American policy towards other international regions is primarily based on a composite of three specific elements; unilateralism, hegemony, and the principle of preemptive intervention. While these elements have been existent in US foreign policy since the Cold War, it can be argued that the Bush administration distorted the principles of preemptive strike, principally aggressive prevention. While the element of unilateralism is contestable due to the fact that it is not exclusively applied, justifications for multilateralism are also apparent in American foreign policy decision making process (Dharajgir & Fortman 2005).
On a broad scale, the study of US policy over a span of decades is essentially an analysis of the international standing of one superpower, the intentions of the superpower, and the actual roles that the hegemon (Canrong 2001). Thus, foreign policy changes correspond to these changing attitudes, intentions, and responsibilities of the United States as the only remaining superpower. Cleveland (2005) supports this view by stating that US policy towards the end of the 20th century has undergone remarkable developments.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its own rise to become an unchallenged superpower, Americans and the American government suddenly become thrust into the international arena. With greater developments in Asia and Western Europe coupled to budding democracies in Eastern Europe, struggling Caribbean and Latin American Nations, and the overthrow of authoritarian governments in the Middle East; American foreign policy had to develop a collective eye that takes into account the specificity of challenges in specific regional, cultural, economical, and political regions (David & Armitav 2002; Cleveland 2005).
With the varied, but hugely documented, changes in the global geopolitical structure from the Cold War era to the post-September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, American foreign policy changes have more or less been determined by factors which the US governments deem to be globally relevant to its role as a global leader (Cleveland 2005). It is important to note that the current unipolarity in global power is the principal determinant of the influences of hegemony, unilateralism, and preemptive interventions as enshrined in US policy.
Moreover, in the post 9/11 era US policy towards the Middle East has become more aggressive and assertive (Yordan, 2006). This paper discusses the changes in US foreign policy towards the Middle East after the disintegration of the Soviet Union into the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The paper explores the nature of foreign policy with regard to the driving economic, ideological, political, cultural, and security influences in a dynamic arena of international politics.