This study examines whether the American government works on selfish or selfless ends, when it employs foreign policy to promote international security. The study relies on secondary information collected through review of relevant literature and reports published by the American government. The study finds out that most of the researches done on foreign policy get biased, and they focus mainly on the positive effects than on the negative effects of the foreign policies. The paper examines the depictive literature by studying and analyzing other researches by different scholars in relation to the American international and foreign policies. The paper also has a conclusion statement based on the findings from the relevant literature (Piazza, 2008).
The history of the USA as a nation has developed by using different strategies to maintain its economic growth. There have been conducted a number of different challenges in the recent decades followed by globalization. Different presidents used different strategies to maintain the country’s image among its citizens. Globalization has intensified the dangers that the country faces today. For a long time, since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has been at war with different nations. Therefore, there has been a number of hate speeches, and violence against the country. For example, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the country spends a lot of money to fund international security to eradicate terrorism. Estimates indicate that 5 percent of the country’s budget per year gets used to fund national security (Diamond, 2002).
The government has employed different security strategies to ensure there is an adequate level of security in its own country. It focuses mainly in renewing the American leadership to pursue its objectives. For example, it has taken international relation into consideration to ensure it relates easily and effectively with other countries. According to the National Security Strategy (2010) there are four main interests of the American government; the first interest is to secure its country, its citizens, and the U.S. allies. The second interest is to promote a strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy. The third interest is to respect the universal value inside the U.S., and around the world. Lastly, the fourth interest is to advance leadership that encourages peace, security, and opportunity through outstanding collaborations to attain worldwide challenges. According to researches and journal articles the main objectives of the USA foreign policies are, to ensure world peace, protect human rights and democracy (Wah, 2006).
Most of the studies done on the U.S. foreign policy within the mainstream tend to explain more about the positive effects of the foreign policy than the negative side. There is a debatable question that needs attention. Does American foreign policy offer more harm than proficiency in international relation? According to Noam Chomsky (2006), a critic of the foreign policy of the United States and the government, the USA government focuses on its self-help when it involves itself in foreign policy. He even states that there is no democracy in America; but, according to Charles Krauthammer (2005), the foreign policy is applicable and helpful to the USA, since it ensures international security within the country. He stated that Mr. Bush applied this during his reign as the president of the USA. Therefore, this paper would review the work of other studies on the USA international relation (Diamond, 2002).
The structure of the paper is divided into several topics. The first topic provides a brief background of the U.S. international relation. The information about national security in the U.S., and views by scholars on the U.S. international relations has been highlighted. The other topic describes the traditional perspective in the international relation. This part explains national security, free markets, democracy, and human rights in details, concerning the U.S. foreign policy. In the mainstream theorist and the critical theorist part various works from different authors are examined to explain the U.S. foreign policy. In conclusion, I explain my opinion on whether the American foreign policy is built on selfish ends or selfless ends.
International relations theories get divided into positivist theories, which focus on the state–level analysis, and post-positivist theories, which view security ranging from class, postcolonial security, to gender. Realism has been a dominant theory of international relations, and it relies on ancient tradition of thoughts. Realism mainly focuses on the state power and security.
Statism, survival, and self-help are the three principles of realism. According to realism, there is no central authority for governance. Realists also believe that a state cannot rely on another state for survival. It also believes that the nations and states are the main actors in the international politics (Wah, 2006).
Realism has several assumptions. It assumes that the actors of the international affairs are the states. Secondly, it assumes that nations are unitary, and their location is in an international system with no authority, which is capable of regulating interactions between the states. Realism has developed and changed into a new form; currently it gets referred to as neorealism, or structural realism (Piazza, 2008).
National security is the maintenance of the survival of a country by using political power, diplomacy, economic and power projection. According to this paper, the United States of America employs the four strategies to ensure that international security is maintained (Wah, 2006).
In the 21st century, the United States of America has faced a lot of challenges to its national security. It has employed different strategies to ensure that its citizens are in a secure condition. The country is facing the world as it is, since it is employing realism to run the country’s economy. The main interest of the American government is to ensure that there are no threats for its people; and it has taken this seriously for the last 20 year. It is facing a diverse challenge of terrorism; it is addressing this by being responsible in promoting international security and ensuring a strong military capability. In abroad, the country is strengthening its international security by creating partnership with other countries and strengthening alliances (Diamond, 2002).
