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Currently the United States consumes more than 19.6 million barrels of oil per day, which is more than 25% of the world's total oil consumption. Through its isolationist policy agenda, the U.S. government has been able to leverage its military and economic might to control most of oil production in South America. Instead of attempting to restructure the financial infrastructure of South American oil producers such as Panama, Ecuador and Peru, the United States has promoted a policy of singular reliance on U.S. aid. As a result, the United States receives the majority of advantages conferred by these country's vast oil supplies. Similarly, the United States has used its military might to create strong unilateral connections with OPEC nations as well. Subtly, the United States has reached secret agreements with the Saud family of Saudi Arabia to maintain their current royal hierarchy with U.S. military protection as long as they promote a strong pro-U.S. agenda. In a not so subtle fashion, the United States invaded Iraq and in doing so has secured the majority of oil contracts in Iraq for U.S. companies and oil producers. Although on the surface level, it might appear that these foreign agendas are in fact creating bilateral dependencies between the United States and key allies, however a closer examination reveals otherwise. The United States leverages its military and economic might to hold oil producing nations hostage. All of the extracted benefits of U.S. foreign policy with such oil producers goes directly to the United States and a few key role players within foreign countries. The simple fact remains that the U.S. isolationist policy decreases the price of oil in America, and creates strong unilateral relationships with oil producing nations.
The economic benefits of an isolationist approach to foreign policy do not stop with resource access. The increased globalization in Europe through the European Union and Asia have led to bilateral trade and living standards agreements between countries. The United States have maintained its position against attempting to deter domestic companies from access and exploiting foreign markets. As a result, the U.S. economic boom of the past decade has a strong foundation in the exploitation of labor in both Africa and Asia. These economic incentives have led to billions of dollars of profit for American companies, which primarily rely on resource and labor exploitation in the Asian sector to maintain record profits within the United States. European countries through the European Union have already signed bilateral agreements to maintain a standard living wage for all employees within member states. The United States, though facing pressure to perform a similar bilateral agreement with many countries have blatantly refused. it's general strategy towards exploitation of foreign countries to achieve record institutional profits is a long standing tradition. Similarly, the United States was the only nation not to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This protocol finally set targets for reducing the "green-house gases" that contribute to global warming. Despite being the largest source of green house gas emissions, the United States has opposed such action in order to allow American industries to flourish and reach new levels of economic growth. Another obvious benefit of American isolationist policy are the protection of domestic markets and the exploitation of foreign markets. The United States government continue to maintain a strong policy of institutional protection for American companies. The government demands large import duties on grain items and other agricultural production, while providing subsidies to U.S. agricultural producers. The result is that Asian, African and Eastern European agricultural producers cannot compete at a fair market price within the United States. Although many complaints have been leveraged against the United States for these actions, the government continues such industry protection, seeing it as a necessary step to maintaining the infrastructure of American self-sustainability.
The economic, military, social benefits that come from isolationism may look significant in the short-term. After all, America has just experienced the most prosperous twenty year period in its entire history since the start of what Ungar notes as "America's isolationist movement." The advantages conferred by isolationism in foreign policy agendas however are not permanent, nor are they beneficial in the long-term however. It is important to note the cost of the current U.S. isolationist policies. On a larger level, the greatest problem with the current U.S. position is that it has distanced the international community and led to global condemnation. In the post War World II era, the United States was viewed with almost unanimous approval by all democratic nations. Not only was this nation actively engaged in the rebuilding of Europe and Asia, it was lending its hand to the ideological struggle against communism. However, in a recently released survey conducted through BBC, only 23% of the world still has a favorable view of the United States. This dramatic shift has severe implications for the future of the United States. International sentiment has a strong play on the strength of the United States for several reasons, first it decreases the likelihood of bilateral agreements and multinational cooperatives, second it causes alienation and hatred, and finally it leads to severe financial instability for the United States.
The problem of bilateral agreements could be the most lasting destructive problem of isolationist policy making. The United States has refused to concede on most of the most important social, environment, economic, and judicial agreements that the EU and the rest of the world has attempted to initiate. Emblematic of this is the Statute of the International Criminal Court, which deals with trying "crimes against humanity" including genocide and war crimes. Although it was adopted by 120 nations including all NATO allies, the United States voted against it. The lack of support America has shown towards bilateral agreements implies that other nations will also turn its nose at any attempt by the United States to launch similar initiatives. The problem for the United States is that it no longer has operative problems that can be solved solely through its own its devices. The global war on terrorism, drugs and syndicates are but three problems that can only be solved through the joint ventures of hundreds of nations. The United States however, due to its isolationist policy have had little success with bridging multinational initiatives to solve these problems. The long-term implication of isolationist policy is that the international community will turn its back on the United States just as the U.S. has turned its back to the rest of the world. In the long-term this is detrimental to the U.S.
The political implications of isolationism are already provocative enough, but the greater long-term damage could very well be social in nature. The United States is a mecca of different cultural, ethnic and social identities. Much of America's success in innovation, business and overall economic growth can be attributed to the influx of foreign talent into the U.S. system. However, the past twenty years of ill-sentiment on the world stage has made the United States a much less desirable and Utopian destination for immigration. Since 2000, foreign student enrollment within American graduate university programs have declined by over 50%. Although immigration is still proceeding at a very fast pace, the majority of immigrants into the U.S. are now low education, basic workers, rather than high grade intellectuals. The position of isolation has created a culture of alienation of the world stage, eliminating America's attractiveness to the very people which drives U.S. innovation and economic growth.
Finally, the cost of isolationism must be inevitably measured in dollars. The United States is currently being funded by foreign countries. This startling fact is unknown or unimpressive to the majority of Americans. However, it does have severe consequences for the future of the U.S. economy. China and the Middle East for instance are two of the biggest supporters of the U.S. economy. They buy billions of dollars in order to prop up the U.S. currency and to ensure that the U.S. economy does not crash. National debt has increased to astounding new heights in the past few years, most of that debt is being accorded to foreign interests. The growing discontent within the international community of America's isolationist policies could very well lead to a massive backlash by the same people who control America's debt. As a result, the growing isolationist gap may very well result in the worst economic instability America has ever seen.
In general, the U.S. progression towards isolationism has definitively more costs than benefits. The benefits that have been reaped by the United States have all occurred in the past twenty years. For the government to continue this policy at the cost of engendering international alienation and condemnation is unthinkable. The economic, political, militaristic, and social benefits of America's current isolationist policy are all short lived, even now the majority of these benefits are dissipating. It is evident that the only way to avoid…[continue]
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