The Documentary “Why We Fight” and the American Foreign Policy

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Introduction

The American foreign policy is the framework that defines the manner in which the country relates with other states. Under normal circumstances, foreign policy entails diplomatic methodologies between different states. However, the foreign policy of the United States has been known for aggression and hegemony than diplomacy. As far as the country has diplomatic channels for relationship with other countries, its involvement in global conflicts has been met with controversy. One major reason for this has been the growing number of military engagements that the United States is involved in. Many have therefore accused the United States of launching warfare for self-interests.

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There has been evidence that the majority of the military excursions by the United States military have a hidden concept. In the name of defending the security and interests of Americans, the military has waged war for other reasons rather than those known. As a result, there has emanated a system in which the United States has become accustomed to military operations to achieve socio-economic goals. The same has been for the hegemony of the world by the country.

Many personalities have therefore expressed fears at the spread of this trend. But no one made a better analysis than the former president Dwight Eisenhower during his farewell speech. The term military-industrial complex was coined by Eisenhower to describe the growing system in which the United States acquired power and achieved selfish ends through global military conflicts. The documentary Why We Fight which was produced by Eugene Jarecki explores the same topic with deeper discussions and analysis.

The purpose of the paper is to uncover the mystery of American foreign policy. At the same time, the concept of the military-industrial complex will be expounded upon. Special reference will be given to the speech of Dwight Eisenhower during his farewell. The documentary film Why We Fight will also be given a thorough evaluation to bring out the real picture of the United States foreign policy in relation to military conflicts around the globe for instance Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thesis Statement

The United States’ foreign policy is a ticket to hegemony. The military-industrial complex is a reality and Dwight’s fears of its spread have come to pass. It is true that the United States through the military has been conducting certain operations for reasons that are not explicitly known. The attack on Afghanistan and Iraq are living examples of the military-industrial complex. The consequences are great since a large number of people get killed in the process.

However, the military-industrial complex is not about to end. In fact, it has expanded to include oil companies who now cooperate with the politicians and armament companies to discover or create military conflicts for economic gains. It is a complex scenario for the whole globe since the effects of this system are felt all over. For the United States, nearly half of its GDP is spent on military budgets which benefit only a few.

Military Industrial Complex

The military industrial complex refers to the prevalent situation in the United States in which war has become the lifeblood of certain companies involved in the manufacture of arms. The term also refers to the American dependence on military conflict in which armed conflicts are of much benefit to certain sections of society. The concept derives its origin from the farewell speech of president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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During his final days as the president of the United States in the year 1961, President Dwight elaborated on the danger posed by the growing affinity to military conflict by the United States. Having had appropriate experience both in military war are and leadership Eisenhower was in a better position to give an appraisal of the state of the United States. In his speech the president referred to the communist ideology as a hostile concept that was going to create trouble (Eisenhower 22). As much as communism is not an issue now a days the danger of hostile ideology still lingers in the American approach to international affairs.

Current military preoccupations in Afghanistan and Iraq symbolize the military attitude of the United States. The military industrial complex is an American preoccupation with the commercial benefits of war at the expense of the costs on human life. For instance the current war on terror is symbolic of American obsession with military conflict. As a result the military industrial complex is a selfish interest of the American ideology through which it creates and preserves conflicts for economic and political gains.

Eisenhower stressed on the danger of collecting unnecessary power. In his reference to the American military ideology Eisenhower predicted disaster if this trend continued. The military industrial complex has since evolved and expanded to include more players. The dominant players in the whole system since its inception long time before are the armament manufacturing firms (Roland 32). However with the latest invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan it has become clear that oil companies have also joined the complex. In other words the military conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan were coined to serve the interest of armament companies and the oil companies.

War on terror therefore is just a means of achieving the end of economic exploitation and expansion by the military industrial complex. As a result there is no war on terror in essence, terror s a scapegoat for the American thirsts for influence, power, hegemony and exploitation of the globe. A look at the state of the globe reveals increasing American presence all over in the form of military bases. The United States army has too many military bases around the world.

The common claim is that the military is protecting the interests and security of the United States. However the reality of the matter that the military industrial complex is on the move to create, discover and take advantage of military conflicts. The Bush administration was the most prolific defendant and custodian of the military industrial conflict (Register & LeBlanc 167). It was during this time that the barbaric invasion of Afghanistan and the inhuman toppling of Saddam Hussein took place.

