“What role should the U.S. play in World Defense?

English II-3rd Hour
Research Paper

What role should the United States play in World Defense? To some, this may seem like a simple question to answer, and to others it may be a question that can be debated and talked about for hours at end. This question which I am dealing with has probably come up several times in this century, especially in the last fifty(50) years or so. First of all, let me start out with some statistics and facts that may startle you, or maybe not. The first piece of information that I will provide you with is the annual amount of money that our country spends on affairs outside of our own country, in either lending military or economic aid. It is estimated that in the last four years, the United States, under the Clinton Administration has spent about $1.7 billion dollars in foreign aid. This amount of course, can be debated by the government, who has probably spent much more then they want us to know. This fact alone is scary, since only last year, the Defense Department, under the Freedom of Information Act was forced to tell the American people how much money it spent on the protection of our country since last year alone. The amount? A whopping $4 billion dollars.
Since we won our independence from Great Britain in 1776, we as a nation have been involved in 5 major wars since the turn of the century, and ask yourself this question: How many of these wars directly affected our own national security, and put the American people as a whole at great risk? All of these wars have been fought on other soil, the United States has not seen a war on our own soil since the Civil War, which ended in 1865. This was an internal U.S. affair, which as you know, no foreign country got involved with-at least not out in the open. I will briefly go through each of these five wars which have occurred in our century and try to find any reason or reasons why we got involved. Keep in mind that a couple of these wars were not officially declared, so there is some debate about whether these should have been fought at all.
The first war that I will talk about is World War I. This was our first major war that we were involved with, and some would say, the war that made us a superpower. This war started in Europe, when the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian student. This event led to the first World War. The countries involved were the following: The Triple Entente was made up of Great Britain, France, and Russia. These were the “Good Guys”. The other major powers were known as the Triple Alliance, which consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.
Because of the alliance system in Europe, war soon broke out. Many people of the day thought for sure that Great Britain, France and Russia would put a quick end to the war, but later in 1917, with Russia out of the picture, and the French army almost gone, and with Great Britain standing alone, it became clear who was winning the war. In 1917 the United States entered the war, mostly because the Germans were destroying U.S. ships headed for Britain. Was this action justified? Was Germany threatening the United States as a whole-of course not. It seems to me that the United States was dragged into the war, not because our national security was threatened, but because our allies needed our help. The result? Almost 300,000 American men dead.
The second war, and perhaps that most famous of all wars, is of course World War II. This was the war that some people feel got the United States out of the Great Depression. The war began again in Europe in 1939 when Germany, under NAZI rule by Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland. Once again, because of the alliance system, another “World War” broke out. The Axis Powers consisted of Germany, Japan, and Italy, while the Allies consisted of Great Britain, France, and later the newly formed Soviet Union and the United States. Early in the war, Germany quickly