Foreign Policy: Background

General information on the goals and purpose of U.S. Foreign Policy.

The purpose of United States foreign policy is to create a more secure, prosperous, and democratic world for the benefit of the American people. In an increasingly interdependent and rapidly changing world, international events affect every American. Successful U.S. international leadership is essential to security at home, better jobs and higher standard of living, a healthier environment, safe travel and conduct of business abroad.

Under the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, the United States conducts relations with foreign governments, international organizations, and others to pursue U.S. national interests and promote American values. The State Department identifies four main foreign policy goals:

- To protect the United States and Americans from such global challenges as terrorism, the threat of weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, the dangers of illegal drug trafficking and crime, humanitarian needs of migrants and refugees, and environmental degradation;

To advance democracy as a way to achieve stability, prosperity, and security for the entire world; to promote greater respect for human rights and hold governments accountable; and other global interests;

- To promote international understanding of American values and policies; and

- To support U.S. diplomats, government officials, and all other personnel at home and abroad who make these goals a reality.