Research PaperDave Wright “Protector of the World: Making Sense out of America’s Military Policing of the World” If one country alone has the ability to control the actions of the world, is it the soleresponsibility of that country to monitor every potential threat to the free-world? At theconclusion of World War Two, the United States rose from the ashes of war-torn Europe andAsia to become the world’s strongest country. In addition to victory, there were no battles foughton American soil, leaving the land and people free from harm. While all of the European andAsian countries rebuilt, America got a head start in becoming the world’s next superpower. Assoon as two years after the end of World War Two, President Harry Truman issued the TrumanDoctrine, effectively commencing the era of American interference we still see today. Trumansaid that “totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression,undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States,”therefore putting all of the responsibility of protecting the world on the United States. Overseventy years later, Americans still preserve the “We are #1” attitude. Since the end of WorldWar Two, America has grown stronger and stronger while also being at the center of everyglobal conflict. Whether Americans like it or not, the United States has become the police, orbully depending how you look at it, of the world. During the Cold War, America fought hard and often to prevent the spread ofCommunism. Now, the only strong communist country remaining in the world is China, yet westill insist on tangling ourselves in with the complex conflicts of several countries. Most peoplein the world want to live in peace, so doesn’t it make sense to have America guard peace from
antagonistic foes by policing every square inch of the earth? Unfortunately it starts to make lessand less sense every time I look at a news headline or a history textbook. The truth is thatAmericans are increasingly finding the role of global cop unappealing. Our outrageous militaryspending has been one of the root causes for recession which is just unreasonable when you lookand see that many of the expenses go to soldiers in first-world countries that are less likely toneed military help than we will. Another unfortunate set-back to America’s global policing is theconsistency of military failures since the United States became a world power. We failed tocomplete or maintain our objectives in Cuba, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, andAfghanistan again. These military failures have created resentment towards the United States andeven Americans in general. Policing the world is just not worth it if it’s costing a fortune anddoesn’t even work most of the time. To make matters worse, politicians seem to make decisionsin foreign military aid based on personal gain, which is evident with our obsession with theMiddle East and our lack of care for many countries that truly need help such as Sudan andSyria. America and its people have to realize that we are not able to sustain the military we havenow based on our economic state and that interfering with other countries end up giving us anegative image. By researching the cost of military foreign aid, the long term effects of it on ourinternational image, and the reasons we choose to wage war in the places do, I hope to seeanswer the question of whether or not America should police the world. It’s an importantquestion to me since I want to live in a more peaceful world where our military intervention isunnecessary. Instead of being in a constant state of war, we should use our power to intervene inthe form of food and medical donations which presents domestic attacks such as 9/11 as a resultof American resentment.
Economic Toll With 1.6 million soldiers at America’s disposal, there is no shortage of monitors in everycorner of the globe. Spread out through one hundred and fifty countries are 512,273 Americantroops (upi.com). At a state of war, that should not be too surprising, but when you dissect thenumber of soldiers in each individual country, you see the mindless waste of American moneyand manpower. Since war wages in the Middle East, a third of all of our deployed troops arestationed there. The other two thirds of the troops are stationed in places that do not need anymilitary intervention such as Germany and Japan. We still occupy bases in those countriesdespite their primary use as initial deployment for a potential WWIII during the Cold War.Armed combat hasn’t been seen in either country since WWII, so Americans are paying extrataxes for soldiers to fight for peace in an already peaceful country where the chances of a soldierdying in training is higher than a soldier dying in battle. Most people have no objections to maintaining world peace through the boasting of theworld’s strongest military, but what is the cost to the economy? If you take all of the moneyspent on military expenditures in the world, the U.S. would hold forty-one percent of it. To putthings into perspective, the next highest percentage of global military expenditures is only eightpercent, belonging to China. Forty percent of the world’s military expenditures translates to 700billion dollars a year. All of this military spending can obviously contribute to the massive debtcrisis the U.S. faces. Despite increases in debt, the price for our military increased as well. Wemay think that we are protecting the world, but in the long run, our country can’t sustain theeconomic toll of paying 700 billion dollars every year. One could argue that cutting militaryspending would result in a mass loss of jobs, but as a politician stated on globalissues.org, “It is
