The US Foreign Policy

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Throughout their reigns, the many presidents of the United States have devised their unique foreign strategies to combat terrorism, the most current being Donald Trump's strategy, which is by far the most controversial and stringent. President George Washington delivered one significant piece of advice that affected America's foreign policy for decades: the US should avoid being entangled in the alliances of other states. Foreign policy have a variety of purposes, including safeguarding national security, fostering global peace, maintaining power balance among nations, solving problems with international allies, promoting human rights and ideals, and improving global trade ( n.p).  The policies try to keep minor issues from turning into conflicts. Although Americans recognize the advice from Washington, they are also aware that America is now a part of a global society which cannot afford to stay isolated and not get along with other global societies.

In an effort to stop terrorist attacks from affecting the US, President Donald Trump has come up with strict measures to enforce this order. One of the measures includes what he calls extreme vetting which includes ideological tests to filter people coming from nations known to host terrorists and to allow only people who share the values of the American people entry into America. The president’s main focus is on ISIS, which has been operating in twenty-four nations and carrying out atrocities like slavery, beheadings, crucifixions and oppression through its ideology of radical Islam. President Trump blames the rise of ISIS on the policy decisions enforced by presidents Obamas reign, which he says has unleashed ISIS, destabilized the Middle East and put Iran in a position of power and path to nuclear power. The main goal of the policy is to put an end to the spread of radicalization and to partner with America’s allies in an effort to stop terrorism including Jordan, Israel and Egypt and working closely with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to combat terror (Peterson n.p). In order to destroy ISIS, international cooperation is key in cutting off their finances and intelligence sharing and to disrupt their recruitment propaganda through the internet by shutting down access to this mode of communication. The fight will be extended to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas by fully utilizing the UN security resolutions to enforce new sanctions.

Ideological warfare is also an important part of fighting radical Islam, which oppresses women, people of different faiths and even homosexuals by denying them the freedom of speech. This includes discouraging acts such as honor killings where women are murdered for acting in ways that go against fundamental teachings, for example an Iraqi immigrant to the US ran over his own daughter for becoming “too westernized”. The sad fact is that most terrorist attacks have involved children immigrants and this makes screening procedures very important ( n.p). Foreigners have come to the US with Anti-American attitudes which encourage them to carry out terror attacks, thereby only people who share the values and respects the American people should be allowed into the country. One way to combat terrorism is to suspend immigration temporarily from volatile regions of the world until screening efforts are improved (Craft n.p).

On a diplomatic front, president Trump has vowed to work with any state that is willing to commit efforts to defeat the ISIS and its radical ideologies including Russia, although Trumps critics say that Russia is only out there to spread the Anti-Western Propaganda. Trump has backed some tactics used by President Obama including the use of drones to kill key members of the terrorist groups. Some leaders have challenged Trump’s call for a test of immigration, saying that he would fail due to his careless nature and weak understanding of facts about the history, functions and principles of the American government (Herbert n.p).

Former president Obama, launched his campaign for a major foreign policy with 5 key objectives which included bringing an end to the war in Iraq, building a 21st century military and using wisdom to deploy it, urgently stopping of the manufacture and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, reconstructing alliances and partnerships necessary to confront common threats and building secure societies in other nations and encouraging their citizens to sustain them. Unlike president Trump, Obama focused on creating allies out of former foes while emphasizing his determination and spirit to combat terrorism. To the Islam world, he invited allies based on mutual respect and interests. His administration allowed 2,465 ambassadors to remain in office with the foreign policy team being led by Joe Biden, John Brennan, Susan Rice, John Kerry and James Clapper.

