A Brief Introduction about the growth of the USA as a Superpower Essay
A Brief Introduction about the growth of the USA as a Superpower
After the end of World War-II, two allies the USA and the erstwhile USSR fought bitterly for supremacy. The power struggle between these countries witnessed the involvement of more nations, which started a cold war. Ideologically, the USA and the USSR were completely different. While the USA was a capitalist country, the USSR was a communist nation. This ideological difference was one of the prime reasons for the conflict between these two major powers as the USA always fought against communism. Cold War, which started in 1945, ended with the disintegration of USSR.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, there was no competitor left to challenge the USA. The power and influence of the USA grew further and it became the unchallenged superpower. There was no other country that could match the USA in terms of military, economic and political strength. As a major donor to the United Nations, it gained the authority in all-important matters. The first display of the power of the USA came in 1990-91 in the Gulf War. Protesting against the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the USA and its allies attacked Iraq. The attack got the approval of the United Nations.
The US attack was spearheaded by then President George Bush Senior. Ultimately, the war ended with the complete withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Gulf War demonstrated the power and influence of the USA in the global arena and it opened a new chapter in the world history. Bill Clinton succeeded George Bush Senior as the President of the USA. Under his rule, there were significant developments in the US policies and it played a major role in finding a solution to most of the conflicting issues like Palestine issue and Indo-Pak conflict. George W Bush as the President of the USA
After Bill Clinton’s term expired, George W Bush, son of the former President George Bush Senior, became the President of the USA in 2001. Prior to his Presidency, he served as the Governor of the Texas. He was always known for his conservative and hard-core policies, which earned him a lot of reputation. His election to the highest office of the Unites States was certain to bring major changes in the US policy towards to rest of the world. After taking the reigns of a great nation, Bush concentrated on internal issues to build a new strong and prosperous nation, which can stand against the odds.
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Nation building was his first priority and he took certain measures on Security, Education, Health and welfare schemes to provide equal opportunities to all Americans. As a Republican, it was expected that George Bush will follow different yardsticks and will reverse the policies implemented by his predecessor Bill Clinton, a Democrat. It was feared that foreign policy of the USA will be changed and some countries might face the wrath of the USA for not following the principles set by it. But it was never expected that Bush would influence the geo-political situation in the world to such a great extent.
9/11, Attack on WTC The fateful morning of September 11, 2001 brought a significant change in the world politics. Two US Airline Planes hijacked by the terrorists hit the WTC towers in New York City. The explosion rocked not only the USA, but also the whole world. Initially, nobody understood what happened. But within minutes it was clear that terrorists successfully attacked the most powerful nation in the world, making a dent in its strong security system. Thousands of people died as the twin towers were razed to the ground. Another plane hit the Pentagon, which is the defence headquarter of the USA.
A fourth plane which was supposed to hit the White House was crashed near Shanksville. Planes hitting the WTC tower and flames coming out of the building were telecasted all over the world. This incident shook the basic foundation of the Unites States of which it always boasted. Surprisingly, there was no trace of President George Bush during such a crisis. The whole world was looking for him to know his reaction. But he was busy in a school in Florida in a photo-op. At a later stage, he was criticised heavily for his failure to react to the tragedy immediately. “The attack was the most lethal ever experienced by the USA.
Official death toll was almost 3000, which was the highest casualty in the US history. September 11 attack was the most significant in the history of the world. It changed the world in terms of economic, social and military aspects and the one man who took the charge to declare a war against terrorism was President George W Bush. ” Reeling under criticism for his delayed response to such a tragedy, President Bush addressed the nation exactly 12 hours after the attacks were carried out. He declared, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.
These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. ” With this, he declared a war on terrorism and urged the world to join him. Al Qaeda hand in the WTC Attack The investigation made by the US Intelligence Bureau revealed that the terrorists who carried out the attacks were Arab nationals and the militant group ‘Al Qaeda’ which was headed by Osama Bin Laden trained them. Osama Bin Laden was exiled from Saudi Arabia and was living in Afghanistan, which was ruled by the Taliban Militia. He had developed a good rapport with the Taliban and Pakistan’s Secret Service, ISI.
“Ironically, it was the same Laden who received full support from the USA to fight against the Soviet troops during the Cold War when Afghanistan was occupied by the USSR. The USA provided military and financial support to the groups headed by Bin Laden and Taliban, which indulged in guerrilla fighting. But within a decade, situation became completely different. Laden and the fundamentalists who supported him were angered by the US support to Israel over Palestine issue and economic sanctions imposed by the USA against Iraq and Afghanistan.
