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American foreign policy

American foreign policy has undergone many a shift in the nearly six decades since the close of World War II. At that time, the wake of HitlerÆs dark and illegitimate aggression against his neighbors and the Jews had given the world reason for serious pause; the principle of might makes right had been thoroughly borne out, and with disastrous results. In the immediate aftermath, the United States, working with Europe (and in fact inspiring the Charter of the United Nations), established that in an increasingly dangerous world, peace must be the ôgreat goal to which all other ends were subordinated (Tucker & Hendrickson 20).ö Today, a new doctrine of preemptiveùor, preventativeùwar has been adopted by the United States, much to the gathering horror and consternation of the rest of the world. A foreign policy that was once legitimate in its ostensible willingness to engage the world multilaterally has been replaced by an increasingly illegitimate quest for unilateral dominance in world affairs. It is the subversion of a reputable and lengthy tradition in US foreign policy.

When the aftermath of World War II rendered European nations war-torn and war-weary for the second time in as many decades, it was peace that seemed the most important thing for any and all peoples. It was for this reason that the UN Charter permitted the use of force in only one case: when as a defense against an imminent armed attack. During the trials at Nuremberg, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson led the prosecution of the major Nazi war criminals, asserting that they were on trial not because ôthey lost the war, but that they started it (Tucker & Hendrickson 20, emphasis added).ö Clearly, the indication here was that the world was moving away from the idea that in war, to the victor go the spoils, and toward an ethic that simply condemned aggression for what it was: a precursor to global catastrophe. Indeed, Justice Jackson said as muc...

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American foreign policy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:59, March 19, 2019, from