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An overview of the clear definition of foreign policy of united states

Their tense relationship with the United States still classifies them as radical states. This policy has taken a number of forms ranging from the invasion of Grenada in October 1983 to the bombing of Libya in April 1986, to the provision of military and economic support to the Contras in Nicaragua.

Although the rhetoric associated with these actions is unusually strident, this policy is really nothing new. The United States has opposed revolutionary or radical states throughout the twentieth century.

The United States refused to recognize the Soviet Union for 16 years after the Bolshevik Revolution, intervened on numerous occasions in Central America, and sought to ostracize communist China from 1949 to 1969.

Problems of Definition

As US intervention in Iran 1953Guatemala 1954Indonesia 1958Lebanon 1958Cuba 1961the Dominican Republic 1965and Chile 1973 all reveal, opposition to revolutionary or radical regimes has been a recurring theme in US foreign policy. Although radical states often adopt policies that we rightly deplore, the United States has consistently exaggerated the danger that these regimes pose to US interests. In addition, we have failed to recognize how US policy unwittingly encourages the very actions that we hope to prevent.

  • Is this indictment accurate?
  • Part of the explanation may lie in the domestic politics of these regimes;
  • Both Angola and Ethiopia are threatened by guerrilla insurgencies and hostile neighbors, and neither country has a viable alternative to Soviet military aid;
  • The traditional functions of the State Department and its professional diplomatic corps, the Foreign Service, include;
  • Although ideological affinities undoubtedly play a role, the apparent association between radical states and the Soviet Union is also due both to the way the United States defines radical states and to the ways that the United States and its allies have acted with regard to radical states.

The problems begin with how we define them. Unfortunately, definitions like these are not applied with much consistency. Similarly, states like Tunisia or Burma have adopted radical policies at home and in the case of Burma, a xenophobic foreign policy without being included among the usual list of suspects. And a final irony is the fact that the USSR—among the most conservative, hidebound, and sclerotic of regimes on the planet, was widely seen as the guiding force behind these various radical states.

More than anything else, it simply refers to certain regimes that the United States views with particular distaste. Similarities and Differences First, although the details vary enormously, all radical regimes came to power by overthrowing traditional, usually pro-Western elites. This is important because it goes a long way towards explaining the suspicion with which they usually view the United States.

Fourth, all of these regimes are explicitly committed to some form of revolutionary transformation, although the blueprints they follow vary widely. Most important of all, these states are all suspicious of the United States, and most are openly hostile. At the same time, the differences among these states are striking. The first is ideological: Although Marxist states like Ethiopia, Angola, and Cuba proclaim their ideological uniformity, they differ considerably in how they have implemented their Marxist beliefs.

Their domestic programs differ as well: A second difference is capabilities. Although none of these states could be considered a major power, there is enormous variation in their latent and mobilized capabilities. By contrast, Iran has a large population 42. Syria lies somewhere in between: Indeed, the Syrian armed forces are formidable enough to deter the United States from going after Damascus the same way it went after Tripoli.

First, they argue that these regimes tend to be pro-Soviet. Implicit in this argument is the assumption that these regimes enhance Soviet influence significantly. Second, they claim that radical states threaten Western economic interests because they will either nationalize foreign investments or deny us access to raw materials.

Third, such regimes are often viewed as inherently aggressive, relying upon terrorism, subversion, or invasion to accomplish their aims. As President Reagan stated recently: Is this indictment accurate? If radical states do tend to act in these ways, why is this the case? Most important of all, how should the United States respond? Let us consider each element of the accusation. Moreover, several of these states e.

Despite this apparently overwhelming pattern, the assertion that radical regimes inevitably favor the USSR is misleading. In short, those who make this claim have stacked the deck. Even more importantly, this argument fails to consider the different reasons why a radical state might choose to align with Moscow. Those who make this claim assume that the affinity is ideological—based on a shared commitment to Marxism-Leninism—and tend to slight the role of other factors.

But other factors—in particular, US policy—are usually more important. First, the radical regimes with the closest ties to Moscow have all faced major internal and external threats.

Not only has an overview of the clear definition of foreign policy of united states United States generally failed to offer support save with lengthy strings attachedbut it has usually supported their opponents or threatened them directly. With nowhere else to turn, these radical states have naturally chosen to rely upon the USSR. The historical record is revealing.

The same is true for the Sandinistas: Both Angola and Ethiopia are threatened by guerrilla insurgencies and hostile neighbors, and neither country has a viable alternative to Soviet military aid. In short, for most radical states, alignment with the USSR is as much a matter of necessity as it is an indication of ideological preference.

And US actions have reinforced rather than reduced that need. Second, ideology is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for alignment with Moscow. Although ideological affinities undoubtedly play a role, the apparent association between radical states and the Soviet Union is also due both to the way the United States defines radical states and to the ways that the United States and its allies have acted with regard to radical states.

