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In my opinion, the only goal of the American foreign policy that has been absolutely consistent is the goal of increasing (or at the very least maintaining) America's strength and security.
I think that we can see this goal at work in every major war or foreign policy stance that the United States has undertaken. We went to war to preserve our power and security as early as 1812. We went to war in the Persian Gulf in 1991 and again in Iraq and Afghanistan in this decade, again to preserve our security.
At times, we have pursued policies that are aimed at humanitarian goals and such. However, these goals have not been consistent over time whereas the goal of power has been.
America is not unique in the sense that all of our foreign policy goals throughout history have been to further our own self-interests as an economy, a nation and an empire. In the last 110 years, much of our foreign policy centers around securing the resources we have to import in order for our economy to function and grow as it has.
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