In the third distinct phase of American foreign policy, the US became a reluctant global power. After WWI, the US declined the job; after WWII, it could not ignore it.
As a global power, the US has faced the complexities of alliances, the uncertainties of war in the atomic age, and the dizzying shifts from bipolar to unipolar to multipolar global orientations. Check it out here.
In the second distinct phase of US foreign policy, the United States embarked on an ill-advised turn at imperialism. Of course "imperialism" was a bad word in the United States, so people called our effort "New Internationalism."
No matter what they called it, Americans found imperialism distasteful. It smacked of hypocrisy, and the bloody Filipino Insurrection against US troops was a horrid downside to empire.
The US quickly changed its course and tried to return to a state of isolationism. Read more here.
American foreign policy has come in three distinct phases -- the Early Federal period, when the US contended with domestic issues and sought neutrality; an abortive Imperial phase; and the post-WWII Global Power phase.
Here's a quick look at the first phase -- and George Washington's advice for future presidents.
When President Obama announced last week that he was sending 80 troops into Chad to help with the search for more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, he was right in line with his own ideas of foreign policy.
Obama, close advisers Susan Rice and Samantha Power, and others on his national security team have long sought to use US power for humanitarian good. The search for the girls is square within that mission. For more, read here.
This week, Russia countered the sanctions levied against it by the United States and European Union over the Ukraine crisis by issuing some sanctions of its own -- against the US and the International Space Station.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Rogozin said Russia wants to end the ISS mission in 2020, rather than 2024 like the US wants.
The US can't do much about it. If Russia shuts down its part of the ISS systems, the US parts don't function. Plus, until the Ares/Orion systems come on line, the US has no boosters for manned launch. Thus, we rely on Russia to get us to and from the ISS. (How did we get to this, people? Didn't we land on the Moon?)
And Rogozin had some words about American launch systems, as well. Maybe we could use "trampolines," he joked.
Last week the US announced it was sending some military advisers into Nigeria to help look for the more than 200 girls that Boko Haram kidnapped in April.
Many Americans of a certain age -- 50 and up, I'd say -- cringe at the phrase "military advisers," though. Here's a look at how the phrase got so tarnished, and why it shouldn't hold such bad connotations any longer.
At right is First Lady Michelle Obama during a heartfelt Mother's Day message from the White House. In it she issued a plea for the release and return of more than 200 girls abducted from their school in Nigeria by Boko Haram on April 14.
She noted that fear of similar dangers worldwide is one of the reasons that some 65 million girls do not attend schools.
Meanwhile, the US has committed military and law enforcement personnel to help Nigerian forces in the search for the girls. Both the White House and the State Department have stressed that US participation is only advisory. Read here for more.
That's Commodore Matthew Perry at right. And you're correct: neither does he look like a member of the Commodores, nor was he on Friends.
But he did open up Japan to US trade in the 1850s. As President Obama completes his 2014 Asia-Pacific swing, here's a look at the trip that began US-Japanese foreign relations.
You might recall last December when China declared the airspace over the Senkaku Islands as its own. Trouble is, Japan also claims it.
When he visited Japan last week, President Barack Obama reaffirmed American intentions to defend Japan's claim, as well as its mutual defense obligations with both Japan and South Korea.
The move was meant to reassure the region and elsewhere that the US is good to its word, regardless of looming military cuts.
US President Barack Obama's trip to the Asia-Pacific region this month was supposed to solidify his foreign policy "rebalance" to that region, which he began in 2011.
But tragedies, such as the Sewol ferry accident in South Korea, and the continuing mystery of Malaysian Airlines MH370, all but overshadowed the trip. And North Korea tossed in some nuclear threats for good measure. Read more here.