US policies towards Iraq and other Islamic countries made them believe that the USA is the worst enemy of the Muslims. Such hatred feelings made them declare a ‘Jihad’ (Holy War) against the United States. ” Analysis of the relationship between the Taliban and Al Qaeda “The USA warned the Taliban several times in the past against harbouring the terrorists on its soil. When the Taliban did not heed to its advice, the then Clinton administration imposed tough economic sanction against Afghanistan. After George Bush came to power, he extended the sanctions against Taliban for its continuing support to the terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
This angered the Islamic militants further and they made strategies to cause more damage to the United States. ” In the words of Robert Baer, “Terrorist campaigns aren’t directed just against the enemy. They are campaigns of recruitment as well, and by demonizing bin Laden, by holding him up as the master-mind of the attacks and as the arch-enemy, we have assured that the disillusioned, the angry, the desperate young men of the Muslim world will flock to his cause, whether he’s dead or alive to lead it. And yes, there are more men like that than we could ever count. “
After the September 11 attack, the USA realised that it has to take strong measures to tackle with terrorists who found a safe haven in Afghanistan. It is the USA, which is completely responsible for the growth of ‘Taliban’ and ‘Al Qaeda’ in Afghanistan. To weaken the Soviet Union, it always provided financial and military support to these groups. But at the later stage, they emerged as the dangerous enemies of the USA. The Taliban controlled 90 per cent of Afghanistan and was advancing to control the rest of the areas, which were controlled by its rival groups. The growing influence of the Taliban became a major concern for the US.
War against Taliban and Osama Bin Laden The USA asked the Taliban to stop harbouring terrorists, destroy all the terrorist camps and hand over the dreaded militants including Osama Bin Laden to the US administration. As expected, Taliban refused to yield to the pressure of the United States and vowed to fight back if the USA attacks Afghanistan. On its war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the USA made some surprise alliances. Russia, against whom the USA used the Taliban, joined the USA on its assault against the same forces. Two former Soviet countries, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also joined the USA.
India, which was bitten by the diplomacy of the Taliban in the Kandahar hijack issue, offered its unconditional support to the United States. It was decided that while the US and Russia will fight the Taliban from the front with the help of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, India and Iran will play the role of “facilitator” by offering logistic support to the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan which always fought against the Taliban rule. The US held meetings and consultations with Russian and Indian delegations to make a clear-cut strategy on the war against the Taliban.
The Northern Alliance led by Ahmed Shah Masood had a strong base in the Panjsher valley. India supplied high warfare equipments and provided tactical advice to Ahmed Shah Masood in the operation against the Taliban. Finally, the USA started bombarding the terrorist camps and key Taliban installations in Afghanistan. Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan joined the USA in the operation. While the USA continued its assault in the Taliban controlled areas, the Northern Alliance made its advance from the frontier. The US attack on Afghanistan has created a new problem for the neighbouring countries Pakistan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
Thousands of refugees from Afghanistan tried to cross the borders. When these countries closed their borders fearing a heavy refugee exodus, it led to a refugee crisis in South Asia. As the war gets thicker, the power and strength of the Taliban Militia waned. Either they surrendered, got killed or hide in the mountains. Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Omar and Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden went into hiding. The Northern Alliance backed by the US reached Kabul and captured the city. Though the Taliban fighters made a retreat into the hills, they continued their guerrilla warfare.
To counter their attack, the US troops engaged in the cleansing operation and searched though every village and corners to drag out the Taliban fighters. The battles of Tora Bora and Shah-I-Kot have seen the Taliban forces and Al Qaeda completely routed and running for safer places. Though the Taliban and Al Qaeda were routed, it did not show any seriousness to capture their leaders Mulla Mohammad Omar and Osama Bin Laden. As these leaders were not captured, it gave the USA enough reason to say that it had to stay in Afghanistan to stop the regrouping of Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.
The Bush administration was always seen as a war-mongering one. It always tried to display its military and economic strength to the world in order to become a supreme power. It was believed that the 9/11 attacks were just used an excuse to implement its own political agenda and establish its control over all parts of the world. The USA had two rival powers, Russia and China. To resist these countries from advancing further and to keep a close watch on their movements, it needed a strong base in South Asia, from where it will be easy to monitor both the countries at the same time.
Opportunity came in the form of 9/11 and Bush lost no time in seizing it. George Bush proved himself as a shrewd diplomat. By attacking the Taliban, he succeeded in curbing the dissent at home and at the same time he expanded the US military base abroad. By declaring a war on terrorism, he garnered support from the countries like Russia, India and others who were facing the menace of terrorism for a long time. He successfully exploited the public sentiments aftermath of 9/11 to fulfil global economic and military aims of American imperialism. The Bush Doctrine
Under the leadership of George Bush, the USA changed its military doctrine from a policy of deterrence into a strategy of striking at the countries that threaten its interests. This doctrine, called as the ‘Bush Doctrine’ was formally adopted by the USA in September 2002. The US military and political community always considered adopting the idea of pre-emptive strikes. The Bush Doctrine has made it possible now. It was mentioned clearly that the USA would no longer allow any country to question the US military supremacy, as it happened during the Cold War era.
