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Introduction to U.S. Foreign Policy

Learn the basics of US foreign policy.

Is Brinkmanship Back?
In Vladimir Putin, old style foreign policy "brinkmanship" is making a comeback. Or maybe it never really left.

US-Russian Cooperation: Apollo-Soyuz, 1975
The Apollo-Soyuz mission in July 1975 ushered in a new era in US-Russian foreign policy and set the stage for decades of successful cooperation in space.

The Ukraine Crisis
US stands back as EU brokers tentative deal to end violence in Ukraine.

Shirley Temple: The Diplomat You Didn't Know
Shirley Temple leaves behind not only a Hollywood legacy, but a diplomatic one as well.

Myth Of American "Disengagement"
John Kerry rails against myth of American disengagement.

Will The Obama-Castro Handshake Really Matter?
In the end, the handshake between Barack Obama and Raul Castro probably will not hasten any change between the U.S. and Cuba.

When The U.S. Didn't Like Mandela
It's hard to believe now, but there was a time when the U.S. didn't like Nelson Mandela, thanks to Cold War foreign policy.

China, Japan Chastise U.S. On Budget Crisis

Diplomatic Leverage Is Critical In Foreign Policy
In foreign policy and diplomacy, nations must negotiate from a position of power, or at least have some diplomatic leverage, for their policy initiatives to be effective.

U.S. Credibility and Foreign Policy
History, just as the Syrian dilemma of 2013, shows that maintaining foreign policy credibility is a difficult balancing act.

Democracy Promotion As Foreign Policy
A look at the U.S. policy of promoting democracy.

The Obama Doctrine
President Barack Obama does indeed have a foreign policy doctrine. It's based on multilateralism, diplomacy, and American exceptionalism.

Clausewitz On Foreign Policy
One of history's premier military theorists long ago stressed that war is an extension of foreign policy.

What Is A Doctrine?
The word "doctrine" gets tossed about a lot in foreign policy. Here is a Foreign Policy 101 look at what makes up a doctrine, and some of the most famous doctrines in U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S. Secretary Of State
A look at the origin of the U.S. secretary of state's job, and his traditional duties.

Who Makes U.S. Foreign Policy?
A basic look at the different people and agencies that help craft United States foreign policy.

U.S. Foreign Policy Year In Review, 2012
A look at the top U.S. foreign policy stories of 2012.

Williams Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an unlikely secretary of state with little foreign policy experience.

Washington D.C. Hurricane of 1814
A hurricane that hit Wasghington D.C. in 1814 drove away British troops that had occupied the capital, helping set the United States on its path to becoming a diplomatic power.

John Quincy Adams
Through a life of public and diplomatic service, John Quincy Adams was probably the United States' best secretary of state.

John Quincy Adams, Part II
He spent his youth tagging along with his father in the important events of America's revolutionary era. That time prepared him to be the United States' best secretary of state.

Ambassadors Killed In The Line Of Duty
When U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens died in the Muslim extremist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012, he became the eighth U.S. ambassador to die in the line of duty in the last 62 years.

Lincoln's Secretary of State
William H. Seward was Secretary of State to both Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. While he is most famous for brokering America's purchase of Alaska, he also effectively kept Europe out of the U.S. Civil War.

Hillary's Job Forced Her To Miss Bill's Speech
Hillary Clinton missed her husband Bill's speech nominating Barack Obama for a second term as president due to her job, tradition, and a federal law.

Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Experience
Joe Biden, while not a foreign policy "maker," brings more experience to the Democratic presidential ticket than Paul Ryan does to the Republican.

Top Foreign Policy-Driven U.S. Presidential Elections
Domestic concerns, such as the economy and jobs, often figure more prominently to voters during presidential elections than do foreign policy concerns. That will probably be the case in the 2012 election. However, there have been several elections where foreign policy issues were preeminent to voters.

Presidential Incumbency and U.S. Foreign Policy
Incumbency offers presidential candidates certain advantages. The presidential election of 2012 is no exception. Foreign policy platforms, however, may have less impact on voters than domestic policies.

James Monroe
James Monroe is best known for the Monroe Doctrine, but he was also a U.S. secretary of state and a factor in the Louisiana Purchase.

Reader Responses
Presidents and Secretaries of State are the top U.S. foreign policy makers. Have you ever met one -- that is, actually had a chance to talk to one? Tell us about it!

Nixon Goes To China
President Richard Nixon went to China in 1972, paving the way for normalized relations between the two countries.

Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, first opened for signing in 1968, was the first major international treaty aimed at curbing the development of nuclear weapons.

