Tragedy Of American Foreign Policy Summary

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In The Tragedy of American Foreign Policy by William Appleman Williams examines how America’s expansion has caused it to compromise its democratic ideology in pursuit of capitalist markets. Williams believes that at the height of US power the Open Door Policy drove foreign policy and the US’s desire to maintain its sphere of influence. Furthermore, Williams examines how the United States’ ideological definition and view of the world. The paradox of US foreign policy is that often times there is a divide between the United States’ ideology and its pursuit of economic expansion. Williams explains how American foreign policy has often departed from its democratic ideology in order to pursue expansion that would lead to economic benefits. This…show more content…
Ultimately, Williams believes that “the tragedy of American action is not that it is evil, but that it denies American ideas and ideals. (Williams 200) The main problem is that United States’ actions often ignore or deny “American ideas and ideals” in favor of capitalism. Williams states that “The Open Door Policy has failed because, while it has built and American Empire, it has not initiated and sustained the balanced and equitable development of the areas into which America expanded.” (Williams 200) Consequently, the large emphasis on economic expansion has negatively impacted US foreign policy by making centered on maintain access to resources. The price that is paid is the American ideals and values that have to be compromised. The United States has created an empire in which it has denied people freedom in liberty in exchange for resources and the spread of…show more content…
For example, the War in Iraq which was meant to topple a ruthless dictator and prop up a democratic regime has had dire consequences in the Middle East. Under Saddam Hussein, the people of Iraq were not free but they lived relatively stable lives in comparison to their current situation. The War in Iraq aptly named “Operation Iraqi Freedom” on one hand wanted to bring democracy to Iraq and spread American ideals. However, the current status on the Middle East and most notably Iraq and Syria is not a desirable situation. According to the article “Tragedy Renewed: William Appleman Williams”, Andrew J. Bacevich states that “the United States today faces a crisis at least as challenging as that which inspired Williams to write Tragedy in the first place.” Current foreign policy faces the problem of the spreading American ideals and ideology and maintaining power over the region. Correspondingly, Bacevich also points out that many of the current wars and conflicts are not a matter of an ideological clash but “ for the same reason that it has gone to war so many times in the past: to assert dominion over a region that American political leaders view as strategically critical.” The struggle between keeping power over a region and being true to American values is a current issue in foreign policy that Williams’ writing very much

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