Well, we’re nearing the end of the semester and I’m still on track for my 4.0. I received an email back from my history professor who wrote: “Your topic 7 essay was EXCELLENT! Thank you so much for a great read!” I love getting fan mail from my professors. 😀
So, of course, now you’re wondering what all I wrote, right? OK, I’ll share it:
American Foreign Policy
Fearing communism’s spread through Europe was America’s first concern following World War II since the communist Soviets were not friends of America, but it soon appeared that the Soviets were not satisfied to be limited to influencing merely their own immediate neighborhood. Although it could be argued that the United States wanted to “inflict” its values of freedom and democracy on newly developing countries as much as the Soviets wanted to “inflict” their own ideologies, the worldwide consensus (excluding the Communists) was that newly independent countries both wanted and deserved a chance to (a) find out what their own people wanted in a government and (b) not be coerced into a form of rule that they did not want by any strong-armed intervention from outside sources.
Respecting that not all people around the world felt capitalism and democracy were the best ways to govern, U.S. foreign policy focused on the foregoing two points. In President Truman’s 1947 Congressional address, he specifically cited that a primary objective of U.S. foreign policy would be “the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion” (Truman Doctrine). President Truman emphatically felt that we had the moral obligation to help safeguard against imposition of totalitarian regimes upon a nation against its will.
President George Bush reiterated the tenor of Truman’s message in 2002 when he stated that the United States would “defend the peace against the threats from terrorists and tyrants” and “extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent” (Bush Doctrine). By the time President Bush made his comments on American foreign policy, the Berlin Wall had already come down and Communism had been overthrown in favor of more socialistic and participatory forms of government in nearly all of the countries where they had earlier dominated. Certain remnants of dictatorial rule remained, such as Libya and Cuba, and some nations continued to struggle for identity, such as the former Yugoslavia. President Bush took it a step further than Truman did when he specified that we would not merely offer economic assistance, but specifically “defuse regional conflicts” and “champion aspirations for human dignity” (Bush Doctrine). Although Truman and presidents who followed him sent increasing amounts and types of aid to foreign lands, Bush stated that the United States would not merely assist, but step in and intervene when necessary.
Over the years, our foreign policy has been implemented by the establishment of military basis in various countries, humanitarian aid in the form of medical and food supplies as well as personnel to distribute same, and in efforts to stymie aggressive nations, put in place economic embargoes to effect financial pressures on regimes violating human rights. I personally feel that America has over-extended its financial resources and commitments as evidenced by our trillions of dollars of national debt, has failed to put in place stringent enough embargoes which could have crippled regimes exhibiting aggression against the U.S., and that at this point in time, needs to rein in its own “tyrants” in the form of big businesses who “terrorize” the American population through low wages while reaping millions of dollars in annual profits. I strongly believe in helping my neighbor, but if we do not take care of our own needs, we will not be in any shape to be of any good to others.