Cold War

Causes of Cold War

Causes of the Cold War The Cold War was a very dangerous period of history that lasted from 1945 to 1991. The Cold War was started almost immediately after the surrender ing Germany to the end of World War II there was a threat tot the planet and its existence if this war was ever to be fought. Both upheld a great amount of resources into the expanding their military readiness. It was more than a war between two countries, it was a war between different ideologies in fear of the government.
In the United States a “witch hunt” was carried out against communists, as they feared that communism would take over the country and in the Soviet Union people were “fenced in” by fear of the police and government and they were not free to travel abroad as many escaped from the hard reigning regime (Artikkel). After World War II two great powers emerged in the world. The world was split into two spheres, the West and the East. The power in the West rested in the hands of the United States and the power in the East the power rested in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The USSR wanted to spread its ideal government, Communism in Eastern Europe and create a “buffer zone” as defense against any attacks by the U. S. (Capitalists) or by Germany. In 1946 Europe was split in two the West and East(western democracies and the United States and the Soviet Union and Soviet occupied territory). In Berlin, the capital of Germany a wall was erected to separate theWest the East side, The was known as the “Iron Curtain”, it was a symbolic of the treat each side felt from the other. The U. S. and U. S. S.

R. were as different as day and night. Therefore neither trusted the other completely. A capitalist economy is based on private ownership, private profit and free competition, it encourages private individuals to own businesses and make profits (capitalism). On the other hand a communist economy is very different. The economy is controlled by the government and the country’s wealth and resources are owned by the state or government. The state controls and plans all economic activity so that everybody benefits (communism).
During World War I and II, the USSR was invaded multiple times resulting in many russian casualties. The USSR began planning making sure they would be secure from any future attack or aggression along the western border. Stalin, the USSR leader, decided to surround Russia with a buffer of “friendly” countries. The U. S. was afraid that the ideology of Communist would spread largely and vasty. When the USSR began attempting to improve its security by having satellite states, the U. S. saw this as an attempt by the USSR to spread the influence of Communism throughout the world.
The United States had the nuclear bomb and soon after that Russia had a nuclear bomb also. Since neither side trusted the other and both wanted to extend their great ideology to the rest of the world, the Cold War heated up. Each side constantly believed the other wanted to destroy the other and felt the need to create a better military force. A military tension began between the two countries. The United States also expanded its navy, armed ships with new technology. Scientists were developing new weapons to aid this military buildup.
Russia, too also built up their military as well. During this time period, while the Russians pushed the Germans out of their border, they also pushed inwards into Eastern Europe. Russia occupied many countries, making it easier for them to establish control and as they established controls in these areas, they gave the local Communist parties a lot of support. Thus, widened their influence in their countries and brought along Moscow-trained Communist leaders who had gone to the USSR during the war spreading the influence of Communism ((Artikkel).
Meanwhile Stalin saw this as an opportunity to establish his ideal one-party governments in these countries , he combined all allie government and removed their partners which were needed as the Communist Parties in the different countries were not strong enough on their own to gain the support of the people and govern the country. The USSR was now able to continue and increase/maintain power in Eastern Europe, successfully forming the satellite states (Iron Curtain). The arms race had a different result on the economies for each country.
The US experienced great economic expansion, new companies were founded by the people to supply the needs of the military. More money was being pumped into the society and as people received more money, they wanted choices how to spend their money. So businesses that expanded this economies expansion. Resources were diverted from one area to provide for the expansion of the military. Since the government owned everything, new companies formed took resources from other areas of their economy.
The military expansion robbed resources the provided needs for the needs of the people hence the result was a shortage of food and other necessary goods for the day to day survival. The arms race resulted in a contraction of the Russian economy. In June 1947, the Marshall Plan was put into effect in order to stop the Russians from influencing any of the weakened western powers(Marshall). Meanwhile the United States sent billions of dollars to help aid to Europe democracies and rebuild vastly reducing the influence of Communism. This brought back Western Germany and rebuilt it as a new ally in US’s fight against USSR.
As a result of Russia rejection of aid to Marshall Plan, East Germany was not completely rebuilt, the lack of reconstruction showed and also during its reunification. The Communists never paid for all of the reconstruction cost while Germany’s economy did taking big hit in their economy. The Truman Doctrine, a plan to help states going through a struggle for freedom against their oppressors, was instituted in 1948. President Truman said, “I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures (Truman). Communism was only allowed to areas already under Soviet control, and Americans would resist Soviet expansion everywhere else. The Truman Doctrine could not have been more clearly directed towards East Germany and, technically, West Germany (Truman). Germany was still under the power of an outside force and also under the power the Deutsches Demokratische Republik. In 1949 the Allies made good on what they promised in the Truman Doctrine and unified West Germany into the BDR (Federal Republic of Germany) and also the Russians instituted the DDR, which turned out to be more of a regime than a government (Truman).

