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American Foreign Policies

Americas involvement in the Vietnamese substantially and significantly influenced the ways in which it drafts, handles, interprets, and maintains its foreign policies. More considerably is the manner through which some of these policies came to being rising from the nations participatory role in the World Wars and the consequent Cold War. Notably, the years between 1969 and 1993 presented some of pressing issues that involved its foreign policy matters, forcing its legislators to consider drafting laws that aim at protecting its internal and external interests. Moreover, the countrys policy-makers had to find ways to convince its allies for support while making of these new laws. In addition, the nations leaders expressively influenced the countrys interests on foreign policies during this period (1969-1993), including Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan, and George H. W. Bush. Americas international foreign policies aim at addressing issues that comply with its internal and external values while also aiming at averting new challenges and catastrophes such as the Vietnamese War.

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Research on the Vietnamese War also referred to as the Second Indochina War, Resistance War against America, or the American War, resulted from the policies and global relations that contributed to the Cold War era. After the Second World War, America and her allies fought against the Soviet Union and her allies on what America regarded as combating Communism. America was determined to counter the growing influence of Communism globally including the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets and Vietnamese increasing Communism adoption. This initiative to fight Communism was instigated by George Kennans containment plan. Even though there was no definite start in the countrys indulgence in the war, some scholars argue that she, America, engaged through a series of involvements including the bid to help her ally France regain control of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. 

In addition to fighting the Vietnamese War, Americas foreign policies were challenged by the stalling of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) under the leadership of Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). Other challenges that threatened its global dominance and influence included invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, installation of American Pershing II and other cruise missiles in NATO Western European nations, spike rise in global crude prices, Iranian Islamic Revolution, and the consequent taking hostage of fifty-two American personnel in a Tehran embassy. President Ronald Regan, who took over power from Carter, charged that he, Carter, had led Americas influence slip and that he was determined to reinstate it. After taking over office, Reagan began spurring talks towards peace deals and introduced a vast military budget that surpassed any that had been implemented by the nation. Moreover, he stepped up numerous aid programs to combat Communism on a global scale. His administration was also in charge of drafting and implementing the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) an anti-missile system that was space-based. Ultimately, due to mounting pressure by critics at home regarding the increasing budgetary deficits and the mocking of the SDI program, Regan opted for an arms reduction approach as opposed to an arms control.

Notably, there was a phase of relief in the Cold War era after a younger, reform-minded General Secretary of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev took power. Gorbachev was regarded as a new thinker amongst his prior leaders and his peers as he took the initiative to introduce reforms in the Kremlin. He worked towards restructuring the moribund Soviet economy, liberating politics, loosening control over its Eastern European satellite states, and reduction of military forces. For the Americans, Gorbachev was a sign of rejuvenated hopes towards ending the Cold War and the fall of the Communism influence – in Romania, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia – and Warsaw pact. Ultimately, the fall of the Berlin Wall signified the continued diminishing of Soviet communism and a winning streak for American foreign policies. 

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Nonetheless, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the American government continued to receive continued pressure on its foreign policies under the presidency of George Bush. For example, after Iraqs leader Saddam Hussein invaded his oil-rich neighbor Kuwait Bushs administration organized an international military assembly that exiled Husseins troops. To convince his supporters and criticize those who had seen as American global influence as having declined, Bush boasted that the nation now stood in a position to lead a new world order. Nonetheless, the countrys direct participation in Iraq had direct and indirect consequences in the decade that followed, with an increase in global terrorism acts that affect geopolitical matters to date. These terrorist activities continue to influence that manner through which the nations policy-makers regard issues of immigration, international money laundering, and rise of extremists splinter cells.

The Vietnamese War as consequence of the Cold War and the failure of the American nation to implement properly its foreign policies, forced Congress to re-evaluate the manner it drafts and implements these approaches. These evaluation strategies sought to meet the challenges posed by the countrys foreign policies. On one hand, its leaders faced a new form of challenge the need for public approval during future confrontations. The Vietnamese War received numerous criticism from the public due to the high death rates of American soldiers and the increasing budgetary deficits. Moreover, policy makers sought to gather data from its military involvement in Vietnam and Middle East to gain insight on what aspects they may have failed. The results of this study would later be addressed as the Weinberger Doctrine and much later as the Powell Doctrine. Notably, based on these results, the secretary of defense proposed that there was no reason for sending American troops to killing fields, especially if the was little overriding of the nations interests. For the military to engage there would be a need to protect the interests that relate to the country and its allies. Secondly, the military would only be sent to such places with a clear intent of winning and not losing. Moreover, the government ought to define clearly the military and political obligations before putting individual lives at stake and that a continuous assessment of the purpose and size of military personnel had to be done regularly. 

In conclusion, American foreign policies have continuously changed since its direct involvement in the World Wars and the consequent Cold War. The growing need to evaluate such policies came with the changing of geopolitical policies, emerging threats, and shifting alliances. Moreover, some of these approaches have been influenced by the countrys direct and indirect involvement in global wars such including the Vietnamese War and Middle East crisis. The Vietnamese War led to the criticism of American policy-makers by the public and government critics, citing that the nation had no direct reason to get involved in the first place. In addition, its participation contributed to the global arms race, an increased budget deficit at home, and significant loss of lives by American soldiers though not as much as during World War 2. Notably, these reasons among other new emerging ones such as immigration issues, terrorism, money laundering, international drugs and human trafficking trades, and cyber-attacks on the nation have added pressure on legislators to draft new policies. More certainly, current and future leaders ought to rely on studies that aim at protecting the nations interests such as the Powell Doctrine, and use their recommendation to make sound and concrete decisions.


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