American Presidents and International RelationsAmerican Presidents and International Relations Early on in its history, the United States wanted to be separate from Europe. Most presidents focused their efforts on relationships with the nations in North and South America. The Monroe Doctrine was passed under President Monroe. The Monroe Doctrine stated that the US would not involve themselves in the affairs of Europe. It also stated that Europe should not get itself involved in the affairs of North and South America. While Europe was not bound to obey that, the US did all that they could to force it upon Europe, making it an act of war to be involved in the Americas. The US went to war with Spain in the 1840s under President Polk. The US took many of Spanish territories that are now states. The US went to war a second time with Spain in the 1890s under President McKinley. In the Spanish American War, the US freed several nations that were under Spanish rule, including Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
It was not until World War I that the United States, under President Wilson, got involved in a European conflict. The US was still committed to isolation from Europe but they believed that the only way to stop interference from Europe was to get involved in the conflict. During World War II, under President Roosevelt, the US changed their policy. They decided that they did want to have influence around the world. They created the United Nations to promote cooperation between the nations. The US occupied post-war Germany and helped to create a democracy there. Douglas MacArthur, as military governor of Japan, wrote the Japanese constitution.
The United States then focused in on promoting democracy throughout the world. A major thrust of the American foreign policy was opposition to communism. President Harry Truman sent peacekeeping forces to Korea to stop communist incursion from China. President Eisenhower sent peacekeeping forces to the Suez Canal to stop conflict between Israel and Egypt. President Johnson, hoping to stop a domino effect in Eastern Asia sent troops into Vietnam. President Nixon began to negotiate more openly with China and Russia. President Reagan shifted foreign by ending the Cold War and allowing for a dialog with Russia and otehr communist nations.
The United States has been involved in trying to solve the crisis in the middle East for almost fifty years. There have been very few tangible results. President Carter was able to negotiate the famous Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt. This treaty has, for the most part, been very successful. Israel and Egypt have been friendly. No treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been successful. The closest was when President Clinton convinced Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, to give away much of the disputed land. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian President, walked away from that treaty. No peace negotiations since then have had much promise.