American Foreign Policies After World War II Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Politics, Policy, War, Soviet Union, Union, President, World, United States

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/23

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A foreign policy is a strategy formed by a nation to guide its interactions and relations with other countries with an aim of preserving its self-interest and achieve a certain goal from those interactions. The main aim of the United States foreign policy is to maintain the security of the nation. It promotes worldwide peace and secures the global environment. It strives to maintain a balance in terms of power among nations throughout the world. It continuously works closely with its allies to solve their international problems. It promotes the human rights and the democratic values of the society. The US foreign policies also advocate more global involvement of the country in terms of more cooperation in foreign trade and international business organizations.
Before World War 2, America adopted an isolationist foreign policy, this was meant to prevent the government from involving itself in any war with matters affecting other countries such as war and international conflicts. The Congress in particular felt that the US had no business engaging itself with such issues unless it was directly threatened. It changed when the Japanese attacked the US destroying a lot of their warships and airplanes. They realized troubles they were trying to keep away from eventually caught up with them.
It marked the turning point in the United States foreign policy. They had moved away from the isolationist policy to adopt an internationalist policy. It meant that the US would fully involve itself in international issues and conflicts between other countries. The US decided to use its power to protect its allies, prevent war from erupting in other countries, and minimize the effects of war where it was unavoidable (Staten, 2012). They saw this was the best way to keep the country safe as it would prevent international conflicts from reaching the US soil. Another issue that made the US shun isolationism was the spread of communism from the Chinese and the Soviets.
In late 1940’s and early 1950’s, the threat of spreading communism by the Soviet Union came at a time when the level of US resources had dropped as compared to the previous years. US still needed to prevent the Soviets from expanding their territories despite having minimal resources. It led to the adoption of Containment Policy. This policy was to prevent the influence of the Soviet Union from spreading into industrialized nations such as Japan, US, and Western Europe. (Staten, 2012)The plan worked to reduce the Soviets influence in the long-term through continuously monitoring their activities and applying a counter force whenever necessary. The US took to a psychological war by controlling the political structures of different nations against the Soviets by provision of incentives such as economic assistance. The Containment Policy was then expanded to cover the entire world. The reasoning was that a defeat of any free state by the Soviets implied a failure in the whole world.
The containment policy was initially to protect Western Europe. However, when China fell to the communists and South Korea being invaded by the North Korean communists, US mobilized its military to prevent the Chinese from attacking Taiwan. When China came into the Korean war, the US troops retreated leading to stalemate in the war (Davis, 2006).
In 1950, Eisenhower came into the office with a promise to successfully conclude the Korean War. After two years in office, he asserted that the US should not engage in warfare in the Asian mainland. It was after he realized the financial impact of the expenditure of the war and the limits of the US capabilities with respect to its international policies. (Staten, 2012) He saw the need of striking a balance between America’s international commitments and its available resources. Eisenhower therefore negotiated a cease-fire agreement between South and North Korea. It led to a decrease in the military expenditure by the government. From that point, the US only pledged economic support to countries. At this time, the US had formed multiple alliances with its allies. The US called upon the Asian Treaty Organization to help it in countering the communists. Towards the end of Eisenhower’s administration, there were certain events that led to a revision of the foreign policies by the succeeding presidents. They included the launch of U.S.S.R, revolution of the Cubans, mission creep in Vietnam and the missile gap that perceived between the US and the Soviet Union (Davis, 2006).
In 1964, President Johnson came into power with a mentality that if the US escalated its aggressiveness, its enemies would yield to its interests. His policy was to launch a full assault on his enemies and prevent further aggression. He received approval of the Congress to this effect. It led to an expansion of the US in international affairs as it mobilized more resources toward South East Asia. He went ahead to send over 22000 troupes to the Dominican Republic in a bid to prevent an occurrence of the Cuban revolution in the US backyard. More than half a million soldiers were sent to Vietnam that year. It over indulgent in the warfare had a lot of consequences that formed a basis for the review of the foreign policy by the succeeding presidents. The Soviet Union had developed nuclear weapon thereby increasing its capabilities. The trade deficit of United States was steadily growing out of hand leading to the dollar being overvalued. (Staten, 2012) The political leaders in US had begun cruising the value of war to its economy thereby over-stretching the social agenda about the war. The citizens were dissatisfied leading to increasing protests and riots in the streets of America. They took to one again limit the US foreign policy activities. The huge budgetary deficit resulted in a slow withdrawal by the US from South East Asia using a less expensive strategy of playing linkage politics against the Soviet Union. The uses limited the use of arms to just checking and maintain balance of power in the American nation.
In the 1980’s under the leadership of President Carter the foreign policy slowly shifted back to the idealist’s side. There was an intense campaign about the advocacy of human rights. It was after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Carter appealed for increased expenditure in the defense forces of open waterways in the Persian Gulf.
In the 1990s President Regan revived the foreign missionary policy by taking an activist approach against the Soviet Union. It led to an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. (Davis, 2006) His policy was to not only implement containment but to also ensure the roll back of the communists. It led to increased expenditure in defense that proved to be unsustainable during his second term as the president. When President Regan met Gorbachev, they liked each other and made an arms agreement that would see the reduction in the expenditure on the defense department.
President George Bush came into power and approached the international policies with a cold war. Around this time, the Soviet Union demised. The US Congress was out to create a balance in the budget. Bush managed to put together the most successful war coalition after the Second World War in the Gulf war that cost US very little. President Bush declined to expand the war beyond limits (Staten, 2012).


Davis, J. (2006). Presidential policies and the road to the second Iraq war from Forty One to
Forty Three. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Pub.
Staten, C. (2012, January 1). Staten | U.S. Foreign Policy since World War II. Retrieved March
18, 2015, from

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American Foreign Policies After World War II Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 23, 2020. Accessed October 28, 2021.

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