Foreign policy is always a complex issue with lasting ramifications, but the effects are also more profound for the United States as one of the world's major superpowers. Foreign policy consists of many different agencies and units collaborating together for one purpose. Aside from the President and Congress, the Department of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Central Intelligence Agency, and National and Homeland Security Councils all play a vital role in developing foreign policy (APUS, 2016). With nearly two hundred countries in existence, the role of the intelligence and information gathering agencies should not be surprising as in order to develop policy, factual information about each country and their agenda must be clearly known. In addition, in keeping with many other factors of the United States constitution, there is a clear separation of duties and powers which keeps any one entity from harnessing too much autonomy.
In response to the Arab Spring, all foreign policy stakeholders and tools should be available, such as diplomacy, collective security, economic incentives, intelligence gathering, military deterrence and intervention (APUS, 2016). In order to utilize or implement any of the other tools of foreign policy, intelligence gathering must be a top priority in order to develop which approach would be most successful. While the United States wants to promote democracy across the world, ensuring there are leaders which will also support the U.S. agenda is also important. Many different countries were involved in the Arab Spring, and each must be analyzed and treated differently according to the regional and societal situations (Rushefsky, 2014). The specific foreign policy tools to be implemented ultimately depend on the conditions on the ground such as: What percentage of the population is involved in the uprising? Are elections truly free or are alternate candidates being limited? Is there violence or oppression occurring on either side? To what extent? If the answers are less extreme, diplomacy and collective security would be the primary foreign policy tools needed. Should escalation occur, some form of military intervention could be necessary.
If an election is clearly rigged and limits viable candidates, certain sanctions should be considered. However, military intervention would require significantly more egregious acts. Military intervention without the use of troops on the ground can be slightly more tolerable, but in the existence of extreme humanitarian crisis sometimes a more direct approach is necessary. According to former Presidents Bush and Clinton, the atrocities which occurred in Rwanda warranted stronger military intervention (Rushefsky, 2014). Similarly, the humanitarian crisis in Syria has also invoked a coalition of forces to support the rebels fighting Assad's regime. Ultimately, the clearest sign needed to utilize military intervention is the presence of a mass slaughter of civilian lives on the part of a governmental authority.
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