There is no doubt that our foreign policy shapes the way we deal with the rest of the world as well as the way the world interacts with us. Through foreign policy we set standards of interaction with other nation states. American foreign policy, however, has been criticized for mishandling its affairs with the rest of the world. In this post, I will list some of the issues that our foreign policy suffers from and in the same time shed some light on why we are one of the most mistrusted countries in the world.
Focus On Short Term Goals And Absence Of Long Term Strategic Interest:
As an American that lived abroad for many years, it appears to me that our handling of many situations is reactive rather than strategic. From improving our economy to international affairs America’s foreign policy seems to focus on what can be done to get the problem fixed rather than understanding what caused the problem in the first place. Understanding the core of the problem helps us identify causes and eradicate the problem instead of patching it. This lack of long term strategic goals costs us a lot of money and doesn’t ensure a solution to our issues.
American Foreign Policy Makes More Enemies Than Friends:
It is very obvious that our foreign policy relies heavily on force and intimidation. Being the strongest nation on earth, no one dares stand on our way. Even if the media makes it sound like Russia, Iran or North Korea for example are unstoppable, this is just to give us the illusion that we are open to negotiate. Before the invasion of Iraq, the media made it sound like Iraq is to be scared of, and that eventually gave an excuse to the American public to support the war. Without public support the government can’t do much. It is very important to understand that foreign policy and public opinion affect each other. Our intervention in Iraq for example created nothing but problems for the United States. American anti sentiments have increased in the Middle East and Europe, terrorists attacks have skyrocketed, unfriendly relationships with other nation states are on the rise, in addition to religious intolerance in our society. When we invaded Iraq, our goal changed overtime. First, invading Iraq was against international law. At first, we claimed that we were supporting the Iraqis by getting rid of a dictator, we also claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, a third reason was to spread democracy. Our intervention resulted in thousands of civilian casualties, Iraq became a safe harbor for terrorists organizations.
Reliance On Force And Poor Diplomatic Relations
Today many Americans see that our military as the best way to solve our problems. We really don’t have any problems but we usually like to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. Many people looked at Vietnam with fear even though most people were not educated enough about what was going on. Many people have been brainwashed to fear Iran, Iraq, Cuba, China, Russia, North Korea and other countries. Our foreign policy feeds on fear and is fueled by a misinformed public. The sad reality is that we keep sending thousands of our military men to die in fruitless wars, because some of us believe that peace can be achieved through war. Until we replace force with diplomacy, we will keep creating more problems and isolate our country as a lunatic nation state.
Policing The World
America is a great country and we are not the only great and free country in the world. Sweden is great, Norway is great, Switzerland is great and so many other countries. Sometimes because we think we are the best, we want everyone to follow our lead. As a matter of fact, some of the countries I have mentioned have better educational systems than we do, have less social problems than we have, more stable economy than ours and obviously enjoy freedom just like us if not more. Believing we are the best is not a bad thing, but this feeling of greatness somehow results in our desire to create a similar world like ours for others. This desire for the world to have our ideals, principles ideologies and lifestyle is problematic. The American people need to realize that we should not be imposing our democracy in other countries when that same democracy is not very successful in this country. We need to stop thinking that there is an American solution to every problem in the world. No one denies that internal issues in other countries will affect us somehow, but our interference in other countries’ internal affairs and our military involvement have not resulted in peace and stability to the world. We need to stop our heavy dependence on the world for our own stability.
Same Policy Over The Years
Throughout the years it doesn’t seem like American foreign policy has changed. Changing regimes we don’t like, supporting dictatorships who promise to be our allies, funding anti government rebels and economic sanctions are all ways we have used in the past and continue to use today to make our statements clear. We have to understand that policies that have worked in Eastern Europe or Asia won’t work in the Middle East. We have many South American neighbors who can be of so much benefit to our economy but our history of intervention in these countries has created a Latin America with unfriendly regimes to the U.S. We can’t keep making the same decisions, same mistakes and expect different results. We should have never intervened in Vietnam, we lost the war and lost many of our men. We are doing the same thing in Iraq, Afghanistan and it seems like we are headed the same direction against Iran. We are deceiving our service men by convincing them that we are doing this for our freedom and we accuse anyone of being less patriotic if they dare think for themselves
To sum it up, American foreign policy is very ineffective. Our foreign policy may be buying us more time of relative stability, but it is not a healthy policy for a nation that wants peace. Because of the standards we have set for our international interactions with have waged many wars and we have been involved in the deaths of many many people. Because of our policies if anyone were to guess what nationals would be in more danger of terrorism, kidnapping or murder it would be American citizens. From time to time you hear about good American citizens killed or kidnapped overseas. This anti-American sentiments is the fruit of our foreign policy.