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How was the behavior of the US in Foreign Policy from 1917 till the end of the Vietnam War and what are the different possibilities?

Seminararbeit 2005 19 Seiten

Amerikanistik - Kultur und Landeskunde

Leseprobe

Table of contents

A. Introduction

B. United States Foreign Policy since 1917
I. Explanations
1. Foreign Policy
2. Ways of acting
2.1 Isolationists vs. Internationalists
2.2 Unilateralists vs. Multilateralists
2.3 Idealists vs. Realists as two schools of committed Multilateralists
II. Judgment of important historical events
1. From 1917 – 1939: Between Internationalism and Isolationism
1.1 At the 1st World War
1.2 Reserved Foreign Policy in the 1920ies
1.3 Foreign Policy during the great Depression
2. Entering World Politics (1939 – 1945)
2.1 Before entering the 2nd World War
2.2 Pearl Harbor
2.3 Aim of war and building the alliance
2.4 War in Europe
2.5 Decision in Pacific
2.6 The time after war
3. Confrontation with the Soviet Union (1945 – 1962)
3.1 Setting up the state Israel
3.2 Beginning of the Cold War
3.3 The Korean War
3.4 Success in Europe
3.5 Fortification of the western Alliance
3.6 John F. Kennedy in office
3.7 Cuban Missile Crisis
4. The Vietnam War (1965 – 1973)
4.1 Into Vietnam
4.2 Combat Troops in Vietnam
4.3 Out of Vietnam
4.4 Results of Vietnam

C. Conclusion

Register of literature

A. Introduction

“There is no power that has influenced international politics that much as the United States of America. Their behavior in the whole world, their initiative and achievements, but also their faults and omissions influenced the fate of almost every Nation in the whole world.”[1] The United States of America are the only superpower left after the Cold War. Their power is the result of a historical development. To understand their Foreign Policy it is necessary to have a closer look at their behavior through history.

“[As] America has always been a nation of immigrants […] [and] […] started as an experience in democracy fueled by Europeans”[2] the relations to other countries are multicultural and something special.

“The systematic divisions between the United States and Europe on world affairs thus began before 9/11, and even before the arrival of the Bush administration. But the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington vastly accelerated those trends and expanded the gap between the American and European approaches.”[3]

Everybody has the horrible pictures of the terror-attacks of September 11th in mind and knows that this has changed the international situation more than ever before. And especially inside Germany the acting of the Unites States was not always seen to be the right thing. But as the United States of America also were the main power to built up Germany after the Second World War, I think its only fair to judge their acting not before having a closer look at their historical behavior in Foreign Policy.

And so the central question of my seminar paper is how the behavior of the United States in Foreign Policy was from 1917 till the end of the Vietnam War and what their different possibilities were.

Therefore I will explain at first by which principles Foreign Policy can be guided so that I am able to have a look at different historical events during my seminar paper and try to make a decision whether this has been an Internationalist, Isolationist, Unilateralist or Multilateralist phase. As the Foreign Policy isn’t guided by being a special phase it will not always be possible to say if it is exact the one or the other. But I will try to gain a precise view as often as possible.

B. United States Foreign Policy since 1917

I. Explanations

1. Foreign Policy

To understand what my seminar paper is about I want to make a few definitions related to Foreign Policy. First of all I want to show some figures that show the real complex field of the commitment of the United States of America in the whole world. For example they have diplomatic relations with over 160 countries, are a member of over 50 international Organizations and they offer development aids in over 80 countries.

I go on with the explanation of Foreign Policy itself. “We can say that Foreign Policy refers to a consistent course of actions followed by one nation to deal with another nation or region, or international issue. This consistent course of actions is usually based on values and interests. Values can for example be democracy or rule of law. Interests are things like defense or expansion of territory. Beside this, many reflect broad national objectives to Foreign Policy or say that it is often based on a specific response to a particular situation.”[4]

To achieve their goals in Foreign Policy a country has different instruments to do so. “A country can achieve its Foreign Policy goals by employing a variety of instruments ranging from political, diplomatic and military to economic, social and cultural.”[5] Foreign Policy is very varying related to its aims as well as its execution. But also the things that influence Foreign Policy vary from “[…] a country’s historical ties to other nations, its culture, type of government, size, geographic location, economic strength, and military power. So the aims of Foreign Policy are preserving or promoting its economic and political interests abroad and its position in the world.”[6]

Finally I would like to quote Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. “She stated in 1996, to the consternation of some diplomats in Washington, `the United States are the indispensable nation whose work never stops. ` But as we all now, there are a lot of different images of this “indispensable nation” around the world - ranging from admiration to envy and hatred.”[7] At the following recital of different historical events there will appear some of these images as you will see.

2. Ways of acting

As I already mentioned there are a lot of different ways a country can behave in Foreign Policy. Now I want to show the different ways a country can act and explain what the differences are. The first contrary pair is Isolationists and Internationalist.

2.1 Isolationists vs. Internationalists

Isolationists

Fortress America is often used as the slogan of Isolationists. These are phases when the United States didn’t want to become involved in the affairs of other nations. “This behavior has a long historical tradition but was no consensus among the Founding Fathers.”[8] During these phases the United States didn’t wanted to become involved in international affairs. Instead they concentrate on American matters. People that prefer Isolationism are said to have an “America First – Attitude”. Their intention is to secure the United States of America against foreign influences and avoid international commitment.

