American Foreign Policy

Topics: United States, Spanish–American War, World War II Pages: 5 (1763 words) Published: May 19, 2013
When one looks to the United States, both in the past and present, and its international presence, one common theme constantly pops up. Whenever the flag moves beyond the borders of the country, there always is a democratic or humans rights or peace reason for doing so. Regardless of the actual motives of the government and the American people, to us and the rest of the world, the United States has become the beacon for freedom and equality for all. After all, isn’t that what Americans strive to be? All of the propaganda associated with the United States, particularly the American Dream, is based on this idea of everyone has an equal opportunity. It only seems fitting that the people of America try to spread this ideology on a global front. However, while the word of the leaders of this country may ring loud and clear, do their actions and involvement at a global level actually reflect the ideas held so dear by the American people? The lack of transparency has clouded people from making an accurate analysis regarding America’s entrance and escalation on the international stage. During the early 1900s, and even looking to the present day, on balance has the rise of American as an empire or hegemon been working for the global good? Looking at this idea in purely black and white terms, sure. US involvement during the late 1800s and early 1900s, including the liberation of Spanish colonies such as Cuba and the Philippines, without a doubt yielded numerous international benefits to the natives of these regions and the United States. However, if when looking deeper and longer, to the actual motivation for the rapid rise of the US to the top of the international society and what actually happened after the initial involvement, it becomes more apparent that maybe, the US was not necessarily the perfect nation that everyone, including US citizens thought they were. Due to the game of politics, the desire to expand the economy, and the thoughts about acquiring land in geostrategic locations, the seemingly pure motivations for moving forces beyond the border of the country become marred.

Even from the start of the nation, one of the primary focuses of the people and the government was the expansion of the economy to become competitive with the more industrialized Europe. Initially, thru tariffs, subsidies from the government, and foreign loans, American companies slowly became just as capable, if not more than those in Europe. In addition, the vast new continent had the benefit of an abundance of natural resources. Moving into the late 1800s and early 1900s, the US economy and companies were strong enough to make a forceful appearance into the international limelight. In an attempt to gain more consumers and find more resources to manufacture, the US greedily sought to form economic alliances with countries all over the world in accordance with the ideas put forth in Washington’s Farewell address. However, as wars began to tear Europe apart, the United States inevitably became involved. Due to economic alliances with countries on both sides of wars like WWI, the best policy seemed simply to remain neutral as planned and continue trade. However, to these European nations, providing for the enemy was not an option. While the war presented a unique and profitable venture to arms manufactures and other industries in the United States, it became increasingly clear that neutrality was not a viable option if the government wanted to protect US citizens, particularly US merchant and trade lanes open. The sinking of the Lusithania, while still a British Ship, was one of the last straws, finally adding the United States to the mix of growing international powers engaged in a bloody war. The continuous use of U-boats by Germany on any American merchant ships in European waters could not go unnoticed. However, when Wilson publicly addressed the nation he proclaimed that the United States was going in to help bring peace to the nation and try to...
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