The period after World War II to the present is characterized by several significant changes in the field of public relationships and foreign policies. The United States has to develop and maintain good relationships with the representatives of various nations and demonstrate their respect, power, and authority. Students can learn more about American policies and activities from different resources, including television, movies, historical sites, or museum exhibitions. In this paper, attention will be paid to the representation of US public relations in popular culture. Hotel Rwanda, The Terminal, and Argo are the movies where foreign policies and international relations of the United States are traced and explained to demonstrate the status of the country and its role in the global arena.
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US Foreign Policies and International Relationships
The discussion of the foreign policy in the United States helps to understand the values and missions of the country from a global perspective. International relationships determine the attitudes of the countries from different continents towards the Americans and the government. Harris explained national interests in “environmental changes and a nascent acceptance of international equity – a fair and just distribution among countries of benefits, burdens and decision-making authority associated with international relations” (4).
In addition, America participates in the promotion of humanitarian help and sustainable development. The government is always ready to investigate crises thoroughly and make its final decisions. One of the purposes is to gain trust and cooperate with national leaders to prove the correctness of the Western position. However, the way of how Americans and the citizens of other countries see and understand foreign policies usually varies, and the representation of all these issues in movies can be one of the reasons.
Description in Movies
Nowadays, people have access to various media sources and learn the news from different parts of the world in a short period. The film industry remains one of the possible sources that is used to study cultures, traditions, and public relations. Many movies about foreign policy and international relationships in the United States are translated into different languages, and people can improve their understanding of the American spirit and ideals. During the last two decades, such movies as Hotel Rwanda (2004), The Terminal (2004), and Argo (2012) depict the ideas supported by the United States about international affairs, governmental activities, and American history.
For example, the movie Argo is an educative movie about the actual roots of today’s problems and the necessity to analyze past mistakes but never ignore them. No one can deny the fact that American foreign policy and the intentions to defend democracy have meaning and several benefits for the population. However, there will always be some villains with their goals and principles. US-Iran relationships are never simple, and the US government should not only promote freedoms and equality but also take action and predict crises.
In The Terminal, the attitudes of the American citizens towards foreigners are perfectly described, focusing on the power of international relationships policies and rules. Some people are ready to break the rules and stay loyal to visitors, showing how generous and kind the Americans can be, and some characters represent a strict and egocentric American nature. Finally, Hotel Rwanda is a movie where Americans or the United Nations organizations are represented as “peacekeepers, not peacemakers”. On the one hand, international relationships presuppose help and support to each other under different conditions. On the other hand, it is still hard to predict the behaviors of certain persons and their readiness to sustain foreign policy and similar activities.
All these representations of American that can be found in the chosen movies say about the country’s history and status in the world. Despite the existing problems and multiple critiques, the United States continues taking steps and improving human lives. Conflicts and crises always exist and challenge the government, as well as ordinary citizens. American uses “the international arena public trust” as a “treasure” or the possibility to create an atmosphere where risks are handled, and safety is ensured (Mogensen 317).
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The approach of interpersonal relations within an international area that is used in The Terminal shows how human decisions and emotions influence international relationships. Argo focuses on the past and its impact on the future. This approach is not perfect because it takes mistakes and fault predictions for granted. Hotel Rwanda reveals the idea of genocide and the restrictions modern policies and agreements imposed on the US government and the country. The role of America in the world is portrayed as peacekeepers, proving that people are free to make their decisions and treat each other the way they deserve.
In general, the chosen movies represent international relationships and foreign policy of the country is rather provocative and subjective ways. Still, they can be applied to current policy debates as they demonstrate how the system works and what benefits and challenges may be discovered. It is not an easy task for one country to keep peace in the whole world, but the representations in popular culture prove that the United States never stops making new attempts and believing in a safer future.
Harris, Paul G. International Equity and Global Environmental Politics: Power and Principles in U.S. Foreign Policy. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2018.
Hotel Rwanda. Directed by Terry George, performances by Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, and Nick Nolte, Lions Gate Films, 2004.
Mogensen, Kirsten. “International Trust and Public Diplomacy.” International Communication Gazette, vol. 77, no. 4, 2015, pp. 315-336.