Free «The USA's National Interest» Essay

The USA's National Interest

It seems impossible for a state to stay away from international problems and develop separately. Every state nowadays has its own interests in the international arena. A state government generally defines its national interests and provides policies that will help to achieve the goals. However, the state should be mindful of the interests of other sovereign states. The actions taken in order to defend the interests of the state should not infringe upon other governments’ interests. That is the only way to keep peace and order. Moreover, being a respectful actor on the international arena means following a strait and confident policy and choose a way to build necessary cooperative relationship with the interested parties. Nowadays, the system of international relations is multipolar. That means that the US should build relations with every powerful state. However, not every state is ready to cooperate in order to create strong alliances. It is important to determine which countries are more threatening and try to establish relations with them peacefully. The determination of national interests is a very a delicate question, because it is often difficult to please everyone who is embroiled in international relations. Sometimes a compromise is necessary. In some circumstances a country can become a victim or be forced to ignore the opinions of others. Some states in the current unstable international situation even constitute a threat to US security. Today, there are several powerful countries in the world and the USA is among of them. Russia and China are the most powerful states of the Eurasian continent. Both countries are of interest to the USA. Some people state that Russia is more important to the US national interests than China. However, this statement might not be true due to the following reasons. First, China is the most significant representative of the Asian-Pacific region and determines its development. Second, China is a powerful military state with great potential and the most influential military power in the region. Third, China has a different state system and strong communistic ideology, which threatens the US security.

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It is important to determine differences between these two states and decide why China is more important to the US national interests than Russia. First, they represent different regions. Russia nowadays presents a growing threat in Europe due to the Ukrainian conflict. However, the USA has reliable support in this region – the European Union. The most powerful states in Europe are NATO members. They are interested in restraining Russia. The situation in the Asian-Pacific area is a bit different. China reinforces its dominance in the region and can become a threat, undermining democratic values. The US aim is to prevent the rising threat of Chinese domination. Second, the economy of China is on a higher level than the Russian one. China has the second place on the GDP rating at 11,3 billion dollars. The USA is outperforming it with 17,9 billion dollars. The Russia takes the thirteenth place with 1,2 billion dollars (“The 20 countries,” 2015). The China is going after the US economy and can possibly surpass it. The rich and ambitious country threatens the stability and security of the United States. Third, despite the proposal of Brzezinski to create a triangle within these countries, it might be impossible because of the growing contradictions between them (“Zbigniew Brzezinski’s American new strategy,” 2016). China and Russia are not as friendly as they try to show. Russia sees a threat of Chinese penetration into the countries of Central Asia that are former USSR member (“Why Russia and China aren’t friends,” 2015). The creation of Chinese New Silk Road will finally consolidate China's influence in Asia.

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Analyzing the foreign policy strategy of the US in this region, it is important to mention the leading role of two of the four P’s – power and peace. The strengthening of the US power in the region is quite important. China’s economic expansion of the region is pushing the US powers to contain the growing Chinese power. However, there are certain conditions that limit the US power in the region. To establish secure and stable conditions in Asia, the US needs to cooperate with China. Unfortunately, there are virtually no mutual interests between these two states in the region, with the exception of safety issues. However, these issues can lead to the destruction of the flows of resources (“The “4 P’s” of U.S. foreign policy,” 2013). Peace-keeping in the region is extremely important, because political and security development of China in the region will lead to its strengthening in the world. That will threaten the global security even more than the US national security. The cooperation within regional organizations, such as Shanghai Cooperation Organization, will be the best chance to establish peace and security. However, China blocks such attempts. In 2005, the US attempt to join this organization was rejected (The “4 P’s” of U.S. foreign policy,” 2013).

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The global security also depends on the military relations between the US and China. The proof of the strained relations between them is the placement of US military bases in Taiwan. That issue is very important for China, because China can lose its superiority over Taiwan. For that reason, military relations between China and the US are not so easy to establish. Certainly, it is a long-term goal recognized by both parties. However, in the short-term period, “mil-to-mil relations are so crucial precisely because of increased frictions between the U.S. and China in the security realm” (Tiezzi, 2014). The relations are slowly growing into a military competition within the Asia-Pacific region. The risk of a crisis is more possible in such circumstances, and regularly military talks should be initiated by both the US and China. Moreover, China views the US military actions as confrontational or aggressive, from close-in surveillance of Chinese coastal regions to regular arms sales to Taiwan (Tiezzi, 2014). In addition, it is important to mention that the US and China nowadays have no formal military relationship. There are no documents signed or negotiations held to provide bilateral military relations or some discussions on the issue of arms control. Certainly, the military relations themselves exist, and in recent years, they succumbed to the transformation “from a pattern of hostile military confrontation to one of military restraint and cautious accommodation” (Barnett, 2015). Both countries understand the possibility of a future Sino-American conflict and are interested in minimizing the danger. They are not allies, but the understand the threat of defending only their own interests and neglecting the interests of each other.