During the beginning of his reign Obama took two wars from the previous regime from Iran and Afghanistan and in his campaign, he promised to withdraw American troops from Iraq and to bring troop levels down including the withdrawal of combat forces. For the first few years, the withdrawal procedure continued smoothly, partly because Obama gained from Bush’s effort to restore stability in Iraq. His other goal was to increase military commitment in Afghanistan in order to prevent Taliban from taking power and giving Al Qaeda a settling ground for facilitating terrorist attacks against the US. He sent additional troops to Afghanistan and as time went by, he was convinced that a change of strategy would help the Afghanistan government defeat Taliban without help. The strategies included training the Afghanistan’s military force to deal with Taliban instead of relying entirely on the American forces. By 2014 the US forces were disengaged from active acts of combat in Afghanistan although the president later acknowledged that the Taliban war was not yet won. However, his policies were highlighted in the successful killing of the Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden by the navy seals and the American people praised Obama’s judgment. Even after the death of Bin Laden, Obama continued to carry out the deployment of drones and Special Forces against terrorists and he joined forces with NATO to end the reign of Muamar el-Qaddafi, which was a key element in defeating the Al Qaeda.

During his second term, retired president Obama, decided not to launch missiles to attack Syria in support of rebels fighting dictator Bashar al-Assad, who had gone to an extent of deploying chemical weapons towards civilians. Because he sensed resistance from republicans and democrats to commit any more time to the war in Middle East, he called off the attack in the last minute and decided to refer the matter to the congress. A week later Obama followed president Vladimir Putin’s advice to negotiate with Syria to get rid of the chemical weapons Obama, who had formally dismissed the group as a minor problem acknowledged the serious nature of the threat it posed and declared to ultimately destroy ISIS through a counter terrorism strategy. He ordered several air strikes on dozens of ISIS bases in Syria and called for a more military to arms fight against the Islamic state (Miller Center n.p).

Both President Trump’s and Obama’s policies hold similarities and differences. For example, president Trump’s ban against immigration for six months is similar to Obama’s ban in 2011, which stopped the processing of refugee requests from Iraqis for six months. Both immigration bans were on a temporary basis and targeted refugees from nations famous for hosting terrorist groups. Moreover, Trump suggested that he selected the seven countries based on an Obama’s policy, revising the US visa waiver program allowed citizens from 38 countries to enter the US without a visa for up to 90 days. Much later the waiver was not applicable for citizens who had traveled to the seven countries in fear of ties to terrorism (Qiu n.p). Donald Trump’s regime supports the use of drones and Special Forces attack on areas suspected to host terrorists and their leaders just like Obama did. This method has proven successful in the past from the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

However, Trump’s ban is different form Obama’s and more preemptive as it generally bans citizens from seven countries from entering US for 90 days with no clear reasons, while Obama’s ban was in direct response to a plot by Iraqis to send explosives and money to two Al Qaeda agents in the US. Both men had entered the country under falls pretenses of being persecuted in Iraq. The Obama’s order only slow-tracked the efforts of clearance of refugees from Iraq for six months while Trump bans all travelers from the seven highlighted nations from entering the US including refugees and business people (Charters 38). The ban is broad and holds no credible cause as the details for the reasoning behind the ban are still unclear.

Trump’s policy differs from Obama’s policy in the method of implementation. Whereas Obama used the method of creating allies from former foes and welcoming nations with radical beliefs in his regime of change, Trump is very specific on fighting anyone who means to cause harm to the American people and standing against any nation with a prior history of hosting terrorists. Trump is only interested in making allies with any nation with a similar goal and mission of eradicating terror groups like ISIS and Taliban. Obama was not entirely proactive in conducting attacks and strikes against regions that were believed terrorists, which is contrary to Trump’s belief of striking hard.

The two presidents hold different ideologies on their foreign policies to implement security, fight terrorism and ensure safety in the country. Obama believed in specific threats to prompt action. He only implemented a ban when there were already evidence of a terror on the American soil. Furthermore, he went ahead to eject Kaddafi from power due to beliefs that his regime was in support of Al-Qaeda forces. On the other hand, Donald Trump believes in cleaning house by banning immigrants and returning them to their countries of origin, imposing strict measures on the process of vetting immigrants to ensure that they hold no ties to terrorist activities and to suspend indefinitely the process of settling immigrants. He believes that in the long run, after vetting processes have been improved, the country will be safe from terrorists because only the people who uphold American values will be allowed entry.

