During the period 1890 to 2010, America was involved in various armed conflicts notable ones being in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. American foreign policy has changed from isolationists to interventionists as well as to diplomacy. These changes were caused by factors such as economic factors among others. Many of these factors were not within the control of US, but essentially were caused by people or factors within the US.
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The policy was led by economic motives such as the Open Door Policy applied in China, freeing Cuba from Spanish rule and annexation of Hawaii. The US got interested in Hawaii in the 1800’s as a result of sugar demand. Many American missionaries visited Hawaii where they ended up being politicians and sugar planters. The Americans employed Chinese and Japanese in the sugar plantations. There were heavy tariffs that were charged on plantation owners a factor that made them call for annexation of Hawaii.
There was also the American Spanish war after a Spanish diplomat offended President McKinley. A US ship that sunk in Havana Harbor and examined by the navy was blamed on Spain and America declared war. All this was fuelled by economic motives as Hearst blamed the attack on Spanish.
President McKinley was forced to help Cuba attain their independence. US saw china as an important partner in commerce and economic progress as opposed to territorial expansion. “While President Grover Cleveland turned them down, Cleveland successor, William McKinley, approved the annexation. This especially angered the men of the US (Goldstein, 2013)”.
Economic giants in the US also affected its foreign policy. Firms such as J.P Morgan put pressure on politicians to change their policy on war from armed conflict to interventionist. They saw it as being business friendly by expanding business links with outside world. After US joined world war one, its trade with Britain tripled. The US had to involve itself with the rest of the world to make new markets.
The personal agenda of US president and politicians affected US foreign policy, such as the Boxer Rising in China in 1900. A good example is Roosevelt who was an imperialist with interventionist’s views. During his era, the congress passed the famous Platt Amendment that gave the US the right to get into the affairs of Cuba. President George W. Bush administration passed a resolution to attack Iraq and capture its leader. This was another change in policy since the US army was allowed to conduct attacks in Iraq.
This was seen as aimed at economic gains as Iraq was strategically placed and endowed with oil resources. However, the Obama administration followed a more diplomatic way in ending the wart in Iraq by passing a resolution to withdraw the US troops from Iraq. “It led to foreign embassies in Beijing being besieged, and the US joined the international force that was formed with the intention of restoring peace and order in China.
When it became apparent that China may be divided amongst the European powers the US Secretary of State, John Hay, stet out Open Door policy, with the intention of preventing China’s division and keeping the principle of free trade in China. John Hay had a huge influence in how the USA reacted to this event (Goldstein, 2013)”.
The USA also engaged in diplomacy especially in the war between Israel and Palestinians. There are a lot of public opinions in these countries where elections are held. USA used diplomacy through the Clinton administration to bring sanity to these warring functions. It tried to bring together Ariel Sharon and the leader of Hamas group.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the US policy on armed conflict has changed from isolationists to diplomacy. In all this US aims at gaining economically, thus the foreign policy changes are motivated by economic desires.
Goldstein, Joshua. “International Relations.” 17 March 2013. Web.