American Foreign Policy During Cold War
The World War II changed foreign policies and of the USA and introduced new world order based on two superpowers: the USA and Russia. The main changes in foreign policy were caused by new social relations between the nations and new ideology of America aimed to achieve global hegemony and dominance. America understood the importance of the national power rather than the structure. of the global system regarded as less ideological. After the World War II, America was bound to have international policy concerns across both the Atlantic and the Pacific, oceans upon which it started a global military conflict. The new foreign policy was a response to new social and political changes in the world, and new ideology of dominance created by the US government.
Since 19th century, America tried to acquire colonies and gained political influence in other parts of the world, but almost all developing and the Third world nations were colonized by such superpowers as Britain, France and Belgium. Before the World War I, America followed isolationist policy truing to escape military aggression and intervention. Thus, it was impossible to remain aside from military actions during the world wars. The World War II allowed the USA to improve its military potential but saved human and financial resources. In contrast to the USA, European nations suffered significant loss in populations and economy. For America, decision-making was often a battleground between political ideologues and those who saw the specificity of various military forces. After he World War II, the American doctrines in Europe included Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO and NSC-68. These doctrines stipulated that there are new ideologues which have influence on global order. The leaderships of Cold War all had some conception about the sources of national authority. Potentially national power of the USA was drawn from the military capabilities and organization of the state, its economic, financial and technological spheres and its possession of allies and clients.
The collection of short stories by Tim O’Brien vividly portrays that the USA seek global dominance and tried to gain political control over the third world nations. O’Brien depicts hat those soldiers completing their tour during the early phases of the war are met with a ignorance of U. S. military commitments while those serving after the American public became disgusted with the war are shunned as “losers.” Overwhelmed by strong romantic feelings Cross neglects his duties, and one of the soldiers, Ted Lavender, is killed. In spite of this terrible death, Cross does not stop thinking about his beloved Martha. O’Brien depicts that the soldiers discuss the role of life and death in their life trying to find explanation to the situation. Only the next morning, Cross understands his terrible fault and blames himself in Lavender’s death. He burns all letters and Martha’s photographs. This moment causes awakening of the main character and his maturity. O’Brien attempts to identify the important truths buried within his memories of Veetnam. Nonetheless, this perception is an accurate assessment from the point of view of imperialists, for whom Vietnam is a “messy” war At the beginning of the story O’Brien describes things they carry: “what they carry was partly a function of rank, partly a field spatiality” (5). The soldiers do not adequately examine how these ideals are created and distributed nor how information that counters these narratives is institutionally marginalized. War can be described as psychological pressure caused by military actions and fear to be killed. This theme is depicted through material and emotional things the soldiers carry.. “It was very sad…the things men carried inside.” (O’Brien 10). The ideas and beliefs portrayed by ‘O’Brien shows that the Vietnam War was an aggression of the USA against a sovereign state.
In contrast to the previous period of time, a major power of America was one with a global order and the capacity for considerable independent diplomatic and military action. For instance, potential for such action acquire by British and French states reduced after the 1950s but was far from extinguished. The main category of a new state was the ‘battleground’ power joined those national states which through chance, position or calculation became the nodal issues of Cold War problem. Three main states were included under this heading: Germany, Korea and Vietnam. The USA reached its strategic goal and divided Korea and Vietnam (954 and 1975). It can be demonstrated that national leaders in both Korea and Vietnam energetically sought to internationalize their struggles to seize and hold national authority.
The World War II created new opportunities for military power and new technologies. About the same time the capitalist system of the world started to become bipolar with the emergence of balanced geographical areas of advanced industrial wealth in North America, Western Europe and East Asia. As the main political leader, North Vietnam was, in fact, involved in a struggle for survival which only a winning foreign policy could guarantee. For the USA< weak foreign policy threatened the legitimacy of even a stable international system; as the conduct of the Vietnam War did in America. American foreign policy legitimized a regime which other factors tended to undermine — the situation in USSR for most of its history. The US government identified German allies as those threatened by foreign-policy failure — the state, the political system, the government, an organization, an individual —and the brutality of the challenge which would arise from failure. new ideology and desire to achieve global dominance was a result of domestic political process, except those cases where the threat derived from simple direct intervention by a foreign state.
The ideas portrayed by O’Brien prove that war was inevitable and dangerous, senseless and pitiless event. The essence of the story is to show that all American soldiers in Vietnam must carry some blame, must be held morally accountable. O’Brien assents to the existentialist perception of the darkness of war times. War is associated with military actions and emotional burden: fear, kindness, love, and uncertainty. The author goes far beyond a simplistic description given a weight of each thing they carry: “The weapon weighed 7.5 pounds unloaded, 8.2 pounds with its full 20 round magazine. The riflemen carried anywhere from 12 to 20 magazines…adding on another 8.4 pounds at minimum, 14 pounds at maximum.” (O’Brien 5).The war consisted of economic recuperation, military modernization, especially the expansion of nuclear weapons, the development of an unbreakable security zone in both Europe and the Far East, great distrust of the Western powers in the short term and certainty of expected conflict with them in the long term. As O’Brien puts it: “a thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth” (88). The base of this global strategy was firmly rooted within American political culture of a new age.
In sum, the World War II, created new prerogatives and new values accepted by America and allowed the American state to gain access to global resources and political powers. The World War II changed strategic direction from isolationist perspective to active militayr operations against other states. The North America became a huge continental power looking to the European continent in the west, Central Asia in the south and North East Asia in the east.
O’Brien, T. The Things They Carried. Broadway, 1998.