The U.S. role in world affairs: what is America's duty as the world's only superpower?"Yesterday, six U.S. soldiers were killed after an attack by guerrilla fighters in Iraq ..."
Such news reports have become all too frequent in recent months. Last March, U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq after President Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein
(born April 28, 1937, Tikrit, Iraq—died Dec. 30, 2006, Baghdad) President of Iraq (1979–2003). He joined the Ba'th Party in 1957. Following participation in a failed attempt to assassinate Iraqi Pres. refused to cooperate with United Nations (UN) weapons inspectors. Although no weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or have been found in Iraq, people are grateful that Hussein, a brutal dictator, has been overthrown.
But the attack on Iraq and the war in Afghanistan have raised an important question: What role should the U.S. play in world affairs Noun 1. world affairs - affairs between nations; "you can't really keep up with world affairs by watching television"
affairs - transactions of professional or public interest; "news of current affairs"; "great affairs of state" ?
Defending the Free World
For nearly 50 years after World War II, the U.S. made defense of the "free world" the primary aim of its foreign policy. From 1945 to 1991, America was locked in a bitter struggle with the Soviet Union, a country that U.S. President Ronald Reagan once called an "evil empire." Each of the two nuclear military powers sought to spread its influence--one democratic, the other Communist--across the world. This struggle was known as the Cold War.
In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, ending the Cold War. Suddenly, the U.S. was the world's only "superpower." America's foreign policy shifted, from one of containing Communism to promoting international cooperation.
Today, the U.S. makes its presence felt--militarily and economically--across the globe. It criticizes nations that do not encourage freedom and human rights. It also extends help to countries facing civil unrest, epidemic diseases Noun 1. epidemic disease - any infectious disease that develops and spreads rapidly to many people
pest, pestilence, plague - any epidemic disease with a high death rate
infectious disease - a disease transmitted only by a specific kind of contact , and economic crises. But that doesn't mean U.S. foreign policy is always without controversy.
Because of the potential threat that Saddam Hussein posed, President George W. Bush ordered what has been called the first preemptive pre·emp·tive or pre-emp·tive
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of preemption.
2. Having or granted by the right of preemption.
a. (preventive) war in U.S. history.
"The [U.S. and its allies] will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder," President Bush said of Hussein's Iraq.
The UN and several countries, including France, Germany, Russia, China, and Canada, criticized the U.S. invasion. Many said the U.S. should not attack Iraq without first getting an international consensus (agreement).
Muslim nations were also angered by what they called "a war on Islam." A U.S. attack on Iraq, said Iran's Foreign Minister last February, would help "people like [Osama] bin Laden preserve their popularity and become a hero, especially among the youth in the Islamic states The term Islamic state refers to groups that have adopted Islam as their primary faith. Specifically:
The formal war against Hussein ended in April, but U.S. troops and officials remain in Iraq to help rebuild the country and its government. In recent months, they have faced increasing hostility, with an average of 30 attacks a day.
Violence in Afghanistan
In November 2001, U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Now, Al Qaeda terrorists and former Taliban leaders See also: List of alleged Al-Qaida members Leaders, Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Leaders, Ministers and Deputy Ministers (italicized and bold name indicates captured or killed by U.S. have begun to launch attacks against remaining U.S. troops and the UN-backed government of President Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai (Persian and Pashto: حامد کرزي) (b. December 24, 1957) is the current President of Afghanistan, since December 7, 2004. He became the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime. (KAR-zeye). The violence has caused many people to wonder if we have committed enough resources to helping this war-torn nation.
Last month, Congress approved an $87.5 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan; $22.8 billion of the money will be used for reconstruction projects and to help the Iraqi and Afghan people. This represents the largest U.S. aid package since the Marshall Plan Marshall Plan or European Recovery Program, project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. , which helped rebuild Europe after World War II.
"We will not leave the Iraqi people in chaos," said Senator Ted Stevens (R, Alaska), "and we will not create a vacuum for terrorist groups to fill."
The Bush Doctrine "Bush Doctrine" is a phrase used to describe a policy outlined in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. adopted a foreign policy known as the "Bush Doctrine." According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. this set of principles, the U.S. will need to attack terrorists and hostile nations--before they attack us.
"We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best," President Bush said in 2002. "We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge."
Some critics have likened the U.S. policy to a "hunting license" that disregards international law and diplomatic relations. People also fear that preemptive military strikes could result in retaliatory re·tal·i·ate
v. re·tal·i·at·ed, re·tal·i·at·ing, re·tal·i·ates
To return like for like, especially evil for evil.
To pay back (an injury) in kind. attacks against American interests at home and overseas.
War on Terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act
The centerpiece of the Bush Doctrine is the U.S.-led war on terrorism. U.S. troops currently seek out and fight Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Central Asian nations Noun 1. Asian nation - any one of the nations occupying the Asian continent
country, land, state - the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries" .
Last month, President Bush urged several Middle Eastern nations, including Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia (sä`dē ərā`bēə, sou`–, sô–), officially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, kingdom (2005 est. pop. , to promote democracy throughout the region.
