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J. Gaddis on US Security and Adams’s Foreign Policy Report

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Updated: Jan 17th, 2021

American myth of “free security” and reaction to attacks

Out rightly maximum internal security referred to as the myth of ‘free security’ was ingrained in the Americas psyche. Gaddis asserts that the Americans had enjoyed protection from other neighboring nations. The myth also means that America was less concerned with the international affairs. Consequently, Americans lived in isolation under the application of various rational policies of overextension. Moreover the national leaders were very prudent and concentrated on the state affairs neglecting the international ones since they were sheltered from the harsh external politics. Free security was also enhanced since America’s priority was economic growth rather than political expansion.

Gaddis uses illustrations from the text to show the manner in which the American government combated external attacks. External attacks destabilized the underlying myth of free security, however various security strategies were laid in order to avert the attack as quickly as possible. The historic 2001 surprise attack was one of the series of attacks organized since 1814. Various strategies laid by the reigning government in order to react to the surprise attacks may include siege, unilateralism, and forced state control. in addition, Americans began to “consider security more seriously” (Gaddis 14).

John Quincy Adams’s foreign policy: “preemption, unilateralism, and hegemony”

A unilateralism strategy was laid to counteract the 1814 attack at the capital and white house. The strategy of preemption was developed during John Quincy Adams in order to uphold power greater than any prevailing challenge in the North America. As a result this initial strategy remained operational for more than a century in North America before any subsequent attack was experienced.

The unilateralism strategy used by Adams Quincy is related to that of the subsequent presidents in the various ways. Evidently, the Bush administration declined the allies’ cooperation strategy, recalled and applied the unilateralism and hegemony strategy used by Quincy. It was during the 2011 terrorist attack that the strategy was implemented and used on a global range. The unilateralism and hegemony strategy was anticipated to provide adequate control over the American state.

Gaddis asserts that the strategy involved independent operations concerning the United States of America. Moreover, government anticipated threats before they occurred and this helped establish tight control and authority. Hegemony and unilateralism are also means that the United States would not depend entirely on outside protection. However, the royal navy and armed forces would autonomously protect the American citizens. Although this strategy worked for a long time it demanded great planning and creativity.

Doctrine of preemption and its development by the next presidents

James Polk extended Adams Quincy’s doctrine of preemption in his policy towards Texas and Mexico (Gadis 18). The strategy of preemption as illustrated was applied in the North American continent for more than a century. James Polk preempted the war against Mexico long before his election to office. Consequently, he promised to annex Texas during his tenure. Additionally, Polk planned to acquire Mexico and organized for the attack. Using the hegemony strategy, Polk devised ways of advancing towards Mexico. Later on, President Polk offered independent peace treaty with the Mexican government which they consented to in 1948.

Moreover, the next presidents William Taft and Wilson Woodrow, including Theodore Roosevelt, applied and built on the doctrine of preemption. It became necessary for the presidents to utilize effective planning techniques in order to execute the state affairs. The presidents got involved in activities that led to victory in wars, promotion of American industries. All this was done in order to safeguard the citizens and ensure economic growth.

Adams’s doctrine of unilateralism and Washington’s “aversion to entanglement”

The doctrine of preemption led to great victories in America both during and after Adams’ reign. It was evident in that the prevailing challenges in governance were handled easily by laying down plans. Gaddis emphasizes that application of unilateralism strategy resulted in immense success. Much of the longstanding problems were averted by the involvement of independent policy development. As a result, Washington was rescued from diverse undeserving entanglements.

Works Cited

Gaddis, Lewis. Surprise, Security, and the American Experience. USA: Harvard University Printing Press, 2005. Print.

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