United States Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism

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United States Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism

In very general terms, it could be said that the United States makes foreign policy decisions based on what we hope are the best interests of its citizens. On the surface, it would appear as if this has been the case over the past several months, as the U.S. has waged its war against terrorism. If one were to penetrate this surface, however, they would see that there is much more to this conflict than meets the eye. Is Operation Enduring Freedom indeed justifiable? Most people would say yes, it is in our best interests, because our forces are fighting against an injustice, for the purposes of establishing a peaceful environment and bringing about humanitarian relief, which will ultimately deter future terrorist acts against our nation. As a matter of fact, a poll conducted by Public Agenda concluded that although most Americans agree that the U.S. should not be a global policeman, it should maintain its military powers and remain actively engaged around the world, and that one of the most effective ways of combating terrorism is through the use of military action (Public Agenda).

On the other hand, the war has devastated the civilian population of Afghanistan, with thousands of casualties caused either directly, or indirectly, by the repeated bombings and the massive starvation plaguing the region. There is a fine line separating the instances when the killing of civilians is acceptable, and when it is not. In most cases, it is not acceptable, and as American citizens, we need to have a much greater awareness of this concept. It is usually the case that most citizens in a war-torn country have done nothing to provoke an attack, and as a result, they should not have to...

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...ppen is through the instigation of a foreign policy that treats all people equally, and with compassion. Now, more than ever, Americans should understand the need for compassion in this world, and the need to integrate it into our efforts overseas, because people are suffering everyday, and we have the means of averting this misery.


Finkel, Michael. ?To Wait or to Flee.? The New York Times Magazine. 17 February 2002: 32-38, 63-68.

?Killing Them Softly: Starvation and Dollar Bills for Afghan Kids.? Global Issues. October 2001. <http://www.globalissues.org/geopolitics/middleeast/terrorinusa/soft.asp>

?Public Agenda.? Public Agenda. 5 March 20002. <http://www.publicagenda.com>.

Sikkink, Kathryn. ?A Human Rights Approach to Sept. 11.? Social Science Research Council. 5 March 2002. <http://www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/sikkink.htm>.

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