The doctrine emphasised that the USA has the responsibility to maintain peace in the world by suppressing the rogue countries and terrorists. It also clearly stated that the US would never compromise on its national interests. It is believed beyond doubt that George Bush started implementing the new military doctrine even before it was officially adopted. It began before 9/11 and the terrorist attacks strengthened his hands to make it official. Bush’s Iraq Policy The USA for decades intended to play an active role in the Gulf Region. It eyed the huge oil fields in the Iraq, which will boost its economy.
Bush also felt it necessary to build up a permanent base in the Gulf region to tackle the Islamic countries like Iran and Syria and curb the Islamic fundamentalism against the USA. According to some startling revelations, George Bush planned to invade Iraq to ensure a regime change even before assuming power in January 2001. After being elected as the President of the USA, his first priority was to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. As a continuation of American policy, George Bush enforced economic sanctions against Iraq and also forced the UN to do so.
The United Nations imposed stringent economic sanction against Iraq to bring it to the negotiating table and to make the Saddam regime co-operate with the UN Inspectors as a process of disarmament. Gulf War-II “The first thing Bush did was to win the support of a major power, Britain. Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair offered unconditional support to the USA in its plan for a regime change in Iraq. To settle the unresolved Iraq issue, Bush tried to influence the United Nations to muster full support of all the major countries in the world.
To substantiate his claim for action against Iraq, he told the world that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction and they should be destroyed completely. ” The USA tried to make the UN believe that Iraq had deadly chemical and biological weapons. The UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution (1441) to disarm Iraq. Under pressure from the United Nations, Saddam Hussein agreed to allow UN observers to search for weapons of mass destruction and destroy them. With Iraq accepting the UN Security Council resolution, special UN observers arrived in Iraq in November 2002 and began their work.
A fortnight later, Iraq provided a 12,000-page declaration of its WMD programme. “The declaration maintained that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. For four months, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and U. N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) searched extensively for the WMDs, but could not come up with any evidence to support the USA claim that Iraq possesses such deadly weapons. ” But the Bush administration was not ready to believe this. It pointed towards some sources to suggest that Iraq was still continuing its weapons programme secretly.
It cited several instances where Iraq had reportedly carried out tests on chemical and biological weapons. It is still unclear where the US got such reports. But these reports helped Bush to mislead the world on Iraq. The USA and the UK joined hands to use force against Iraq. To further strengthen their point, they declared that Iraq had links with the terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, which masterminded the 9/11 attack. It was not easy to get UN Security Council’s nod to attack a sovereign country arbitrarily. But Saddam’s stubbornness and unwillingness to agree to the demands of the UN made their job easier.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had a tough attitude towards the west. He suppressed his rivals ruthlessly. Thousands of people were killed during Saddam’s rule. Mass graves discovered after the war revealed about the atrocities carried out by him and his troops. On 17 March 2003, George Bush demanded that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his two sons Uday and Qusay leave Iraq within the 48-hour deadline. Saddam Hussein was quick to denounce the US deadline. The next day US office spokesperson announced that the US would invade Iraq whether Saddam Hussein leaves or not.
After the expiry of 48-hour deadline, Bush ordered to launch the attack on the key targets of Iraq. The coalition forces comprising of the USA and the UK invaded Iraq with ground and air strikes. Iraq fought back bravely with Saddam addressing the Iraqi people, “Those who are believers will be victorious. In these decisive days, the enemy tried not using missiles and fighter jets as they did before. This time they sent their infantry troops. This time they have come to invade and occupy your land. ” After three weeks of intense fight, the Saddam regime in Baghdad collapsed and Saddam and his key aides disappeared from the city.
The coalition forces led by the USA captured Baghdad and Bush announced the ‘freedom’ for the Iraqi people. After the collapse of Saddam regime, there was anarchy all over Iraq. Looting and theft took place in large numbers. It was a tough task for the Bush administration to bring the situation under control. It had to restore peace and normalcy and rebuild the war-ravaged nation which was its own doing. Later Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay were killed and Saddam was captured. A democratically elected government was formed in Iraq. But the war against the US forces continued by the fundamentalist groups.
After the defeat of Saddam Hussein, the USA and other UN agencies searched every part of Iraq to locate the so-called “weapons of mass destructions”. But they could not find a single piece of such weapons. It became clear to the world that the WMDs never existed. When asked why the US went into war in Iraq, Bush said, “He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction and could have passed this knowledge to our terrorist enemies. ” Most of the members of the Security Council and the UN Secretary General himself, strongly opposed the US attack on Iraq.