Hamilton Fish, 26th U.S. Secretary of State
A brief look at the tenure of Hamilton Fish, 26th U.S. Secretary of State

The U.S. and Great Britain: The Special Relationship After World War II
Diplomatic events in the "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain after World War II.

The U.S. and Great Britain: The Special Relationship Forged In War
A look at the "special relationship" of U.S. and British diplomacy during the two world wars.

Obama's Foreign Policy Platform
Obama's foreign policy platform for the 2012 election is a reflection of his past efforts.

Obama's Foreign Policy Platform
President Barack Obama's foreign policy has been a mixture of multilateralism and bold action.

What Is Rick Santorum's Foreign Policy Platform?
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum bases much of his foreign policy platform on strident action against Iran.

U.S. State Department 2013 Budget Proposal
An overview of the United States State Department allocation in the Fiscal Year 2013 federal budget.

Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy Platform
Mitt Romney has placed more emphasis on domestic issues and the economy in the 2012 presidential race, but he also has a little touted foreign policy platform.

American Manifest Destiny
While the term "Manifest Destiny" sounds like it is strictly historical, it also more subtly applies to the tendency of U.S. foreign policy to push democratic nation-building around the globe.

Obama, Panetta Herald End of Iraq War
On October 21, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the end of U.S. involvement in the Iraq War.

Occupy Protest Demands Have Foreign Policy Implications
Do the collective demands of the Occupy Wall Street protesters -- and similar protesters in other cities -- have implications for U.S. Foreign Policy? In short, yes.

What Is Multilateralism?
Multilateralism refers to cooperation among several nations, usually in economic or diplomatic afffairs.

The Franco-American Treaty, 1778
The Battles of Saratoga lead to the Franco-American Alliance of 1778, the turning point of the American Revolution

What Were The Oslo Accords?
The Oslo Accords, which Israel and Palestine signed in 1993, were supposed to end the decades-old fight between them. Hesitation on both sides, however, derailed the process, leaving the United States and other entities once again trying to mediate an end to the Middle East conflict.

Emancipation Proclamation Was Also Foreign Policy
Everyone knows that when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 he was freeing American slaves. But did you know the abolition of slavery was also a key element of Lincoln's foreign policy?

What Is Globalization?
Globalization, for good or ill, is here to stay. But what is globalization? At its base, globalization is an attempt to abolish barriers -- whether in trade, communication, or cultural exchange. In fact, globalization has been around longer than you might think.

Soft Power in U.S. Foreign Policy
"Soft power" is a term used to describe a nation's use of co-operative programs and monetary aide to persuade other nations to ascribe to its policies. With U.S. State Department budget cuts likely in the wake of the August 2, 2011, debt ceiling deal, many observers expect soft-power programs to suffer.

International Strategy for Cyberspace
Just as the realm of U.S. foreign policy reaches around the globe, it also reaches into cyberspace. In an effort to keep the Internet free, open, and secure, the Obama administration introduced the International Strategy for Cyberspace in May 2011.

The Bush Doctrine
The Bush Doctrine of US foreign policy combined elements of unilateralism with preventive warfare.

Foreign Policy Under Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson conducted US foreign policy that began well but ended disastrously.

Foreign Policy Under John Adams
John Adams followed a cautious and paranoid foreign policy.

Foreign Policy Under George Washington
George Washington practiced a cautious, yet successful foreign policy.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations seeks to eliminate modern slavery.

US Isolationism Is An Antiquated Foreign Policy
Isolationism was a pre-World War II US foreign policy that ended in 1945. This article is a brief history of the antiquated idea.

The War Powers Act of 1973
A description of the War Powers Act of 1973, its function and intent.

What is Foreign Direct Investment?
An explanation of what foreign direct investment is and what it means to the US.

2009 Lowlights and Highlights in US Foreign Policy
2009 Lowlights and Highlights in US Foreign Policy

Places in US Foreign Policy
This folder contains photos of places in US Foreign Policy

Portraits of US Foreign Policy Leaders
This is a folder of US Foreign Policy Leaders in 2009

What Are Sanctions?
This article discusses what sanctions are, describes different types of sanctions, gives examples of sanctions, and explains problems sanctions can cause.

Why Foreign Policy Matters
Why is foreign policy important? In short, US foreign policy affects almost every aspect of our daily lives.

Important U.S. Foreign Policy People
A shifting cast of characters is responsible for creating US foreign policy. However, certain people have had more influence on US foreign policy than others. Learn about some of the US's most important foreign policy people.

Important Foreign Policy Institutions
From the Brookings Institute to the United Nations, there are a number of institutions important to the creation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

Why "Smart Power" Is Important in Foreign Policy
America frequently uses both "hard" and "soft power" to protect interests and maintain influence around the world. But a new term is catching on. "Smart power" is its power in the world.

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