true that discontinuing weapons systems will cause job loss in the short term, but unnecessaryweapons manufacturing should not be considered a jobs program (that would be like spendingbillions of dollars digging holes), and research shows that these jobs can be successfullytransferred to other sectors.” Some people might find it alarming that we can spend billions of dollars to help othercountries while some of our own people suffer just as bad as some of the victims outside ofAmerica’s borders. As Ian Bremmer, founder of the Eurasia Group, said on an NPR article,people of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans may not appreciate that we spend money to aid foreignpeople who have no money or shelter instead of American citizens who have been affected fromnatural disasters for almost seven years. Helping other countries may be morally correct, butwhen American citizens have to pay for it with their livelihood, it’s not the correct thing to do.We should assess our domestic needs before spreading our wealth to the world.War for the Good of Mankind or Profit? People who support war will always justify it by saying that it’s essential for the securityof America or that millions of lives depend on American intervention. When you look at all ofthe wars fought by America since WWII, none of them helped us or hurt the enemy. During theCold War, America was obsessed with putting down any sparks of Communism. Since we werethe newly self-appointed police of the world, we had to save any Democratic governments inperil. Thus, Korea and Vietnam became battlefields where almost 100,000 American lives werelost. Though support for both of those wars was very low at the time, the U.S. governmentjustified the wars by saying they were fighting for Democracy and freedom. Those wars werebelieved by many to be fought for the good of mankind. On the other hand, wars in the Middle
East become a little confusing when people think about why we’re fighting there. Many wonderwhether America can protect the world without going after the needs of the powerful members ofthe country. If the policeman of the world makes improper decisions about who to go after, howcan they be relied upon? The most controversial war in history just saw a reduction in troops after eleven years offighting in Iraq. Controversy clouded this war from the beginning after blaming them forpossessing weapons of mass destruction and 9/11. The strange part about 9/11 was that thebackgrounds of the hijackers were known to the public. They were members of Al-Qaeda frommostly Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden, who was believed to be inAfghanistan. Iraq had little to do with the attacks yet we focused much of our military attentionon it with the accusations of WMDs. George Bush’s justification of the invasion was “that thewar was a war centered on defeating evil and that all countries harboring or supporting terroristswere members of "an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."” (abc-clio.com)Many radical opinions have risen as a result of this shady invasion, including capturing SaddamHussein, the leader of Iraq who George Bush Sr. chose to leave in power by not capturing himduring a previous invasion of Iraq. This theory sees the capture of Saddam as redemption or eventaking a step-ahead on the presidency of Bush Sr. Another reason many believe we are so involved in the Middle East is its vast oil supply.It would be the only logical reason for America’s obsession with the Middle East and itsDemocracy-less countries. There appears to be no gain from having our military presence thereexcept for control of major oil fields. It would be disheartening if there was the sacrificing of lifejust for a natural resource, especially since the Middle East does not provide a majority of the oilAmerica consumes. Conflicts in the Middle East contribute the lack of appeal towards being the
policeman of the world since more bad comes from it than good, yet we keep sacrificing life andmoney for it. Companies that make huge profits as a result of these wars in the Middle East arewar manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. They make billions of dollars in profitbecause of the massive increase in demand for war manufacturing during military conflicts.While they make profits, we now run the risk of experiencing terror attacks similar to 9/11 as aresult of resentment towards American interference. After researching regions of the world where we are policing for the wrong reason, oneshould also reference the areas that need help, but aren’t getting because the only people gaininganything are the people we would help. Areas where a horrid amount of civilians die daily suchas Darfur and Syria are ignored by our military power since no one in America would profit fromthese wars. Ellie Wiesel warned Barrack Obama during a speech the Holocaust Museum thatwhat is occurring in Syria and Darfur is similar to the events of the Holocaust and that theyshould be stopped (newyorker.com). America, who has not been afraid to show off its military inthe rest of the Middle East, has not given much thought to Syria. The story in Syria has beendeveloping over the last couple of months while the genocide in Darfur started as early as 2003.How can the strongest nation in the world let a conflict like Darfur progress for nine years andallow millions of people to be displace and hundreds of thousands killed? With the irresponsibility of whoever chooses the locations of our wars, it’s hard to showconfidence in any choices we make with our military anymore. We either pick horrible places towage war just for the control of oil fields and then neglect countries in peril. It does not makesense to police the world half the time and then leave the rest of the world to fend for itself.Image of America Due to Military Action
