Americanization, Religion, and Invasion
In the beginning of the twenty first century, three words stand ready to describe American foreign policy: globalization, religion, and invasion. According to Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman, globalization is the new system of international interaction, replacing the Cold War system, and impacting international economics, the international environment, and global geopolitics through its dynamics. The most popular theory presented in Friedman’s book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, is the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention, which states, “No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.” What is more, according to the author, Americanization and globalization go together, and the backlash against globalization comes from the have-nots that do not possess the resources of the United States, and could therefore turn out to be America’s enemies. Friedman relates the causes of terrorism to America’s success in the global economy. Indeed, Americanization is a symbol of America’s power around the globe. And, this calls for envy and resentment on the part of those who have not the markets and the military might of the United States (Friedman).
Maybe it just happens so that the terrorists are all considered Islamists nowadays, as U.S. foreign policy is focused on fighting Islamic extremism. After all, Americanization and globalization do not only include the integration of world markets and the presence of American goods and services around the globe, but also the pervasiveness of American media, including news and television shows produced in the United States. Apparently those that are committed to orthodox Islam are not too fond of Americanization if it means that they must be exposed to television shows such as Baywatch. All the same, this is not the only way for the United States to be involved with religion in our time – as far as its foreign policy is concerned. Adamant about freedom of religion, the United States has also been playing an important role in the Middle East conflict. So far it has not been able to decide upon the side it takes, even though it appears to many that the U.S. sides with the Jews rather than the Arabs in the Holy Land.
Friedman has already explained why invasion appears necessary to the United States. Even so, many people around the world believe that the United States goes after either oil or opium when it invades a nation. Is it American ideology to invade nations for wealth? Considering that the United States is a young cousin of Great Britain, it may very well be considered American ideology to invade nations for the sake of increasing wealth.
Apart from American roots in Great Britain, it is common knowledge that George Washington played a significant role in the creation of American ideology. According to a book published by the University Colorado on the web: “Washington was also the man who called the United States a ‘new empire’ and dreamed of incorporating the entire new world into it and acting as a model for all governments raised after the destruction of Europe’s atavistic monarchies (“Ideology and American Foreign Policy”).” This explains globalization as well as invasion. Furthermore, Washington and many of the leaders of the United States have shown deep commitment to religion. The fact that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are clearly differentiated through American foreign policy explains that American foreign policy makers must be impacted by their religion to a large extent.
Of course, American foreign policy makers cannot leave behind their background, which includes American ideologies, when they create policies that impact the world (“Ideology and American Foreign Policy”). Also according to the book published by the University of Colorado:
Perhaps the most widespread popular belief about foreign affairs is that the United States has a peculiar destiny. American foreign-policy-makers need to, and have almost always wanted to, treat the US as a country with a special mission.
Yet, Americans have come to no particular agreement as to how that mission should be pursued, although the basic repertoire of political means provided by American religion offers something of a guide. Where and when the United States is powerless to change foreign affairs, foreign-policy-makers can isolate the United States from the rest of the world, or isolate parts of the world from the US. When American policy-makers confront people who it can be assumed because of their race, culture, or behavior could be convinced of the superiority of the American system, then policy-makers can work to convert them. When that is impossible and foreign powers threaten the United States value system or the nations that have been converted to its system, then repression must be tried (“Ideology and American Foreign Policy”).
It is obvious that the United States tries to impact almost everyone around the globe with its ideologies. Wherever and whenever there is a conflict or problem, the United States attempts to voice its own opinions about the conflict or problem. According to the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, the American people must work to “secure the Blessings of Liberty” to themselves and their posterity (“The United States Constitution”). Seeing that the United States is considered an ‘immigrant nation’ in our time, it is commonsensical for American foreign policy makers to work to “secure the Blessings of Liberty” to the relatives of ‘new Americans’ around the world (“The United States Constitution”). After all, the U.S. Constitution continues to play an essential part in the maintenance of American ideologies. More importantly, perhaps, American foreign policy makers may never be able to separate themselves from American ideologies, considering that the United States continues to take pride in them.
Friedman, Thomas L. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. New York:
Anchor Books, 2000.
Ideology and American Foreign Policy. 14 May 2008.
The United States Constitution. 14 May 2008.