The US global hegemony is among the great realities of our times. Since emerging from the Cold War, its growth has been fast than any other country in the world. Thus, it dominates the international stage without fear of counterbalancing some of its competitors.
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Benefits of US Foreign Policies
Democratization of International Trade
The US is regarded as the most powerful state in the world. Other nations depend on it for maintaining global peace and order so as to cultivate the principles of free market, freedom and transparent democracy. Stivachtis, (2008) indicate that the rise of US as an icon of democracy is not a recent phenomenon, its global standing as a mature democracy was a result of the systems established by the founding fathers that were anchored on power and moral ideals (Stivachtis, 2008).
Economically, the US ideals of supporting other nations through provision of resources, enabling free trade and liberalizing the economy has, over the ages, grounded on the US economic and political principles. Thus, active involvement in trade and economic aid has been the pillar the Americans are using to help other nations especially the third world to gain economic growth and ultimately support open democracies. Though the economic boost has been beneficial and served as an opportunity for economic growth to most developing nations, the US, on the other hand, has tied it with sanctions and trade boycotts for nations not yielding to its interests.
Similarly, the US ideals are tied on the principle of equal economic opportunities for all. Thus, this principle has seen the US champion for regimes which are rigid in creating an enabling environment where all people can participate in the economic growth and uplift their living standards. It has facilitated this process by engaging governments directly, signing and ratifying treaties and stipulating moral guidelines for mutual engagement in trade (Stivachtis, 2008).
Favorable Global Economic Environment
To protect the global business against any potential threats, the US has constituted elaborate security mechanisms with an aim of pre-emptying attackers before they strike. Though it has done this alone most of the time, partnering with its allies has been instrumental. The US, through NATO and other allies contributed significantly in liberating authoritarian regimes such as Libya, Tunisia, Iraq and Egypt. Currently, it is playing a critical role in devising ways of liberating Syrians from autocratic rule of President Assad. Measures which it has taken include; applying stringent economic sanctions to Syria and some Middle East countries which does not respect the will of the people.
Securing Ungoverned Trade Routes across the World
Several regions around the world are insecurely ungoverned. As indicated by Schear (2010) the strip and along the Algerian border continues to pose a serious threat to the economies in these regions. In Latin America, the ungoverned spaces in Guatemala and Mexico borders among others pose a global security threat as well. These regions lack structured rule of law and are posing as a major security threat to the people living in these regions (Schear, 2010).
The US has risen to the occasion to provident functional governance which is inclusive of the universal laws and cultures of the natives of these regions. It has done this through providing capacity-building programs, encompassing training, institutional development and assisting in creating new legislation, policies and practice (Nordstrom, 2007). In Somalia, the US through NATO, EU and UN are involved in providing support for capacity building and decision making in collaboration with the African Union. This process has been significant in liberating Somalia from terror groups such as Al Shabaab and promoting economic growth in the region.
Standardizing Trade and Financial Systems
Anchored on its principle of free trade and economic growth, the US has been supportive to major nations across the world. The role of World Bank and IMF has been credited to the efforts of the US, which is the largest financial contributor to some of its major activities. Most countries have been able to receive loans and other grants needed to facilitate economic growth in their own economies (Nordstrom, 2007). Besides, the US is a member of various trade agreements such as the WTO and Marrakesh. These agreements have enabled member countries have frameworks for discussing and resolving investment and trade issues they might be having.
Substitute to Clean Affordable Energy
Americans have been advocating for clean and affordable energy across the world. They view that the cost of conventional energy is high, thus, the world needs to strive for efficient and affordable options. Also, the Americans view clean energy is renewable and efficient and is able to create jobs besides providing affordable energy to more people. Hence, they term substitute to clean affordable energy as a human service and a right (McKinsey Global Institute, 2007). The American government has recognized this aspect and is actively involved in global conferences such as the Copenhagen treaty, Washington DC conferences, and European Union declarations to seek ways of harvesting this form of energy.
