Why is the USA so concerned about fixing the rest of the world’s problems when we still have our own problems to take care of?

IR : Why-is-the-USA-so-concerned-about-fixing-the-rest-of-the-worlds-problems-when-we-still-have-our-own-problems-to-take-care-of

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

The primary reason why US is more worried about the world problems [from Ebola to Russia to Islamic State] is because it is the hub node of the world markets. The $15 trillion US market is deeply connected with the rest of the world and thus any impact anywhere in the world affects US.

From groceries to car loan financing to electronic gadgets, American consumers depend on the world markets for their daily needs. In the same way, they also export more stuff to the rest of the world than all nations other than China. This means it is not just their purchase, but it is their jobs too at the line if the rest of the world screws up.

Whether it is the need for NATO or need for fighting the IS or the stronger response to Ebola, US takes the leader role because it has the most to lose among the major economies. Other economies are still too far from taking over the US role in world economy.

Other factors that force US to take a stronger role in world problems:

  1. US is the biggest target: If you have the choice to shoot the chest or the eye, what would you prefer? Most would prefer the chest – as it is the biggest target and you cannot easily miss. In the same way, terrorist organizations eventually attack American interests as it is the most visible.
  2. Military industry: A sizable chunk of the economy depends on warfare & "solving" problems.
  3. Price stability: Whether US imports oil or not, whether shale boom continues or not, the prices people pay at the pump depend mostly on global market rates. Any trouble anywhere in the world would cause the prices to go up, leading to troubles for US consumers who consume more than  7 billion barrels of oil [more than 200 billion gallons] a year. Given how heavily US is integrated with the rest of the world, high inflation can be easily imported. And historically politicians lose their job if they don't reduce inflation.
  4. Immigrants: US probably has the most diverse population drawn from all parts of the world. Many of the immigrants carry their own local issues here. For instance, Cuban immigrants have a near total control on the American policy towards Cuba. In the same way, AIPAC has a big sway over Middle East relationships.

Why is the USA so concerned about fixing the rest of the world's problems when we still have our own problems to take care of?


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