Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy

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The history of American foreign policy features numerous episodes that motivated statesmen to change some of the aspects of policies radically. Different approaches and grand theories can be accepted and rejected in a matter of a few months. Nevertheless, it is crucial for the whole nation to identify the issues which undermine the effectiveness of the current system. The paper seeks to investigate three major topics that should be thoroughly revised.

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Terrorism in America has long been associated with foreign extremist groups. Terrorist attacks are still mostly associated with foreigners that were trained in the Middle East. Nevertheless, the government has been quite efficient in implementing policies that prevent people and organizations that may be connected to jihadism from entering the US. However, the same cannot be said about other types of terrorism, which have become a serious threat in the past decade. Although it is impossible to compare the current scale of terrorist attacks with that of the 1970s, the trend itself raises numerous questions concerning society’s polarization and the policies’ efficiency.

The abundance of information on different issues and ideologies on the Internet leads to the creation of a type of terrorism that is extremely hard to detect. Bergen and Sterman (2018) note that the rising populism and terrorist organizations’ growing power make it difficult to identify potential threats, as an increasing number of people who possess guns show their discontent. The issue should be addressed as soon as possible, and a number of steps should be taken to prevent the spread of extremist materials.

American foreign policy has undergone serious changes since Donald Trump became president. Some experts believe that this leader makes the right decisions that are needed in the world, which is increasingly neglecting globalism as the only way to prosperity and sustainability. The US has used multiple opportunities to change the world since WWII. Such efforts finally led to creating the world system which is beneficial for the country, as other nations (mainly, American allies) prospered and began to trade with the US. Nevertheless, Brands (2017) provides evidence that most of the efforts to enhance globalization just made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of the US disappeared. That is the way Trump sees the issue and tries to promote his approach.

It is true that the economy of the US no longer represents a quarter of global GDP like it used to in the 1990s and that China now challenges the US economic dominance. Nevertheless, the US has benefited immensely from finally establishing the world system it desired. Mexico, Germany, and Japan rely on America, and it may even seem that America should review the basis for its relationships with such states. However, not all benefits can be measured with just a few economic indicators. The US has been using its soft power as a vital tool in foreign policy. Most of America’s truly reliable allies are democratic states with highly globalized economies. The efforts which helped to create current alliances should not be undermined because of some economic misunderstandings.

America emerged as the only superpower in the 1990s, mainly due to its position as the Western world’s moral leader and “global champion of democracy and human rights” (Brands, 2017, p. 18). The values which are now generally accepted by most nations as the cornerstone of a flourishing society were promoted by the US by all means. Brands (2017) claims that the US should not neglect its multi-generational project aimed at shaping a stable, open world. Distancing from such heritage in favor of more vivid tools and economic pragmatism may turn out to be not as strategic as it seems to be even if the world expects the decline of globalism.

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Bergen, P., & Sterman, D. (2018). The real terrorist threat in America. Foreign Affairs. Web.

Brands, H. (2017). The unexceptional superpower: American grand strategy in the age of Trump. Survival, 59(6), 7–40. Web.

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DemoEssays. (2022, February 21). Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy. Retrieved from


DemoEssays. (2022, February 21). Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy.

Work Cited

"Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy." DemoEssays, 21 Feb. 2022,


DemoEssays. (2022) 'Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy'. 21 February.


DemoEssays. 2022. "Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy." February 21, 2022.

1. DemoEssays. "Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy." February 21, 2022.


DemoEssays. "Major Topics in the History of American Foreign Policy." February 21, 2022.