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American Foreign Policy: They Do It Because They Can

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Essay title: American Foreign Policy: They Do It Because They Can

In his 2004 novel, Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism, multi-billionaire George Soros writes that “the United States has become the greatest obstacle to establishing the rule of law in international affairs.” (Masud) As the world finds itself lodged in the age of the American empire, one must sadly admit that American foreign policy and diplomacy support this intrepid claim. With George W. Bush at the helm, the United States government has truly personified an international rogue and delinquent, particularly with respect to global law and initiatives. While one would expect the world’s only superpower to adhere to the rule of law in regards to international affairs (a principle which states that the law is essential in order to ensure order and prosperity and that nobody is above the law), quite the contrary holds true. Rather than utilizing their position of power in order to act as leaders in the promotion of the rule of law in the international community, they have opted to base their foreign policy on the rule of power, finding it preferable in the furthering of American interests. In doing so, the United States has sent the message to the international community loud and clear: they will do whatever they want, whenever they want, and no one can stop them. Time and time again, they have demonstrated an utter and blatant disregard for international treaties. This attitude becomes even more appalling when considering that these are treaties to which they belong. Furthermore, their ongoing track record of inexcusable military operations is nothing less than atrocious. Lastly, their opposing stance on certain global initiatives, in which they refuse to partake, further solidifies their advocacy of the rule of power. The United States of America is founding its foreign policy on the principle of the rule of power, as becomes apparent when examining their disregard for international treaties, their inexcusable military activities, and their stance on certain global initiatives.

A prime example of America’s indifference towards international treaties can be seen in their approach with respect to the United Nations. As brazen as can be, the U.S. completely ignored the U.N.’s viewpoint on the invasion of Iraq and chose to invade the nation in spite of it. Inarguably, the U.N.’s Security Council had no significant influence on the United States, and its opposition to the war did not alter America’s plan of action. This willingness to attack Iraq with or without the approval of the United Nations Security Council is perhaps the most notable and apparent manifestation of the rule of power in recent U.S. foreign policy. According to American journalists Robert Jensen (professor of journalism at the University of Texas) and Rahul Mahajan:

After months of open expressions of contempt for international law and disregard for the opinions of other nations...George Bush explained that he would be happy to go to war with the endorsement of the Security Council but that he does not consider such endorsement necessary. The United Nations can have a role, the president conceded, but if it makes the wrong decision it will be irrelevant.” (Jensen and Mahajan)

Moreover, in what was viewed by many as a strong message to the American government protesting their disregard for the U.N.’s decisions, Jean Chrйtien and the Canadian government refused to join American forces in the war.

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