Culture plays a crucial role in molding national ambitions. Western countries, including the US, usually perceive diplomacy in terms of personalities and events. A conventional view holds that a foreign policy can be driven by economic, as well as strategic interest. Since the end of WWII, the US has been engaging quite deeply in the world politics in its attempts to support its national interests. American troops are dispersed all over the globe on peacekeeping missions while its international financial system attracts all forms of investors to the country. It is through the cultural factors that the US manages to interact with other countries in the world, in addition to designing its foreign policy.
Cultural factors have helped in explaining America’s interactions with other countries in the globe. Many Americans believe that exposing their culture to other people can assist in shaping their culture and, consequently, embrace the American culture. They believe that other countries should adopt the US value, in addition to democratic institutions. American culture revolves around democratic theory, which purports that a polity should enable citizens to be aware of public affairs and to influence leaders to make the correct policy decisions (Wiarda and Skelley 50). The US leadership offer support to other nations that embrace its culture as a way of influencing its culture globally.
Cases of Desert Storm, and US-Afghan War, represent culture clash, where other countries fail to honor American interests. Sometimes what the US endeavors to explain to the world may not on its favor since it might be ill conceived. For instance, the Iraqi War did not gain support from the American citizens, although President Bush claimed to be protecting the American citizens who reside in the Middle East, in addition to fighting global terrorism. Countries that illegally possess nuclear weapons become the enemies of the US because the US holds value towards human life. The 9/11 attacks was an attack against the Western culture, which the US is part of it. The commonality of interests seemed to lack as unambiguous factors in the formulation and implementation of the American foreign policy (Gershman, et al. 21).
Most foreign policies in the US are dictated by domestic factors. It is through the public exercise of culture that the US manages its foreign policy. A true foreign policy cannot exist without safeguarding the national interests, since the country should seek to build lasting relationships with countries that shares its culture. Although most American citizens have little knowledge on foreign policy decisions, public opinions count on how American leaders should perceive foreign policy. This can be tested through American citizens’ voting behavior. Citizens usually reward, or punish their leaders, through voting process, and according to their perceptions on foreign policies. President George Bush senior failed to capture the presidency for the second term due to focusing excessively on foreign policy and being restrictive on domestic affairs.
The US has endeavored to exercise its culture through its foreign policy. Decisions to support countries that practice democracy and failing to support communist countries are illustrations of American culture. Perhaps the US should work on aligning its political desires with the public opinion while drafting foreign policy. In as much as America is trying to influence its culture to other countries in the name of protecting its interests, it should apply more effort on protecting its citizens in their own country. The rights and welfare of the global population surpass the interests of the American population, thus, the American foreign policy should focus on enhancing globalization.
Gershman, Carl, et al. “America’s Purpose and Role in a Changed World.” World Affairs 177.1 (2014): 18-50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 September 2014.
Wiarda, Howard J, and Esther M. Skelley. The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: The Effects of a Divided America. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.