It is not without reason that analysts and scholars alike find Bush’s foreign policy to be alienating the united states in the international system and practicing unilateralism when making key international decisions. Key to these policies is what has come to be referred to as “Bush Doctrine”; this is to denote the nature of President’s Bush dominant policy adopted after the occurrences of the September 11, 2001. Many admit that U. S foreign policy changed dramatically after that attack, assuming isolationism, a radical shift from the key ideals Bush espoused during his campaigns (Brzezinski, Z, 2004)
Bush foreign policy during his campaigns was on bedrock of improved relations with the nations in Latin America. However, most of his efforts in both his first and second terms have been taken up by his involvement in the wars; both Iraq and Afghanistan. This whoever is not the only reason he has been receiving criticism. He has overruled and withdrawn from core global initiatives that have put the nation on a collision path with other countries across Europe and Asia.
The Kyoto protocol for example is one where the rest the world is united in its criticism for the United States decision to pour cold water on it. Kyoto Protocol is a convention that was aimed at significantly reducing and controlling the amount of greenhouse gases emissions. Despite the fact that the United States is the biggest emitter of these gases, it has been adamant in the protocols ratification. During Presidents Bush reign, the United States has backtracked on the agreement signed thirty years back in 1972 between the country and the Soviet Union. America made that decision in 2002.
In making the decision Bush claimed hat the step was necessitated by the need to protect the United States citizens and interests across the world from terrorists and other enemy states (Alterman, E. & Mark G. , 2004). It is also in this period that America withdrew from the Ottawa treaty that seeks to ban landmines use or their production. The United States now sits together with China and Russia amongst others that have refused to join in the treaty. This is just but a superficial look of the trend that has been characteristic of Bush foreign policy, a policy that has been under much criticism both within and outside the United states.
It is the war on terror that has raised questions over it legitimacy and appropriateness with most in the United States questioning whether President Bush has usurped the authority of the congress in the military engagements abroad. To understand Bush foreign policy, it is important that the analysis be carried out in accordance to the specific region or countries. The United States foreign policy is defined in accordance to the type of a relationship that both states enjoy and how important a country is towards America or the amount of the threat it poses either in trade or security wise.
Europe for example continues to enjoy a lukewarm reception from the United States especially over the much criticism and lackluster support given during the Iraq war. A key ally in Europe remains the United Kingdom especially in the reign of Tony Blair as the Prime Minister (Dalby, Simon, 2005). Interestingly though is Bush focus on the African continent more than any sitting president in the white house. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is for example a program initiated by President Bush with an intention of reducing the prevalence rate and the impact of the AIDS scourge across Africa especially in the sub-Saharan region.
This remains the hallmark of Bush administration-accomplishments in Africa, with most analysts saying it is a legacy building venture. These, together with Doha round talks. President Bush is still contending with the challenges that his policies are producing. The relation with China is one such headache. Prior to his election, Bush had vowed to introduce a foreign policy that would be a radical shift from his predecessor president Bill Clinton, on the United States relationship with China, saying that he would consider China as a competitor.
The recent decades have seen China grow and emerge from an abyss of unknown to become a global player and a great threat to the United States. Both these nations appear to be on a clashing course, trading accusations and counter accusations. The issues at hand have centered on the intellectual property rights with the Bush administration accusing Beijing of violating the IPR of American companies. The U. S has also accused China on its human rights record.
Notable however has been the cordial relations that the Bush administration and the Chinese government have enjoyed over the past years though underneath they are both very weary of each other and cautious. Under Bush’s rule, positively though, both countries have been moving towards improved cooperation with most in the United States acknowledging the massive threat posed to the nation by one of the fastest growing economy in the world. With the Korean nuclear headache in mind, Bush has had no choice than to initiate cooperation with China. In fact many attribute the current economic woes in America to the stiff competition from China.
