Crisis and challenge in American foreign policy

Aarif Rashid Malik

Foreign policy of America has shown lot of changes and has made a lot of development since it has become independent. Till 1917, America had followed the policy of isolationism in the affairs of world politics. They didn’t want to entangle in the affairs of Europe at that moment because European countries were competing with each other for the sake of power. On the other hand they didn’t want to be part of European power politics at that time because they were fundamentally aware about the other factors going against them. It was basically because of these concerns they had developed commercial relationship with the European powers instead of political relationship. During that time Thomas Jefferson had given a slogan “entangling alliance with none”. While also calling for “peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations”, it was in 20th century when America defeated Spain and a new era in foreign policy of America started. It was senior Roosevelt who said “Isolationism was no longer as a principle of American foreign policy “. He wanted America to play active and vibrant role in the affairs of global politics. It was after 1917 that America constantly followed the aggressive and expansionist foreign policy to carve out a new global repute in the world politics. To meddle in the internal affairs of other countries has become a fundamental principle of American foreign policy after 1917. However the intervention policy of USA was limited to some extent as the world was divided into two blocks. Once the bipolarity in the world got paralysed with the disintegration of the U.S.S.R, it changed the world into unipolarity which was completely overshadowed by U.S.A. In the unipolar world the policy of American intervention become so strong and powerful that they started striking at the soft targets without any kind of doubt and despair. US started to behave like a global policeman and in the name of democracy and freedom the US violated fundamental rights of people in different parts of the world especially in middle East and South Asia and Africa. They decided to impose their liberal ideology in the world by force over others and they have devastated and ruined those countries like Iraq, Afghanistan who challenged their supremacy. The main motive of U.S.A in Iraq in 2003 was simply to support Israel against Palestine and control the resources of Middle East. In 2001 the attack on Afghanistan by USA was not only to start a “Global war on terror” that was formulated in the backdrop of September 11, 2001 attacks in USA, but also to remove Taliban from scene in Afghanistan and establish so called democracy in Afghanistan. Global war on terror was initially started by junior Bush in order to destroy all those terrorist networks that were operating in every corner of the world and considered a big threat not only to America but to the whole world. Policy of unilateralism has become a core principle of the American foreign policy which it propagates to justify it’s hegemony in the name of promoting freedom and security of hapless populations in different countries under threat from terrorist groups. However US follows this principle in foreign policy just for not accepting the humiliation their forces suffered from 2001 onwards in different parts of the world . US followed the policy of unilateralism for the sake of their political ends and to justify that no one should challenge it’s might and power in future. Right now the power and might of America is facing enormous crisis not only because of the fact that pandemic is crippling their hegemony but also due to the fact that economy of America is passing through the worst hit recession since 1929 and this crisis is attributed to heavy expenditures they spend on military operations not only at home but also in other parts of the world due to security or other reasons. US economy is also reeling under pressure from various quarters because of the military activities they have conducted from time to time in countries like Iraq and Afghan .
Iraq war was considered as the big mistake ever committed by Bush administration as Bush himself later admitted it after political instability hit the American interests . Even the president Obama said “There was no need for America to attack on Iraq in 2003 and even he criticised the hard-core unilateral policies of Bush administration and said, “He needed to follow unilateralism but in a balanced way not in extreme form.” Joun Ikenberry criticised the doctrine of Bush administration by saying “Bush made us more victims of danger instead of safety”. Unemployment crisis is too much right now In America which is a gigantic domestic challenge for Trump administration. According to the Labour department of U.S.A. more than 15 million people in America yearn for unemployment benefits for the last two weeks as unemployment rate is also falling in comparison to April,2020 that was 14% (America has seen such kind of unemployment crisis first time in the country and right now, according to Labour Department of America the unemployment crisis is 11%). Still they saw that it is a very tough challenge for America as long as crisis of pandemic remains there because large number of people are basically depending on the aid and assistance of the government. The main concern for them is unemployment crisis for the young people aged between 16 to 25, the unemployment which stood at 8.7% is skyrocketing right now to around 20 .7%. Leadership problem is also a crisis for America. It is a challenge for Americans both at the global level as well at the domestic level. No powerful nation in the world can rule over the world only because of the strong military and economic might but also because of strong and effective leadership as good leaders are always ready to tackle any situation in the country with full spirit and strength. Good administrators are always concerned about their citizens but totally a different situation is prevailing in America because of the arrogance of Trump administration which was not fully prepared to fight covid-19 that devastated America from every angle and they are losing their grip over their supremacy very badly. Francis Fukuyama in his recent article says “The pandemic and politics order. It takes a state” and argues that we need to think ponder over the fact that why some countries have done better than other countries in dealing with the pandemic crisis. He says it is a serious concern and will continue to remain an issue of concern in future also and question is not of Regime type. He says a govt that citizens trust matters as effective leaderships have performed impressively and poor leaderships have not performed well to leave their citizens and economies exposed and vulnerable. He further says the pandemic originated in China but they have been able to control the pandemic in their country and is moving on to the next challenge for getting its economy back sustainably. The United States in contrast has bungled its response badly and seen its prestige slip enormously .The country has vast potential state capacity and had built an impressive track record over previous epidemiological crisis, but it’s current highly polarised society and incompetent leadership blocked the state from functioning effectively. Instead of promoting unity in the country President Trump promoted disunity which is very apparent from his policies vis-à-vis the black community and instead of punishing the culprits who have unleashed a reign of terror against the black community they have been supported not only by the Trump administration but also they were fully supported by the police despite committing violence on those innocent people who were demanding justice for George Floyd brutally killed by the white people. President Trump was constantly using irrational remarks on those people who were protesting at that moment. Trump even said that what the people are demanding doesn’t matter for me. What for me matters is to restore law and order in the country .For that he constantly stressed over excessive use of force on the protesters and implicate them in criminal offences to put them behind bars. This depicted the arrogant and discriminatory approach of President Trump towards his minorities.
