Ideologies have shaped the way that countries have dealt with each other. In history, the relationship of the United States with Russia has been exemplified by the discourse of democracy against communism. The war against Afghanistan and Iraq is also a manifestation of the reaction of the United States against the ideologies espoused by these two countries, which have been branded as terrorist countries. Ideology does not only shape the government of a country, it also shapes the different policies adopted by the country to deal with different issues and challenges that it faces.
Naturally, this set of policies affected by ideology includes that of foreign policy. Hunt’s Take on American Foreign Policy Michael H. Hunt deals with the difficulties and what he has called a “slippery subject”—that of American Foreign Policy and the role of ideology in this area of government. Hunt’s approach is historical in that he looks back to as early the eighteenth century and he chronicled the rise to power of the United States and how the ideology of the country was shaped by the processes that it underwent.
In particular, the foreign policy of the United States underwent a process that defined it and led it to where it is today. According to Hunt (1987, p. 19), the United States’ foreign policy developed as a result of the evolution of the concept of national mission and its role to the world. Religion has something to do with this development. In addition to this, there had been an aversion to social revolutions. From the eighteenth century, the development in the thinking and in the society of the United States has contributed to this. Race also played a role in the development of the ideology of the US concerning foreign policy.
There had been a tendency to rely on the conception of a hierarchy of races and up to a certain degree, the US saw itself at the helm and leading people towards the realization of their potentials and achieving their goals. The author also delved on the concept of liberty and how it has pervaded the American mind. His approach in studying this is mostly suggestive. Due to the author’s careful examination of facts and elaboration of events and their importance, he deftly helps people understand why American foreign policy has been very antagonistic to communism and to anything that seem to undermine personal and social liberty.
Hunt also discusses several other perspectives in analyzing US foreign policy and in the process establishes his own. William Appleman Williams looked more at the side of economics as it impinges on the ideology of foreign policy. On the other hand, George Kennan contrasted the moral underpinnings of foreign policy and contrasted this with the realist approach. His analysis led him to conclude that these two approaches do have their merits. On the whole, however, they are inadequate to explain the current trends and situation of United States foreign policy ideology.
United States’ Foreign Policy The foreign policy ideology of the United States rests upon three interconnected pillars—the promotion of liberty in other countries and regions all over the world. This kind of policy could not imagine a society in which an individual’s freedoms and liberties are not assured. The second pillar relates to the way in which the United States view other countries and societies on a hierarchy based on race. Its approach then is something short of condescension.
Lastly, the United States does not support social revolutions. These three pillars as explained by Hunt help explain the different position taken by the United States in the past. When this model is applied in an analysis of the Vietnam War and the Reagan Doctrine, it makes perfect sense. Although Hunt’s book was written in 1987, it still has much to offer to this present generation. Especially because the issues faced by the United States back then have their echoes in contemporary times.
The Vietnam War is over but what Bush called “The War Against Terror,” particularly directed against Afghanistan and Iraq is still ongoing. The three pillars he used in analyzing American foreign policy offers much to present students of international politics in analyzing present-day political issues and squabbles. Conclusion American foreign policy is not a random occurrence depending on the whims and wishes of the President. Rather, the ideology behind most of the policies being adopted by the country has its roots in history.
More than that, when these roots are looked at and analyzed, it becomes clear that the ideology that shaped US foreign policy is still very much at work in the world today. Hunt’s analysis of the ideology of US’ foreign policy helps contribute to a better understanding of global processes and international conflict. Although much have changed since Hunt wrote his book, much of what he has written still apply today and still helpful for any serious student of international politics. Reference Hunt, M. H. (1987). Ideology and U. S. Foreign Policy. Yale University Press.
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