America’s Foreign Policy Is to Play the Prestige Card

When the world was surprised at America’s relative decline, something happened that is worth noticing; that is, after the Obama administration came into office, America’s ideology in its foreign policy became more and more clear. The United States is using its prestige to defend its position as a major power in the world, thus gaining time to regain its strength. The Nuclear Security Summit is a typical case.

Everyone on earth knows that a nuclear-free world is just a dream. Even though America is outwardly reducing its nuclear weapons, the deterring power of these nuclear weapons will not change. As long as they possess powerful nuclear weapons, the accumulation or reduction of nuclear weapons will not affect the strength of either America or Russia. Even after America and Russia have reduced their weapons, they are still able to destroy the world many times over. The nuclear-free world concept that Obama been suggesting ever since he came into office is just a foreign policy stunt. One could also say that it’s a manifestation of America’s foreign policy becoming more ideological.

After April 2009, when Obama first proposed the idea of a nuclear free world, Obama drew the leaders of 50 countries to Washington. This is the prestige that only America, as the world’s superpower, has, and it cannot be gained from a speech or purely from diplomatic skill. This is a reflection of the sum of all of America’s national resources.

Thinking back on the foreign policy direction that Obama took in January 2009 when he first became president, we can clearly see: When facing the reality of going into a relative decline of its strength, America is no longer forceful and aggressive. To some extent, this departed from the trend started by George Bush and other previous administrations.

America is not only gaining moral ground by proposing a nuclear free world. On June 4, 2009, Obama gave a speech about a new beginning with the Middle East at Cairo University in Egypt, showing his humility. Toward its old partner, Europe, the United States is seeking a relationship where the United States is low key and listens attentively. Toward Latin America, the United States hopes to begin a new relationship. Regarding the Israel-Palestine issue, America advocates that Israel does not occupy Palestinian land and make new settlements. America hopes to become a partner with Africa.

As many analysts have pointed out, America’s foreign policy revisions are the result of the decline of America’s strength. But every foreign policy revision is still centered on maximizing America’s national interests. Thus, even though Obama has repeatedly proposed “global governance,” it’s only an attempt to use ideology so that it can gain time to recover its strength. It is undeniable that due to America’s current circumstances, the world order will undergo some changes. If other powers can take advantage of this opportune time, the structure of international politics will change in a way contrary to America’s designs.

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