United States Foreign Policy

Powerful Essays
Topics: Cold War
The contemporary foreign policy of the United States represents an evolving continuum of principles, conceptions and strategies that in part, derived from the particularistic American Cold War experience. As such, United States foreign policy is neither a static entity, nor is its intentions or direction uncontested. This essay will examine the underlying issues of identity and how, beginning with the Truman Doctrine, a distinct articulation of the national interest was evinced that has defined America’s role in the world. In doing so, focus will be given to the development of alliance policy, containment and its effect on transforming the US posture in the post-Cold War international order.
Firstly, it is pertinent to reconsider the traditional narratives that underpin American identity. Inherent in this is Manifest Destiny, which asserts that Anglo-Saxon American’s are God’s chosen people, with a superior culture and who are pre-ordained to spread civilization to inferior peoples. This tradition offers instructive themes for the formulation of American exceptionalism and its manifestation into a missionary foreign policy. It also raises to the forefront the Manichean character of American policy, its solipsism and tendency to justify geopolitical objectives in moralistic terms. Thus, US foreign policy is a discourse for reproducing American identity, containing threats to its core principles and legitimating global actions. The Cold War era ended America’s historic vacillation between isolationism and internationalism. The Truman Doctrine committed, in part to “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”. Consonant with American identity, it rapidly became the cornerstone of American Cold War foreign policy. The doctrine enshrined in popular culture the notion that America is vulnerable in a dangerous world. For this reason, it was a statement of both identity and global purpose, signaling to the

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