I have always wondered why the U.S. has been so involved in world affairs. I understood that in many cases it was to boost our economic status, to develop trade connections with other countries, or to extend out power. But, I never considered that our presence in the world has become a sort of expectation. Other countries look to the U.S. in order to help them handle situations. I had always assumed that countries rejected American presence, viewing it as controlling. However, many countries look to the U.S., and in fact are frustrated when the U.S. does not interject in situations.
The list of past cases of the U.S. involving themselves in other countries’ problems with unclear motives is extensive. For example, the DEA became incredibly involved in Colombia’s drug trafficking issues. Rather than dealing with domestic drug use, the U.S. made it an issue of foreign policy. However, after watching The World without U.S., it seemed to be a theme that countries expected American aid. They looked to the U.S. to deal with the responsibility of coming to their aid. But, only to an extent. It was expected that the U.S. would help, but not establish power and control in certain countries. I am honestly confused about whether or not I agree that the U.S. should withdraw from having significant influence in other countries. In so many cases, the U.S. has overstepped, creating more anger in other countries. For instance, I do not believe that the U.S. should be so involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But, maybe at this point it is too late for the U.S. to withdraw their support since they have helped Israel for so long. The cons outweigh the pros of having a foothold in the Middle East. Our relationship with Israel has proved to be dangerous and costly, and does not look to be promising in the future – especially with the talks currently going on about the possibility of supporting a single-state solution. It is too dangerous to follow through with that situation. There are many cases where the U.S. has been too involved that they can no longer back out of their relationships. There are many Asian countries that the U.S. protects in order to shield them from the threat of China.
The United States’ quick rise to power in the 20th century, while impressive, is dangerous. The U.S. cannot act so impulsively. I feel like throughout our history, there have been numerous times when the U.S. has become involved in situations influenced by small issues or motivations instead of considering the consequences and outcomes that could arise.
While I do believe that the U.S. should continue to be involved in international affairs and help international communities, I do not think that we should do that at the cost of our own country. I believe that the U.S. should not involve themselves in complicated and dangerous affairs – unless there is a situation with a clear conflict with human rights, but instead tend to stay neutral in situations in order to help people who are affected by conflicts. I do not agree with our continued involvement in Iraq because it is so unclear as to whether we have truly helped people who have suffered from the situation or if we have escalated and intensified issues in the area. There have also been many consequences that have had negative and unintended effects. The U.S. needs to be more cautious with where it sticks a foot in.