Since the thirteen colonies raised banner of revolt against their English masters in the eighteenth century, the resulting United States of America has always managed to manifest its position as a dominant superpower in international political arena. Hardly any event has passed in human political history since then without a certain involvement of the USA. The country jumped into the first World War late and helped to land a decisive blow to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. The war had monumental effects on world affairs of that time. Empires disintegrated, European powers weakened and Russia opted out of the war, courtesy famous 1917 October Revolution. The US stamped its position as the sole superpower, thus.
The second World War wasn’t different either. For much of the initial phase of the war, the US remained secluded but then Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and incited a response from isolationist US. The latter then supplied vast amount of arms to the allies and dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which turned to be final nail in the coffin of WW2. Armed war was soon followed by ideological war ie. the Cold War. This battle of ideas brought to the fore the actual display of US foreign policy. Every move was predicated to counter communism. US tried everything to stop the menace of communism from spreading around the world, eastern countries in particular.
Decolonisation speeded up after the second World War due to weakened European imperial powers and US made sure none of the new sovereign states fell under the trap of communism. Truman doctrine allowed support to national liberation movements around the world. Marshall plan was aimed at reconstruction of war-torn economies, again to avoid Soviet Union from aiding them rather. NATO, a purely military alliance, came up as a deterrent to communism. During this period American foreign policy decisions lay on the premise of anti-communism.
Globalisation, one of the prominent conceptual realities in current times, has found it’s fiercest exponent in US, which has always advocated unrestrained interstate relations. From dominating the financial institutions such as IMF and World Bank to introducing economic reforms in Federal Republic of Germany aka West Germany to irk USSR, US has had a superior say in all the international trade agreements from the very beginning. It is no wonder that the Doha round of negotiations initiated under new GATT regulations is still marred by an impasse, mostly due to selfish interests of US and the developed world. The disintegration of erstwhile Soviet Union in 1991 preceded by democratization and liberalization reforms further enhanced the power and prestige of capitalist world.
Free market mechanisms began expanding and US found a new way of intervention in global politics. That in the name of human rights. As a matter of fact, US-led NATO and US-dominated UNO have managed to pull up indomitable feats for upholding human rights in Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Gulf War etc. But come to 2001 and we find how US lead “war on terror” programme in Afghanistan, which sounds as ambitious as the Star Wars programme had once been. The war was aimed at halting the rise of Al Qaeda and capturing the alleged mastermind Osama Bin Laden. But the assassination of Bin Laden in the Abottabad compound in Pakistan in 2011 nullified their claims. So what did the land and people of Afghanistan pay such a huge price for as their country has been reduced to rubble both politically and economically.
It is still incomprehensible to find what US gained during those 14 years except for spending exorbitant sums as war expenses. In 2003, contrary to dismay of other three superpowers and in total disregard of UN veto power, US along with UK led an invasion in Iraq for search of Weapons of Mass Destruction, again labelled as “war on terror”. Iraq as of now stands as a tormented nation. George Bush’s proclamation that “either you are with us or against us” reflected US policy clearly when they meant that whoever doesn’t side with them has to face consequences.
Poking it’s nose in every issue in world, US intervened in Libya and Syria as well and throughout the Arab Spring advocated establishment of democratic systems in revolting countries. Trying to assert itself as a patron of democratic ideology, US has done more harm than good to the international relations of present times. It’s baffling how silent do they opt to remain when it comes to the removal of a democratically elected government in Egypt but lead the way in targeting ISIS places in Syria and elsewhere. How can this anomaly in their foreign policy be explained? The persecution of Rohingya community in Myanmar is yet another example towards which US has turned a blind eye. As if the mass massacres of the downtrodden community, which predominantly consists of Muslims, was not enough, the state autocracy has pushed them onto the coastal areas now, leaving them at the mercy of sea. US has failed its self-assumed stature there as well.
It’s therefore understandable that US picks and chooses issues to put its leg in. It is a strategy to keep intact the hegemonic position that it has been maintaining since first World War. As long as rest of the world, the Middle East in particular, is ridden with serious internal and ethnic conflicts, US finds its position unharmed and intractable. There’s virtually no threat to its national power when almost all the developing and even developed nations are besieged with grave concerns.
Until US stops the policy of deliberate intervention in self-interested issues, the global community can never breathe in peace. Even the UNO is and will be helpless. The hegemony of US in international politics has to end now for collective security of the entire world.