Presentation on theme: " From the founding until World War II, the US traditionally did not seek to involve itself in other countries’ military conflicts outside the Western."— Presentation transcript:
From the founding until World War II, the US traditionally did not seek to involve itself in other countries’ military conflicts outside the Western Hemisphere. This was made possible by the fact that, unlike the nations of Europe, the US is separated from most other countries by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Monroe Doctrine (1823) asserted that the US did reserve the right to intervene militarily to protect our national security interests in Latin America.
Exception to US isolationism. We did not enter the conflict until it was well underway, and US involvement in the war was extremely controversial. League of Nations: International organization founded after WWI, devoted to diplomacy and peacekeeping. Although Pres. Woodrow Wilson was involved in its founding, isolationists in the US Senate refused to ratify the treaty so the US did not join the League. It lasted until the founding of the United Nations following World War II.
Active US involvement in WWII began after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This marked the end of American isolationism. The physical and economic devastation of the traditional European powers in the war forced the US to take on a world leadership role. The US was actively involved in the founding of the United Nations, of which we are the host country for most functions.
After WWII, a rivalry developed between the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, or Soviet Union). The USSR was trying to spread Communism and the US was trying to contain its spread. The term “Cold War” is used to differentiate this from a “hot war” involving actual combat. “Domino theory”: The idea that, once a country falls to Communism, its neighbors will fall like a row of dominoes.
The US began to become militarily engaged throughout the world with the goal of preventing Communism from spreading. This led to US military involvement in Korea and Vietnam. The spread of Communism anywhere in the world was seen as a threat to the security of the US and its non-Communist allies. The Cold War lasted until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
World War II was the last declared war the US fought in. Under the Constitution, the President is Commander-in-Chief of the military, but Congress has the power to declare war. Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990’s, and the post-9/11 actions against al-Qaeda and in Iraq and Afghanistan were not declared wars by the terms of the US Constitution.
Korean War Vietnam War Cuban Missile Crisis (1962): President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba until they removed Soviet missiles located there which could have hit the US. This eventually succeeded, but not without the threat of nuclear war. The US maintained an embargo against Cuba until it was recently lifted by President Obama.
The US developed the atomic bomb in 1945 and used it against Japan to end WWII. The Soviet Union developed atomic weapons in 1949. “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) was an unstated policy in which both sides built up far more nuclear weapons than they would ever actually need to destroy the world, on the theory of deterrence : The other side would be discouraged from attacking first because they knew they would be destroyed in retaliation.
Mutual defense alliance among the United States, the nations of Western Europe, and other nations. It was founded in 1949. It committed the member nations to come to each other’s aid in the event of a military attack. It was assumed that American military power would be needed to defend Western Europe against an attack from the Soviet Union, but the mutual defense agreement was never actually invoked until after the attack on the US on 9/11/01.
The Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies formed the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense alliance, in response to the establishment of NATO. Soviet propaganda held that the US and its allies planned military attacks against Communist countries.
The War Powers Act was passed over President Nixon’s veto. Under this Act, the President can only commit troops to combat for 60 days, with a possible 30-day extension, without obtaining the approval of Congress. Every President since Nixon has believed that this is an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief, but this has never been tested. Every military action that could be covered by the War Powers Act has received the approval of Congress.
President Jimmy Carter first articulated the US’s right to intervene militarily to protect our national security interests in the Persian Gulf, a major source of US oil. This provided the basis for the Persian Gulf War of 1991 following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, several Eastern European nations allied with the Soviet Union had free elections and replaced their Communist governments. This accelerated the pressure for reform in the Soviet Union itself. Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the USSR in 1985. He initiated a set of political and economic reforms which led to alternatives to traditional Soviet Communism. Eventually, the USSR dissolved in 1991, ending the Cold War.
Military action against al-Qaeda in retaliation for 9/11 attacks and to ensure it wouldn’t happen again GW Bush articulates doctrine of pre-emptive action to prevent threats to US security (we will hit first) – used as justification for war in Iraq on faulty evidence that they had weapons of mass destruction. Eventually the war in Iraq resulted in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. US troops were then withdrawn in 2011. War in Afghanistan, which President Obama pledged to end US involvement in by 2014 (but a small number of troops will remain until 2016)
Nuclear proliferation (Iran, North Korea) Current debate about agreement with Iran Terrorism (e.g., ISIS) Training Syrian rebels? Trade – fair treatment for US products in other countries, and US access to imports Unfair trade practices Other countries lack regulations on child labor, environmental protection, wage and hour laws, etc. World Trade Organization – international org. established 1995 to promote and regulate multilateral trade Approx. 160 countries are members Middle East peace (protection of Israel)