##America, The World's Policeman

Since the end of World War Two, America has been a global power able to lead in conflicts and matters of national security. This and its alliances with other Western countries place it as uniquely able to fund and command the military operations of NATO and the UN. But is the USA "The World's Policeman"?

One example of the US taking a leading role is in NATO. America is the largest and most influential member of NATO. It provides 72% of the military capabilities NATO has, with operations in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. Additionally, it holds the power to veto as one of the permanent members of UN meaning it must support any large resolution if it is to be voted through. The US pushed forward NATO operations in Afghanistan after 9/11 proving their powers of negotiation and persuasion. The Iraq war, however, was not supported by NATO both proving that the US can face difficulties when seeking support and also that it is powerful enough to act alone. The economic crash of 2008 left America with $16 trillion in debt has significantly stifled its military operations too, with a primary focus of Barack Obama's State of the Union address in 2012 being the withdrawal of troops from former areas of conflict, like Afghanistan.

The US is also in close negotiations with Russia regarding nuclear disarmament. Both countries' commitments to reducing and eventually removing all nuclear weapons capabilities were threatened when the START nuclear non-proliferation agreement expired meaning inspections into each other's facilities were stopped. The arrangement was eventually repaired, but the events allow America's power to be questioned.

America also plays a significant role in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Its large Jewish population and their influence in Congress - due to the Jewish population being, in general, prosperous - provides an unavoidable reason for any incoming president to support Israel in the conflict. Any other action would likely jeopardise a re-election. This shows that America can be influenced by other factors making its power questionable.

America deploys its Unmanned Air Vehicles in Pakistan to allow it to act across the world with no threat to US personnel. From 2011 to 2012 the strikes in Pakistan by America increased from 294 to 506. The overall civilian death percentage of these strikes did decrease by 50% in this period though, according to estimates, so the strikes are effective. However, the strikes that have done damage to civilian areas - for example, four boys were killed in October of last year in Logar province - can turn the local people against America and the West inspiring them to join opposing forces like Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Therefore their overall success in the Drone Wars is partial.

America is also involved in negotiations with Iran to reduce their nuclear arsenal. However, since extreme action by the US would be struck down in the UN by Russia and China, they favoured economic sanctions supported by the UN and EU over intervention. The countries often use their veto in the UN Security Council to oppose America's plans for intervention. This limits the US in acting with international support, as is the case with proposed support of Syrian rebels revolting against Bashar al-Assad. This shows that, while America can act alone, it requires the support of the international community to justify its actions which forces it to reduce its involvement in other countries in favour of saving its already damaged reputation.

It can be concluded that America's role as "The World's Policeman" is mainly due to its influence held at the start of the Second World War. It has used this influence to strategically negotiate with countries, and invade others, to achieve its ends. However, there are many external factors which affect America's power and influence both in NATO and the UN.


Reading time: 03:17 Written by Graham Macphee