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However many years down the line after the invasion the so called stability and victory of the war on terror are yet to be realized in Afghanistan. As far as Iraq is concerned the weapons of mass destruction are yet to be found almost eight years after the invasion. The trick was one the administration used to fake reasons to begin military conflicts. Through the conflict contracts for arms were awarded to the top companies whose owners were well known. Oil companies have been the latest entries as they benefited from the contracts to extract oil in the US occupied territories.

The Five Components of American Foreign Policy

The American foreign policy is a framework on how the United States relates with other countries. Under normal circumstances foreign policy entails diplomatic matters of states. However the foreign policy pf the United States is more of aggression than diplomacy (Kegley et al 518). As much as the country has many diplomatic mechanisms through which international relation is achieved, the country has mostly identified with acts of military aggression in its foreign policy. This defines the various military conflicts that the United States has been engaged in. Therefore the foreign policy of the United States is more concerned with the protection of the American interests. This takes any form as long as the interests are protected.

At most this happens at the expense of other countries or human life. As a result the United States military has several bases around the world. However the term American interest has many connotations and no one really knows what the interests represent. The American foreign policy is therefore driven by five different components. Theses five aspects describe the nature of the entire foreign policy of the state. The components are as follows:

  • Religion and nationalism
  • National and global security
  • Globalization and the north
  • Globalization and the south
  • Global environment

Religion occupies a central place in the foreign policy of the United States. The principles that guide the application of relations between America and other countries are skewed in favor of certain religions. Islam for instance is considered a threat to the United States hegemony. The United States always endeavors to remain the global force behind everything. However Muslim fundamentalists have been a stumbling block to US supremacy since the days of yore. Apart from communism which was the focal point during the cold war, virtually all other conflicts involving the United States have had a religious connotation. For instance the gulf war which eventually culminated in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in the year 2003 was fundamentally based on religious bias.

The United States foreign policy is hostile to Muslim countries and conflicts with Muslim countries are considered integral in the protection of the United States and global security. As much as it never materializes into reality the United States consistently launches warfare against Muslim countries in the name of security. Afghanistan was invaded in the 2001 and the pretext was to smoke out al Qaeda terrorists and capture Osama bin laden.

However eight years down the line, al Qaeda is at large and Osama bin laden is yet to be captured. The Muslim religion is considered a threat to US hegemony and security. As a result the foreign policy deals strongly with Muslim conflicts. Nationalism is another important aspect of the foreign policy. The Americans have a sense of pride in them and apart from security they reserve the right to engage into anything that serves them well. The foreign policy thus reflects this accordingly

The United States spends about $ 711 billion on defense for the sake of national security and global security. This is a clear manifestation of the military industrial complex. The military and security aspects have taken such a huge part of the country’s GDP. National security has been a major concern since the September eleven attacks on the pentagon and world trade centre. However the terrorist attacks were a culmination of the united sates dubious foreign policy.

Osama bin laden claimed responsibility for the attack blaming the United States for its mistreatment of Muslims. In the name of global security the United States has a number of military bases around the world. However the entire concept of global security is a meme since the United States itself is a threat to global security and peace. In the name of national and global security the United States wages war to various countries overthrowing and installing new leaders to achieve selfish means. For instance Saddam Hussein was said to be a major threat to global and national security of the United States. However more than six years after his overthrow, there is yet to merge evidence of his real threat to security. As it turned out that the Iraq invasion was not to do with security but deep economic and political interests.

As a result the United States has maintained military presence in the country even after the end of the invasion. The same applies to Afghanistan. The United States invaded the country under the pretext of smoking out terrorists and capturing Osama bin laden. However after the completion of the invasion no terrorists have been captured and yet the United States still maintains military presence in the country in the name of global security.

The real thing is the spread of US global hegemony and exploitation of oil and other resources. All these ills are envisaged in the United States foreign policy. The south mostly denotes the south eastern and south central part of the country. The area has distinct civilization and way of living. The history of region can be traced from the American civil war and the era of the confederacy. The region is thus unique in virtually all aspects.

