The United States has a long history of involvement in international affairs. While American leadership has been a stabilizing force aimed towards global peace and security, there have been times when we have been drawn into conflicts that were not in our best interests.
The 20-year war in Afghanistan and giving the Taliban a parting gift of $90 billion in American armament are such an example. Videos can be seen all over YouTube with the Taliban wearing American night vision and holding U.S. weapons.
I don’t know about you but my Foreign Policy fun meter was pegged a long time
Other times, our actions have caused unintended consequences, such as the rise of ISIS. President Biden has made it clear that he would like to change America’s role on the world stage. In this post, we will discuss five ways to fix America’s foreign policy and make it stronger than ever before.
What Is America’s Foreign Policy?
The short answer is there is no answer.
What our foreign policy should be is a set of principles that guide our interactions with other nations. This includes military and diplomatic actions, and, increasingly, our economic and cultural interactions.
America’s foreign policy has played a major role in shaping the present-day world order but we’ve lost our way recently, as I’ll point out soon.
The United States’ engagement in World War II and the subsequent rise of the Soviet Union and the Cold War significantly impacted international relations for decades.
But it’s not just America’s military and diplomatic actions that have impacted global affairs. Our economic and cultural interactions have also had a global impact.
The United States is one of the largest economies in the world, maybe second to China but far more trusted. Our country has been influential in spreading its ideas to others. This includes the spread of democracy, capitalism, and technology. But we no longer have a technological edge. Chinese technology is superior; Russia is very technological savvy. Both don’t have the same restrictions we do in a relatively free country.
America has also helped to shape many aspects of today’s global society, such as pop culture and modern family life.
The biggest problem with America’s Foreign Policy that I’ve pointed out numerous times is that we have no clear objective. Ask your elected official what our policy was the last 20 years and you’ll likely get a different answer each time, or the blank stare.
The United States’ involvement in conflicts like Vietnam, Iraq (x2), Afghanistan, and Libya, has drained its resources and led to unintended consequences, like the rise of ISIS, BREXIT, and the EU refugee crisis.
There are many factors that contribute to these problems, but one clear fix is to have a concise strategic vision that can be understood from the top down to the janitor.
Everyone should know and understand what America stands for, including our allies.
Reasons America Should Change its Foreign Policy
The United States has a long history of involvement in foreign affairs. We helped establish the European Union, the International Court of Justice, and the World Trade Organization. We have led the effort to eliminate chemical weapons, promoted democracy in Eastern Europe, and responded to humanitarian crises in East Asia.
President Biden has made it clear that he would like to change America’s role on the world stage but a wise man once said that he no longer listens to men, just watches what they do.
Here are some ways to fix America’s foreign policy and make it stronger than ever before.
- Develop a clear vision statement and strategy and share it far and wide;
- Improve our trade agreements;
- Reform NATO. Did you know the U.S. ran a war game recently in which NATO lost six times to Russia?
- Stop nation-building. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result;
- Stop being the world’s police. Share the power with a strong coalition of free nations;
- Stop foreign aid and start fixing our own backyard. We have major issues to address with healthcare, education, and politics at the forefront of my thoughts;
- Promote Democracy;
- Stay committed to world trade;
- Stay committed to the rule of law;
- Fix the broken immigration system;
- End the endless “War on Terror;”
- Reform our military. Current joint chiefs of staff are not A-players. That room looks like everything that is wrong with America right now and if actions are used to judge performance, we only have to look to the Afghanistan withdrawal. A 5th-grade homeroom class could have planned a better exit.
Modern American foreign policy is confusing. However, there are some simple things that we can do to make it better.
Forge new alliances and build stronger relationships with our allies. Rebuild the trust we destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our allies and the balance of our interests across the globe is what has kept America a great country. Let us not forget this. America is a country with a strong moral compass committed to peace and stability in a complex world. Let’s start living up to what we know is true.
We should start to address the problems of the international community as a collective force. Instead of acting as a lone wolf superpower, we can work with other countries to make the world a safer place for everyone.
Keep a strong military, especially focus on cyber (perhaps our biggest threat), and continue to have a show of force around the world without intervention — nothing wrong with letting people know we are there with a big stick.
Lastly, we need to be more strategic about how we fight terrorism. By understanding that ISIS has existed for decades and by investing in development programs that promote peace and stability in the region, we can help vulnerable populations so they don’t feel the need to join terrorist organizations and turn their children over to radical clerics who offer “free education.”
It’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. Many of my friends who gave their lives deserve it.
Thanks for listening.