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What Should America's Role in the World Be?

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What Should America's Role in the World Be?

Katharine Davidson

COMM. 362-001

Mid-Term Essay

A major debate raging in United States foreign policy culture today is the question of what exactly should America's role be in the world? A lot has changed in the world since 1793 when President George Washington put in place the Proclamation of Neutrality stating that the United States would not get involved with other nation's acts or proceedings. By remaining impartial we do not create allies which in turn will prevent making enemies. However, President Woodrow Wilson presented an important fact that the United States now has become a much stronger nation and that we should be able to make the world safe for democracy by no longer being a neutral nation. Through the decades and centuries of the development of our country we have become a global super power, and most importantly an exceptionalist nation. America is a special nation with a special identity to the rest of the world, we are different than any other country, and we have been able to escape the trappings of history and to create a more perfect nation by not playing it safe and isolating ourselves like Washington would have suggested in our infancy. Thanks to presidents such has Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John Quincy Adams, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and many others; the United States has made such risks as helping other countries fighting for similar rights that we once fought for with militaristic and economic aid. I argue that that United States should continue aiding other nations, but with limitations of course. If we put everything we have into others, then we will be left with nothing and everything we've worked for will be for nothing. Helping other nations will only further build our nation up farther and become stronger since once we help them, they in turn will help us. Certain points that I feel need to be addressed in terms of our foreign policy within limitations are the following; Promoting democracy and human rights, National security, International engagements, and Multilateral cooperation with International institutions.

Promoting democracy within other nations should never be in any way an imperialistic effort. One issue we face is using military force to remove an abusive dictator from power in a nation. In September of 2005 the PIPA-Chicago Council took a poll on whether or not citizens opposed or favored military force to remove a dictator, (PIPA, 2005) 35% of citizen's favored military force and 55% opposed it. This of course is a difficult decision to make as to whether or not to use military force in some cases, however in times such as today in early 2011 when Egypt's leader was forced to step down due to military action it proved to be beneficial for not just the nation, but the culture as well. There will always be advantages and disadvantages of every situation and action made. I believe that military force should be used in circumstances in which a nation asks for aid and if they people of the country are being harmed which could have possible adverse effects on other countries as well as possibly ours. Discretion is an issue and is not our place to decide on whether or not to decide what to or not to do. To avoid any ethnocentrism or possible impression of imperialistic action, a checklist should be put in place in which all points must be marked in order to use military force.

In terms of national security many believe that the United States is perceived in a negative light by people in other countries and see this as derived mostly from the current U.S. foreign policy and not the American values. Most see goodwill towards the United States as important for U.S national security, and most Americans believe that people around the world are becoming more afraid that the U.S. will use force against them and that this weakens U.S. national security and increases the likelihood that countries will engage in weapons of mass destruction (World Public Opinion, 2006). It should be our goal to make sure the people of our nation feel secure and safe and that the people of other nations do not fear us, but rather view us as being almost the "Global Police". The United States will not become so wrapped up in foreign affairs to the point where our own national security is at any sort of risk of a possible breach. To ensure this it is important to continue to communicate with our people to get their own input on what they feel would make them feel even more secure of a nation than we already are. Overall, to protect our own national security it is imperative that we do not engage in any drastic means in terms of aiding other countries if our nation is not 150% secure with multiple plans of action set in place in the event of attack.

As far as International engagements there is the issue

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