The US opines that protecting the future while exploiting sustainable production energy variables is critical for preserving the ecosystem. Similarly, the US government is working on carbon trading strategy. This strategy involves reducing carbon and other dangerous gas emissions into the environment. Besides carbon trading, the government has approved congressional bills and integrated them into larger legislative framework of managing clean environment (McKinsey Global Institute, 2007).
Undesirable Foreign Policies of the US
Press-Barnathan (2003) illustrates the US has endeavored to expand its foreign policies in view of protecting its own interests. Though this is evident, failing to recognize the culture and tradition of the host country has been a major impediment in achieving tangible results. Mahbubani (2005) cite that understanding the culture of a given society plays a critical role in enhancing one’s influence and association whereas lacking it can have adverse effects. For instance, US have played a key role in regime change in Iraq.
During this process, the US had to deploy many troops to assist. Despite gaining success, Mahbubani (2005) illustrates that the troops faced challenges in regard to religion, language and customs of Iraqis. Also, Press-Barnathan (2003) note the US did not understand the politics of the dominant tribes of Iraqi which they include the; Kurd, Shia, and Sunni (Wohlforth, 1999).
Moreover, Roy (2012) indicates though it is important to understand the culture of a given society, it is not essentially important. For instance, a country can form an alliance with a friendly nation or other stakeholders conversant with the culture of the society they are targeting. In the Iraq approach, for instance, the US had to form an alliance with Turkey. Through this alliance, the US, assisted by Kurdish, a friendly tribe, managed to open the Northern part of Iraq for US troops (Roy, 2012).
Also, the US has been using economic assistance to strengthen its foreign policy and increase its global dominance. This aspect is critical due to the fact that the US believes in equal economic opportunities for all nations. Besides, the economic assistance has been very critical because it has helped the US appease recipient countries to yield on its demands. Because of the complexity of modern terrorist networks, most governments have different strategies aimed at either appeasing the recipient country to act or serve as a strategic point for the donating country. Though economic aid given in a transparent manner is important, when issuing a foreign policy, the US should asses other aspects such as the consequences to be created to the recipient country in terms of how the aid should be used.
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The US leadership has been critical in enhancing democracy in the world. Based on its political ideals of transparency, openness and organization and anchored on democracy and the rule of law, the US has continued to be a role model in the world. Similarly, its leadership and foreign policies geared towards economic growth have not only enabled developing countries to strengthen their economies but also has encouraged open democracy and the rule of law. By contributing significantly to IMF and World Bank, and advocating for free trade such as WTO, the US has helped countries around the world to prosper economically. Similarly, the US active involvement in economic aids and applying non compliant sanctions has helped to align autocratic regimes.
The role of the US in creating a secure environment for global business growth and protecting the rights of individuals has been instrumental. Through partnership with its allies, the US has effectively countered terror groups and helped secure its interests around the world.
Despite these major contributions, the US foreign policy as not successfully addressed the needs of many nations, thus, it needs to develop concrete strategies in ways of dealing with the issue of culture. It needs to learn and understand the cultures of other nations so as to effectively able to relate with them. This case is evident in its invasion of Iraq in 2003. Similarly, it should transparently disperse its economic AIDS with strings attached. This will enable the recipient countries to trust its intentions.
Mahbubani, K. (2005). Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World. New York: Public Affairs.
McKinsey Global Institute. (2007). Curbing Global Energy Demand Growth: The Energy Productivity Opportunity. Geneva: MGI publication.
Nordstrom, C. (2007). Global Outlaws. Los Angeles, CA: University California Press.
Press-Barnathan, G. (2003). Organizing the World: The United States and Regional Cooperation in Asia and Europe. New York: Routledge.
Roy, S. (2012). The Kurdish Issue. Web.
Schear, J. (2010). Fragile States and Ungoverned Spaces: Chapter five. Web.
Stivachtis, Y. A. (2008). Power in the Contemporary International Society: International Relations Meets Political and Social Theory- A Critical Appraisal Of U.S. Foreign Policy. Journal of Political & Military Sociology, 36(1), 85-101.
Wohlforth, W. (1999) ‘The stability of a unipolar world’, International Security, 21(1), 1– 36.