The US Foreign Policy
A principal function of the American government is to manage favorable relations with other governmental and non-governmental actors in the international relations milieu. US foreign policy was structured in order to achieve the certain goals such as to pursue the security and defense of the country and to safeguard and project America’s national interests and values all over the globe.
This PhD thesis seeks to examine the topic of US Foreign Policy. One of the important aspects of this study is the emphasis on accepting United States being still a superpower as a fact or not. By comprehensively researching the USA economic, military capacity, Relational power and other impressive factors as well, it will be questioned whether the USA is still the world’s dominant superpower or not. Then the research will address to the question about the main priorities of US foreign policy, which American government continually focuses on them for provision its national interests and values. Then the most hazardous actors and other elements to US modern interests will be determine, and study that which of them can be presumed the most dangerous threat to US national goals. The next problem which will be applied is the main contradictions amid the Sino-US-Russian triangle corners, the situation of each member of this isosceles triangle, and the meaning of the North Korean issue in this confrontation. This research project will investigate thoroughly the US strategy in Transatlantic Relations and analyze its strategic options in detail. Finally PhD thesis will examine the US foreign policy in the Middle East and its geostrategic goals in the Post-Soviet space.
A plethora of methods such as extensive investigation of archival and academic materials, application of approaches of theoretical to foreign policy, internet survey and follow up interviews will be used to address the research questions. The study will also require a great deal of documentary research, the publications of the media.
This project seeks to provide readers with a thorough understanding of American foreign relations through the explaining of the key elements of US foreign policy. I am therefore proposing to undertake a study to try and shed some light on the way of the main factors which shaped US foreign policy such as, perception about US is still a superpower or not, the major priorities of American foreign policy, the most dangerous elements in the international relations realm to US modern interests, its strategy and diplomacy toward other the most prominent powers such as Russia, China, and its relations with significant actors including North Korea, Iran and countries situated in the Post-Soviet space and Middle East.
USA as a creator, upholder and enforcer of modern world has a considerable role in global arena, that’s why US foreign policy was requested to investigate profoundly in different periods of the time. Nowadays US foreign policy is one of the actual topics in the international relations sphere, due to its being one of the most important and influential decision making powers. I’m feeling this PhD thesis has a great contemporary academic importance, and that would be valuable both to University of Milan and to the wider academic community.
Is the United States still a superpower?
Is the USA still accepted as a Superpower, possessing a dominant position, being qualified by its considerable ability to influence or project power on a worldwide scale. Despite of being the world’s dominant superpower ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, can American “declinism” in the twenty-first century be over-exaggerated? Referring to US academic Joseph Nye, who attributed global politics to a ‘three-dimensional chess game’ which contains diverse layers of power, such as military, economic and relational power, we will explore and determine all of so-called powers for concretizing that the USA is still a global hegemon country or not. (Jon Carr, 2014)
The classification of 2018 which based on information collected from the Global Firepower Index (GFI) and Credit Suisse shows that the United States still owns the best-equipped military in the world as previous years, although both Russia ; China have been renovating their armed forces, their hardware still trails behind top-end American technology, experts say the gap is closing.( Grinberg News ,2018)
According to the economical ranking of 2018 which refers to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US holds the first place in the world with $20.4 trillion economy, increasing from around $19.4 trillion last year, China follows, with $14 trillion, which is a growth of more than $2 trillion in comparison to 2017. Japan is in third place with $5.1 trillion economy power, which up from $4.87 trillion a year previously.( Rob Smith, 2018)
Relational power is Nye’s the third and the most compelling criteria for power in the twenty-first century which measures the ability to impact other actors. As Paddy Ashdown asserts(Paddy Ashdown, 2012) ‘in the modern age, the only things that you do that matter are those you can do with others’, it would undoubtedly be proven that the USA remains as globally the most preeminent state. America’s position as the global hegemon country is not only questioned because of its having “hard power” – the capability to get people to fulfil what it wants but also having immense “soft power” – the power to get people to want what it does. (Cappelen Damm, 2008) This research will allow me to try to make an exact decision about this question through the deeply investigating and taking into account all the relevant categories.
