The end of World War II left the U.S. with the most impressive economy and the highest gross national product in the world at the time. This era saw the rise of education, employment, standards of living and, most importantly for its foreign policy, a rise in influence worldwide. During the 20th century, the U.S. had a part in nearly all major events that took place around the world.
Today, that is no longer the case. Various regional powers continue to challenge Americas hegemonic influence in the world. Brazil, for example, has continued to reach throughout South America with its economic growth and technological advances. In 2011, Chinas economy adjusted with purchasing power was $14.8 trillion, surpassing the U.S., according to the Washington Post.
In addition, in the last decade growth in China has averaged 10.3 percent a year, according to Bloomberg. Though China may not emerge as a superpower as America once was, it is likely to charter its own sphere of influence, like a Chinese Monroe Doctrine, that will witness a security competition in Asia between the U.S. and China.
This downfall of American foreign policy is partly a result of wartime tactics. Invading Iraq and Afghanistan had major consequences, and Americas strategies in these countries continue to be ineffective. Failure in the decade-long wars in the Middle East is leading to a fall of U.S. influence worldwide.
In Afghanistan, Americas failure is apparent. Though the Obama administration recently killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida still thrives with terrorist tactics in many other countries around the world, including Iraq, Somalia and Yemen, according to the Wall Street Journal. Furthermore, the installation of the Hamid Karzai-led government in Afghanistan has led to widespread corruption and an ineffective development of the destroyed infrastructure.
Americas push to war with Iran, mainly from Israel, must be recognized as disastrous to America internationally as well as domestically. Americas deficit is projected to be $1.2 trillion this fiscal year, according to Bloomberg, helped by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House Office of Management and Budget calculated in 2010 that the Obama administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion, according to the Washington Times. That could lead to a cut that would downgrade Americas capability to conduct operations overseas.
The U.S. must use a more balanced approach to retain credibility. Americas moral stance is under question as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its support for Israel and its ineffective strategies to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict continue to resonate throughout the Arab world, a resonance that will only continue to have negative views throughout the new governments emerging in the area.
Instead of beating the drums of war, the U.S. must recognize that the threat of force upon another nation will encourage armament and could escalate to a war.
Nader Hasan is a senior majoring in international affairs and religious studies.