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In addition, talking about documents, it is worth mentioning that the China issue was isolated in a separate section in the US Budget for fiscal year 2017. The US government expresses the understanding of the importance and influence of the security in Asia-Pacific region on global prosperity. The Budget provides resources and activities to strengthen the partnership and regional economic cooperation with China as a leading power of the region. The government also understands the importance of strengthening relations between the US and the countries of the region on citizens’ level. For that reason, the Budget also provides Trans-Pacific partnerships with all necessary resources. This historically significant trade agreement provides all necessary conditions in the region for American workers and American businessmen. This partnership will lead the United States to a rules- based economic system that will boost American exports and create jobs, promoting strong labor, environmental, and intellectual property protections (“Budget of the US Government,” 2016). The other important issue mentioned in the Budget for fiscal year 2017 is the significance of promoting universal and democratic values. For that reason, the government provides resources for educational and cultural exchanges. Resources for cooperation with regional organizations are provided as well. However, the most important part of this section in the budget is the US focusing on the security cooperation with the further modernization of the defense capabilities and relationships, especially in the sphere of maritime security. The number of ships assigned to the Pacific Fleet should be increased by approximately 30 percent in order to maintain a persistent maritime presence in the Pacific (“Budget of the US Government,” 2016).

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The importance of maritime security is quite difficult to overestimate. Certainly, Asian-Pacific region do not consist solely of China and the American-Chinese relations. However, China remains the main trader for all countries of the region, and it is important to provide maritime security relations with China. This region is highly important for the global commerce and economic growth. Eight out of ten busiest container ports are located in this region, and the US is highly interested in the continuation of the region’s economic progress (“Asia-Pacific maritime security,” 2015). The US Department of Defense has three main maritime security goals in the region: the assurance of the freedom of the seas, restraining conflicts and coercion, and adherence to international laws in the region (“Asia-Pacific maritime security,” 2015). China is also providing modernization for maritime military and developing technologies in order to resist the US if it decides to intervene into the conflicts of the region. China is improving its fleet by quantitative and qualitative indicators as well. Its fleet is the most powerful in the region. For example, the number of the Chinese naval combatants is 303, when Japan has 67 and Vietnam 37 (“Asia-Pacific maritime security,” 2015). It is obvious that China is not only an economic leader in the region but also military. The fleet capacity in the region cannot remain without attention of the countries concerned. For that reason, the US government is taking all the necessary measures to establish a more balanced relationship in the Asian – Pacific region.

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The party system has a great impact on the Chinese national security. It is a well-known fact that there is a single party system in China and it influences the security strategy of the state greatly. First, the party leaders prefer to pay more attention to the internal security. They believe that it is important not only for saving the ruling regime, but for preventing an intervention from foreign countries. Second, the communist party considers the Chinese national security apparatus serves the party first and the state second (Eikenberry, 2015). There are many worries among Chinese leaders, because they are emphasizing this point. The may not be sure of the military’s political loyalties (Eikenberry, 2015). Third, the party is quite afraid of the democratic influence and development in China. The ruling elite is rejecting Western political philosophy. In the guidance to the party dated 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping stands against the constitutional democracy, liberalism, and media freedom (Eikenberry, 2015). All attempts to criticize the party are considered historical nihilism. It is obvious, that American values and ideas are mentioned as prohibited and may even damage the Chinese security. That is why the relations between the two states are difficult to put in order. Ideological aspects have a great impact on the relations.

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The convergence starts within the educational and cultural spheres. There are many exchange programs on both sides that provide the immersion in the educational and cultural environments. Students from China, traditionally studying science, technology, engineering, or math are coming to the US with the purpose of continuing their education or getting a well-paid job. Moreover, young people from the US are also coming to China to study. Most of them prefer to study Chinese. The knowledge of this language can become as necessary as the knowledge of English in the conditions of the growing importance of China. Certainly, students from the US and China both face many immigration issues. The language barrier and the cultural shock are the most common problems. “Most of the Chinese students are applying to top tier national liberal arts colleges and baccalaureate schools in the US” (Cross, 2013). However, both countries provide special organizations aimed to help students feel more confident in a foreign environment.

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In conclusion, it is important to emphasize the importance of China and Asian – Pacific region for the American economy, security, and military policy. China is located at the crossroads of important trade routes and preservation of an unfavorable situation in the region directly affects the American foreign policy in a particular area. Moreover, China’s ambitions in the region can negatively influence the security of the whole world. The issue of restraint of Chinese economic and military expansion of the region should become the primary issue of the US foreign policy. Despite the fact that China sees the US as an ambitious superpower aimed at pursuing only its own interests, the United States government should be wise enough to create an atmosphere between the states that will not infringe on someone's interests. Relations between the two countries are a little strained nowadays. However, the cooperation and identifying common goals and interests will help these two powerful states become closer and achieve maximum prosperity within the Asian-Pacific region and around the world.

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