Friday, July 30, 2010

Foreign Policy of the United States (Short Note)

Americans like to think of their country as the goddess of liberty, holding high the torch of freedom as a beacon light to all the peoples of the world. Communist propagandists point to that same America as a ruthless imperialist power trying to prop up her rotten system by exporting her trouble to the rest of the world and to force all other nations to accept her dictates. Some friendlier critics speak of her as a reluctant dragon with brute strength but with little mind or imagination. All these images are stereotypes. The interesting thing about them is not that they misrepresent or obscure the real United States but that they all appraise her in terms of foreign policy.

By history and by experience, by temperament and by inclination, Americans are ill-prepared to accept the heavy responsibilities and commitments in world affairs which their country has assumed in recent years. The transition has been made too suddenly, and the tempo of events has accelerated too rapidly, for the evolution of a satisfactory policy for the “long pull”. Moreover, the state of the world has been such that a really satisfactory foreign policy is probably impossible.

After some preliminary observations, we shall center our discussion on the period since 1945. But first something must be said about the factors conditioning American foreign policy, the basic principles of that policy, and the nature of the national interest.

Factors Conditioning American Foreign Policy

The foreign policy of the United States, like that of any state, is shaped largely by geographical and historical considerations, by her political and social system, by her economic strength and military power, by her relative power position, by the policies of other states, and by the world environment. The following observations on American foreign policy, made in 1949 by an anonymous but important United States statesmen who has much to do with shaping this policy,” point to its basic setting and nature:

United States foreign policy is the sum total of the aspirations.


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