The paper “The US Foreign Policy" is an intriguing variant of a term paper on politics. America’s foreign policies are highly controversial especially after the 9/11 World Trade centre terrorist attack. George Bush Jr. used the scenario created by the 9/11 incident for political gains. He declared a war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan immediately after the 9/11 incident. Moreover, he created a sense of belief among the people that Muslims all over the world in general are advocates of terrorism. Even though the war on terror was started in Afghanistan and Iraq, immediately after the 9/11 incident, Bush kept a blind eye towards the Middle East issue. It should be noted that Israel is committing a lot of terrorist activities in Palestine for the last few couples of decades. However, Bush never tried to prevent Israel from doing so. The arrival of Obama as the president of America has changed the scenario considerably. Obama is not a blind advocate of Israeli massacres in Palestine or the American war against the Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has taken a cautious approach towards all these issues and a change in American foreign policies is evident at present. This paper analyses the major changes the Obama administration made to US foreign policy in the context of the international system level, state level, and individual level.
US Foreign Policy
In the post-September 11 contexts, Israelis hope that the United States-now a victim of massive domestic terrorism-will have more sympathy for them while Palestinians hope that the United States will revive peace talks, and thus solidify Arab support for the war on terrorism (Avineri, 2001).
George Bush acted based on the beliefs of Israelis and he conducted massive strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. He never tried to interfere in the matters of the Middle East and was silently supporting the Israeli activities in the Middle East. In short, the 9/11 incident not only created problems to the Iraqis and Afghanis but also to the Palestinians. It should be noted that Muslims were at the receiving end in all these countries. US-Israel relationships have both historical and cultural dimensions. “There are several lenses through which one can interpret US policies aimed at the Arab-Israeli conflict like, contrasting national interests, special relationship politics with Israel, bureaucratic politics and individual beliefs” (Shannon, 2003, p.3). It should be noted that Christians and Jews have almost similar beliefs and customs. Moreover, both are believed to be related to each other in many ways. Historically, no US presidents tried to isolate Israel from global politics because of this cultural similarity. However, President Obama is not approaching America’s relations with Israel through historical or cultural perspectives. He is keen in extending support or criticism to Israel based on issues and facts rather than histories or preconceived notions.
“Increasingly fractious relations between the US and Israel hit a low unseen in nearly two decades after the Jewish state rejected President Obama's demand for an end to settlement construction in the West Bank and Washington threatened to "press the point"(McGreal, 2009). Unlike his predecessors, Obama is taking a stern stand with respect to Middle East conflict. His recent actions especially the recent Cairo university speech clearly reveal his stand on the Middle East issue. Moreover, he has not met any of the Israeli officials until now even though he met many prominent Palestinian leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas. Obama has already sent signals to Israel regarding a policy change in the near future itself. “A map of where Obama and McCain stand on the peace process and other issues crucial to Israel—the War on Terror, the Iraq War, Iranian nuclearization” (Oren, 2008).
America’s foreign policy changes may affect Israelis at the international level, state level, and individual level. It should be noted that no other country in the world is getting such big financial and military aids from America as Israel does. Mearsheimer & Walt (2008) have pointed out that “As of 2005, direct US economic and military assistance to Israel amounted nearly to $ 154 billion, the bulk of it comprising of direct grants rather than loans” (p.24). If Israeli’s actions against the will of Obama, they may not get such massive aids from America in the future. Obama is not at all happy about the false promises are given by the Israeli officials with respect to Middle East problems. “Israeli officials frequently ignore US requests and renege on promises” (Mearsheimer & Walt, 2006). All these factors are encouraging Obama to rethink about America’s foreign policies towards Israel.