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History
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Preemptive War and US Foreign Policy (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
Essay Question (worth 50% of the final grade): You will write a three to five page essay answering the question below. This paper MUST be turned in on the day of the final. Late papers will not be accepted! In 2002, President George W. Bush’s administration disclosed a new national security strategy that contended that the doctrine of preemptive war against potential threats to American interests at home or throughout the globe would guide the United States’ foreign policy. The National Security Strategy proclaimed: “The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security.” Do you agree that the doctrine of preemptive war was consistent with America’s relationship with the world or do you consider it to be a departure from America’s historical approach to foreign policy? Be sure to consider the scope of America’s engagement with the rest of globe from the 1890s to 2005. Use three to five historical events to support your argument as you trace the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy. source..
Content:
Preemptive War and Foreign Policy Name Professor Course Date Preemptive war is where a country takes military action against another nation to gain an advantage over the other country based on the assumption that they were to wage war on them and actually posed a real threat to the country in question. This has always been viewed by the United States Government as a counter measure to the threats that the country may face to its overall national security. In understanding whether preemptive actions taken by the United States between the 1890s to date has violated the country’s foreign policy, it is imperative to review the history of United States in terms of its foreign policy. President Washington in 1796 as part of his farewell pointed out that the great rule of how the United States responds to its surrounding foreign nations is to have the least possible political and commercial connections considering most of these foreign nations had interests that were different from those of the United States. This was further emphasized by Thomas Jefferson in 1801 where he asserted that honest friendship, peace and commerce matched with little entangled alliances were key to successful foreign relations with other states. The first instance where the United States stance on preemptive war was seen to go against the country’s historic approach was during the Road to Pearl Harbor from 1937-1941. Initially, President Roosevelt’s administration followed their foreign policy of avoiding entangled alliances and they therefore did not participate in the ongoing war between Japan and China. They decided that they did not have significant interests with China to make the country go to war with Japan based in the friendship the country had built with China over time. The United States therefore did not take any strong action as they did not want to offend Japan in any way. Tensions started to rise when Japanese bombed the U.S.S Panay as it attempted to evacuate a number of Americans from Nanjing leading to the death of three citizens. An apology was extended by the Japanese Government and this was acceptable to the U.S. Government as they still did not feel the need to intervene with a truce being held between the two nations in 1940. Between 1940 and 1941, President Roosevelt formally approved the provision of aid to the Chinese Government with an aim of laying restrictions on Japan. This saw Japan exit from the treaty of commerce they had with the United States and the Japanese Government formed new allies with a number of Western nations including Italy and Germany. This slowly increased the power that Japan yielded and was further exasperated by Japan entering into a Neutrality Pact with the Soviet Union where the military would have more access to Southeast Asia where the United States had more interest. This led to embargos on the part of Japan that saw them face significant shortages in terms of items needed for the war with China. Eventually on the 7th of December 1941, the Japanese Government bombed the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor leading to a declaration of war by the United States (Zimm, 2015). As much as they Japanese attacked first, it is believed that the sanctions and the embargos as primary actions by the United States were considered as military actions based on the increasing influence held by the Japanese Government which went against their foreign policy at that time. The embargos were also carried out to try and empower China during the Sino-Japanese war showing departure from the U.S. foreign policy at that time. Another historical event where the U.S. Government continued to feel the importance of engaging in preemptive war was in 1993 when the North Koreans insisted that they would withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when it was discovered that they were producing plutonium. As much as President Clinton refused to engage in war based on this threat, his administrators agreed that such war would not contravene morality held by the United States Government as this was considered to be a real threat. The final blow was af...
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