For the past 60 years, there has been convergence between the strategic logic of America's strategy of forward deployment in key regions of the world and the economic imperative of securing the nation's prosperity. Despite the constant protests on college campuses about "banana republics" and "no blood for oil," there was, in fact, generally a strong correlation between the places where the American military was engaged and those areas that were seen as vital to the economic health of the country. Opposition from naturally isolationist tendencies of the American body politic was overcome, in part, by the argument that prosperity at home could only be secured by guaranteeing access to markets and resources abroad.
By the 1990s, this approach had reached its apex in the emergence of a truly global system of trade, defined by "just in time" supply networks and the outsourcing of many of the stages of manufacturing away from the U.S. homeland. American politicians could no longer argue against the U.S. global presence by claiming that problems abroad had no impact on domestic prosperity. True, the average American might not be able to locate particular countries on the map. But with oil flowing from West Africa and the Persian Gulf, high-technology components shipped in from East Asia and Europe and a veritable flood of low-cost consumer goods flowing from China and other low-wage centers around the world, U.S. strategists could easily educate the general public about how U.S. involvement could be translated into low prices at the pump and at the store. The idea that America had to take the lead in protecting, patrolling and defending the so-called global commons because U.S. prosperity was at stake was even reflected in recruiting campaigns for the U.S. military. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- World Citizen: Venezuela Sanctions Undo Gains of U.S. Policy of Restraint
- The Realist Prism: For Iran Nuclear Deal, All Scenarios Amount to Leap of Faith
- Like It or Not, U.S. Needs Iran to Stabilize the Middle East
- To Secure FARC Deal, Colombia’s Santos Must Face Down Uribe
- Global Insights: Spoilers Emerge as Iran Nuclear Talks Reach Delicate Endgame