None however has received the largest portion of Bush in terms of attention than the Middle East. It has remained a region that has witnessed a downfall to his popularity ratings in the United States and across the world. His focus in the Middle East kicked off in earnest after the September 11th attack and war on terror officially commenced after he launched a military strike against the Taliban in Afghanistan and installed in administration friendly to the United States interests. He also initiated a massive hunt for Osama Bin Laden the Al Qaeda leader but still has not paid off yet.
Following on the steps of Bill Clinton who signed the Iraqi Liberation Act, President Bush launched a much-criticized war against Saddam Hussein that succeeded in his removal and execution. Prior to attacking Iraq, Bush had tried to convince the Security Council to pass a resolution that would compel Iraq to allow inspectors and initiate a full process of disarmament. It is against this backdrop that Bush went on and ordered a strike starting a war hat has continued to paint him in a bad light. This remains a glaring dent to his presidency.
Since the days of President Richard Nixon and President Lyndon Johnson, never has the history of the United States witnessed public out roar over the nation’s foreign policy like it has seen since 2001. Where initially analysts and the public were supportive of the war believing the strikes against terror would be quick and decisive, as Bush had made people to believe, this support as years went by turned into consternation and apprehension. Bush is simply not getting enough and wanted a shot at Iraq misleading the congress that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Iraq posed a serious threat to the United States.
He committed troops to Iraq in one of the most costly war the United States has ever seen, costly in terms of financial expenses and public morale. Both combined the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost the United States over three hundred and fifty billion dollars at the moment and more is lined up by the congressional budge. This much against growing resentment at home and skepticism over where the war in Afghanistan and Iraq has made the nation safer. Political and economic advisors together with prominent policy advisors have admitted that this spending in the war is to blame for the fiscal and monetary crisis facing the country.
There is a backlash in the United States economy. Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska admitted that the war spending have gone way above the prior tentative projections. Putting it candidly, he said Bush was out of touch with the reality. The economic recession in the United States is real. Whereas the current economic wars facing the United States cannot be fully attributed to the war in middle east, as there are many factors in the international system that have contributed to this, the ineptitude of Bush foreign policy has had a role to play, as some analysts concede.
Bush has been unable to combine his ambitious plan in foreign policy with tenable fiscal and monetary strategies to ensure the economy survives the international shocks. The worst critics of Bush foreign policy and spending are the democrats who justifiably have criticized Bush administration plans to cover the deficit in the war budget with appropriation outside the budget instead of cutting at on non priority government projects. It was fool handy for Bush to go it alone in the Iraq war as it is the taxpayers who have to shoulder the costs unlike in the gulf war where senior Bush was able to convince allies to chip in.
more so, Bush senior’s invasion of Iraq to liberate Kuwait was more justified and he also had the publics support (Ambrosias, Lloyd E. , 2006). Bush’s ‘lone ranger’ foreign policies are hurting the country more than he or his strategists are willing to admit. First of all Bush has altered keys ideals of the international system in which the Americans corporations survive. Most of the United States foreign investments are located in Europe and pacific. The U. S put the relations between the United States and these two key regions at jeopardy by the U. S unilateralist.
The France and Germany diplomatic rows on the justification of the Iraq war may have been just but a tip of the iceberg (Carter, Graydon, 2004). Bush foreign policies have made it clear that the United States is a lone ranger and would go at whatever cost to protect its interests, the opinion of other key players in the international system not withstanding. This is fast eroding the cordial relations that existed before. The trade policies are a good example to this; with a single stroke he introduced tariffs on trade hurting the revenue of hundreds of companies.
The cost of the war is huge and some analysts are accusing Bush administration of under estimating the figure. Joseph Stiglitz an economic strategist and a Nobel prize winner in his book “The three trillion dollar war” claims that president Bush is largely misrepresenting the figures. President Bush has maintained that the war in Iraq cannot be possibly the cause of the economic slump experienced in the United States; rather it is the prevailing economic conditions. Bush went ahead and said in retrospect, the war has created jobs and the need for more manufacturer and supplies from the United States companies.