So far, policing the world has caused the U.S. its economy, wasted American soldiers’time, and allowed millions of people to suffer at the hands of their own country. It turns out thatmany people see America differently as a result of each war it fights. The U.S. military has seenits ups and many downs since WWII; key ones that changed the international view of America,including Vietnam, the Middle East, and Somalia. Vietnam forever changed the domestic viewsof our military while the Middle East and Somalia show the weaknesses and flaws of our foreignintervening. After Americans found out that the situation in Vietnam was a lot worse than how it wasportrayed by the government, it quickly became an unpopular war. Organized anti-war groupsbegan to sprout up, celebrities were vocally fighting against the war, and many other anti-warsupporters burned their draft cards in protest. Even popular politicians like Senator Robert F.Kennedy at the time believed that Vietnam was an "illusion that we can win a war which theSouth Vietnamese cannot win for themselves. . . . People will not fight to line the pockets ofgenerals. . . ." The senator also worried that the widespread use of firepower to defeat the enemywas killing too many civilians (abc-clio.com). The U.S. would end up pulling the troops out ofVietnam just to watch the South get overrun by the Communist North. Since then Americanshave always questioned the integrity of the government and whether the government is beingtruthful when talking about war. It’s evident by all of the conspiracy theories surrounding theMiddle East today. America’s fate was solidified in the Middle East when we supported the birth of Israel in1948. It was mostly a United Nations effort, but America exclaimed its everlasting support forIsrael and would find itself being at the center of all of the conflicts in the Middle East up totoday. By supporting Israel and the removal of Palestinians from their homes, we became
disliked by the other Muslim Middle Eastern countries. Their hatred for America grows evenstronger daily with our constant presence in not only their home, but in the Muslim holy cities ofMecca and Medina located in Saudi Arabia. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who opposed theinvasion Iraq, asked in an interview how Americans would feel if any other country’s militaryflew planes into our airspace. There would be retaliation, but we don’t think about any foreignforces in our borders; we just think about putting soldiers in other lands. The many people whoused to see America as the leader of fighting for morals now see us as oppressors who constantlydehumanize the locals we are supposed to be helping. There have been many stories about howfrustrated U.S. soldiers have killed local civilians as a sport in addition to humiliating andtorturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. Sometimes it feels like we are intentionallybaiting our enemies just to get a reaction. Now, terror groups in the Middle East have taken theirresentment of America and consistently threaten the safety of thousands of Americans withpotential terrorist attacks. Another stagnant military situation was the attempted overthrow of the Somaliangovernment in 1993 as a result of the head of Somalia using starvation as a weapon against hisopposition in the country. The U.S. brought in the Special Forces who were eventually defeatedby local militias. The U.S. wanted to use its power and any military momentum from a victory inthe Persian Gulf in 1991 to save the millions of people suffering from starvation under the handsof their ruler. A defeat of the strongest nation’s most elite soldiers brought much ridicule andcriticism from people who began to question America’s responsibility as policeman of the world. The inability to defeat the opposition forces that were deemed weaker than us resulted inthe questioning of whether or not America can even handle policing the world. Not only isAmerica creating some these wars for the wrong reasons, they are losing them. If America
actually fights for the correct moral reasons, it should be held responsible to defeating theenemy.Narrative Conclusion After researching the history of America’s foreign relations, I found that the cost ofpolicing the world far outweighs any good it does. When the military gets involved, lives arelost, the economy takes a heavy toll, and long term relationships with other countries becomestrained. The U.S. should just stay out of the business of hostile countries and provide aid in theform of food and medicine to prevent the deaths of innocent people. Either they do that or takeresponsibility in the military mistakes the U.S. has committed and pull out of all of the countriesthat don’t need military intervention. Then America can focus on toppling the evil governmentsof countries like Sudan and Syria. Whether or not America polices the world or not affects everyAmerican because the wrong decisions of our military could result in retaliation in the form ofkilling Americans. The research for this paper came from many databases on the lib guides site. They werevery helpful compared to just googling everything. While setting up all of the many differentwebsites may have been time consuming, the end result probably ended up being better becauseof it. The most helpful method of obtaining information was relying on myself to find differentsources in databases. Sites like Scoop.It and RSS Feeds did not help me as much as they weresupposed to. It could be due to my unfamiliarity with the more complex methods of dataretrieval. Once I got into the pattern of doing a daily blog and finishing the set-ups of thedifferent web sources, it was easy getting into the actual paper. It turned out being simpler than Ioriginally thought.
Unfortunately, I had a very cynical view towards America’s foreign policy, but that wasdictated by the research I did. It’s always interesting to take other people’s views and incorporatethem a little in your on writing. What this paper does for my writing and thinking is forcing meto think outside of the normal boundaries that I usually write papers in. Because of the length, Ihave to get background information on several subtopics and question. In other words, it gets meto think out of the box. I’ve only done a couple of papers of this magnitude grade-wise or length-wise, so they are a challenge every time I write one. I can tell that it impacts my writing andthinking process positively, so it makes the time consumption worth while every time.
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