For instance, French President Jacques Chirac said that an attack “could only be justified if it were decided on by the Security Council,” and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder said there would be no support in Germany for a strike “without approval of the United Nations. ” It was believed that the USA violated the International law by attacking Iraq without the approval of UN Security Council. But defying the international mood, George Bush attacked Iraq causing chaos and devastation. He forced the country into a civil war, which is still going on.
Surprisingly, neither the UN nor the anti-war groups in the world could take any action against the global hegemony of the USA. George Bush successfully manoeuvred the situation and was sworn in for a second term in 2005, proving all his critics wrong. Michael Byers, Associate Professor at Duke University of Law commented on the Bush Doctrine, “The policy was aimed at ‘effectively closing down dangerous regimes before they become imminent threats’ and thus represented a usurpation of the Security Council’s role in global affairs. ” US Mediation in the Middle East Peace Process “Middle East was a part of Bush’s foreign policy.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine was a stumbling block for the peace and prosperity in the Middle East region. For years, the USA supported Israel in its crusade against the Palestinians. Initially, Bush showed no interest to facilitate the peace process to find a peaceful settlement to the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, later he realised that the USA had to play a bigger role to stay active in the region. ” Palestine leader, Yasser Arafat was a stubborn man and he did not intend to make any concession to Israel. As a result, all the dialogues between the two parties failed without any conclusion.
However, the situation took an interesting turn with the death of Yasser Arafat. A new moderate government under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas assumed power in Palestine. Bush found it easy to deal with the new incumbent and he prevailed on Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon to withdraw troops from the controversial Gaza Strip, which was seen as a revolutionary step for the peace in the region. Economic Policy of George Bush Economy was always in Bush’s mind to make America stronger and more powerful on the world forum. Two goals have guided Bush administration’s economic policy, i. e.
, increasing economic growth and improving economic stability. The economic impact of 9/11 attacks has made the goals more challenging for George Bush. President Bush emphasised on three factors, i. e. , military, political and economic progress. The US economy was the largest in the world and it always influenced the decisions at the UN and IMF by providing the maximum financial support to these bodies. “The importance of international economic policy increased under Bush Doctrine. It was visible when Bush ordered to block all the financial accounts of the terrorist groups in the United States to cut off their main supply line.
” Impact of the Bush Doctrine on the geo-political scenario of the world “Bush Doctrine changed the geo-political situation of the world to a great extent. Bush was always condemned as shrewd, warmonger and an oppressor by the world community. He displayed the might of the USA to the world at the cost of agony and suffering of the innocent people. People of America may have forgiven him by electing him for a second term, but history will never forgive him for his high-handedness and stubbornness, which devastated Afghanistan and Iraq beyond repair.
” Bush’s arrogant and egoistic approach was seen in his statement after 9/11, “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. ” If we analyse the chronologies starting from Afghanistan to Iraq, it can be easily concluded that Bush played with the lives of innocent people for his personal gains and to settle the scores with his rivals. He always tried to show the world that nobody could ignore the United States even if the issue was related to the internal affairs of any country.
He shattered the UN policy of non-interference in the internal matter of any sovereign nation. In the whole process, his action has raised serious questions on the necessity and validity of the United Nations, which became a mere puppet in the hands of the Unites States. His policies towards Afghanistan, Taliban, Iraq and Palestine clearly proved that he had a single point agenda, i. e. , to fulfil his personal ambitions by playing the role of Global Police. The consequences of the attack on Afghanistan and Iraq are visible from the causalities reported from those countries every alternate day.
The destruction and chaos in these countries are far from over. One man who is responsible for this human tragedy is George W Bush. History will always remember George Bush for his destructive doctrine, which was written on the bloods of the innocent people. Bibliography BOOKS Ali, Tariq. Bush In Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq. New York: Verso, 2003. Aronowitz, Stanley; and Heather Gautney, Ed. Implicating Empire: Globalization & Resistance in the 21st Century World Order. New York: Basic Books/Perseus Books, 2003. Carroll, James. Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2004.
Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2003. Clarke, Richard. Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror. New York: Free Press, 2004. Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. New York: Penguin Press, 2004. Everest, Larry. Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U. S. Global Agenda. ME: Common Courage Press, 2004. Khalidi, Rashid. Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East.
Beacon, 2004. Nojumi, Neamatollah. The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, and the Future of the Region. New York: Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 2001. INTERNET SOURCES Keen, Judy. “Strain of Iraq war showing on Bush, those who know him say. ” USA TODAY. 02 April 2003. 01 June 2005 <http://www. usatoday. com/news/washington/2003-04-01-bush-cover_x. htm>. Shah, Anup. “The Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive Strikes; A Global Pax Americana”. Global Issues. 24 April 2004. 01 June 2005 <http://www. globalissues. org/Geopolitics/Empire/Bush. asp>.