Internationalists

They are also called interventionist phases. Their slogan is the Battleship America. Their intention is active political involvement in the world to improve conditions outside the United States of America. People that prefer Internationalism see the United States as “first nation” and think that active involvement is necessary to represent the American interests in the world.

Beside these two possible behaviors you can also distinguish between Unilateralist and Multilateralist phases.

2.2 Unilateralists vs. Multilateralists

Unilateralists

Unilateralists favor going it alone but are not seeking to act alone. It simply means that one will not allow oneself to be held hostage to others. “Regarding to Afghanistan Secretary of Defense D. Rumsfeld gave a classic formulation of Unilateralism when he said that “the mission determines the coalition”. This means that the United States only takes their friends where they find them but only in order to help them accomplish the United States mission.”[9]

Multilateralists

“Multilateralists prefer working with others whenever it is possible. The NATO plays a great role during Multilateralist phases. As President George W. Bush stated together with Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2003, effective Multilateralism is necessary because of great challenges like global terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, poverty and disease. It also helps to support development in Africa, advance an open trade regime, increase technological cooperation on cleaner energy and promote innovative education initiatives. Of course they also stated that Multilateralism helps to fight hostile dictators who oppress their own people and threaten peace.”[10]

Some also split Multilateralism up into two further schools. These are called Idealists and Realists.

2.3 Idealists vs. Realists as two schools of committed Multilateralists

Idealists[11]

Idealists like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson want to conduct a Foreign Policy guided by law and reason. They don’t want power politics because they claim that in the new era of democracy and law Foreign Policy should be guided by a code of morality. Their interest is to “make the world safe for democracy”.

Realists

Realists like Alexander Hamilton and John Jay stated that nations would make war whenever they had a prospect of gaining an advantage. Realists think that Foreign Policy should be guided by sober national interests and take a more cautious approach to tackling the outside world’s problems.

II. Judgment of important historical events

1. From 1917 – 1939: Between Internationalism and Isolationism

At first the United States of America preferred a “policy of neutrality”. “The United States were concentrated on Central America and Asia at the beginning of the 20th century, but started to get globally active also.”[12] During the 1st World War the United States realized the situation but didn’t really want to be involved. But after the declaration of the unlimited submarine war from Germany on January 1st, 1917 the United States of America broke off all diplomatic relations to Germany. And after three United States ships have been sunk, the situation changed fundamentally and President Wilson requested Congress to declare war to Germany. The Congress agreed on April 6th, 1917. Together with this act United States Foreign Policy became international.

1.1 At the 1st World War

“As every 8th congressmen voted against the declaration of war, the President tried to describe the war as “the good against the evil”.”[13] But the United States only attended war in summer 1918 and a few months later the war was won. After that Wilson wanted to base freedom on his “14 points”. Germany was in favor of this plan, England and France had their own plans that were realized on November 11th, 1918. As “Wilson’s 14 points” hadn’t become reality, the United States of America didn’t sign the Treaty of Versailles and didn’t join the League of Nations and concentrated their actions on domestic policy what is an action of Isolationism. But the winning of the war “established the United States as a great power in the world.”[14]

[...]


[1] Bierling, Stephan: Geschichte der amerikanischen Außenpolitik. Von 1917 bis zur Gegenwart. (München, Verlag C. H. Beck, 2003) Rückseite des Einbands

[2] President Bill Clinton printed in: Tony Smith: Foreign Attachments . The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of American Foreign Policy (Cambridge and London, Harvard University Press, 2000) page 19

[3] Philip H. Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro: Allies at war. America, Europe, and the crisis over Iraq (New York and others, McGraw-Hill, 2004) page 59

[4] Analogous Cameron Fraser: US Foreign Policy after the cold war (London and New York, Routledge, 2002) Introduction page 2

[5] Cameron Fraser: US Foreign Policy after the cold war (London and New York, Routledge, 2002) Introduction page 2

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid Introduction page 1

[8] Cameron Fraser: US Foreign Policy after the cold war (London and New York, Routledge, 2002) page 4

[9] Analogous Speech by Charles Krauthammer: American Unilateralism (Washington, D.C., December 2002): http://www.amigospais-guaracabuya.org/oagim015.php (12.01.2006)

[10] Analogous The White House: US/UK Joint Statement on Multilateralism (November 2003) from: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031120.html 12.01.2006

[11] Analogous Cameron Fraser: US Foreign Policy after the cold war (London and New York, Routledge, 2002) page 4

[12] Stephan Bierling: Geschichte der amerikanischen Außenpolitik. Von 1917 bis zur Gegenwart (München, Verlag C. H. Beck, 2003) page 73

[13] Ibid analogous page 74

[14] Ibid page 76

Details

Seiten
19
Jahr
2005
ISBN (eBook)
9783640148318
ISBN (Buch)
9783640148356
Dateigröße
487 KB
Sprache
Englisch
Katalognummer
v114000
Institution / Hochschule
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg – Lehrstuhl für Auslandswissenschaft
Note
2,0
Schlagworte
Foreign Policy Vietnam Proseminar Introduction American Political System

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Titel: How was the behavior of the US in Foreign Policy from 1917 till the end of the Vietnam War and what are the different possibilities?