The United States in the World

19 T n spite of the current image of the United States and some of the actions the ^government has taken, there has been a long historical tradition of isolationism. President George Washington declared in 1796, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” The spirit of isolationism persists even today, as Americans continue to debate their place in the world community. Many Americans are very reluctant to see the United States become involved in international military actions unless they are convinced that there is some national interest to be protected. Americans are also skeptical[121] about international economic alliances and global agreements, wanting to be sure that their self-interests are protected before commitments are made to other countries. Many Americans are more interested in what is happening close to home than what is happening in the rest of the world. They want to know how events, national or international, will affect them personally.

How Americans See Themselves in The World

100% r

It is best for the future of the United States if we take an active part in world affairs.


80% –


1947 1950










2000 2003


Source: National Opinion Research Center, the Gallup Organization, Program for International Policy Analysis, TNSSOFRES for the German Marshall Fund, latest that of June



20 Today it would be impossible for the United States to isolate itself from the rest of the world even if it tried. While some scholars would say that the United States and its culture played a dominant role in the twentieth century, its role in the twenty – first is unclear. It is quite possible that the rest of the world will have a greater impact on the United States than ever before. There are three forces that the United States has little control over: international terrorism, the global economy, and immigration.

21 First, after 9/11 (the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon), Americans became painfully aware that terrorists could attack them inside their own country. The U. S. government has taken a number of steps to protect Americans from terrorists, but in a free and open society it is impossible to guarantee that these attacks will never happen. Terrorists who are willing to kill themselves in an attack are very difficult to stop. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were meant as preemptive strikes to stop terrorists before they could attack the United States again.

22 Second, the world economy is growing and changing. Many American companies have discovered that outsourcing jobs is making them more competitive and more profitable. Jobs in the information sector were supposed to take the place of manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced. However, now the middle class sees these information jobs being outsourced to countries such as India and even China. Zuckerman observes that many middle-class Americans “feel that global capitalism has brought into play a vast, new workforce ready and willing to do the jobs of American workers, at a fraction of their pay. Outsourcing has become the symbol of middle-class anxiety.”

23 Подпись:Third, the United States is having trouble controlling the number of illegal immigrants coming into the country, probably more than a million each year. These undocumented workers risk their lives to come into the United States because they cannot make a decent living in their home countries. Although they often take jobs that Americans would rather not do, they are frequently paid in cash and often do not pay taxes or have access to health insurance or other benefits.

There are not enough public English classes for them, and providing health care and educational benefits is a problem. Also, many Americans worry about what will happen to the traditional American values as the population of the United States becomes increasingly diverse.

24 On the other hand, many recognize that all these new immigrants bring new life and energy into the United States. As the baby boomers get older, immigrants may be an important source of youth and vitality for the nation. Perhaps most importantly, the diversity of ideas and cultures in the United States may be one of its greatest sources of strength in the twenty-first century. Ben Wattenberg, an expert in American culture, believes that the United States is becoming a microcosm of the world—it may be the first universal nation, where people from every race, religion, culture, and ethnic background live together in freedom, under one government.

25 The American people and their values have reached another historic crossroads. Will these traditional values endure through this century? One hundred years from now will Americans still have a sense of national identity—of “being American”? What new challenges will this century bring? As Alvin Toffler said, “The sole certainty is that tomorrow will surprise us all.”

Updated: 18th July 2015 — 3:16 pm