Good Essay On Post-Civil War Foreign Policies

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: United States, World, War, Military, Role, Politics, Policy, Economics

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/24

The U.S. Role as Policeman of the World


In terms of economic development and military power, the United States of America is considered as the most powerful nation in the world. But just like the common adage that says ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ the United States has taken a role of a policeman of the world. While there has been no explicit or formal agreement that the United States should take the policeman of the world responsibility, America has a long history of international military intervention and has taken an active military role in international conflicts. This paper will take a critical review of how the United States’ global policeman power has evolved from the past up to the present.

United States’ foreign policy after the Civil War has been described as neocolonialism. Neocolonialism can be considered as a modern form of imperialism in a sense that it aims to exercise control over other territories. However, unlike imperialism, control is exercised informally and concealed. Neocolonialism is best understood by observing how the United States influences other countries through economic dependency and their control over global financial institutions. The vast influence of the United States over the economy of other nations makes economic issues in the US quite global in effect. One particular example of an international event that can be traced back to the US policy of neocolonialism after the Civil War are the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the recent global recession in 2008. These economic downturns believed to have originated in the US only prove that the US has a significant economic impact on world economy. Aside from having a neocolonialism policy, the United States has also embarked on expansionism by establishing their diplomatic and military presence all over the world. As observed, after the Civil War, the United States embarked on expanding their control beyond their national boundaries in order to protect their national interests not only economically but also militarily. However, this expansionary policy has also created conflicts among rising superpowers. One particular example of an international issue that may have originated from this expansionary policy is the Cold War that arose between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II. As both countries were trying to establish their influence on other nations, the establishment of U.S. military presence over an ally in exchange of economic and military assistance have been the trend of U.S. foreign policy, which can be traced back in post-Civil War US policies.

Historical Aspects That Led To the Rise of the US as World Super Power Policeman

After the American Civil War, the United States emerged as a highly industrialized and economically powerful nation but it has not yet established itself as a world power. However, there were three significant segments in American history that propelled its status among the world’s largest superpowers and eventually taking the role of a world policeman. The first historical aspect that led to the establishment of the US as a superpower policeman was in its participation in World War I. Despite the fact the that United States only saw brief military action, it proved to the world that it can be as decisive military force, which is critical for any factions who wants to win a war. The second significant aspect in US history that made it a decisive world superpower was in its active role in World War II. According to historians, it was during the Second World War when the United States was recognized for being a global power. The Second World Was is also considered as a golden age for the United States military. In this era the United States has taken an active military role in a global scale. It should be noted though that the U.S. have been a reluctant participant in both world wars. However, as a close ally of Britain and other European democracies, the United States could not avoid becoming involved in European conflicts although it may wish to avoid. The third historical aspect and equally as important was the Cold War and its outcome. The Cold War was a fight between political ideologies; the United States representing the democratic ideology while the Soviet is representing the communist ideology. In this particular war, the United States demonstrated how far it would intervene internationally for the sake of political idealism. The eventual break-up of the Soviet Union and the steady breakdown of communism around the world did much to justify the United States’ position as a champion of democracy and a superpower policeman.

International Incidents after World War II that Proves America’s Policing Role

Several incidents have occurred after World War II that cemented the United States’ position as a world policeman. Defense of other nation’s territories and intervention on foreign conflicts have been conducted by the U.S. after the Second World War. The Vietnam War as well as the Cuban missile crisis is just a few examples of how the United States mingled with foreign conflicts. Another example of an international incident where the US affirmed its international policing role is the implementation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It should be recalled that in 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty which marked the initial agreement between the Powers for limiting their nuclear tests. However, a year later, China made a successful nuclear explosion prompting intensified negotiations to address the nuclear issue in Geneva on 1965. As a result, in 1968, the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty was agreed among nuclear superpowers as well as other non-nuclear nations. The United States played a central role on how the treaty would impact the nuclear programs of the world in the future. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, is another example of the United States policing role. After the 9/11 incident, the United States have taken a pro-active military intervention toward countries who are known to arbor terrorists and weapons of mass destruction in their ‘War on Terror’ policy. Today, the armed conflicts that is being actively participated by the United States in the Middle East is associated not only with the national security of the United States against terrorism but also to prevent terrorism in the international community. These incidents evidently reaffirms the United State’s increasing role in being a world policeman.

Driving Forces That Fueled US International Policy Decisions

Vietnam War and the Cuban missile crises have arisen as a consequence of the political forces that brought about the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union most particularly the political ideology of democracy. This political force is also the reason for the increasing role of the U.S. in the implementation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Aside from political forces, economic forces can also be seen as one of the major reason for United States foreign intervention. The war in Iraq, for example, was criticized as a move to control the oil rich region of the Middle East through military means. Another driving force that may have influenced the United States international policies and decision is national security. In order to prevent a direct attack on its homeland, the United States have taken a proactive role to pursue and destroy terrorism without regards to national boundaries. As mandated in their Homeland Security Act of 2002, the United States acknowledges that the fight for terrorism could not be contained within its borders. Accordingly, “Events at home and abroad generate rapid effects, often in an interconnected fashion, driven by technological change and international communications. This accelerated flow of ideas, goods, and people around the world, while vital to supporting and advancing America’s interests, also creates security challenges that are increasingly borderless and unconventional”.


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