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Examine And Exhaustively Discuss United States Of America Foreign Policy (Editing Sample)
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THE TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF KENYATel: +254(020) 343672, 2249974, Haile Selassie Avenue2251300, 341639. Fax: 2219689 P. O. 52428,Website: Nairobi, 00200
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES.
DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC POLICY.
BA INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND DIPLOMACY.
UNIT: FOREIGN POLICY ANALYSIS.
UNIT CODE: ALSQ/2203.
NAME: ATELA FINNEY A. ISRAEL.
REG NO.: ASGQ/02031/2016.
COURSE PROVIDER: MR. LAWRENCE MURIUKI.
Question: Examine and exhaustively discuss United States of America foreign policy.
Foreign policy is and has always been the most fundamental aspect of International Relations. As a sub-field of international relations (IR), the study of foreign policy focuses on the external behavior of states in the global system through their authorized representatives or governments. The official relations that take place between the -units of the international system constitute the foreign policy. The term ‘foreign policy’ has been defined, conceptualized and theorized in a number of ways. Foreign policy analysis (FPA) is the study of those transactions, the domestic circumstances that produce them, the effect on them of the system and its structures and their influence on them CITATION Lig94 \l 1033 (Light, 1994).
George Modelski defines foreign policy as, “The system of activities evolved by communities for changing the behavior of other states and for adjusting their own activities to the international environment” CITATION Geo62 \l 1033 (Modelski, 1962). Modelski, in his definition, has emphasized only those aspects of policy, which aim at the change in the existing behavior of states, as the primary objectives of foreign policy. In fact, foreign policy includes both the change in the existing behavior and continuation of the behavior at different times. It is concerned both with the change and the status quo in so far as they serve the national interests.
In the words of Padelford and Lincoln, “Foreign policy is the key element in the process by which a state translates its broadly conceived goals and interests into concrete courses of action to attain these objectives and pressure its interests CITATION Nor \l 1033 (Lincoln). Padelford and Lincoln have explained two functions of foreign policy. Its first function is to attain its broadly conceived goals and second function is to pressurize the national interests.
In the words of C.C. Rodee, “Foreign Policy involves the formulation and implementation of a group of principles which shape the behavior pattern of a state while negotiating with (contacting) other states to protect or further its vital interests.” This includes not only the general principles but also those means necessary to implement them. Thus, these principles are those broader interests which states strive to achieve in international relations. F.S. Northedge considers foreign policy to be the use of political influence in order to induce other states to exercise their law making power in a manner desired by the state concerned CITATION FSN68 \l 1033 (Northedge, 1968). It is an interaction between forces originating outside the country’s borders and those working within them.
Joseph Frankel writes that foreign policy “consists of decisions and actions which involve to some appreciable extent relations between one state and others CITATION Jos68 \l 1033 (Flankel, 1968). Hugh Gibson defines foreign policy as “a well-rounded, comprehensive plan, based on knowledge and experience, for conducting the business of government with the rest of the world. It is aimed at promoting and protecting the interests of the nation. This calls for a clear understanding of what, whose interests are and how far we can help to go with the means at our disposal. Anything less than this falls short of being a national foreign policy CITATION Hug44 \l 1033 (Gibson, 1944).
Many states have had foreign policies. However, the policies of the strongest states have always reigned supreme. Our key focus and attention is turned to one state, a state that has had the most influential foreign policies, a state whose influence is felt across the entire globe by virtually all states. This state, is where it is now, by virtue of its foreign policy. The United States of America has a well-rooted history thanks to its foreign policy.
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY
The United States is highly influential in the world. The global reach of the United States is backed by a $14 trillion economy, approximately a quarter of global GDP, and a defense budget of $711 billion, which accounts for approximately 43% of global military spending (CIA Fact book). The United States has a vast economic, political and military influence on a global scale, which makes American foreign policy a subject of great interest, discussion and criticisms around the world. The foreign policy of the United States is the policy through which the United States interacts with foreign nations and sets standards of interaction for its organizations, corporations and individual citizens.
The foreign policy of the United States of America, like that of any other country is conditioned by her history, geography, social and economic system, economic and military capability and the international environment. As in the case of all other countries, the United States foreign policy is always guided by her national interest, and is largely influenced by the views and policies of leadership. It is only leadership which keeps changing more often than any other factor. It is expected that her foreign policy would also change accordingly. But that does not happen. National interest is the primary concern for any foreign policy decision-maker. Therefore, generally there is not much change in the U.S. foreign policy until a revolutionary change occurs in the international scenario.
Americans have a belief that their foreign policy is based not so much on power politics in the world, as on certain ideals and moral values that they cherish. Americans consider themselves to be protectors of democracy and champions of freedom. The United States entered both the two world wars because that was in her national interest and in keeping with the ground realities of international politics. However, the U. S. insisted that she was fighting the war to end totalitarianism and militarianism to make the world safe for peace and democracy. United States has passed through conflict between international reality and her own idealism. There has always been conflict between theory and practice, between realism and idealism. But, national interest of the United States has been the permanent factor that guides the decision makers of the foreign policy.
DETERMINANTS OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY.
These are the specific factors that have shaped and molded US’s foreign policy in a big way. There are three fundamental determinants that have influenced in a big way the country’s foreign policy. These include; geo-political determinants, military determinants and economic determinants.
Geography has always played an important role in human affairs. It has shaped the identity, character, and history of nation-states; it has helped and hindered their social, political, and economic development; and it has played an important role in their international relations. Geopolitics is the study of the influence of geographical factors on state behavior – how location, climate, natural resources, population, and physical terrain determine a state’s foreign policy options and its position in the hierarchy of states CITATION Mar021 \l 1033 (Callaghan, 2002). Not only geographical location but also other factors like topography, size, climate, mineral resources and population as important determinants of the foreign policies of states. Policy makers’ perceptions of foreign policy’s choices are greatly influenced by the geo-political circumstances of their states CITATION Nic44 \l 1033 (Spykman, 1944). Policy makers’ perceptions of foreign policy’s choices are greatly influenced by the geo-political circumstances of their states. Geopolitical factors exercise considerable influence on a country’s foreign policy by providing both opportunities and limitations on the choices available to a state in foreign policy decisions. Geo-political factors also determine a country’s needs in relation to other countries as well as its access to other states.
. The French ambassador to the U.S put it more bluntly, following the country’s expansion to the pacific. “America is blessed among nations. On the north she had a weak neighbor; on the south another weak neighbor; on the east fish, on the west fish.” The fish is to mean resources and the weak states depict U.S as a hegemon, thus they want to relate with it. As late as 1939, president Herbert Hoover was reassuring Americans that they were protected by “a moat of 3000 miles of the ocean on the east, and 6000 miles on the west.” All these contribute to the security of the state and makes it effective in terms of its foreign policies. The isolationist foreign policy behavior in early US history was largely contributed to by its continental location CITATION Jos141 \l 1033 (Goldstein, 2014). As George Washington put it, “Our detached and distinct situation invites us and enables us to pursue a different course.” In other words, the geographical location of the United States remains a fundamental factor of permanent importance wh...
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