The only way to tell if president Trump’s policy will be successful in curbing terrorism is to give it time. The policy is by far very different from any other policy by any former presidents. It includes very strict measures to combat terrorism. Trump claims that former policies have given terrorists a thriving ground by encouraging the policy of nation building. He swears to expand cyber warfare in order to cut links and communication between perpetrators of terrorist acts and their leaders. Military and financial warfare are also important components in winning the war. He vows to use the Cold War tactic of exposing and preaching against the evils of radicalization and putting to an end the sympathy towards people who support terrorism.

Trump goes further to say that he intends to help the refugees in Syria. Earlier this year, he imposed an order to suspend the settlement of Syrian refugees in America for an indefinite period of time. He however intends to make Syria a safer place for the Syrian people and providing the refugees with basic from their homeland. General review into the Trump’s policy shows that the policy could work in combating terror. Trump is aiming at improving the screening process for anyone entering the country to ensure that they do not hold any connections to terrorism. The process will scare off anyone with intentions to enter the country illegally and with intentions to assist perpetrators of terrorism.

The process of temporarily suspending immigration into the US and to return anyone with questionable visas back home is a further measure to assure the American people that security agencies are doing their job of ensuring safety and protecting the citizens. Previously, during the Obama regime, there was a policy to double check visas from people who had travelled to Muslim dominated nations to ensure that they were free of suspicions to engage in terror. Similarly, Trump has banned the immigration of citizens from seven Muslim dominated nations, with histories of formerly hosting terrorists. This is a precaution to ensure that there is sufficient screening of people from the most volatile regions in the world. In the long run, the policy will ensure that terrorism is curbed by ensuring that perpetrators do not gain entry into the country in the first place.

In a concluding remark, we can say that Trump’s policy has its faults. For example, the policy caused chaos and confusion on its first weeks of implementation. Scholars, tourists, scientists and other people who were visiting America for important meetings, studies and even treatment were stranded at airports for days. This led to a disruption of programs, with many people vowing to leave America for good once the ban was lifted. Others were trapped into the country and could not tend to important duties back at home for fear of being denied re-entry. In the end, if the policy is upheld, it could lead to loss of productive minds and the directing of talent into other more friendly regions.

While Trump insisted that this was not a Muslim ban, many viewed this as a discriminate act against the Islam community. There were protests against the policy which disrupted activities, including numerous lawsuits in courts to challenge the ban. Relations between the US and the countries in the Muslim world have been strained since the ban targets nations located in this region. The ban did not consider those with or without visas as it restricted the movement of all citizens into America from the volatile regions. This resulted into controversies as to the cause of the ban because there was no real threat to necessitate the imposition of the ban.

Works Cited

Charters, Justen. "Obama vs Trump response to terror attack." Independent Journal Review 1 (2016): 38. Web. 18 February 2017. .

Craft, Jessica. "Donald Trumps Speech on Fighing Terrorism." Political Staff 15 August 2015. Web. 18 February 2017. .

Herbert, Gerald. Trump calls for new approach to anti-terror fight. 15 August 2016. Web. 18 February 2017. .

Miller Center. "Barrack Obama: foreign Affairs." Barrack Obama Essays 2014: n.p. Web. 18 February 2017. . "Donald Trump's Position on Terror." Akron Beakon Journal (2016). Web. 18 February 2017. .

Peterson, Matt. "Ranked: DonaldTrump's Foreign-Policy Contradictions." The Atlantic 19 January 2017: n.p. Web. 18 February 2017. .

Qiu, Linda. "Why Comparing Trump's and Obama's Immigration Restrictions is Flaud." Politifact 30 January 2017. Web. 18 February 2017. . Foreign Policy: What now. 2016. Web. 18 February 2017. .

May 02, 2023
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