Contemporary Foreign Policy in the United States Essay

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The contemporary foreign policy of the United States represents an evolving continuum of principles, conceptions and strategies that in part, derived from the particularistic American Cold War experience. As such, United States foreign policy is neither a static entity, nor is its intentions or direction uncontested. This essay will examine the underlying issues of identity and how, beginning with the Truman Doctrine, a distinct articulation of the national interest was evinced that has defined America’s role in the world. In doing so, focus will be given to the development of alliance policy, containment and its effect on transforming the US posture in the post-Cold War international order.

Firstly, it is pertinent to reconsider the
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The doctrine enshrined in popular culture the notion that America is vulnerable in a dangerous world (Merrill 2006, 37). For this reason, it was a statement of both identity and global purpose, signalling to the Soviet Union that the United States was prepared to counter any Soviet expansionism.

While the Truman Doctrine articulated an enduring strategic vision, it was National Security Council Report 68 that expressed a posteriori justification for American aspirations to global hegemony. Declaring that the exigencies of the international system compel US intervention - the report emphasised that absence of order is inimical to US interests. It recommends the United States create an international community based on the principles of freedom and democracy to counter the Soviet threat (United States National Security Council 1950). Implicit in this is the assumption that every situation is controllable and could be resolved in-line with US interests (Ambrose 1997, 107). Furthermore, the imperatives of hegemony were already producing a bifurcation between lofty ideals and policy, with Kennan’s very realist calculation that the US would need to dismiss with sentimentality and altruism if it wanted to attain a superior geopolitical position (United States Department of State Policy Planning 1983, 121).

Discursively speaking, suspicion and anxiety continue to characterise American identification with the outside world. While

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