The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy


Political Science (POL 300)


The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

The Reagan Doctrine was the foreign policy in the United States, legislated by President Ronald Reagan. This doctrine was design to eliminate the communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that were indorsed and validated by the Soviet Union. This assignment will summarize how the United States provided open and private support to guerrilla and resistance movements during the Regan years. In addition, explicate the diplomatic doctrine specific events that occurred in Afghanistan when the Soviet Union invaded. Finally, this assignment will describe the advantages and disadvantages based on the Regan Doctrine.

Summarize The Situation of U.S. Diplomatic of The Regan Doctrine

Throughout the opening years of the Cold War, Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter all sanctioned policies against communism in order to contain it. Ronald Regan rejected their détente policy in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. This alone proved that policies that only contain communism were ineffective. Regan disapproved in the compromise policy when it came to any communist government. Instead, Reagan proposed the Rollback strategy. The making of the Reagan Doctrine shifted from containment and spreading to eliminating all current communist governments. Furthermore, the United States wanted to increase and encourage democracy and capitalism in replacement of ousted communist regimes (Conservapedia, 2012).

Implementation of the Regan Doctrine was to provide overt and covert support to guerrilla and resistance movements in countries were the Soviet Union wanted to spread their communist’s agenda or were eradicate an existing regime (Conservapedia, 2012). The doctrine was in full operation when The Soviet Union without provocation and with overpowering force invaded Afghanistan in 1979. This roll back of Soviet power met little resistance form the international community except Central America. Internally, Democrats in Congress warned that the Regan Doctrine would eventually lead to a nuclear war in response; they attempted to hinder and stop the implementation of the doctrine. Historian Barbara Tuchman disagreed with Regan confrontation doctrine and wanted the United States to pursue the stuff goose strategy. This option was to provide then Soviet Union with consumer goods and all the grain they needed. Nevertheless, despite Regan’s lack of foreign policy credentials his pursuit to stop the evil, empire and would not deter him. However, some people believed he was a precarious warmonger (Souza, 1997).

Roskin and Berry (2010) states that during the Cold War, most U.S. presidents articulated policies that journalists quickly dubbed their “doctrines.” These doctrines help us remember what each president stood for; however, they are all just variations of the first, the Truman Doctrine which was sometimes called the “containment” policy. The overall goal of U.S. foreign policy was to stop communism. I have chosen President John F. Kennedy and his doctrine of flexibility whose presidential term was from 1961 – 1963. According to Roskin and Berry (2010), President Kennedy’s doctrine was to respond flexibly to communist expansion, especially to guerrilla warfare.

A situation that required United States diplomatic efforts during President Kennedy’s time in office occurred October 15, 1962 when a U-2 surveillance plane captured photographs of nuclear missile sites being built in Cuba for Fidel Castro by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union. The United States expressed its concerns to the Soviets but they claimed they were simply providing Cuba with weapons to defend themselves in case of future attacks by the United States. According to Hermes (2001), President Kennedy made it clear that the United States would retaliate against the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons if any Cuban missiles Crisis.

Describe the effects of these diplomatic efforts for the U.S and other countries.

For many countries, such as the United States, the practice of public diplomacy includes not only one-way communications but also promotion of cultural, educational and citizen interchange. Public diplomacy differs from traditional government-to-government diplomacy in that it deals not only with foreign officials but also with nongovernmental individuals and institutions, as well as mass audiences. Depending for its long-term success on candor, credibility and open interchange, public diplomacy does not include black propaganda, psychological warfare or other forms of covert action, which by their nature seek tactical and short-term gain. Nor, by most definitions, does it refer to activities of private citizens and organizations (such as media and educational institutions) that take place without government financial support. In short, much of public diplomacy can be viewed as the purposeful exploitation of what Joseph Nye calls a nation’s nonmilitary “soft power.”

“American traditions and the American ethic require us to be truthful, but the most important reason is that truth is the best propaganda and lies are the worst. To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. It is as simple as that.”Within the U. S. State Department public diplomacy is considered a separate function from public affairs. The latter focuses on reaching domestic audiences, while public diplomacy deals with overseas audiences. The two terms, however, are used interchangeably at U.S. missions abroad, where the public diplomacy unit is known as the Public Affairs Section (PAS) and is led by the embassy or consulate’s Public Affairs Officer (PAO).

Although this portion of the website focuses primarily on the United States, it should be noted that virtually every country in the world uses public diplomacy to advance its interests, employing such tools of the trade as international broadcasting, publications, press conferences, Internet websites and cultural events.

One of the main reasons the Cold War began was because of America’s fear of a Russian attack and Russia’s fear of an American attack. Both had the technology to attack and take over the other country, but neither wanted to start another war for power. Although Russia and the US fought as Allie’s in World War II, the friendship didn’t last after the war. They had only become allies since both their enemies happened to be the NAZI’s at the time.

The Russians also had trust issues with the US after the news about the bombings at Hiroshima reached Moscow. They were afraid of this new weapon and didn’t know how many America had weapons.

During the Second World War the atomic bomb was seen and valued as a potential rather than an actual instrument of policy. Responsible officials believed that its impact on diplomacy had to await its development and, perhaps, even a demonstration of its power. As, Henry L. Stimson, the secretary of war, observed in his memoirs: “The bomb as a merely probable weapon had seemed a weak reed on which to rely, but the bomb as a colossal reality was very different.” Those policymakers considered these differences before Hiroshima has been well documented, but whether they based wartime diplomatic policies upon an anticipated successful demonstration of the bomb’s power remains a source of controversy.

Harry S. Truman inherited a set of military and diplomatic atomic-energy policies that included partially formulated intentions, several commitments to Churchill, and the assumption that the bomb would be a legitimate weapon to be used against Japan.

Assess, in conclusion, the advantages and disadvantages of the particular doctrine that was followed.

Diplomacy is the major drawback of Reagan’s “doctrine” was that it antagonized some other countries because it seemed like “cowboy diplomacy.” However, any sort of forceful action will antagonize someone. It is hard to please all the people all the time.

Another disadvantage is that policies such as our support of the fighters in Afghanistan created possibilities for “blowback” as people armed by the United States did not necessarily share the interests of the United States beyond resisting Soviet influence. Another example would be US support for both sides, but especially Iraq, in the Iran-Iraq war. One might also argue that it perpetuated, even added to, a military-industrial complex that soaks up billions in budgetary spending. Then, of course, there was the fact that American money and weapons went toward killing people around the world, which scarcely enhanced the image of the country.

The major advantage of Reagan’s foreign policy was the end of the Cold War and freedom for millions of people previously trapped behind the Iron Curtain. I have to confess that I never imagined that I would see the fall the Iron Curtain in my own lifetime. It was astonishing to see how quickly it happened when it did finally happen. Reagan may have been one of the few people living in the U. S. in the early 80s who actually believed that communism would collapse.