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An Introduction to America's Foreign Policy

Pillars Outside U.S. Government Building

America’s foreign policy is the strategy that America uses when deciding how to handle interactions with other countries. While America’s foreign policy is generally designed to accomplish certain goals internationally, the foremost priority is America’s defense and national security. America’s ability to project and protect its national interests relies greatly on the power of its foreign policy. Public opinion on categories including political, economic, military, humanitarian and ideological concerns usually help dictate the content of foreign policy.

Who creates and enforces United States foreign policy?

Foreign policy is produced and carried out jointly by all three governmental branches with the aid of a variety of governmental agencies and organizations. The President, in company with the Executive Branch, maintain the most significant roles when it comes to establishing foreign policy. The National Security Council advises the President on foreign policy and is comprised of the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Working closely with the President, the National Security Council enforces foreign policies primarily through executive agreements, alliances and treaties.

Congress, with its power to set tariffs on exports and imports, regulate commerce and immigration and declare war, has a critical role in forming America’s foreign policy. Though, in most situations Congress will be in the position of accepting, changing and rejecting policies proposed by the President. The Judicial Branch also plays a limited role in dictating foreign policy, as the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over certain cases involving maritime law, ambassadors, public ministers and treaties.

The Department of U.S. Foreign Service, also referred to as the diplomatic corps, also plays an important role. Made up of ambassadors, consuls and other experts of foreign aid affairs, this group works together to enforce and expand U.S. foreign policy through regularly meeting and working with foreign officials.

What is United States foreign policy used for?

The list of United States’ foreign policy functions is extensive. One of the key priorities is creating and maintaining diplomatic relations with foreign entities like the United Nations and Organization of American States, as well as in developing relationships with other countries, including economic leaders like China. Maintaining and developing relationships may include peacekeeping functions on an international level, foreign aid distribution, disaster relief and international economic decisions.

International Peacekeeping

As of late, one of the key uses of America’s foreign policy has been for international peacekeeping. As a permanent member of the United Nations security council, the U.S. government’s focus has greatly been on supporting other countries’ troops and police operations since the mid-1990s. The United States also leverages their foreign policy initiatives while trying to negotiate treaties and agreements that may end regional conflicts.

The support the United States is willing to offer is widely determined based on a handful of rationalized interests. With security in mind, the U.S. seeks to help protect the borders of war-torn states, stop the trade of illegal drugs or arms, and deny access to sanctuaries that terrorist groups may seek.

International Economics

Foreign policy is often heavily weighted on the interests of American businesses and the international economy. For example, America has a worldwide tax system where domestic businesses pay taxes on all domestic or international sales; however, America is unable to collect foreign tax on countries where they have minimal, if any, foreign relations. As a result, foreign policy makers are constantly working to develop policies to help improve their relationship with countries that have healthy economies. America’s foreign policy also includes U.S. trade policies, which are highly dependent on international economics as trade policies tend to fluctuate depending on their own domestic economic health, as well as the status of global economic leaders.

American foreign policy is a complex structure of rules and regulations that are followed on a global scale. For international leaders, analyzing and understanding foreign policy can be essential for developing diplomatic skills and improving foreign relationships, especially those that rely heavily upon the international economy. Foreign policy can also help international leaders better understand the delicate, dynamic process of developing and maintaining global relationships to improve not only domestic issues, but the global community as a whole.

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As the nation’s oldest private military college, Norwich University has been a leader in innovative education since 1819. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.

Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in Diplomacy program provides working professionals with a broad understanding of global communications protocol and a deep knowledge of the world issues that affect international relations. The program allows you to build on your political, governmental, or business expertise with a solid foundation in the theories and practices that direct international relations and political science within the international system.

Sources

http://www.crf-usa.org/war-in-iraq/foreign-policy.html

http://www.ushistory.org/gov/11a.asp

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/sometimes-tax-policy-also-foreign-policy

March 2017