Industrialization has picked up so quickly in the area and the region is one of the most developed. However rampant inequality has been the major undoing of the region. Severe cases of poverty and despondency have characterized the region for a long time. Only a few areas are immune to the circumstances that have bedeviled the area. Globalization has taken up in the region but has been obstructed by various aspects of the countries foreign policy.

The global environment is a major consideration in the application of the United States foreign policy. Under normal circumstances the foreign policy of the United States is usually customized to accommodate the current environment. Under such framework the policy lets the president to take certain decision during certain situation so as to serve the purposes of the nation. As much as the presidents’ powers are limited when it comes to the formulation and ratification processes of the foreign policy, there are certain situations in which the president has to take certain steps as the situation demands so as to serve the purpose.

For instance the Bush administration was perhaps the best symbol of the crudeness of the United States foreign policy. The admiration made unilateral military declarations that have had a big impact on the nation and the globe at large. The chief reason for such steps was heightened by the September eleven attack which caught the nation off guard. Response mechanism is therefore an inherent part of the United States foreign policy. However a critical look at the whole thing elucidates on the reality of the military industrial complex. The so called interests of the United States protected by such decisions are selfish ends that benefit the elite and armament companies. During the Bush administration a lot was achieved through the military industrial complex.

Relationship between the MIC and the Five Components

The military industrial complex manifests itself in all the five components of the US foreign policy. In one way of the other the five components of the foreign policy fulfill the military industrial complex. A look at the various components of the united sates foreign policy reveals that the military industrial, complex is institutionalized in the US foreign policy. For instance the national and global security components provide the United States with the framework through which to launch military action against target countries in the name of security (Dumbrell 201). A perfect example is the invasion of Iraq.

The Bush administration was justified to attack the countries since it convinced the Americans and the world at large that Saddam and Iraq were threat to security. However long after the attack no evidence has been found of the allegations. Through look at the events the preceded the attack and the American occupation point towards a strategy of harmonization and exploitation of the Iraq resources. Under the pretext of security the foreign policy serves the military industrial complex well. Another vital aspect is religion. The foreign policy of the united sates does not treat all religions equality. In fact the policy is hostile to the Muslim religion (Hall & Bernards 212).

As result Muslim countries are targets of American aggression. The countries are branded terrorists and their sovereignty I violated. Therefore through the religious component the military industrial complex is served well by the United States foreign policy.

Nationalism is the American obsession with themselves and their interests. However these interests not necessarily serve the citizen but rather elites and armament company owners. Nationalism therefore represents the pride and hegemonic attitude of the United States foreign policy (Koistinen 121). The military industrial complex derives its strength from the endeavor of the foreign policy through nationalism to spread American hegemony to other countries. Invasions and attacks to countries which do not subscribe to the American ideology are justified through nationalism.

Neoconservatives

Neo-conservatism is a school of thought in the United States which favors hegemony in the globe. This most comprises of former conservatives who took hard-line stands in the past. However one dominant aspect with this school of thought is the belief that the United States is a global force and as a result should use its power to spread democracy. For instance the neo conservatives actively supported the invasion of Iraq. In their opinion the united sates reserves the right to do anything so as to spread its influence around the world (Buchanan 251). According to this school of thought the system of democracy should be spread around the world using whichever means possible.

It is no wonder that they support military action against nations that rebel. Global hegemony is the dominant factor in the neoconservative philosophy. The neoconservatives fully supported the Bush administration in its aggressive policies against the Muslim countries.

Neoconservatives believe that democracy has to be taken to all countries including the muslin states. Neoconservatives are a great danger to the existence of the United States; this is so because they are key supporters of the enhancement of the military industrial complex. First and foremost this group advocates for religious hostility and government involvement in other sates affairs. The neo conservatives favor an aggressive foreign policy that seeks to control the affairs of the world through military force. They endeavor to install American friendly regimes around the world so as to serve American interests.

Neo conservatism is a major attribute of the united sates foreign policy. Through this military conflicts are created and fought with the aim of spreading the American doctrine across the world. Top on the agenda f the program is the toppling of “rebellious” regimes. It is as a result that the neoconservative ideology highly favors military action on Iran (Record 111). After the devastating effects of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the neoconservatives still believe that force is the solution to American problems. This is huge danger to the American nation bearing in mind that the military actions against Iraq and Afghanistan led to the global isolation of the united sates. If this trend is not put to an end then the united sates will find itself in a more severe situation in the near future. The unprecedented acts of aggression are gradually causing dissent even among America’s staunchest allies.