The main priorities of US Foreign Policy
Since the end of the Cold War US. grand strategy of “primacy” has not changed even after the concussions such as the Financial Crisis of 2008 and the costs of the war in Iraq. It consists of endeavoring for military hegemony all over the world, domination in critical regions, the safeguard and reassurance of partners, nuclear counter-proliferation, and the economic “Open Door.” (Patrick Porter, 2018)
Due to a president-centered foreign policy system, the President of United States, in company with the Executive Branch, plays the greatest role in setting up foreign policy.
The main priorities for foreign policy under the Trump’s administration are establishing in the basis of the assumption about the United States’ having the right to maintain its own interests within transnationally competitive world, we living. So the major priorities of US current foreign policy include: reconstructing the economic competitiveness as the foundation for American power, rebalancing U.S. partner relationships containing enhanced burden-sharing and commercial mutuality, accepting the border control and security of country as the main principle, building up worldwide American energy supremacy, repelling a great deal of opponents of the United States overseas, including rogue states and main rivals as well, admitting the great power rivalry as one of the main parts of our political life, which is combined with expectations for regional stability and joint actions where possible, greatening U.S. military and tracking the extremist terrorists wherever they exist.(Colin Dueck, 2018)
My research topic will give me a chance to engage with all the priorities that US government give precedence to while exerting its foreign policy.
The major threats to US modern interests
Russia’s aggression, such as its annexation of Crimea and invasion efforts into Eastern Ukraine, which caused to fears about his willingness to retrieve Soviet-era borders and eventually could challenge the NATO to a military collision, cyber-attacks during the 2016 presidential election and supporting Syrian bloody-minded president Bashar Assad and Russia’s violent aerial bombing campaign to sustain his attempts concluded declining of the U.S.-Russian relationship to the rock-bottom since the Cold War. (Justin Fishel, 2017)
USA faces three potential threats from currency manipulator China such as menacing to increase tariffs, which can spark a trade war, even depending on China’s response, can globally create economic troubles, the political problem about Taiwan, U.S. policy about selling weapons to Taiwan which can be used in a potential fight with the mainland, and China’s claims to Island in the East China Sea. (DANNY DANON , 2017)
For USA Iran is not only the main source of the threatening nuclear power but also the major state, which backs up terrorism and the most serious danger with having improved missile program. Rearming the terrorist group of Hezbollah, pursuing its connections with Hamas terrorists in Gaza and contributing the Houthis in Yemen, Iran is obviously infringing Security Council prohibitions of to export weapons and military data to other nationalities.( DANNY DANON , 2017) Although USA withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in order to renegotiate and achieve a new deal to hinder Iranian ambitions in the Middle East, it can cause to more difficulties for obtaining possible solutions without international supports to USA.
In our ubiquitous information age, cyber attacks are as hazardous as nuclear bombs for USA modern interests. Improbable Russian cyber attacks into the Democratic National Committee called attentions to the fact that U.S. government, infrastructure, military technology and many other governmental issues which extremely depend on cybertechnology are under the threats of cyberhacking by adversaries.
I will study in this PhD thesis these main threats to US modern interests and analyze which of them is more hazardous for US.
US, Russia, China triangle and North Korean issue in this frame
The each member of U.S.-China-Russia triangle—has the most prominent universal power and is the most sovereign decision-makers in international relations. That’s why the closeness or distance between them determines trends in today’s global politics, actually identifies the corresponding shifts in international power and the critical aspects of forthcoming international development.( Shaolei Feng, 2017)
China holds the crucial position at the top of the so-called isosceles triangle, firstly because of having better relations with both other two members than they have with each other(Elizabeth Wishnick, 2017)
Despite of Russia getting back former Soviet Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia from Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014 and parts of Left-Bank Ukraine in 2014-2016, its ongoing winning in Syria and China’s constructing airstrips on the area of the East China Sea, the fact of United States having bonded allies in Europe such as England, France, Germany, Italy is hampering Russia and China. Except the remarkable military and economic gap between the United States and the other two powers, democratic political system, capitalism and the rule of law are the key factors to American successful performance. On the contrary, Russia and China possess political authoritarianism, state run economies with minimal rule of law, massively uncontrolled corruptive activities.( Jonathan Adelman, 2017)
On June 2018 the historic Singapore summit pledged a promising solution to North Korean-USA dispute, with North Korean gestures of releasing three American prisoners and its commitment about demolishing nuclear test site this month.
