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American Foreign Policy Success in a Post-Hegemonic World The United States is faced with a series of grand challenges in the

realm of foreign policy. The major challenge of the day remains the threat of international terrorism. After a decade of two unpopular wars, much of the American public is weary of foreign involvement of nearly any kind. The unfortunate perfect storm of domestic discontent and perceived foreign policy failures have limited the scope of actions the Obama administration can carry out without destroying its image and legacy. Thus, in order to remain at the forefront of world politics and effectively confront threats to the American homeland, the White Houses strategy must center on Increased education and recruitment of culturally knowledgeable personnel Increased focus on intelligence gathering and relationship building with native elements. Increased willingness to call upon non-NATO nations to assist in crisis areas. To sum up the last twenty years of American foreign policy, three phenomena can be spotted in nearly each of the United States failures and quagmires: a lack of foresight and knowledge of the various ethnic, tribal, and sectarian issues in crisis areas, an inability to establish meaningful and lasting partnerships with native elements, and a propensity for largely unilateral action in these areas. To see the first of these phenomena in action, we must look no further than Afghanistan during the 1990s. After supporting the Afghan Mujahidin during their fight against the Soviet Union during the 1980s, the United States cut off many of the important relationships built in the Central Asian nation. As a result, the country fell into turmoil and civil war, conditions ripe for the rise of extremist groups with hostile views towards to the US. Washingtons reluctance to maintain a relationship with potentially stabilizing, friendly groups would eventually cost over 3,000 civilians their lives and many billions in war spending. Learning from this lesson, the Obama administration should place premium focus on developing a corps of civil servants with extensive knowledge of problem areas outside of just politics and military capabilities. Understanding cultural, religious, and tribal history will better prepare the White House for decisions it will inevitably have to make. With the new era of counterterrorist warfare being conducted by drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and other parts of the Middle East, the CIA has gotten away from its namesake task, Intelligence gathering. In order for the United States to be prepared for all of the future challenges to American interests at home and abroad, the White House must refocus the American Intelligence community on to intelligence gathering and relationship building with friendly foreign elements. The advantage to this strategy exists in the decreased footprint of the American government in difficult foreign affairs. The American public knew little of the small CIA teams that infiltrated into Afghanistan immediately following 9/11, but the work they produced and the relationships they built had drastic effects on the war in Afghanistan. With the ongoing crisis in Syria, having friends on the ground once Assad is defeated will ensure that Syria does not become a haven for those who would do harm to us. By revamping the CIA and placing a greater impetus on ground-level relationship building, the United States can avoid nationbuilding quagmires by supporting native, but friendly elements as they build their own countries. For the last few decades, the United States has fronted the bill for ma ny of the worlds international crises. Whether for unilateral action by the United States or an international effort, American lives and dollars have typically been currency of the day. In order to continue to confront threats abroad while handling the domestic discontent with foreign entanglements, the Obama administration will have to insist that nations outside of NATO become involved in efforts to deal with crises. An example of this would be in Mali. While French forces have been deployed to assist the Malian military, the United States has called

upon African nations to bear the brunt of the coalition force. This is a step in the right direction. The United States must remain vocal in order to maintain its standing as an international deal broker, however, actual resources can be saved by not committing to unilateral action. These actions must be taken in order to see a foreign policy develop in which the United States is addressing threats without devoting the same resources and political currency to them. A more efficient foreign policy: more solutions with less of a footprint.