During the reign of the President Bush, there were two achievements to his credit, which are, the peaceful reification of Germany, and expulsion of Saddam Hussein. This was after the application of the classical realist approach (Wah, 2006).
The country ensured its security by campaigning against al-Qaida and its terrorist affiliates. It secures the world most dangerous weapon, and builds positive partnership with the Muslim communities around the world. It has also strengthened its aviation security, which has been a target of the al-Qaida. Advanced technologies, such as screening, have been used to ensure that the security in aviation gets also strengthened.
The U.S. government is working together with the Afghanistan security forces to ensure that the Taliban does not overthrow the government. Therefore, this will enable the U.S. government to deal with local, regional, and global threats. The government also uses justice as a tool to eradicate terrorism to maintain its international security. The U.S. government acts in line with justice by ensuring that terrorist face charges, and thus to achieve justice (Piazza, 2008).
A free market refers to a competitive market where perfect knowledge about the market exists. In a free market, equilibrium prices and quantity were determined by forces of demand and supply. Also in a free market, there is no government intervention (Wah, 2006).
The USA government employs free market policies to promote war against terrorism, especially to those parts of the world with characteristics of political repression, and illiberal economies. The 2002 report from the White House entitled ‘National Security Strategy of the United States of America’ explains that promoting free trade and advancement of the free market eradicates challenges posed by terrorism (Piazza, 2008).
During the Bush administration, the government sponsored two national elections in Iraq, and it intervened in the country’s economy by implementing programs to privatize the Iraq industries. It also liberalized the Iraq international market, capital market, labor, environment, public use, and social welfare policies. It is for this reason, that the American government was able to ensure that there was free market in Iraq, and the forces of demand and supply were determining the prices of goods and services. When the Iraq government intervened, the market prices increased (Diamond, 2002).
A study, conducted by James Pizza (2008), on the relation between the free market and the terrorism, concluded that the state failure might be examined by policy markers. He states that during formulation of policies to eradicate terrorism, review of possible causes of transnational terrorism and focus on free markets should be considered (Wah, 2006).
The U.S. government supports democracy abroad, because governments that respect democracy ensure peace, legitimacy, and justice prevailing in the running of their countries. The U.S. government focuses on this, because success in other countries would foster an environment that promotes international security. It is doing this by working closely with political and civil society leaders to ensure that democracy gets accounted for in the governing of other countries. So as to promote national security globally, the U.S. government intervenes in significant activities, conducted by other countries. For example, it ensures an electoral process that is not only free, but also fair. The electoral processes would ensure people get strong legislators, civilian control of militaries, and honesty in police forces, and robust civil society in other countries. As a result, it enhances peace and democracy of other countries, so as to ensure that it reduces international threats (Diamond, 2002).
During the reign of the President Bush in early 2000’s, political dictatorship and poor governance of other countries have posed a serious threat to the international security, because they were the main source of the transnational terrorism. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America report (2010) stated that the only way to promote international security is to ensure that democracy prevails in countries that turn out to be a threat to the U.S. as a country.
The U.S. government ensured that there was peaceful election in Afghanistan in 2005. In 2001, it removed the Taliban government, and supported its allies in Afghanistan. As a result, America defeated terrorism, and met security challenges that it had been facing in the early 2000. The parliamentary elections, performed in Afghanistan, promoted hope to the people of Afghanistan. They were able to focus on future prosperity of the country in politics and economic growth. Promoting democracy in other countries benefits the U.S. and the countries involved. Therefore, foreign policy should be employed, since it promotes unity, and ensures that there is peace globally (Wah, 2006).
Also during the reign of the President Bush, Saddam Hussein, who was the President of Iraq, got removed from power. The Iraq government, which was under Saddam Hussein, was viewed as a great threat to the American government. Therefore, to maintain democratic and economically-free Iraq, the President Bush used all his efforts to capture Saddam Hussein, and bring him to justice. Larry Diamond, who was the former senior advisor to the Coalition Provision Authority in Iraq, argued that the U.S. government should fund democracy promoting throughout the world. He said that it would help in creating strong civil society and people that would promote ethical governances in other countries (Diamond, 2002). Another study, Analysis of the Middle Eastern, by Li (2004) stated that democratic participation reduced the probability of terrorism, but Piazza (2008) concluded that promoting democracy might even increase the terrorist attacks in some countries.