16 Apr 2022


Globalization and the U.S foreign relations

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How has globalization influenced recent U.S. foreign policy?

As the wheels of globalization roll on at a very high speed, nations across the world are left with little in terms of influence on this rate, but just to react to it as they struggle to adapt to the shifting political and socio-economic factors. Globalization has greatly affected the U.S foreign policy, despite the fact that the country has some leverage over other nations in terms of its ability to affect the speed and nature of the process of globalization. It has to be noted that for a very long time, the U.S. has been the world’s largest socio-economic and political super-power. It has ruled other nations of the world for long. However, as globalization increases other nations gain economic and political power hence reducing the influence of the U.S. across the world (Alharthi, 2016). Today, for instance, China has grown to become the world’s major economy and it exports to the U.S more than what it imports from the U.S. Moreover, the United States of America today takes financial loans from China. This is evidence that globalization has greatly reduced the influence of the U.S. in the world. 

In a bid to maintain this influence, the U.S. has always reformed its foreign policy, which consequently affects its international relations. The United States of America foreign policy has changed to become highly self-interested rather than focused on issues of global system structure, as a result of its increased vulnerability to trade competitors and reduced comparative advantage. Its foreign policy is now highly focused on achieving national goals through aggressive unilateralism and regionalism (Alharthi, 2016). Unlike in the past, the multilateral agenda of the U.S. is not centered on fostering initiatives of global welfare anymore, especially if they need the sacrifice of immediate national objectives, but based on advancing its national interests. 

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In the recent past, the U.S. foreign trade policy has become quite tolerant to regionalism. The U.S. now prefers regional trade systems as a basis of its foreign trade policy (Alharthi, 2016). An example is the Canada-United States Free Trade Area that later developed into the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Clinton Administration advanced this foreign trade policy by extending NAFTA through the whole of Western Hemisphere, which would be known as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

The U.S. has beefed up efforts to foster opportunities for the American exporters as well as foreign investors based on its multilateral push for a global system that is free of trade barriers. However, America’s unilateral and bilateral trade policies have highly entrenched trade barriers with an aim of safeguarding American companies, which compete with imports. Furthermore, the U.S has consistently opposed the development of binding trade conflict management mechanisms (Alharthi, 2016). Section 201 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 enforced article 19 escape clause of GATT, which allows countries to suspend reduction in tariff for the industries that are adversely affected by sudden rises in imports without any consideration to the cause. America has not been using this escape clause frequently arguably because it is against its drive for systemic liberalism (Alharthi, 2016). However, the U.S. has comfortably been using Section 301 apparently because it targets nations that engage in discriminatory or unjustifiable trading practices. 

Do you think the American response to globalization has had a positive or negative effect on foreign relations? 

I considerably think the response taken by America to globalization has had a negative impact on its foreign relations. Its foreign policy has become highly self-interested, and this makes other nations view it as a hostile nation that is only ready to ratify trade agreements that favor, but is resistant to deals that appear to favor other countries. As mentioned earlier not all nations are amused by the fact that the U.S. only implements sections of the GATT that are favorable to its national goals and disregards other provisions that champion the welfare of other nations. This move continues to hurt America’s foreign relations and nations across the world can now be seen uniting to resist its international agenda.


Alharthi, M. (2016). U.S. History: America in a Global Context, 1989–Present, Chapter 24. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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