Cold War

The American Influence in the post-Cold War Era: a Critical Perspective

The post-Cold War era saw the end of the simple bipolarity in international affairs, and the redistribution of power in the international system resulted in the revision of classic concepts of war, power, security and conflict. The new agenda for economic development of the poorest regions and their political integration in a globalizing world, led to an increased role of non-governmental organisations in foreign affairs (Cox, 2003; 2008; Baylis & Smith, 2007; Brown, 2005; Strange, 2002). With globalization, the capacity of the state was undermined, and transnational corporations and global firms became the landmarks of a new world order, which some labelled as post-democracy (Crouch, 2004).
In the age of post-democracy, the debate around the reorganization of power in the international system and the sustainability of the main continuities in US foreign policy such as trade liberalization and democratization became a question of new debate (Nye, 1990; Strange, 2002; Cox, 2003; 2008). The question whether the United States was going to preserve its economic and political primacy in a much more complex world divided experts, and existing theories of imperialism clashed with newly emerged visions of a multilateral world, where influence and resources are shared among a relatively strong America, and emerging Asian powers. This short essay will critically examine the influence of the United States in the post Cold War world, and will explore whether the demise of the American dream for political and economic freedom is really on its way. This will be observed in the context of US foreign policy.

Research question
This essay will explore whether the American dream and its replications in foreign policy is in its demise in the post-Cold War era. It will defend the view, that despite the rising powers from Asia and the political and military capabilities of Russia, Israel and Iran, the American continuities in foreign policy remain resilient and to a large extent – sustainable in a multi-polar world.
In order to do this, the author has decided to look at two specific tenets of US foreign policy and their sustainability as factors in global politics – economic trade liberalism and democratization. Both of them will be discussed separately. First, the author will briefly mention the replications of the American dream in foreign policy.
The American dream re-examined – the foreign policy dimension
The American dream largely reflects the American values, embedded in the ideas of social equality for all people and economic freedom. Its replications in foreign policy have had two shapes – one is economic trade liberalization, and the other one is the spread of democracy.
In the post Cold War era, theories related to the contested powers of the United States permeated the political discourse, and the ubiquity of the American influence in the world became a topic of discussion. According to Gowan (2008), one of the characteristic traits of American foreign policy has been the preservation of its capitalist policies, through the spread of liberal values all over the world. He argues that despite the rise of Asian powers, the US has managed to maintain its “world empire image” (347) through the sustainability of American dominated free market and institutions. The result of this post-Cold War strategy is the increasing political influence of the US in military and security issues. In sum, the American dream in foreign policy in the post-Cold War period can be looked at on two levels – one is economic and is related with the ever expanding policies of trade liberalism. The other one is related to growing political power, stemming from the preservation of American controlled markets. For the purposes of this essay, both will be examined.
The American economic liberalism in the new era
In this section, it will not be sufficient to explore only the American macroeconomic performance after the end of the post Cold War. First, we need to briefly highlight the ideological tenets, on which this performance rests. The ideology, which has shaped the US performance since WWII is related to economic liberalism, free trade and cooperation, for the purposes of sustaining a capitalist model of production (Gowan, 2008; Brown, 2005 Cox, 2003; 2008). It rests on the image of liberal values and openness, which the US embraced during its expansion in Latin America in the 19th century. This image, described by some as American exceptionalism (Hunt, 1987; Levy, 2001) has remained continuity in US foreign policy, despite the changing conditions of the external political environment. The idea of open trade, dynamic industries and multi-lateral trade relations are all tenets of the perpetuating image of the United States as a key player in trade and economics, and a proponent of capitalism. Although it is argued whether this consistency has revolved around economic multilateralism, mercantilism or neo-imperialism (Wallerstein, 2003; Gowan, 2008), its perpetuation in international affairs is undisputed.
