The Importance of External Factors In Influencing The Conducting Of US Foreign Policy To answer the essay question, external factors are indeed important in influencing the conducting of American foreign policy, as they are for all countries. They are important because they determine the direction American foreign policy takes, and with it, can drastically alter the futures of entire countries (Iraq & Afghanistan post 9/11). This essay will devote itself to exploring and explaining how each external factor is important and influential, and proceed to back it up by providing historic and modern examples detailing its effect on US foreign policy, and the end results. These external factors that will be explored are (sequentially) strategic interests of other nations, geographically-based vulnerabilities of the USA in relation to economic and military interests and finally the successes of grass roots revolution in the Arab Spring in upending both long-standing allies and enemies, and its effect on traditional US foreign policy stances. The first external factor is the strategic interests of both allies and enemies across the world. Due to the USA’s current position as a hyper-power with a global presence, its influence and interests often collide with those interests or spheres of influence of other nations, ranging from allies such as the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland, to long-time rivals such as the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China or find itself involved in a conflict between two different nations (such as the Falklands issue or the current Israel-Iran crisis). In such situations where the USA must interact with other involved nation-states, the USA has either attempted to compromise with the other parties involved in an attempt to reach an amicable solution or fully backed a local ally/pursued its own objectives to the detriment of local nation-states. One of the more notable examples of the first is in the long-running negotiations with North Korea, where six-country negotiations (featuring Russia, America, China, Japan and both Koreas) have been ongoing since 2003, primarily concerning North Korea’s nuclear program but also the normalization of trade, demilitarization and normalization of diplomatic relations. In no less than six different rounds of negotiations (with a seventh one starting in 2012), the United States has sat down for talks with the isolationist North Koreans, attempting to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all the regional powers involved, an agreement that would see international concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program addressed, as well as pave a way towards future reunification. While talks have continually broken down or bore little fruit, this is more so due to unrealistic North Korean demands and various violations than the USA negotiating under false pretenses or seeking personal advancement. The North Korean talks in particular stand as a specific case where the USA has and continues to work alongside regional powers for the benefit of all involved. The second approach taken by the USA is that of fully favoring one side or party in a conflict or situation (usually a long-term ally or one of more relevance) over the other side, sometimes to its own eventual detriment. A prime example of this would be the Israel-Palestine situation in the Middle East today. While the United States has several allies among the Arab nations (Jordan, the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, formerly Egypt…), it has always prioritized Israel as its main ally in the region, providing it with billions of dollars yearly in grants, equipping it with some of the most advanced military technology in the world and sharing intelligence since the 1950s. As a result of these incredibly close ties to the Jewish state, the United States is often viewed as responsible or linked to Israel’s actions, while at the same benefiting from its use as a local proxy. So mutually linked however are...
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