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Role of American Ideals in US National Security Policy

What role should America's ideals play in its national security policy? Include historical, current, and hypothetical cases in the analysis.

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Hello, here are some starting points for your question.

American ideals have long plated a role in national security policy. A good starting point for understanding this historically is to read George Washington's farewell address: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

Specifically, see his advice that America should "steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world" - and this is advice that our country never really followed, but did reflect broad currents in US national security policy until the Second World War.

For instance, isolationist and "neutrality" sentiments kept the US out of the First World War until 1917, and we were only drawn in then due to German diplomatic and military actions (U-boats targeting American ships and the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico).

We also avoided entry into WWII, which started in 1939 and involved some of our traditional allies, until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

So the American ideal of leaving European politics and its ...

Solution Summary

This solution is an overview of American ideals and their interplay with US national security policy starting with the country's original preference for isolationism and moving to the growing acceptance of a US global role. This solution also consider the role of idealism in US foreign policy, dating from Woodrow Wilson's 14 points to the present day. This solution also mentions the tension inherent in the modern national security state (surveillance, security, law enforcement) and American conceptions of civil liberties.

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