Presentation on theme: " South Carolina Standard USHC-8.6 Mr. Hoover Abbeville High School."— Presentation transcript:
South Carolina Standard USHC-8.6 Mr. Hoover Abbeville High School
What was America’s role in the changing world, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the expansion of the European Union? How did the United States deal with the continuing crisis in the Middle East, and the rise of global terrorism?
Conservatives and liberals interpret foreign policy from different perspectives. Conservatives credit United States policy with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Liberals credit forces within the Soviet Union for bringing about change.
When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, he advocated glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic restructuring). Soviet-bloc nations were also seeking change, including independence movements within Poland and the Baltic states. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan placed a strain on the Soviet economy and it was near collapse.
The destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the waning power of the Soviet Union and symbolized the end of the Cold War. Soviet hardliners attempted to overthrow Gorbachev and the resulting confusion led to the break up of the Soviet Union into separate states.
Controversy surrounds what role the United States played in this result. Certainly the buildup of arms throughout the Cold War and especially during the Reagan administration placed added strain on the Soviet economy. However, the Soviet Union fell from internal problems rather than as a direct result of the American policy of containment.
At the end of World War II, the United States assisted European nations in their recovery from the war in order to serve as a strong bulwark against the spread of communism. While the United States continued to protect Europe through the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) and the deployment of weapons in Europe to confront the Soviet threat, the Europeans established the European Common Market in order to improve trade within the region.
Eventually the Common Market established a common currency and evolved into the European Union. The United States provided a model of the federal system.
As a result of the end of the Cold War, the United States became the world’s only superpower. Consequently, the United States not only had a greater responsibility for maintaining peace in the face of regional conflicts, but in the process has also aroused resentment.
Liberals and conservatives have different perspectives on the proper role of the United States in the world. The establishment of the state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people in the wake of the atrocities experienced in the Holocaust precipitated an ongoing conflict in the Middle East. The United States has been involved in this crisis since it first recognized the state of Israel in 1948 [Truman].
The containment policy was extended to the Middle East [Eisenhower]. In an effort to maintain friendly states on the border of the Soviet Union, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) aided in the overthrow of a nationalist government in Iran and supported the repressive regime of the Shah until he was overthrown by Muslim fundamentalists.
American foreign policy supported Israel in its ongoing defense against its Arab neighbors and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Terrorist groups attempted to call attention to the plight of the Palestinians and extort concessions from the Israelis by hijacking airplanes and cruise ships and by sending suicide bombers to murder civilians and spread terror. The United States policy was never to negotiate with terrorists
The importance of Middle East oil to the United States’ economy led to shuttle diplomacy to stop the oil embargo by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) [Nixon]. President Jimmy Carter’s personal commitment to human rights led to the first steps towards peace in the Middle East [Camp David Accords].
The invasion of the American embassy and the holding of one hundred seventy-nine American hostages by the government of Iran contributed to Carter’s defeat in the 1980 presidential election.
The United States withdrew troops from Lebanon when terrorists bombed a United States army barracks and negotiated with the regime in Iran to gain the release of American hostages held in Lebanon [Reagan].
The United States attempted to exercise leadership in the Middle East because of American dependence on foreign oil. The United States led the world in the response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the early 1990s. The first Persian Gulf War had the support of many other nations of the world and resulted in a quick military victory which restored the independence of Kuwait [George H.W. Bush].
The prompt withdrawal of United States military forces from Iraq after the first Gulf War did not alter the balance of power in the Middle East, but the presence of United States troops in bases in Saudi Arabia aroused the enmity of religious fanatics. These joined with other fanatic religious fundamentalists groups, particularly the Taliban that had driven the Soviets out of Afghanistan, to form terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.
After the bombing of the World Trade Center in 9/11 by al Qaeda, the United States sent military forces to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan because they had harbored al Qaeda.
The United States government, citing the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), also invaded Iraq [George W. Bush]. Such weapons were never found.
As of this writing, the United States continues to have troops in Afghanistan and is supporting the development of democratic institutions in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
During the Arab Spring of 2011 the United States provided diplomatic support to those protesting for more democratic institutions and gave air support to the Libyan pro- democracy forces.
Relations with Iran continue to be strained because of the Iranian development of nuclear capability. The United States continues to try to mediate the issue of a Palestinian state with little success [Clinton and Obama]. .The Middle East continues to be a major area of concern for American foreign policy.