Through hearing everyone’s presentations on US foreign policy and through my research on Darfur, both US response to human rights concerns and the effect of leadership changes on foreign policy stood out to me. It is interesting how the US presents itself as so aware of human rights, but in most foreign policy, it chooses which battles to fight based on what is the most beneficial to the US, and will ignore mass conflicts in regions that will not affect the US. I also found it interesting how the media corresponds to those same motivations and only broadcasts what most affects the US. Specifically, in Sudan, the Darfur Genocide and newer conflicts in the region have gone almost completely ignored by the US., following a pattern from the Rwandan genocide. Although these mass murders are relatively forgotten, the media in America focuses on any terrorist attack around the world, seemingly because the US believes it could happen to them, but they separate themselves from genocides and other cultural violence, supporting the belief that those conflicts could never happen in America. The American media’s focus on terrorist attacks fuels the motivation of terrorism. Another time the motivation for US foreign policies became blurred was when they overthrew the president in Guatemala, so the big American businesses that were destroying the country could continue to profit from the cheap labor and foreign land.
It is also interesting how foreign policy can change so much with leadership changes, especially with the US’ relationship with China. Ever since the communists took over in 1949 the US had no relationship with them until Nixon in 1972. It was interesting how Nixon’s strong opposition to communism allowed him to form a relationship with the leader while avoiding backlash from the American public. Also, it was surprising to learn that China sided with the US over Soviet Union to take down the other major power. Since China and the US had the common enemy of the Soviet Union, they were able to work together, despite their difference in political opinion. It is also unbelieveable how the US switched from having no contact with China and now much of its economy is based there, just 40 years after the initial interaction with the communist leadership. Also, today, all of the countries, including China, do not know what to expect from the new US president, Trump, and the relationship could easily change just as drastically again, but as before it is impossible to predict what will happen.