Foreign policies of any given country are relations strategies formulated either by the head of government (the Executive), foreign affair minister/secretary or the Legislature to safeguard country’s interests as it interacts with other countries and other non-state actors. The main reason for formulation of foreign policies is to reap maximum benefits from any relationship with any other country or non-state actors.
A country’s national interests always override any other interest thus it can be accomplished by either peacefully cooperating with other countries and non-state actors or using force as recently witnessed by the many wars; the United States of America has waged in other nations in a bid to protect its national interests (Cheever & Haviland, 1952).
In the United States of America, the Executive branch of the government has the dominant role in the formulation of the country’s foreign policies with the departments of the State and Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Council (NSC) playing integral roles. However, the Legislature may also step in especially during crises and formulate foreign policies in addition to scrutinizing the foreign policies formulated by the Executive (Corwin, 1957).
Even though formulation of these policies by the Executive is easier, efficient and conserves time especially during crisis, it is always bound to be biased and may be seen by the general public as imperialism on the part of the Executive.
On the other hand, formulation of these policies by the Legislature would mirror the ideals of democracy that forms the foundation of the country as the leaders represent the whole of the American society. Moreover, it will lift the burden of blame on the Executive’s shoulders in case these policies fail. However, due to the different political ideologies among the legislators, formulation of the policies may be politicized thereby leading to difficulties in formulation.
The political squabbling between the Democrats and the Republicans may paralyze the formulation of these important policies which are aimed at safeguarding the national interests. Moreover, formulation of foreign policies by the legislators would take a long time as they have to compromise and negotiate various clauses. Time is not usually available during international crisis which requires urgent formulation of foreign policies (Baldwin, 1966).
Over the years, Obama has formulated many foreign policies that have shaped how the United States of America relates with other countries. Generally, these policies have succeeded in endearing the United States of America to many countries which were always hostile to America.
The success can be attributed to the realism philosophy that has been employed by the Obama’s administration while formulating the foreign policies. The President Obama has employed a practical approach in dealing with such nations as Egypt and Russia who were always hostile to America.
To bolster relationships with Egypt and other Muslim nations, Obama called for a fresh start between the United States and Muslims all around the world in his speech in Cairo. His administration also signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. Moreover, it has finally carried through with the planned withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. One of the reasons why the Obama administration has been criticized by many political leaders, especially Republicans, is its globalization policies.
This scene played out in the government’s suit against Arizona state laws which aimed at the illegal immigrants. This shows that the administration believes in the ideals in globalization which aims at securing our borders with friendly policies. The administration is opposed to isolationist policies as it signed various trade and peace agreements with many nations (Lechner, 2001).
One of the greatest achievements of the Obama’s administration is its success in eliminating the threat posed by the Al Qaeda and other terror groups. The administration has managed to kill Osama bin Laden and other terror group leaders. This shows how important the internal security is.
Baldwin, D. (1966). Congressional Initiative in Foreign Policy. The Journal of Politics 1(9): 754-773
Cheever, D. & Haviland, Jr. (1952). American Foreign Policy and the Separation of Powers. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
Corwin, S. (1957). The President, Office and Powers, 1787-1957. New York: New York University Press.
Lechner, F. (2001). The Globalization website. Retrieved from http://sociology.emory.edu/home/index.html