If the summit yields good results it would take China to a risk losing North Korea, which used to be a counterweight of China against American influence in the Asia-Pacific.
In response to Ch?na’s opportunity to use its abundance of labor, capital and workforce for exerting influence in poor democracies, USA would be able to give economic incentives in north Korea to displace Chinese influence.
Trump’s withdrawal from Trans Pacific Partnership, and recently from Iran Nuclear Deal created a great chance for China to make new partnerships with these counties, being a single country which stands up for the North Korean regime for its own diplomatic intentions.( Sampson Oppedisanom, 2018)This research will investigate the Sino-US-Russian interactions under the contemporary conditions and the role of North Korean problem in this triangle.
The strategic scenarios of USA in Transatlantic Relations
In the term of EU’s problems are mounting USA has three strategic options for preserving its own interests and values in the Europe. First strategy is to take temporary advantage of European divisions. Due to EU market being too significant to ignore, USA treats EU as an economic peer, that’s why Amer?can companies have to comply with EU economic laws.
This strategy choice includes putting a pressure on Euro, not to support integration in the realm of foreign policy and security, and reaching bilateral agreements with individual nations either to achieve short-term advantage or on the notion that a powerful EU is the rival of the USA.
Secondly, to show benign disinterest to European internal issues, which means EU has to cope its internal problems and external challenges that directly can influence it. US can make some intervention when American interest involved, especially on NATO’s main mission about protecting its members from attacks, but also be unwilling to manage on a broader array of Security problems of Europe, such as unstableness in the Balkans and North Afr?ca.
The final option is about returning to complete engagement which means to be inclusive in both European internal and external issues for achieving more prosperous, bonded, economical and political strong Europe.
In this strategic choice USA approaches to different European challenges should be like this: Putting Russian political hostility at the heart of NATO plans, engaging more directly and deeply in Brexit negotiations, looking at better arranging its diplomacy in Turkey with Germany and other countries and work with them to put more pressure on Erdo?an, realizing quiet economic diplomacy to support the Eurozone, assisting to eradicate the gap between Western Europe, Central, Eastern Europe on responding to the refugee crisis by pressuring Warsaw and others to accept common borders, fulfilling liberal democracy toward at-risk countries in Europe. (Thomas Wright, 2017)
This research will directly be relevant to the US strategic position toward the European countries and focus on the main impacts to the Transatlantic Relations.
US foreign policy in the Middle East
Middle East Region plays an important role in the modern foreign policy of the United States of America. And the main part of this policy is safeguarding all its national interests in the region. (Major Ronny Modigs, 2003) Today the need for stability in the Middle East is the major aim of US. National interests of the United States in the region comprises the safety of national security of regional Arab allies, combating terrorism and radicalization, fostering economic growth, establishing democratic systems and the protection of human rights. (Nathan Brown, 2014)
My research topic will allow me to engage with the main interests of USA in the Middle East and to answer the most compelling questions about US foreign policy in this region.
US geostrategic goals in the Post-Soviet space
The collapse of the Soviet Union was resulted an appearance of newly independent states in the East of Europe and Asia and it changed the world’s geopolitical balance. Following this process US outlined the program of spreading out its international interest into post-Soviet space. (Svetlana CEBOTARI, Irina COJUHARI, Ion XENOFONTOV, 2011) The main interest of the United States in the post-Soviet space is to strengthen its political, economic and other positions. The reasons of this policy are included: providing of energy security; strengthening its hegemonic position in the region; cooperating with regional countries in various fields; providing stability in the post-Soviet space and democracy progress; war against international terrorism and etc. In post-bipolar world the post-soviet space takes a special place in the US foreign policy because of its strategic importance as a crossroads of military transport and energy transit communications. (. Kunizheva Marianna, 2011)
Exploring US geostrategic goals in the Post-Soviet space and researching the most important challenges which US faced in this territory will be some of the main academic significance of this PhD thesis.