I. Isolationism to Internationalism
a. Following Independence for 150 years, the US
was primarily concerned with domestic affairs –
events at home. Foreign Affairs – relationships
with other nations – were not the focus. American
foreign relations were largely shaped by the policy
of isolationism – a purposeful refusal to become
generally involved in the affairs of the rest of the
World War II convinced the United States that they
could not live in isolation. The well-being of one
country is affected by others. War and other political
upheavals abroad have an impact on the US and the
daily lives of Americans. Economic conditions in
other countries can have a direct impact on the US.
I. Foreign Policy – many different policies on
many different topics. It is made up of all the
stands and actions that a nation takes in every
aspect of its relationships with other countries –
diplomatic, military, commercial, etc. It includes
everything that that nation’s government says
and does in world affairs.
a. Involves treaties and alliances, international
trade, defense budget, foreign economic and
military aid, the UN, nuclear weapons testing,
and disarmament negotiations
b.The President bears the majority of the
responsibility for both making and conducting
The State Department
a. The Secretary of State – ranks first among the
members of the President’s Cabinet.
b. The Foreign Service – 6,000 men and women
represent the US abroad as members of the Foreign
Service. Every nation has the right to legation – the
right to send and receive diplomatic representatives
a. Ambassadors – official representatives of the US
appointed by the President to represent the nation in
matters of diplomacy. The United States is represented
by an ambassador stationed at the capital of each state
the US recognizes.
b. Passports – certificate issued by the government to its
citizens who travel or live abroad.
c. Diplomatic Immunity – not subject to the laws of the
state which they are accredited. They cannot be sued,
arrested, or taxed.
The Defense Department – created to unify the nation’s
a. The President is the commander in chief and Congress
has broad military powers (declare war)
b. The Secretary of Defense – heads the Defense
Department. Two major responsibilities – President’s
chief aide and advisor in making and carrying out
defense policy and act as the operating head of the
c. Joint Chiefs of Staff serve as the principal military
advisors to the Secretary of Defense
a. Three military departments – the Department of
the Army, the Department of the Navy, the
Department of the Air Force
a. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is
headed by the Director of National Intelligence. It
was created because of the government’s intelligence
agencies pre-9/11 failure to work together.
I. Department of Homeland Security
a. The Department of Homeland Security is charged with
protecting the United States from terrorism – the use of
violence to intimidate a government or society.
b. 5 specific areas – border and transportation security;
infrastructure protection; emergency preparedness and
response; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear
defense; and informational analysis (intelligence)
What makes their job difficult?
Bioterrorism – threat of the use of biological
agents such as smallpox or anthrax.
Facts to consider – 600,000 bridges, 170,000 water
systems, 2,000 power plants (104 of them nuclear) in the
United States. There are also 220,000 miles of Railroad,
190,000 miles of gas pipelines, 25,000 miles of
waterways, and 1,000 harbor channels.
Things that are critical – food supply, healthcare
They cannot protect everything completely from
Terrorism. Terrorism thrives on that unpredictability and
uses fear as it weapon.
a. The National Aeronautics and Space
Administration was created by Congress in 1958
to handle the nation’s space programs. NASA’s
work ranges from basic research to explorations
of outer space.
The Selective Service System
a. Throughout most of US history, service in the armed forces
has been based on voluntary enlistment. From 1940 to 1973,
the draft – compulsory military service – was the major
source of military manpower. The President’s power to order
men into the armed forces ended on June 30, 1973. In order
to reactivate the draft, Congress would have to renew that
I. From Independence to WWI
a. The Monroe Doctrine – In 1823, President James Monroe
restated America’s intentions to stay out of European Affairs
and warned European nations to stay out of the Americas.
The US would see, “any attempt on their part to extend their
system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to
our peace and safety”
b. A World Power – The US emerged as a first-class power in
world politics with the Spanish-American War in 1898.
America became a colonial power with its interests
extending to Alaska, the tip of Latin America, and across the
Pacific to the Philippines
The Good Neighbor Policy – Franklin’s policy to make a
conscious effort to make friends to the south. The Monroe
warning against foreign encroachments in the Western
Hemisphere is outlined in the Inter-American Treaty of
Reciprocal Assistance of 1947.
The Open Door Policy in China – promoted equal trade
access for all nations and demanded that China’s
independence and sovereignty be preserved
WWI and the Return to Isolationism
a. The US ended their isolationism and entered WWI after
German submariners campaigns against American shipping
in the North Atlantic. However, the US returned to
isolationism and refused to join the League of Nations.
WWII and Two New Principals
a. WWII brought a historic shift from isolationism to
internationalism. US looked to the principle of collective
security to keep peace and order. The policy of deterrence –
strategy of maintaining US military might at a level to deter
or prevent attack – remains a major part of policy.
Resisting Soviet Aggression
a. The Cold War was the period of more than 40 years during which
relations between the two superpowers (the US and Russia) hostile.
b. The Truman Doctrine – “the policy of the US to support free peoples
who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or
outside pressure”. This was a part of the US policy of containment –
belief that if communism could be kept within its existing boundaries,
it would collapse under its own internal weaknesses
c. The Berlin Blockade, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Korean War,
The War in Vietnam
a. Following Vietnam, the Nixon Administration embarked on a policy
of détente – a relaxing of tensions and attempt to improve relations
with the Soviet Union and China. Ended when the Soviets invaded
The End of the Cold War - In late 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed.
Foreign Aid and Defense Alliances
I. Foreign Aid – economic and military aid to other countries.
a. Regional security alliances – treaties in which the US
and other countries involved have agreed to take
collective action to meet aggression in a particular part
of the world
b. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
i. Alliance was formed initially to promote the
collective defense of Western Europe, particularly
against Soviet aggression. Today, each of the 26
member countries, have agreed that “an armed
attack against one or more of them in Europe or in
North America shall be considered an attack against
Other Alliances – The Inter-American Treaty of
Reciprocal Assistance, ANZUS – unites Australia,
New Zealand, and the US, the Japanese Pact – mutual
defense of Japan and the US
The Middle East – The US has had two interests –
long-standing support of Israel and critical
importance of Arab oil
The United Nations
a. Formed at the United Nations Conference on International
Organization in San Francisco in 1945.
b. Today, the UN has 192 members. Membership is open to
“peace loving states” who accept the obligations of the
charter and are able and willing to carry out those
c. Six principal organs – General Assembly, Security Council,
Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council,
International Court of Justice, and Secretariat
General Assembly – “town meeting of the world”; Each of the
UN’s members has a seat and a vote in the assembly. Meets
once a year, usually in September
The Security Council – bear the major responsibility of
maintaining international peace. 15 members; 5 are
permanent (the US, Britain, France, Russia, China) and 10 are
chosen by the General Assembly for 2 year terms
The intended purpose of the UN is to make the world a better
place. Peacekeeping is the primary function. The UN’s
specialized agencies spend 4 billion a year for economic and
social programs to help the world’s poorest nations. UNICEF
and WHO have immunized 80% of the world’s children
against six major killer diseases.