Controversy Paper on United States Involvement in Global Affairs
Involvement of the United States in Global Affairs A major debate that is being discussed both domestically and internationally is the involvement of the United States of America in international affairs. This debate includes the practicality of where the United States has intervened in foreign affairs, its right to intervene in the first place considering past mistakes and questionable leadership, and whether or not that foreign involvement is in the general public’s best interest.
Obviously, the two sides of the debate refer to the ‘yes’ position, explained by Ivan Eland (as in yes, the United States should limit it’s global involvement) and also the ‘no’ position, backed by President Barack Obama (as in no, the United States should not limit it’s foreign involvement). Eland’s basis for his argument is that the United States has habitually overspent it’s treasure and overextended it’s military power to a point where we cannot keep pace economically and which could bring upon the demise of the American government as we know it.
He also points out that continued foreign endeavors increases the risk of the United States being a target for terrorist attack. Obama’s vision is that The United States of America needs to re-establish its place as a world leader by maintaining an active foreign policy. Obama admits that mistakes have been made where international affairs are concerned, but that is a reason to fix those mistakes and step up as a suitable leader once more. Discussed later in the paper is my own point of view, which supports President Barack Obama and his plan for active engagement in foreign affairs, in a conservative and confidant manner.
In his position, Eland points out that both republican and democratic actors, as of now, support the use of military force and United State intervention in foreign affairs. This begs the question, who is on Eland’s side? His half of the debate offers advice to both the conservatives and the liberals who are currently apart of US involvement decision-making. While he upholds fair and good points, his arguments hold less sway due to his non-direct involvement.
Eland’s first argument has a basis in the research of Christopher Coyne, a professor at West Virginia University. The bottom line of this research is that the Unites States attempts of bringing about democracy in countries where we have tried to intervene militarily has yielded low percent success rates. So it may be that it is time for America to change its tactics from a military to a more democratic approach. Another notion brought up by Eland is that it is in America’s best interest to unextend it’s military power.
He points out that is unlikely for another hegemonic power to arise very quickly in the absence of our lessened military power, and also compares the overextending of the United States assets to when the Soviet Union overextended itself and it’s socialistic government collapsed. However, Eland also points out that economically, European countries and China are achieving much more than the US. Therefore, if America does not keep up its involvement globally, it is likely that one of those countries could succeed us as the new superpower, thus contradicting his earlier statement that there is unlikely to be a new hegemon anytime soon.
It is also unfair to liken the demise of Russia to that of the United States, when the governmental systems are very different. President Barack Obama is in favor of upholding US involvement globally, and maintaining a leadership role. He plans to do this with 5 steps. First, by bringing troops home from Iraq but also leaving some to keep Al Queda and other terrorists at bay. However, the president doesn’t explain exactly how this will be accomplished more effectively since we are already supposedly fighting “The War on Terrorism” with all our best resources.
The main point in Barack Obama’s debate is that the United States needs to stay active in the world to remain on top. To do that, new alliances must be built within NATO, but also keep up with the times and constantly revise our alliances and position within the global community. It is also clear that The United States of America has made mistakes in it’s leadership and economically, but overall, Obama’s plan is fairly clearly outlined in his debate, that mostly makes logistical sense. The first step outlined in order to regain influential leadership is changing the troops and approach in the war in Iraq.
Second, to employ a 21st military that is powerful, bright and able. Third, to reinforce allies and stand by other in countries in attempt to keep the world’s deadliest weapons out of the worst hands. Fourth, to reduce carbon emissions, and lastly, to provide more foreign aid to countries who are lacking in basic needs and fair governments. As stated above, I believe that President Barack Obama’s side of the debate, supporting United States involvement globally, is the right path for America. I choose this because it isn’t just about the yes or no side of this debate.
Obama successfully explains that continued involvement doesn’t mean America stomping on poorer countries and participating in unsuccessful expeditions in helping third world countries. US involvement in global affairs means leading the by way of example and will result in putting the interests and safety of American citizens first. Obama’s reasoning of this debate will hold the backing of American citizens. It gives a probable solution to our countries problems at hand. This policy is the best because the public can understand it and they can feel a stake in its success.
Countering pro involvement is Eland’s isolationism position. I don’t believe it measures up because it ignores America’s ability to do well unto others, and it diminishes our ability to lead. America is one of the only countries able to use a quantifiable amount of money and military power for use of foreign aid. And unfortunately, a lot of counties need that. If America were to withdraw, many states would be worse for wear (Lieber). I also believe that America’s defining attribute is its leadership position.
Withdrawing from international affairs would be to sacrifice that privilege. It is because that no other regional power has the economic power, political will, or military strength to match the United States that we have a great international influence. However, the European Union or China are certainly striving for that same international influence and will not hesitate to rise to it if the opportunity presents itself (Guest). Part of Obama’s outline to maintain world leadership is to build and maintain a 21st century military.
He clarifies that recruiting the best and the brightest and rewarding the veterans who serve because they deserve it will be the foremost way to build a military power that is confident and skilled. A force likened to this will not only allow America’s staying power in the prime leadership spot, but also allow us to provision foreign aid. Eland does bring up an excellent point though, when he brings up that the US spends a great deal on it’s military compared to other countries. He points out that other countries are able to do better economically because they do not have such large ilitaries weighing their economies down. Nonetheless, sacrificing America’s military power is an unacceptable notion. All things considered, the United States should not limit its global involvement. It needs to maintain its leadership position in the world, not only for our own benefit but for other actors also. The procedures used by the United States to determine how it will become involved need to be always evolving and reconsidered to ensure the best possible outcomes for our United States citizens, and also other citizens around the globe.
The United States is very capable of accomplishing this if we lead by example and are always mindful of fellow countries and the repercussions, positive or negative, that our actions are able to preform. Citations Database Used: Academic Search Premier Lieber, Robert. “Examining America’s Role in Global Affairs. ” VOA. Voice of America, 31 Oct. 2009. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. Guest, Robert. “Examining America’s Role in Global Affairs. ” VOA. Voice of America, 31 Oct. 2009. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.