Idealism

Foreign policy framework according to the idealistic point pf view should conform to local objectives. The concept emphasizes on the respect of other nations especially those who share similar political framework (Andreyev & Carlisle 190). Unlike realism which insist on the use of force to achieve means the idealists focus on the building the relationship that will necessitate the success f interstate cooperation. Idealism has been part of the American philosophy for sometime. Idealism has along history since it is not a thing of recent. It can be traced from President Woodrow Wilson during the formation of the League of Nations.

According to the idealists’ perception the wants and needs of other countries are not supposed to drive it relationship with other countries. It stands in opposition to the realist who believes that the interests’ f the united sates are supreme and thus should be achieved at whatever cost. Under such a framework the United States has reserves the right to launch unilateral acts against the countries which stand against it principles. However under the idealist’s concept the sharing of ideology is done in a peaceful manner considering the freedom and rights of other countries. Realist scorn at such an idea since it limits the role and influence of the united sates which is the reason behind the aggressive foreign policy.

Therefore it is only through the idealist’s perception of foreign policy that the military industrial complex can be dismantled. The idealist view gives no chance for the operations and scapegoats of the military industrial complex.

Documentary (Why We Fight)

Why we fight is a film documentary which centers on the Military industrial complex. The film which was produced by Eugene Jarecki includes speeches, messages and other forms to affirm the reality and danger of the military industrial complex (Bennet 121). The documentary makes good use of the prediction contained in Dwight Eisenhower’s speech about the danger of the military attitude developed by the United States. The film therefore tries to portray the fact that the stern warning of the former president has become a reality.

The film cites several real life examples to demonstrate how the military industrial complex has had devastating results to innocent people. The film includes confession of those who have been victims of the United States reckless approach to the foreign matters. For instance there is point in the film where a man who lost his son in the September eleven attacks. This man supports the invasion of Iraq, since he perceivers it as the best justice for the killing of his son. However as the film progresses the man comes to see the real picture behind the whole situation: the military industrial complex (Churchman 116). Other parts include confession of several victims of the military industrial complex.

Conclusion

The united states of America have been a global power for along time now. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has been involved in a number of military conflicts around the world. This has made the foreign policy of the united sates to be put under scrutiny many people. The military industrial complex is a term that relates closely to the American foreign policy. The term was coined by non other than President Dwight Eisenhower during his farewell speech. The former president warned of the danger of US endeavor to control the world especially through the military. The term also includes aspects of vested interests which are achieved through military conflicts.

The documentary Why We Fight explores the whole aspect of military industrial complex. The film is full of the analysis of the behavior of the United States with regard to military conflicts around the globe. It has been the endeavor of this paper to explore the entire concept of the American foreign policy. To achieve this ended the paper has critically evaluated and analyzed the military industrial complex. The five components of the foreign policy have also been discussed. The documentary Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki has been thoroughly explored so as to bring out the various parameters of the united sates foreign policy.

Works Cited

Andreyev, Olga & Carlisle, Henry. The idealists. New York: Martin’s Press, 2000.

Bennet, William. Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism. New York: Regnery Publishing, 2003.

Buchanan, Patrick. Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency. Indiana: St Martin’s Press, 2005.

Churchman, David. Why we fight: theories of human aggression and conflict. Washington: University Press of America, 2005.

Dumbrell, John. American foreign policy: Carter to Clinton. Houston: Macmillan, 1997.

Eisenhower, Dwight. The Military-Industrial Complex. Washington: Basement Publications, 2006.

Hall, Lynn & Bernards, Neal. American foreign policy: opposing viewpoints. New York: Greenhaven Press, 1987.

Kegley, R. et al. American foreign policy: pattern and process. California: University of California, 2009.

Koistinen, Paul. The military-industrial complex: a historical perspective. Washington: Praeger, 1980.

Record, Jeffrey. Dark victory: America’s second war against Iraq. Washington: Naval Institute Press, 2004.

Register, Katherine & LeBlanc, Steven. Constant Battles: Why We Fight. Indiana: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004.

Roland, Alex. The military-industrial complex. Michigan: University of Michigan, 2009.

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