Us Foreign Policy

2430 words 10 pages
1. Introduction

The goals and norms of American foreign policy can be traced over a number of centuries. Starting in 1776, foreign policy in the United States (US) has gone through a rollercoaster of competing strategies and schools of thought. Two competing strategies of Isolationism and Internationalism have taken their turns headlining the foreign policy principles of various American governments. Importantly, the reasons for the to and fro movement between these two extremes can not be linked to a single source but to a multitude of elements both internal and external shaping American thinking.

In the sections that follow, a historical path will be traced through American foreign policy starting in 1776 with a watershed period
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The second was Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the World War II (WWII) period. Roosevelt entered into office shortly after the Great Depression of 1929. This event, according to Carruthers (2005: 73), had a global impact and showed how the US had grown in stature, considering the US Stock Market crash of October 1929 led to the start of the depression period, and could possibly have led to the conditions that made the accession to power of Hitler in Germany possible. In terms of US foreign policy the Great Depression marked a return to isolationist tendencies. This period was however put under pressure by the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939.

America started to move towards a period of liberal internationalism during the WWII period. Roosevelt played an important role in gently easing the American people in this new policy direction. Roosevelt followed a soft approach by appealing to the idealist perspectives of the American people and succeeded in passing the Lend-Lease Act allowing the US to get involved in the Allied war efforts as the Allied states were considered vital to US interests (Kegley et al, 2003: 36).

4. The Post-World War Period and the Cold War

The post – World War period marked America's full assault on internationalism and its drive to rebuild the world according to its preferences.


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