Seventy years may seem like a long time. It’s about the same time as an average human lifespan and it’s a whole half-century longer than the majority of us undergrads have lived. But when we think about some of the horrors the world has seen in the past 70 years, such as the Holocaust, it’s hard to believe we could have let something like that happen under our noses in the 20th century. Then we turn our attention to Syria, a more recent horror that the world has borne witness to. Many question why the US is not sending troops in and standing by as innocent civilians die. The simple answer is because foreign policy does not allow it. That’s not to say that the US is simply standing by; it is an active participant in finding a solution to end the Assad regime. This just does not include shipping our troops over with, once again, no end in sight.

With the anxiety and fear that we gained from having our soldiers in the perilous turmoil of Iraq fresh in our minds, foreign policy offers a peace of mind.

It is the foundation upon which countries interact with each other and decides whether or not they will ask each other around for coffee. Although, when it all boils down, foreign policy becomes more of a self-interest policy and a way by which a country can accomplish its goals. So when a country wants another country to come over for coffee, it’s usually to ask for a favor.

In my native country, Australia, we are isolated and alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with New Zealand as literally our closest ally. We needed to make friends pretty quickly if we wanted to remain in one piece. Australia has a particularly strong alliance with the US, basically because we’d want you guys to have our back in a fight.


One of our past Prime Ministers was heavily criticized during the early 2000’s for being George Bush’s lap dog (a brownnoser). When President Bush declared the War on Terrorism, Aussie troops were already on stand-by with their bags packed. Despite the uproar that this created, that Prime Minister did us a big favor by forging a bond with the US in a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sense. Because of that, Australia is set for life if—heavens forbid—New Zealand changes its mind and tries to take over.

Recently, during the vice-presidential debate, Republican candidate Paul Ryan made comments suggesting that his and Mitt Romney’s foreign policy would include troops remaining in Afghanistan past the 2014 withdrawal deadline. He also alluded to soldiers being sent to Syria despite the current foreign policy opposing this. From an outsider’s perspective, the US has spent so long debating whether or not to withdraw troops and when that date should be. This war has been raging for 11 years; perhaps it’s time for a rest. For the US citizens strongly opposed to war, it is important that Ryan has made these statements on foreign policy because it will certainly determine the outcome of the supposed 2014 withdrawal if Republicans are voted in.

Foreign policy ultimately affects all citizens and in the upcoming election it is important to make the right decision, especially for those who have a loved one deployed in such dangerous parts of the world. While war may be the means to an end in foreign policy’s self-interest serving function, the most important question is, does the means outweigh the end?


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