Are Radical States Hostile to Capitalism? Once again, a cursory inspection is misleading. In fact, many of them prefer to deal with the capitalist countries than with the Soviet bloc.

This is exactly what one would expect, because the West has the biggest markets, the best technology, and the largest supply of private and public capital. After some notorious failures, even avowedly radical states have learned that attempting to develop outside the world capitalist system is difficult.

Thus radical regimes from Cuba to Zimbabwe now compete for Western markets and investment, and they recognize that these investments must be protected.

Indeed, one of the more revealing ironies is that a US multinational corporation—Gulf Oil—has its Angolan facilities guarded by Cuban troops in order to protect them from US-backed guerrillas! Second, when economic relations between the United States and a radical states have been cut off, that has usually been our decision, not theirs. It was the United States that chose to sever economic relations with Cuba, Nicaragua, Libya, and Iran, all of whom trade quite happily with our capitalist allies.

In short, radical states are an overview of the clear definition of foreign policy of united states less hostile to the capitalist United States than we are to them. Third, the belief that radical states are a special threat to our economy ignores the fact that non-radical states are rarely passive or altruistic partners.

Developing countries of every kind have sought better economic arrangements with the industrialized countries in general and the United States in particular. All play hardball when they can, either by nationalizing foreign multinationals, imposing import and export restrictions, threatening to default on loans, or organizing raw material cartels. To claim that radical states are especially threatening is misleading, especially because they lack the leverage to do much damage. This reveals a final point: Accordingly, they fear that a radical black regime might cut off our supply.

This view ignores the existence of substantial US stockpiles, overlooks the fact that alternative sources are readily available at a modest cost, and fails to explain why a future radical regime would choose to go bankrupt by refusing to sell us its only valuable commodities. Even in the case of oil where Western dependence is more seriousthe radical regimes in Iraq, Libya, and Iran have been more willing to sell to us than we have been to buy.

In short, the accusation that radical states threaten important economic interests is unfounded. Like anybody else, we can expect such regimes to seek the best deal they can get. But because most of them have great needs and relatively few assets, they have few alternatives. Opposition to radical regimes must rest on other concerns.

Are Radical States Unusually Aggressive? One of these concerns is the fact that radical states seem to be more aggressive than other states.

  1. Unfortunately, neither trait is in abundant supply. Both sides created massive military forces and huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
  2. It sets quotas on immigration, chooses which countries will benefit for most-favored-nation status in trade agreements, votes on foreign aid, and sets the defense budget. Like anybody else, we can expect such regimes to seek the best deal they can get.
  3. One of these concerns is the fact that radical states seem to be more aggressive than other states.
  4. The same is true for the Sandinistas.
  5. Although the two superpowers never went to war, the policy of containment led the United States into the bloody Korean and Vietnam wars. For all of these reasons, radical states are unlikely to possess a flattering human rights record.

The record is not encouraging: Vietnam has overrun Laos and Cambodia. Libya and Syria have provided financial and logistical support to a variety of terrorist groups, and Nicaragua and Cuba have backed revolutionary Forces in El Salvador. Why are radical states prone to conflicts with others? Part of the explanation may lie in the domestic politics of these regimes.

Moreover, because revolutionary activity is risky and uncertain, radical groups often sustain discipline and morale by promoting a Manichean world view in which they are portrayed as totally virtuous while their opponents are viewed as absolutely evil. Once in place, this perspective helps justify support for radical movements elsewhere of course, such tendencies are not unknown among US leaders either. Furthermore, because a radical domestic program will create internal opposition, a radical state may exaggerate external threats either to divert internal opposition or to justify its repression.

These external threats may not be hard to find. If nearby states are threatened by the revolution i. Although the bellicosity of most radical states is worrisome, the danger that they impose is more ambiguous.

Not all radical states have adopted aggressive foreign policies Angola and Ethiopia, for example, have enough to worry about at homeand several have moderated their behavior substantially over time e. More controversially, part though by no means all of what radical states do is not as objectionable as is often portrayed. Thus the brutality of the revolutionary forces in Central America supported by Cuba and Nicaragua seems neither more nor less acceptable than that of the death squads that they are opposing.

How U.S. Foreign Policy is Made

Even Arab support for the PLO is consistent with the ideals of national self-determination, however deplorable the methods. The point is not to whitewash these regimes or defend what they do. At the same time, it is important to recognize that these states have achieved very little. And the fact that many of them rely upon terrorism is in fact a confession of weakness; despite all the attention it has received, terrorism remains a minor problem.

This last example reveals an important point: There is little reason to suppose that revolutionary states will get along well with each other, except when other states provide a unifying target.

This reduces their ability to threaten Western interests even further. The final item to consider is whether radical states are guilty of gross violations of basic human rights. Alas, this should not surprise us either. After a difficult struggle to gain power, a revolutionary regime is likely to seek revenge on the former rulers.