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Foreign Policy Issues And War Essay Research

Foreign Policy Issues And War Essay, Research Paper

Foreign Policy Issues and War

Throughout the era of 1900 to 1950, the United States underwent many changes in every aspect of the nation. Two of the main areas dealt with were the U.S. foreign policy issues and war. In this timeframe, the U.S. partook in many actions with or against another country. In this paper, I will show that the United States, throughout this era, played peacekeeper. Each event chosen has some aspect of the United States keeping peace. These events will take place in chronological order, and I will start with the Panama Canal Treaty of 1903, and continue on to discuss the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904, the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, and finally wrapping up with the Transcript of Meeting between President Roosevelt and Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov.

In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, funded and organized a revolution in Panama so the United States could build a canal through there. It all started when the Colombian government refused to sign an agreement that would allow the U.S. to build a canal through this area. So, Teddy Roosevelt saw a different option by aiding in a revolution in the area that they needed to build the canal in. So, this happened, and Roosevelt paid the newly formed government ten million dollars to build the canal. They agreed. How were they peacekeeping here? Well, after the treaty was agreed upon, the United States had American troops defending the new Panamanian government, which actually was a part of the treaty itself. Article I states: The United States guarantees and will maintain the independence of the Republic of Panama. This was the beginning of many other peacekeeping obligations the U.S. would undertake as time marched on.

Second came the Roosevelt Corollary. President Teddy Roosevelt created this update to the Monroe Doctrine. This came about when Venezuela stopped paying back its debts to Europeans. The navies of Britain, Italy, and Germany surrounded the coast. After it was rumored Germany was looking to build a permanent base there, President Roosevelt intervened and warned the Germans to withdraw its forces. This incident prompted Roosevelt to create the update for the Monroe Doctrine. In a passage from the Corollary, Roosevelt states, Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America to the exercise of an international police power. Here, Roosevelt is basically saying, Step out of line, and you will pay the consequences that will be enforced by the U.S. This established the United States as an international police power, which is synonymous with peacekeeping.

On August 27, 1928, the United States signed a large pact with 13 other nations. This pact was then ratified by 48 other nations after the initial signing. This very important pact was known as the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, named for the French foreign minister Aristide Briand, and United States Secretary of State Frank Kellogg. Briand proposed that the U.S. join an alliance against Germany. This peace pact is summed up by Article I of the pact itself. The article states: The high contracting parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples in their relations with one another. By signing this agreement, the United States agreed to peacefully resolve conflicts with countries, instead of declaring war. At the time, this was a big part of the U.S. remaining peacekeepers.

Last, but by far not least, comes the Transcript of Meeting Between President Roosevelt and Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov. In this time period, World War II has commenced, and the Soviets are struggling with the Germans. In the spring of 1942, when the U.S. entered the war, the Russians asked them to open a second front in Europe. President Roosevelt agreed. The reason for this being peacekeeping on the part of the United States is due to the fact that they are protecting the rights and resources of the Soviets. Mr. Molotov makes these threats they are facing clear to President Roosevelt who then puts men in Europe to fend off attacks by Germany.

In conclusion, the United States did go through a multitude of changes over the 50 year period discussed, but there was one extremely important value it did not budge from throughout we, the U.S., played peacekeeper. Plain and simple. We defended new countries that aided us such as Panama allowing us to build the world-famous canal; we stated that we would be international cop to countries that crossed us; we signed a treaty that said we should resolve conflicts peacefully instead of declaring war; and finally, we defended countries that urgently needed our assistance. With all of these factors combined, it is clear to see that the United States was there to keep the peace throughout the 1900-1950 era.


United States, Panama Canal Treaty, Documents for U.S. History, pp. 152-153.

Theodore Roosevelt, Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, Documents for U.S. History, pp. 150-151

Frank Kellogg, Aristide Briand, Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, Documents for U.S. History, pp. 233

United States, Transcript of Meeting Between President Roosevelt and Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov, Documents for U.S. History, pp. 239-240