"As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish," the President said, "it will remain a place of [decay], resentment, and violence ready for export."
One Jordanian official says that he supports the call for democracy, but only if "it is to be applied equally to all states and not [used as an excuse] to change unfriendly regimes."
Despite such criticism, U.S. leadership and resources remain key elements in resolving global issues. The U.S. role as mediator (referee) in the Middle East is crucial to establishing peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, for example.
"There will be no peace [in the Middle East] without the U.S.," a European official said last spring. "Peace treaties signed between Israel, Egypt, and Jordan were possible because of courageous leaders supported by [the U.S.]."
President Bush is also working to halt the nuclear-weapons programs in Iran and North Korea. So far, both nations have resisted U.S. calls for cooperation.
With American troops stationed in 136 countries, many people worry that our armed forces are overburdened o·ver·bur·den
tr.v. o·ver·bur·dened, o·ver·bur·den·ing, o·ver·bur·dens
1. To burden with too much weight; overload.
2. To subject to an excessive burden or strain; overtax.
1. . The Bush administration has struggled to persuade other countries to contribute military support in Iraq. The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and other nations have supplied troops.
But Turkey, Pakistan, and India have recently turned down requests for military reinforcements. Even the International Red Cross and the UN have scaled back their presence in Baghdad, Iraq's capital, because of growing violence.
Some observers say that lessons learned in the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. (1964-1975) should be applied to U.S. involvement in Iraq. About 58,000 U.S. soldiers were killed in Vietnam, and Communist forces won the war.
Despite a growing number of casualties in Iraq, President Bush remains determined to complete the U.S. mission there. "The strength and will of free peoples is now being tested before a watching world," the President said recently. "And we will meet this test."
In a post-September 11 world, can the U.S. achieve its goals of international cooperation while continuing to act as global policeman?
Words to Know
* Cold War: An intense rivalry that developed after World War II when the Communist Soviet Union sought to spread its influence worldwide.
THINK ABOUT IT
1. What role should the U.S. play in world affairs?
2. Why might the Iraqi boys above be against the U.S.?
Students should understand
* the U.S. plays a leadership role in resolving many global problems.
Discuss with the class what it means for one nation to be an ally of another. Ask students: "Why do countries form alliances?"
The U.S. dominates the world militarily and economically. The U.S. military defense budget for 2004 will probably exceed the defense budgets of the next 20 top-spending nations combined. The U.S. economy is also the most powerful of all nations. In 2001, the U.S. accounted for 21 percent, or $10.4 trillion, of the world's gross domestic product (value of all goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. produced in one year).
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Compare the U.S. foreign policy in the periods from 1945 to 1991 and from 1991 to 2001. (From 1945 to 1991, the U.S. focused primarily on containing the spread of Communism throughout the world. From 1991 to 2001, the U.S. foreign policy shifted toward promoting greater international cooperation.)
COMPREHENSION: How did U.S. foreign policy change after September 11, 2001? (The Bush administration adopted a more aggressive foreign policy that called for preemptive strikes against any group or nation that threatens American interests at home or abroad.)
OVERSEAS U.S. MILITARY MISSIONS: Divide the class into four groups. Assign to each group one of the following world areas where the U.S. is currently involved in military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
SOCIAL STUDIES, GRADES 5-8
* Power, authority, and governance: How the U.S. plays a leading political, military, and economic role in resolving world problems.
* Global connections Global Connections is a charitable organisation acting as a UK network of mission agencies, churches, colleges and support agencies involved in evangelism around the world. Amongst the several hundred organisations and churches that are members of the Global Connections network are many : How some nations oppose current U.S. military operations, and distrust U.S. leadership in resolving some international disputes.
* Spies, Karen B., Isolation vs. Intervention (Millbrook Press, 1997), Grades 5-8.
* Jenkins, Brian M., Countering Al Qaeda (Rand Corporation Rand Corporation, research institution in Santa Monica, Calif.; founded 1948 and supported by federal, state, and local governments, as well as by foundations and corporations. Its principal fields of research are national security and public welfare. , 2002). Grades 5-8.
* United Nations
* U.S. State A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of the United States, although four states use the official title "commonwealth". The separate state governments and the federal government share sovereignty, in that an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and Department
Decide whether each sentence is true, false, or an opinion.
-- 1. As the world's only "superpower," the U.S. should protect the rights of people everywhere.
-- 2. The Cold War was the intense rivalry between groups of Communist and non-Communist nations before World War II.
-- 3. About $22 billion of the $87.5 billion U.S. aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan will fund reconstruction projects in those nations.
-- 4. The Bush Doctrine calls for pre-emptive strikes against terrorists and hostile nations threatening world peace.
-- 5. The U.S. supports the government of Afghanistan's President Pervez Musharraf General Pervez Musharraf (Urdu: پرويز مشرف) (born August 11 1943) is President of Pakistan and the Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army who came to power in wake of a coup d'etat. .