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Three Visions on Future US Foreign Policy

Future US Foreign Policy

By: Ahmad Zubair

The term foreign policy is defined as a set of political goals that illustrates the interaction of a country with the rest of the world. Attaining and protecting national interest, national security, ideological goals and economic prosperity constitute the primary focus of foreign policy of a state at the international level. In particular, the goal of US foreign policy is to create a more secure, democratic and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people. The three possible visions that I put forward on the future of US foreign policy include the denuclearization of nuclear states, who are potential threat to global security; sustaining United States’ global hegemony and the growing tendency of US towards the political isolation from global politics coupled with protectionism in trade.

Denuclearization of nuclear states and preventing nuclear proliferation have been, and continue to be, US foreign policy priorities. However, the denuclearization process has followed an uneven and sometimes paradoxical path in post-World War II. From one hand during the Cold War years, the world witnessed proliferation of nuclear weapon technology, mostly within countries with high technical capabilities. For instance, the United States until 2009 designed more than 31,000 warheads. From another hand, the US pursued denuclearization of smaller powers as an integral part of its foreign policy. Historical and current denuclearization and disarmament have targeted vibrant measures for bilateral cooperation in order to reduce nuclear weapons, their production materials and facilities and their delivery systems. Denuclearization and preventing nuclear proliferation efforts of US have shown two different paths.

One, the two superpowers in order to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons and preserve the status quo reached several agreements between them, including the formation of International Legal Framework for Denuclearization. In addition to their disarmament agreements, the efforts taken by the two nuclear states can be observed as additional confidence building measure between them. Likewise, a large number of denuclearization and nuclear disarmament treaties took place between the United States and Russia. These two states being the two superpowers had always utilized their leverage in dealing with denuclearization process globally. Secondly, the denuclearization and preventing nuclear proliferation efforts also focused on preventing smaller states from achieving nuclear weapons. It includes the US efforts to convince Pakistan and India not to develop nuclear weapons, though it failed to achieve its aims. Though, the US and other countries succeeded in convincing Ukraine to give up its nuclear programme, the Crimean crisis showed that it failed to secure its territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression. This trend of future US foreign policy is applicable to regimes such as Iran and North Korea that are potential threats to international order and the interests of the United States. To that end, the US government has escalated economic and political sanctions on the Iranian government. It is highly likely that the Trump administration would go as far as for a preventive war to barricade Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

The US foreign policy on denuclearization lacks consistency. The Obama administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear programme. However, Trump administration has abandoned the deal. Exiting from the JCPOA left other countries including the US allies in a state of ambivalence and uncertainty. It can hinder reaching a productive agreement with the North Korean leader about destruction of North Korean nuclear bases. The United States is committed to pursue a strong and specific future policy with regard to denuclearization and preventing nuclear proliferation. Former nuclear disarmament and denuclearization agreements and treaties were exclusively decided between the United States and Russia, primarily due to having the largest arsenals. The future US foreign policy with regard to denuclearization probably involves additional parties when it comes to signing agreements.

Read More: The dynamics of Pak-US foreign policy failures

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