U.S Foreign Policy

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U.S Foreign Policy


American foreign policy has fluctuated throughout the existence of the United States, stemming from the influence of exogenous dynamics and significant watersheds felt throughout the international system as well as endogenous changes and influences within the American government. Noteworthy declarations such as the Monroe Doctrine, international conflicts such as the Spanish-American War, World War II, and the cold war as well as regional conflicts such as the Vietnam War and the Korean War significantly influenced American foreign policy. Currently, the events of September 11, 2001, represent the major exogenous watershed that influenced the foreign policy decision-making of the U.S. government. In addition to the exogenous dynamics that have been decisive in American foreign policy, the endogenous aspects of the U.S. government such as the president, Congress, the bureaucracy, (Krauthammer US Pg 644-648.)

This paper reviews selected seminal literature regarding American foreign policy and its exogenous and endogenous influences. Although exogenous issues are highly significant to the various objectives of American foreign policy, this paper only briefly highlights the major exogenous watersheds and focuses more substantially on four endogenous dynamics that impact American foreign policy and foreign policy decision making. The paper begins with a brief focus of the shift of American foreign policy from isolationism to internationalism and how the Spanish-American War, World War II, the cold war, and the events of September 11, 2001, influenced this shift of American foreign policy. The chapter then concentrates on the endogenous dynamics, beginning with an analysis of the executive branch and its effects over the direction and decision making of American foreign policy as well as the effects of the controversial War Powers Act on the presidential role as a foreign policy decision maker (Carter, pp: 121).

Discussion and Analysis

After the American Revolution and the establishment of the United States as a nation-state, the United States conducted itself in a fashion dissimilar to the countries in Europe regarding its role in international affairs. Whereas countries such as England, France, and Spain conducted an interventionist international foreign policy, the United States preferred an isolationist route concerning international affairs and focused primarily within its own borders. In 1823, this strategy expanded from the borders of the United States to incorporate the affairs of the entire Western hemisphere. President James Monroe announced a new shift in American foreign policy, namely the Monroe Doctrine, which established a separate sphere of influence for the United States and the Americas versus the European sphere of influence. Furthermore, the Monroe Doctrine stated that the United States would perceive any attempt by the European powers to exert their influence or establish a colonial presence into the Western sphere of influence as an act of aggression. Finally, the Monroe Doctrine stated that the United States would not interfere within European affairs within their sphere of influence and would not intervene within established European colonies within the Americas. Although the United States did not possess the military means to defend a declaration of this magnitude, the British accepted the assertion of ...
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