۱۳۹۲ مهر ۱۲, جمعه

======= About American Foreign Policy =======

The Question of American Foreign Policy (AFP): AFP broadly defined, is the course set at given times determining the relationships, policies, and actions of the United States with or toward other states and international entities. The legitimacy of AFP derives ultimately from popular will, but formally and immediately from the Constitution, which divides authority among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. In practice it is mostly formulated in the White House and the Departments of State and Defense and executed by diverse diplomatic, economic, and military agencies. The guiding principle of foreign policy is always stated to be the national interest, but interpretations of this are often controversial. Religious and ethnic groups, corporations, and the media are influential, and expressions of public opinion, variously mediated, are often politically decisive in what is, overall, a remarkably effusive, democratic culture.
The American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC} is a conservative, non-profit US foreign policy think-tank operating in Washington DC since 1982. The foreign policy specialists of AFPC provide information to members of US Congress, the Executive Branch, and the US policymaking community, as well as world leaders outside the US (particularly in the former Soviet Union). In addition, AFPC publishes strategic reports and other reports monitoring the policy progress of other countries from a conservative standpoint (particularly Russia, China, India, Iran, and some other countries in the Middle East and in Asia). Common topics include security (missile defense, arms control, energy security, espionage) as well as the ongoing status of democracy and market economies in countries of interest: (Author: M. Saadat Noury)
 US Foreign Policy, 1901-1941: United States foreign policy between 1901 and 1941 can be characterized as generally confident, sometimes aggressive and, occasionally, even cautious.  The first twenty years of the century saw the U.S. leadership pursue confidently interventionist strategies in dealing with other countries.  The next decade-a-half witnessed a clear modification toward cautious non-entanglement if not outright isolationism.   With the election of Franklin Roosevelt to the White House a gap grew between the isolationist American public and an increasingly internationalist policy.  This gap temporarily disappeared with Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II: (Author: Kyle Wilkison)
US Foreign Policy, 1941- 2001: From around 1947 until 1991, US foreign policy was characterized by the Cold War, and by its huge international military involvement. Seeking an alternative to its isolationist policies after WWI, the United States defined itself against the spread of Soviet communism in a policy called Containment. The American diplomat and historian, George F. Kennan (1904-2005) was the architect of the Containment Policy. The Cold War was characterized by a lack of global wars but a persistence of regional wars, often fought between client states and proxies of the United States and Soviet Union. During the Cold War, US foreign policy objectives seeking to limit Soviet influence involved the United States and its allies in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and diplomatic actions like the opening of China and establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It also sought to fill the vacuum left by the decline of Britain as a global power, leading international economic organizations such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US had military and economic interests in every region of the globe. Despite claims by George F. Kennan that his idea of Containment had been misused by hawkish policymakers to justify non-peaceful objectives, Containment provided stability for US-international commerce, fostered national security and pushed the United States toward an internationalist policy despite the political popularity of isolationism.
August 1991 marked both the collapse of the Soviet Union and the initiation of the Gulf War against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. After the Iraq War, many scholars claimed the lack of a new strategic vision for US foreign policy resulted in many missed opportunities for its foreign policy. During the 1990s, the United States mostly scaled back its foreign policy budget while focusing on its domestic economic prosperity. The United States also participated in UN peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslavia.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and Pentagon in Washington DC, the United States declared a “War on Terrorism”, defining itself against terrorism similarly to how it had defined itself against communism in the Cold War. Since then, the United States launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq (Second Gulf War) while pursuing Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations on a global level.