It is important also for the two political parties in America to set aside their differences and come on single platform to fight against this pandemic unitedly and it is important for president of America to follow the strategy of reconciliation instead of misusing power. If people don’t respond to the situation, then happening in America in future will be completely filled with uncertainty and anarchy.
How to deal the south Asian politics in the post pandemic era will be a new challenge for America because China is day by day expanding its influence in South Asia which is not only worrying for India but also for America because USA wants to develop good relationship with India as it is the best foreign destiny for America and second India is also interested in it because India wants to counter the influence of China with the help of America and India knows it clearly that maintaining good ties with America will help them to support the regional hegemony of India in South Asia. India and USA don’t like to see the growing proximity between China and Pakistan because China is helping Pakistan in their development through China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and it will end the dependency of Pakistan on West. On the other hand, Indian is opposing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as they consider it as a threat to their territorial integrity. It is because of these factor India is securing the interest of USA in South Asia. India is also losing its neighbours right now not only because of the border skirmishes that take place between China and India but in this inevitable conflict it’s neighbours have fallen in the traps and because of the failure of Indian foreign policy it’s neighbours like Bangledesh, Nepal, Bhutan etc have now titled towards China for trade and other purposes. The China finds smooth ways to dominate South Asia and Chinese want to support the emergence of Pakistan here just to reduce the influence of India as well as America . It will be interesting to see how the crippling leadership Of America and India will handle China when the conflicts between three countries are already deepening. The similar scenario is developing in South China sea (which is a dispute mainly between China and Asian countries). China is rejecting it as a dispute because they claim South China sea belongs to China and artificial island was developed by Chinese since the ancient times. Since Xi Jingping became president of China in 2012 the chinese have been constructing and developing number of artificial islands for the militarization of South China Sea and they are carrying more than sixty percent of economic goods through it and are discarding the sovereignty of other Asian nation in the process. By flexing its military might in this highly contested maritime region they have effectively declared that dominance of America in Southeast Asia – is underpinned through its naval and aerial military might in the Southeast-Asia. Right now it is very cumbersome for Asian nations to counter China not only because they are apprehensive about the power and might of China but also because their main supporter America is crippling right now. Trade war between China and America will also deepen because America is constantly saying covid-19 is nothing but a bio weapon that was manufactured in Wuhan city of China in order to destroy the economy of America and China wants to enslave the world and also they will impose more and more tariffs on the product of each other that will obviously affect on other parts of the world because of the trade war that is right between China and America. On the other hand countries are moving towards China and are ready to invest more and more in China for booting trade as help to them by China in pandemic crisis can’t be overlooked. On the other hand, USA will not like to see the increasing influence of China growing in the world and will develop close collaboration with its main allies in order to destabilise China. New security law passed by China in order to promote authoritarianism in Hong Kong and oppress their voices the new security law is dangerous to freedom of Hong Kong people. It is necessary for America to highlight it at the global level as they are main champions of democracy and freedom and there is need to focus on the global community. This security law is exploitative in itself through which they are trying to deprive the people of Hong Kong from liberty and want Hong Kong to be part of China by force. It is through this new security law, they want to put the lives of Hong Kong people at stake for the sake of national security. One provision in this law is sabotaging transport which would be deemed as terrorist activity and will be given life imprisonment if it harms other people or causes significant damage to public or private property. The four major offences in the law – separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries – are ambiguously worded and give the authorities extensive power to target activists who criticise Communist Party of China. It’s main aim is to use this law as a deterrent against external forces meddling in Hong Kong. One more challenge to foreign policy of America is that their foreign policy has failed to large extent in containing China in Trump era. On the one hand, America is describing China as a main culprit behind Covid 19 and is constantly demanding that serious investigations must be carried out at the global level in order to expose the real culprits behind the covid 19 but majority of countries have voted in favour of China instead of America while knowing the truth. On the other hand, former security advisor of Trump administration Joun Bolton in his book “The Room Where It Happened” says Trump is constantly asking the intervention of China in the election of 2020 that will make victory of Trump very easy. He further says in it that Trump said to China “My survival has utmost importance in coming elections and further said he will support China in killing the Uyghurs muslims which hardly matters for us in front of power.” At last I can say pessimistic outcomes are easy to imagine in covid 19 such as nationalism, isolationism, xenophobia and attack on the liberal world order have been increased from last few years and it will deepen due to pandemic because mostly liberal countries have failed in dealing with the ruthless pandemic and it is authoritarian countries who have done better than the democratic countries and rise of fascism in new form will also take place in post pandemic world. Few things that are fundamentally important for America to have strong grip over hegemony in which first one is to carry on the role of global policeman that has become redundant since Trump came to power in America and second the cutting of financial funding to world health organization depict that Trump is no more interested in seeing America as the main contributor of these institutions. Lack of American interest in such institutions will provide ways to China to play a leading role in these institutions. One more important thing that people of America need to take into cognizance is the election of 2020 where they have to choose their new elected leader very carefully as they have to elected a leader who will be enough competent to deal with deepening COVID-19 crisis and fight against the ongoing pandemic with unity instead of creating divisions on basis of colour like Trump. It is important also for the two political parties in America to set aside their differences and come on single platform to fight against this pandemic unitedly and it is important for president of America to follow the strategy of reconciliation instead of misusing power. If people don’t respond to the situation, then happening in America in future will be completely filled with uncertainty and anarchy.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are his own) [email protected]

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