Does the US really have a Foreign Policy?

I’m no expert on history, but near as I can tell the last time the US had a foreign policy it was in WWII. Then followed the less clear “stop communism” phase and now we’re more or less making it up as we go along. One year, we’re sending weapons to build up our buddy in Iraq; next year we’re bombing the evil forces of Saddam.
Throughout all of this is our intelligence agency, the CIA who seemed caught by surprise by the fall of the Soviet Union, stunned by Saddam’s aggression, fooled by the Balkan three-card monty tricks. What use are they any way?
We sell our secrets openly then scream when someone actually buys them. Who’s in charge of this three ring circus?

American foreign policy is known for being somewhat … how shall I put it … flexible. Here’s a few reasons why this is so.

Democracy - Unlike in a dictatorship, where one man can speak for an entire nation, in the US there is a President and several hundred Congressmen each with their own viewpoint. And behind them are several million citizens with theirs.

Elections - We have a new Presidency every four or eight years. New Senators every six years. New Representatives every two years. So the cast of people making foreign policy is constantly changing.

Seperation of Powers - Unlike in a parliamentary system, our Government has seperate legislative and executive branchs. So there are always at least two sources trying to originate foreign policy.

Institutions - In addition to Congress and the President, there are a number of governmental institutions that have a say in foreign affairs. The State Department is a main one obviously, but there is also the Commerce Department, the military, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, the Justice Department and other law enforecment agencies, and various regulatory agencies. Each of these institutions has its own agenda, which may conflict with those of the others.

The media - Why not? They get blamed for so much else. But the US does have a large and vocal number of media outlets which means that a number of different viewpoints get raised in the public conscious.

Our size - The US is essentially the biggest kid in the sandbox. There are virtually no areas on Earth where we don’t either have some interest or which has an interest in us. So we can’t focus on single regions or issues like smaller countries can.

Yes we have a policy:We are the champions of the world.

Sven and Ole’s pizza, Grand Marais

In short: Yes we have a Foreign Policy.
The fact that it changes direction quicker and more often than a weathervane in a Texas twister confuses the hell out of our neighbors.

In addition to all the things Mike brought up, I’d add our Nation’s chronic shortsightedness and quick-fix mentality.
We’re always searching for the 10-minute solution that fit’s conveniently in between commercial breaks and boosts the Polls in the favor of whichever party is currently occupying the majority or the Oval Office.
Let a Superbowl get interrupted with breaking news from anywhere, and I guarantee you that the missiles will be flying before the half time show, and the Airborne And other Rapid Deployment Forces will be on the airplane by the end of the game.
We want it all, and we want it NOW!

“How dare those Serbs interrupt our talking iguana beer commercials!”

I kind of like the direction this thread is taking, basing US foreign policy on Queen songs. I’d like to suggest that before we employ the Another One Bites the Dust policy, maybe we should consider the implications of A Nation of Haircuts, lest we see the All Dead scenario. We’ll always have our Fight from the Inside dissidents, but I think the majority supports crossing the Seven Seas of Rhye, in order to save some innocent Mustapha Ibrahim, if in the end we can see how our actions might Stop All the Fighting. Of course, we can’t go too far being the world’s police force; Too Much Love Will Kill You.

Stone Cold Crazy

I’m out of Queen lyrics. But we could use the Microsoft foreign policy:apply different standards to each country.
The Al Gore policy may have failed:he claimed no two countries with McDonalds operating there would go to war against each other.

First, I wanna say your trolling and that your an idiot, second IMHO this thread belongs in the debate forum. Now thats done we can adddress the problem at hand.

First, the US doesn’t, hasn’t, and never will have A foreign policy. We practice foreign policies, and deal with foreign affairs, but saying we have A foreign policy is implying that we have some sort of prime directive that governs our actions. Its just not true and not practical to have one.

Next, the congress does not work to create foreign policy, or deal with it in any way. The President and certain members of his cabinet deal with foreign affairs, the only outside influence is media pressure, and in that same vein congressmen and representitives who may make a statement of opinion.

Third, anyone who gets pissed at a president for changing his policy based on the media is a fucking moron. The fact is the voice of the media (from both citizens, and political figures) is effectively what the country wants to do. If you critisize the Pres. for listening to what the people say they want then you sure as hell are not an American. This is not to say that the media is always right, but the Pres is expected to at least listen to them.

I’m sick of hearing this idiotic Iran/Iraq arguement. The US was consistent in its policy. Iran was arrgessive and terrorists and they wanted to conquor lands, so we supported Iraq in order to keep American lives out of the way. Then years later Iraq decided to be assholes so we then had to stop them, but this time it was not realistic to simply support Kuwait, so we had to jump in with force. Fact is we were trying to keep stability and stop aggression in both cases. The main reason is for the oil, but thats a good reason, money make the world go round. So the fact is that we were consistant in our policy, whats wrong with that?

We have a consistant foreign policy, stop aggression, keep stablity. These benefit us economically, so don’t act like we have some superiority (big bully) motives that just make us feel tough. We use vastly different methods to impliment change and stop aggression depending on what method will work the best. Sometimes we use economic sanctions, sometimes we arm people, sometimes we use our force, sometimes we use bargaining and mediation, but always to the same ends.

Finally get your head out of you ass before you start bashing your country without any facts, and if you just like to be negative and stir up contraversy (something Americans without a real cause seem to do) then don’t waste my time and space doing it.

The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw…

Omniscient; BAG