His argument, Joseph Stiglitz, argues is based on a traditional thought that the war is good for the economy as it lead to an expansion of the economy. This is a belief that economists no longer share. The economy is slumping because the federal government in its bid to correct the situation introduced liquidity and people have taken to debts to finance their expeditions. The oil prices have soared and are leaving the country with huge debts especially from the Middle East. A poll that has been conducted lately found that majority of the Americans believes that the war in Iraq has been having profound impact on the economy.
Seventy percent of those polled believe that Bush war is to blame; this is contrary to what president Bush thinks is the cause. To him, the economic recession is caused by people building too “many houses” (Carter, Graydon, 2004). The economic cost of the war aside, the magnitude of the loss is discouraging coupled with other negative effects the Bush foreign policies are having on the pubic psyche. The turn around made by the Bush administration after the September 11th attack has played a great deal in demonizing people along religious lives.
Bush has succeeded in orchestrating a campaign that has crated a negative perception towards Muslims not only in the clutter stakes but also worldwide. Muslims in America are viewed as extremists waiting to blow up bombs, a dangerous perception indeed that has altered how people relate with each other. Analysts claim that such kind of perception and open hatred policies against Muslims could further fuel the urge towards extremism. His immigration policies are also having a profound effect on Americans social life and corporation’s profits.
Big corporations in the United States have been surviving on labor drawn from immigrants, as it is cheap. The tough measure taken by the Bush administration has compounded this and the corporations are already feeling the pinch. It has become increasingly difficult for immigrants to settle in the United States and worse still there are talks of deporting the illegal immigrants already in the United States. This is as a result of a generalized belief that the immigrants could play a great role in stalling progress in the anti-terror wars at home (Dalby, Simon, 2005). The international standing of the United States has largely been dented.
The Bush foreign policy continues to create an image of arrogance and unilateralism. It has exhibited rogue and brutish tendencies that has made the world wary of its relations. Bush stand after the September 11th attack that posited that there was no middle ground on the war on terror -you are either with us or against us- risk isolating the United States from the rest of the world and putting its interests world wide at a great security risk. A recent opinion poll has indicated the image of the United States has declined greatly since 2003 after the commencing of the search to the elusive weapons.
Its stand as a moral police has been questioned greatly. Major protests held worldwide and specifically in the countries considered to be U. S allies traditionally like Germany is a great indicator of this. U. S reputation in the Middle East has taken a great stride backwards and countries have become soft targets for terrorists for associating with America (Ivo H. D. & James M. L. , 2005). President George Bush since his election in 2000 has introduced a foreign policy that has largely contributed in isolating the United States from the rest of the world.
His tenure in office has seen him wage two wars and other foreign policies that have been blamed by many to be the cause of the ongoing economic recession. The unemployment rate is at 46 percent and the Americans are feeling the pinch. The international standing of the nation has been jeopardized by the involvement in the illegitimate war and gross abuse of the rights of the suspected terrorists both at home and abroad A shift in policy is needed with the United States embracing multilateralism especially regarding serious issues like terrorism.
Huge costs of war can also be avoided through political settlements. References Alterman, Eric and Mark Green, 2004. The Book on Bush: How George W. Bush (Mis) Leads America. New York: Viking Press. Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 2004. The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership. New York: Basic Books. Carter, Graydon, 2004. What We’ve Lost: How the Bush Administration Has Curtailed Our Freedoms, Mortgaged Our Economy, Ravaged Our Environment, and Damaged Our Standing in the World. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Bivens, Ph. D. , L. Josh, December 14, 2004.
Debt and Dollar. Economic Policy Institute. Dalby, Simon, 2005. Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, and the Bush Doctrine. Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies Working Papers Ambrosias, Lloyd E. , 2006. “Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush: Historical Comparisons of Ends and Means in Their Foreign Policies,” Diplomatic History. Britton, Gregory, 2006. “September 11, American ‘Exceptionalism’, and the War in Iraq,” Australasian Journal of American Studies. Ivo H. Daalder & James M. Lindsay, 2005. America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy.
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