4A nation (from the Latin for “birthplace”) is defined as a large group of people unified by a common language or culture.Nationalism is the belief that people sharing national characteristics should be able to form their own independent state.
6Modern nation-states were created to give people sharing a common language and cultural characteristics the right to govern themselves as they choose.Nations provide protection against external threats.
7They ask their citizens to perform tasks, such as military service, in return. The more powerful a nation’s military and economic power, the more it can promote its own interests.
10Throughout history, nations have formed in several ways Throughout history, nations have formed in several ways. Some were established as a result of geographic isolation, such as England.Some were created as the result of emigration, such as the US. Others were created from the breakup of larger empires (such as the post-Soviet states).
17Nations also enter into formal agreements, known as treaties. Signed by political leaders or their diplomatic representatives, treaties reinforce friendly relations and allow cooperation in different areas.
18Treaties can bring together nations in a number of different ways. Some treaties are military alliances, the signatory nations pledge to support and defend each other in time of war.
19The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949. The US and its NATO allies pledge to each other that an attack on one is an attack on all.
20The US also has defense agreements with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and others. These nations often host US bases, and in return, the US promises to defend them.
22What is the significance of the US having defense agreements with so many nations?
23Nations also sign agreements dealing with everything from climate change to economic development. The United Nations exists as a place for nations to mediate disputes, discuss issues of importance to nations and come to agreements.
25The Group of 8, or G8 holds summit meetings of the leaders of the world’s leading industrialized countries (the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia).They meet annually to discuss economic issues.
28Why do nations fight or go to war with each other? When, if ever, do you think war is necessary/justified?
29Sometimes nations engage in conflict with each other Sometimes nations engage in conflict with each other. There can be many reasons for this.Different ideologies (political beliefs), religions, disputes over land, resources, etc. can all be causes of conflict.
30Wars happen when one group of people or organization perceives the benefits that can be obtained greater than the cost. This can happen for a variety of reasons:To protect national pride by preventing the loss of territory.
31To protect livelihood by preventing the loss of resources or by declaring independence. To inflict punishment on the "wrong" doer, especially when one country is perceived as stronger than the other and can effectively deal out the punishment.
32Perhaps the greatest and most influential work in the philosophy of war is On War by Carl von Clausewitz.It combines observations on strategy with questions about human nature and the purpose of war.
33Clausewitz concludes that war is "politics by different means”. Meaning that when a nation cannot accomplish its goals peacefully, it might turn towards war.
35A border is a line marking where the territory of one nation-state ends and another begins. Borders are clearly marked on maps, but those between friendly nations may often be unmarked on the ground. Borders under dispute are often heavily guarded and have strictly controlled border crossings.
43Wars can also happen when two groups who do not get along live within the same nation. Rwanda in Africa is an example. Genocide occurred there in 1994 when one tribe, the Hutu’s tried to wipe out another, the Tutsi’s.
44Nations fight over religion Nations fight over religion. India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Muslim) have fought four wars since 1949.Israel (Jewish) and its Muslim neighbors have fought numerous conflicts since 1948.
48The primary force behind US foreign policy is the President, subject to the advice and consent role of the US Senate.He negotiates treaties with foreign nations, but treaties enter into force only if ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.
54The Secretary of State, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate is the chief foreign minister of the USHe or she is the primary conductor of state-to-state diplomacy.
55The Secretary of State is the head of the US Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary in the line of succession.
56The Secretary has many powers, these include negotiating with foreign representatives and instructing US embassies abroad.The Secretary also serves as a principal adviser to the President on U.S. foreign policy.
57On January 21, 2009, the Senate voted on whether to approve Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next Secretary of State.She was overwhelmingly confirmed, 94-2.
61Prior to the late 1800’s, the US was a regional power and negotiated or interacted with other nations for the most part only if they had interests in the Americas.We also were isolationist, preferring to stay out of alliances and overseas conflicts.
62In 1898, the US acquired overseas possessions after defeating Spain. The US now had bases, increased international trade and began to interact with other nations as a great power.
64It was in this role, as one of many great powers (along with European nations and Japan) that the US took part in World Wars I and II.After World War II, Japan and much of Europe were destroyed, while the US emerged stronger.
65The US became one of the world’s two superpowers (along with the Soviet Union). The terms came about because US economic, cultural and military power were unmatched, and its leadership of the rest of the world’s democracies became unchallenged.
67From about 1947 until 1991, US foreign policy was dominated by the Cold War, and characterized by its huge international military presence and greater diplomatic involvement.This was a reversal of earlier isolationist policies.
68The US defined a new policy called containment to oppose the spread of communism. The Cold War was characterized by a lack of global wars but a persistence of regional wars, often fought between client states and proxies of the US and Soviet Union.
69During the Cold War, US foreign policy sought to limit Soviet influence. This involved the US in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as the US aided friendly South Korean and Vietnamese governments against communist invasions/insurgencies.
71The period was also characterized by aid to anti-communist nations, and the attempted and actual overthrow of pro-communist governments around the world, some of them democratically elected.Later, the US aided anti-Soviet Mujahedeen forces in Afghanistan.
75By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U. S By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S. had military and economic interests in every region of the globe.During the 1990s, the US mostly scaled back its foreign policy while focusing on domestic prosperity.
76After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the US has declared a "War on Terrorism."Since then, the US launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq while pursuing Al-Qaeda and other militant organizations on a global level.
79In the latest presidential campaign, the issue of direction for US foreign policy became important. Barak Obama criticized the Bush administration’s actions in Iraq, pledging to withdraw, but continue the war in Afghanistan.
80US foreign policy now appears to be on a new track, with President Obama, pledging diplomacy (talking, negotiation with other nations) over conflict.Many challenges remain though.
81It is unclear whether nations like Iran, Syria and North Korea (who we want to end their nuclear programs and support for terrorism) will respond to the “soft power” of diplomacy.