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 Formulate a theory as to why U.S. military policy abroad tends to remain relatively...

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cllawrence | Honors

Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:28 PM via web

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 Formulate a theory as to why U.S. military policy abroad tends to remain relatively stable from one administration well into the next then support your theory with examples of long-term military strategy that crosses the boundaries of successive administrations.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:13 AM (Answer #1)

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One reason as to why governments might change, leaders might change, but the approach to foreign policy remains the same could be linked to how national interests abroad do not change.  If an approach has worked in one administration in terms of focusing on our national interests abroad, usually, that policy is maintained. For leaders in the United States, international interests seem to be aligned with protecting national interests.  There was a good chance that some level of national interests were met with a specific foreign policy and if the public has not voiced outrageous dissent against such a policy, it will be continued. Incoming presidents resemble thoughtful leaders in continuing policies of the previous administration, regardless of motivation. The protection of national interests though becomes the link between both.   In the end, this becomes one of the reasons why foreign policy shifts between governments is not entirely blatant or likely.

One of the most recent examples of this is the foreign policy approach that former President Bush embraced and the one that his successor, President Obama, currently embraces.  The President kept on the same Defense Secretary and while reducing United States presence in Iraq, the President essentially doubled down in Afghanistan, continuing the foreign policy of interventionism in that region from the previous regime.  Another example of the "Obama Doctrine" mirroring the "Bush Doctrine" is in the use of drone technology.  The President has used drone warfare in a much more extended manner than his predecessor. When pressed for why, the President's answer spoke of "preemptive strike," "finding the enemy," and "ensuring that the job is done."  These were all answers that his predecessor gave in his analysis of foreign policy. Another example of a shared sentiment would be that Guantanamo Bay, the infamous detention facility, has remained open through both leaders' tenure. Both leaders' approach to the war on terror has been strikingly similar in specific instances.  This reflects how governments may change, but their approach to foreign policy remains the same when it comes to protecting and advancing perceived national interests.

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