It should be noted that among historians two general viewpoints on the subject of AFP predominate. A mainstream outlook speculates a well-intentioned if sometimes flawed American diplomacy that oscillates between international engagement and detachment but is mostly guided by a desire for peace, stability, and progressive development. A more critical revisionist view typically portrays an essentially expansionist, hegemonic state. Between these two outlooks a wide range of other scholarly assessments, most notably a more conservative 'realist' critique of perceived liberal tendencies, invigorates the field intellectually: (Author: M. Saadat Noury)
The Globalization of Politics - American Foreign Policy for a New Century: September 11 signaled the end of the age of geopolitics and the advent of a new age, the era of global politics. The challenge U.S. policymakers face today is to recognize that fundamental change in world politics and to use America's unrivaled military, economic, and political power to fashion an international environment conducive to its interests and values. For much of the 20th century, geopolitics drove American foreign policy. Successive presidents sought to prevent any single country from dominating the centers of strategic power in Europe and Asia. To that end the United States fought two world wars and carried on its four-decade-long Cold War with the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet empire ended the last serious challenge for territorial dominion over Eurasia. The primary goal of American foreign policy was achieved. During the 1990s, American foreign policy focused on consolidating its success. Together with its European allies, the United States set out to create, for the first time in history, a peaceful, undivided, and democratic Europe. That effort is now all but complete. The European Union, which will encompass most of Europe with the expected accession of 10 new members in 2004, has become the focal point for European policy on a wide range of issues. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has evolved from a collective defense alliance into Europe's main security institution. A new relationship with Russia is being forged. Progress has been slower, though still significant, in Asia. US relations with its two key regional partners, Japan and South Korea, remain the foundation of regional stability. Democracy is taking root in South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan. US engagement with China is slowly tying an economically surging Beijing into the global economy. The success of American policy over the past decade means that no power: not Russia, not Germany, not a united Europe, and not China or Japan— today poses a hegemonic threat to Eurasia. In this new era, American foreign policy will no longer pivot on geography. Instead, it will be defined by the combination of America's unrivaled power in world affairs and the extensive and growing globalization of world politics. The United States is today the only truly global power. Its military reach, whether on land, at sea, or in the air, extends to every point on the globe. Its economic prowess fuels world trade and industry. Its political and cultural appeal, what Joseph Nye has called soft power, is so extensive that most international institutions reflect American interests. America's position in the world is unique, no other country in history has ever come close. But is America's exalted position sustainable? Militarily, the vast gap between the United States and everyone else is growing. Whereas defense spending in most other countries is falling, U.S. defense spending is rising rapidly: (Authors: M. Lindsay, Maurice R. Greenberg, and Ivo H. Daalder)
The Race for Iran - America's Trditional Grand Strategy in the Middle East: The US has to a greater or lesser degree since the foundation of Israel and/or the end of the British colonial empire worked to ensure a balance of power in the region of the Middle East. By balance of power, I mean it has had as a goal preventing one power, for example Iran from being in a position to overrun, for example, Arabia and coordinating the large stock of resources in a way that could directly or in alliance with any rival be harmful or threatening to the US. This is not unique to the Middle East. Germany and France should, according to US principles, each be unable to impose control over the other, Brazil and Argentina, Japan, Korea and China all should be roughly in balance. Just enough that none of the powers are able to use the resources available as a unit in a way that could potentially harm the US. What is unique to the Middle East is that there is a tiny country that the US has to a greater or lesser degree since its foundation, felt a responsibility to maintain. This is important because, for example, Arabia has a lot of oil and plenty of resources that it can remain independent of Iran, make sure it is not worth Iran’s while to try to capture, except that an Arabia that is too strong, could and would render Israel non-viable. So while the US pursues a balance of power strategy, in the Middle East it pursues a strategy of a balance of artificially weak powers.  Arabia has to be both immune from domination by Iraq or Iran and also weak enough not to threaten Israel.
 Obama expressed hope that this situation could be avoided by reaching a negotiated settlement of the Palestinian conflict that would grant Israel legitimacy in the region so that a developed Arabia and region would not be a threat. That hope, always unrealistic, has now been dashed except in the minds of the most stubborn supporters of Israel. Obama also hopes that the US can trigger an economic crisis in Iran that can be exploited to remove Iran’s current government and replace it with one that rules in opposition to the values of the Iranian people the way the Shah did or Mubarak did Egypt. Iran has been through externally imposed economic crises before.The United States expended a tremendous amount of resources intervening in Iraq and, contrary to its expectations, failed.  If the United States was to try again in Iran, Syria and Iraq again, it would not have the expectations it had in 2003 it would just be knowingly throwing resources away. We are not going to see that. We are going to see the United States remove itself over the next 20 years from its balance of artificially weak powers strategy as gracefully as it can given Israel’s position in its domestic political situation, on terms as favorable as it can manage for Israel and for the Jewish people of Israel. How favorable the most favorable terms the US can manage actually are remains to be seen. But the 1948-2003 US Middle East strategy is over: (Author: Arnold Evans)
US needs Iran more than Iran needs US: Fyi says: March 16, 2011- Roger says: March 15, 2011& Richard Steven Hack says: March 15, 2011 : "I agree that US will not change its policy of support for Israel; they will first fight Islam to the bitter end. But between abandoning Israel and Crusade against Islam, there are very many tactical policy options for all actors that are involved in the War in and for Palestine. One policy option, the one I favor, is the realization of the Hudna offer of HAMAS. Now, that does not mean that Axis Powers (US) and Islamic Iran will kiss and make-up. The resolution of US-Iran differences will revolutionize US position in the Middle East and among Muslims. From this point of view, US needs Iran more than Iran needs US. There is no reason for Iran to confer legitimacy on the United States and/or the Axis Powers when they are pursuing policies that are anathema to hundreds of millions of Muslims. Why shoud she do so when the US position is eroding in the Middle East and among Muslims"?
