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American Foreign Policy 1945-2005

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Essay title: American Foreign Policy 1945-2005

Once the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, it was clear that the U.S. was a major force in international affairs. Since that time, the U.S. has had some successes and some failures in its international affairs.

Following World War II, the U.S. was in constant struggles against the communist nation of the USSR. Our first major success against the Soviet Union was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Had the U.S. not sent U2 reconnaissance flyers over Cuba, our military may have never known of the missiles planted there. This was a great example of intelligence. And once the U.S. realized this, we were on the brink of World War III, but successful negotiations ended that threat. Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to remove missiles from Cuba and Turkey. The Cuban Missile Crisis proved that the U.S. could avert disaster with good foreign policy. We also asserted our superiority over the USSR and in the Western Hemisphere as a whole.

American foreign policy in the Gulf War was also successful. President Bush and his government handled this conflict universally, creating a coalition with the support of the U.N. against Saddam Hussein’s invasion on Kuwait. Working with an international coalition to liberate Kuwait and protect much of the world’s supply of oil allowed the U.S. to look good internationally, rather than oil hungry and imperialistic. We learned that working together with the U.N. not only takes away financial burden, but also creates a sense of a world victory. Our decision to ensure the preparedness of our troops and those of our allies allowed our men to crush the Iraqi military. We out powered Hussein and kept intact oil-rich Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which was necessary considering the amount of oil used in the U.S. The U.S. did not foresee the ongoing problems that would occur in the Middle East, but we did succeed in halting Hussein’s attempted takeover, and that was a great victory for the U.S.

U.S. involvement in Bosnia was another success. The success of our involvement in Bosnia strengthened our NATO alliance as well as our role as a leader in Europe. We helped create a fair and just cease-fire and then continued to support Bosnia as the new agreement was implemented. Through our successful Dayton Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina finally came out of a four-year war and gained democracy and human rights. We have been trying for decades to plant the seeds of democracy all over the world, and in Bosnia, the U.S. did this successfully. We worked together with the UN and our NATO allies to bring peace to the land once known as Yugoslavia. The U.S. was not overly imposing, but we did not allow for refugees to take over. We came out having been credited for the further development of democracy, and Bosnia came out free and reformed.

Kosovo was the last real success for U.S. foreign policy. This was the first time that the U.S. worked as part of a coalition force. We worked along side the other 18 NATO nations. We minimized our losses, both economically and on a human scale. According to Madeline Albright, the U.S. contributed, “fewer than 15 percent of total troops and less than 15 percent of the

nonmilitary costs of helping Kosovo recover from war and build stability”. The U.S. could have struck against Milosevic quicker had it not had to be in agreement with 18 other nations, but not as aggressively as the 360-degree attack that the allied nations of NATO could provide. And where the main objective was to get Milosevic back to the negotiation table, the alliance worked well to scare but not destroy the Serbian military. We also learned that an air war could be successful. In Kosovo we gained credibility for NATO, preserved human rights, and maintained stability on the Balkans.


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