Despite the global recession and the rising Asian powers, the US has preserved its position as one of the leading powers in the global economy. Official figures for American gross domestic product show that since 1994, the American economy has grown at a significantly faster rate than other main advanced economies such as the Eurozone and Japan (Gowan, 2008). Growth declined sharply in 2001 and 2002 but recovered shortly after, and before the recession, figures show that the US total share in the global economic output has grown to 49.6 per cent (Gowan, 2008:351). With the global recession, the American economic ideology was challenged, and the supremacy of the dollar as the world currency – put to question because of issues related with mounting trade deficits and foreign debt. However, at present America remains one of the largest actors in the global economy, because of its ascending productivity, increasing competitiveness and domineering trade relations. Undisputedly and despite the global economic conditions, the American market will always be attractive for capitalisms from the rest of the world, because of its enormous size (Gowan, 2008; Dam, 2004; Verdier, 1994). This would perpetually encourage other economic powers from Asia and Latin America for example, to accept “American-centred economic regimes” (Gowan, 2008: 353). Also, the tangible American presence in the international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, makes the US a dominant power in terms of development economics and recovery. In this sense, the ideology and the structural characteristics of American capitalism have succeeded in a post-Cold war world, and despite the challenges ahead, at present the US remains a leading economic power.
Democratization and the United States
As the previous section briefly outlined, despite the formidable challenges on the global horizon, which the US faces, it has managed to preserve its economic position in the world. This economic position, however, is not simply the result of the rise of American capitalism within the world economy, but also of the political rise of the American values and the ability of the US to use its political power and influence in a globalizing world (Gowan, 2008). Authors such as Wallerstein (2003) and Gowan (2008) suggest that the US has managed to reshape the ideas of world peace and cooperation, through the historic preservation of its capitalist ideal. Also, the attempts to export democracy (Chua, 2004) and democratic values in many parts of the developing world have led to the widespread influence of the United States. Some are willing to speculate, that this was a devised strategy, designed to sustain the position of the United States as a leading political power (Cox, 2003). What was labelled as neo-imperialism or the spread of American values through the use of “soft power” (Cox, 2003; Nye, 1990) is one of the main reasons, why the United States is likely to keep its place in the international system in the decades to come. The American democratic model has been exported to Africa, the Middle East and Latin America and despite the criticisms related to its implementation, it has served as a means for the preservation of the American position in foreign affairs.
This essay has attempted to show, that despite the challenges on the US foreign policy agenda, its influence in the international system remains significant. Therefore it would be exaggerated to say that the American dream is a reminiscence of the political past. The most powerful manifestations of the perpetuating American presence in foreign affairs are related to economic liberalism and political exports, such as democracy, human rights, and social equality. In the post-Cold war period, the United States has continued to spread its influence, and has largely remained at the centre of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In terms of political governance, the American formula remains uncontested. America’s greatest export commodity – democracy – has established a sphere of influence in the developing world, where the American presence will remain strong, at least for several decades to come. Whether one will take the mercanlitist, multilateralist or imperialist approach to understanding America’s future role in the world is less relevant compared to the fact that the United States remains an important element in a shared world leadership, where the swing of China and Russia towards capitalism, and the rise of a global civil society, have already shifted the balance of power in a totally different direction.
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