 Has Obama (Inadvertently) Broken the Mold in US Foreign Policy? Is it possible that President Obama without articulating it, perhaps without even fully intending it,  may have strayed into the radical reforging of American foreign policy? For the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union or even the end of World War II, a linked body of enshrined foreign policy axioms may be quietly unraveling: American exceptionalism, American unilateralism, America as world policeman, moral commentator and hector, global hegemon and architect of a "world order." Yesterday bombs were about to fall on Syria, now they are suspended. After months, years, decades of talk about possible air strikes on Iran, suddenly we receive accounts of civil exchanges between the American and the Iranian presidents. These may only be false starts, but the larger implications beckon and burgeon. They start with the Middle East but radiate out to touch relations with Russia, China, Israel and the UN for starters. Neoconservatives, hawks and liberal interventionists are aghast; progressives are heartened but holding their breath. Witness the mirror imaging in the US media around these developments. The traditional nostrums don't vary: The US must draw red lines; lines once drawn must be acted upon; US credibility is at stake; military readiness must be pumped to permanent alert in the Middle East to meet permanent security threats; American monopoly of decision-making must be jealously husbanded on all that moves in the world. Hawks stand with liberal interventionists, fearful that Obama is giving away the American store in acts of colossal naiveté, weakness and inexperience. Progressives perceive in these same acts the first glimmers of wisdom and rationality creeping into US policy formulation, hints of strategic perestroika that just might rescue the US from spiraling decades of foreign policy disasters that have undermined the country in countless ways: wartime presidents, global recoil from our policies, massive defense budgets, self-fulfilling proclamation of enemies, interventions, national paranoia, the building of a national security state, and pervasive intrusion into citizens' private lives in the quest to keep America safe from tireless enemies. Consider the linkages. Obama, on the brink of a new war in Syria, suddenly backs away. Taboo number one is shattered: It is possible to deal with Russia without fear that it is America's number one enemy (as US presidential candidate Mitt Romney once put it). The realization dawns that Russia could be a responsible player in its own right whose interests in solutions to Middle East problems may overlap with ours as long as we cease trying to steal a march on Russia at every turn and scarf up its regional allies. Now it appears that cooperation with Russia might invigorate American clout in reaching a solution in Syria; Putin is no longer the muscled fop. Indeed, Russia just might save us from yet another damaging war in an incendiary region. So maybe unilateralism a key source of US troubles, is falling on hard times as well. Hawks grieve, progressives delight. We may just have to work with other great powers of the world rather than with the rotating list of wistful imperial wannabes in Europe willing to sign on to US adventures. We may start recognizing the legitimate concerns and interests of other states, snapping the comfortable certainty that American interests are a "universal good" welcome to most of the world (except for those who flirt with the axis of evil). Thus perhaps we can end our radio silence with Iran, a prickly state that has dared to view the Middle East outside the terms of the American gameplan. Is Cuba far behind? Perhaps a made-in-Israel interpretation of Middle East events may no longer be the required way of viewing the region. Perhaps a genuine global consensus on Palestine could be in the offing in which the US yields up its monopoly over decades of its fruitless and toothless "peace process." Concern for American strategic "credibility" with China may give way to sober calculation of joint interests. And the UN may actually turn out to have its uses. Maybe we can't find a solution to the no-win Syrian morass. Nor does the world depend on obsessive US intervention wherever we sense things are not good. (We're pretty selective though, when was the last time you read in the mainstream US press about the 5.4 million dead in the Congo in little more than a decade?) Why can't the global "burden" be shared with others who have at least as large a stake as we do (in Syria, Gulf oil flows, Afghan security, Asian sea borders)? Then perhaps we don't need as massive a military as we have, or the burgeoning security institutions that back it up. And maybe we can then come off the hard drug of being the "indispensable nation." Could it be that Obama's supposed weakness and vacillation is actually an "aha" moment, the first glimmer of wisdom in the dark tunnel of disastrous policy decades since we seized the poisoned chalice of the "world's sole superpower?" (Author: Graham E. Fuller)

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

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