world, we must look at what can we do

to make the world not just safe for democracy, but safe for humanity. If one could

imagine a world twenty years from now, that is in shambles, would the world not blame

the US? I think the blame and fault, no matter what way one looks at it, would

automatically fall into the hands of the United States. This is because of the inherited

responsibilities that come with being a superpower. A child can not just get allowance for

nothing, right? That child must do his or her chores. The chores of the US are those acts

that are both prudent/wise, and realistic in terms of the ends.

Prudent realism says we must have a limited doctrine of humanitarian

intervention. This is a good thing because it acknowledges the fact that while it is our

obligation to help some people, we cannot help everyone. Thinking realistically like

that, gives foreign policy the space it needs to accomplish the sad to say, important

things . After all, oil does not rain from the skies, and someone or some country is going

to have to pay the bills. This has also a hidden effect on lesser developed countries. What

eventually will happen to these countries is what was stated long ago when Charles

Darwin coined the phrase, survival of the fittest . The rogue states are crumbling, giving

the fittest countries less to worry about. Which means that the prudent part of realism

will need to be strong, while the hegemonic obligations like deterrence are still active.

We can not let dangerous leaders come into power, and it is a fear of many Americans

that if we ease off these rogue countries, then the chances of another Hitler coming to

power are great.

In conclusion, through a somewhat cut and paste style of combining prudent

realism to hegemonic realism, we can see how the US can shape the future of the world

with the massive power we possess. We can crush and rebuild countries in less than a

decade. We can control markets and devastate exchanges. The shear power that we as a

country do possess comes with the obligation to not let things get out of hand. However,

when our oil is threatened or our allies attacked, no matter what school of thought the US

is in, it will always resort back to the hegemonic realism that kept this country on top so

many years. The role of a self proclaimed worldwide policemen strikes fear into other

nations, but the role of a good old stern grandmother sounds kind of appealing

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