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A paper on comparing US interventions on genocide and regime change

A paper on comparing US interventions on genocide and regime change

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1 -1 Dr. Shepherd POLS 310 9 April 2008 Improving Intervention “Those who are unaware of the past are doomed to repeat it.” This common cliché is frequently used by history teachers to express the relevance of their subject. Though the statement comes across as a threat, it can also be seen as a promise: that those who are aware of the past can create a better future, and implies that mistakes made in the past can be avoided in the future. Moving from the philosophical to the practical, this principle can be applied to US intervention policy. Though tragic mistakes have been made in the past, both sacrificing democratic principles for narrow economic interests and refusing to act in cases of obvious genocide, policy in both of these areas has moved closer to a democratic ideal. Though current US policy is far from perfect, US foreign policy has certainly progressed over the past century. America is a nation built on democratic ideals, and thus these ideals should not be removed from either the foreign policymaking process or the policies themselves. However, neither the United States nor the rest of the world operates perfectly on ideals, and thus sometimes less than ideal policies are needed in order to protect the national interest. An example of this is the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Obviously, a tragic number of Japanese civilians were killed and wounded in this attack. However, it did bring the War in the Pacific to a swifter end, and resulted in less American casualties, than a prolonged land and sea war would have (Jentleson 96). Though debate continues about whether the United States
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2 should have dropped the bomb, the results of that policy, the surrender of Imperial Japan, is generally appreciated by the West, especially the United States. Though ideals should have a major role in formulating United States foreign policy, there are situations when some ideals can be sacrificed for practicality and other ideals. However, there have been some times when the United States has acted out of neither democratic ideals nor genuine national interest. Such was the case in many early Cold War interventions, and particularly in Guatemala. To be fair to the United States citizens of the time, the major international concern was the spread of communism (Kinzer 117).
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