Cold War Essay

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Introduction

Cold War’s effects were felt in every area of the American Society.  Not only did it affect the American’s foreign policy, but also affected the relationships between the two dominant powers of the world by then. The war escalated as result of antagonist values that existed between the United States. The U.S values represented democracy and capitalism while the Soviet Union values represented authoritarianism and communism. The attitude of the American towards communism by then had been misled through propagandas such as editing of Hollywood scripts to act against the communist. The attitude of Americans towards communism during the cold wars can be best illustrated by the number of military interventions such as Vietnam and Korean war that it sent with the aim of stopping the expansion of communist. The attitude toward communism have taken a different direction since Cold War ended, and the current relationship between Russian and the United States and their policy can be traced back to the Cold War.

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How Cold War originated

After some time, South Korea was invaded by North Korea. The United Nations had to send their military in aid of South Korea while China helped South Korea. Despite the end of war in 1953, the two countries never rejoined again. The Soviet Union and the United States competed for power and political domination of the entire world. The US sent its military to Vietnam and Korea to avoid the spreading of communism. At the same time, the Soviet Union used its powers to maintain its regimes in Eastern Europe. The Cold War resulted from the suspicion that was created by differences in the shape that was created by the Second world war. Poland was the first place to have the distrust. Moscow wanted a government that was controlled by the influence of Soviet. On the other hand, Washington demanded a government that was more representative and independent of the Western Model. All these arose from the different interpretations of the Conference that had taken place in February 1945. In the conference, the governments had been promised free and fair elections in Poland.

Relationships deteriorated from the time the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs let out his intentions to support firmly Polish self-determination (Pickering, Chester, and Casimir, 7). The military forces from Soviet were the ones that replaced and occupied the whole of Eastern and Central Europe. The activities and efforts of the communist parties were supported by the military power of Moscow in Eastern Europe. The powers were also used in crushing the democratic parties that existed at the time. The communist parties expanded at a rapid rate in Moscow and had influence in all the countries that surrounded the region. In 1948, the communist parties were influencing all the countries in the region. The communist parties and leaders held a significant position in originating the cold world war ((origin, 2). Because of the fear that the communist from Soviet would attack the United States that President Kennedy had, he sent warships in Cuba to surround the city. He expected the Soviet to remove the missiles from Cuba. Soviet removed its missiles from Cuba after six days.

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Public statements defined the beginning of the cold war. In 1946, Starlin gave a declaration that it was not possible to maintain international peace with the then capitalist development in the economy of the world. This made Winston Churchill give a public speech in Fulton declaring that the United States and Britain had to come together and work against the threat of the Soviet. On August 6, 1945, the US destroyed Hiroshima and half of its population by dropping an atomic bomb (Sutter, n.p). This made Japan declare war, and Soviet reaffirmed that it was to enter the war against Japan.  The following day saw another bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Russians were also intimated before joining the Jana in the war when they realized the Britain and U.S had more atomic power than them. The former offered to Russia a plan to share the nuclear power which Russia declined considering it an unfair deal. This marked the beginning of the Cold War.

Effects of Cold War on U. S. foreign policy

The history of the foreign policy of America from the time world war II ended shows how the United States made use of its superior capability in the economy to promote its security and political interest (Waltz, 16). The lack of significant threats to the security of the United States. A larger latitude in making choices of foreign policy. For instance, United States acted after Yugoslavia failed not because of its security but because of the need to maintain its powers in Europe. The foreign policy was generated by the pressure of the internal pressure as well as its national ambition rather than from external security pressures (Waltz, 29). Moreover, during the cold war, the presidents of the US applied force as they responded to domestic imperatives compared to the international ones (Moore and David 376). The United States foreign policy towards the Middle East has been in a strategic position despite the many disagreements. The conception of the policy has been as a result of the widely-shared world order. This conception of world order is adapted to certain importance changes of the entire world.

How attitudes towards communism have changed since the end of the cold war

Communism is a set of systems of both political and social organization that influenced the world in much of the century. Communism wanted to overthrow capitalism through the use of worker’s revolution. They aimed at establishing a system where the property was to be owned by the entire community and not by individuals. There was not supposed to be classes in the society. All people were to believe in the same level. All people would enjoy equal economic and social status. The communist regimes consisted of governments that were authoritative. They were less concerned about the people’s needs.  (Moore and David 378). They wanted to do away with capitalism. Capitalism is a set of systems where business firms and individuals involve themselves in production and distribution of goods and services. Its origin was European. It had been in place until 19th century where communism was introduced.

Early in the Cold War, people in the U.S used to speak with alarm the effects that were caused by monolithic communism. This was coming from the coming together of China and the Soviet Union. However, this was disintegrated by the bloc disintegration (Waltz, 19). The Cold War escalated as result of antagonist values that existed between the United States. The U.S values represented democracy and capitalism while the Soviet Union values represented authoritarianism and communism. Since the two were the major dominant powers of the world, the contention between them remained to be a global conflict (Jacobs and Benjamin, 117). The attitude of Americans towards communism during the cold wars can be best illustrated by the number of military interventions such as Vietnam and Korean war that it sent with the aim of stopping the expansion of communist. The impact of the cultural battles between Russia and U.S on the daily lives of the Americans cannot be underestimated.

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The national security agencies would encourage the producers of Hollywood to produce movies that were anticommunist. They wanted to spread to all Americans that the idea of communism was a bad aide that would ruin the nation.  This was just but a propaganda tool.  The agencies urged the producers to change the film scripts and edit the references to remain with only the ones that praised the history of America (Moore and David, 388). Though the movies increased the level of patriotism in the country, they also escalated the suspicion of the activities of communism in America.  The worst happened when the anti-communist sentiments started working against Hollywood during some hearings against communist who were suspected to be in Hollywood.  This led to many lives being ruined and several communists rooted out from Hollywood (Moore and David, 398). They were accused of false evidence against the communists. The result of this was the trickling down of the anticommunist to affect the locals.  The Cold War ended when communism collapsed in the East, and the Soviet Union broke up. This strengthened the values of the Western camp which included the primacy of the law, market economy and political pluralism (Chomsky, 17)

How the first cold war has contributed to the current state of US-Russian relations

The relationship between the US and Russia has been in a transition period of recent.  Since the occurrence of the Ukraine crisis, the ambiguity between their relationship has changed and moved into being systematical adversarial. The fact that power has been diffused from one country had made the relationships between the US and Russia to change (Fleck and Christopher, 188).  The power did not just shift from a given state to another but got diffused into different countries. There lacks a fundamental animosity between the United States and Russia as it was during and after Cold War. The relationships between the Russia and US has shifted for the good of both countries over the years. The animosity which was there between the two has reduced over time (Edmund). By animosity, it means that the United States existence used to a be seen as a grave by the Russia. The existence of Russia was also perceived as a grave by the United States.  The fact that there was no global independence and globalization during the Cold War makes the relationship between the two countries at that time to be completely different with the way it was during the war.

The cold war contributed greatly to the current relationship between the differences between the two countries are of power and influence. The United States has violated the international laws and encroached the territory of Russia. This is as a result of hunger for power which originated at the start of the cold war. During the Cold War, USSR itself was not associated in the real wars (Fleck and Christopher, 191). They were referred to as proxy wars since it was the Soviet allies that fought them. They were competing for having power and influence in their world. Each of them was in a race to become the super power. After the death of Stalin, the relationships between U.S and the Russians underwent through various phases of confrontation and relaxation alternating one after the other. There were also times when they cooperated and others they demented. Then in 1980, President Mikhail Gorbachev, President George Washington, and Boris Yeltsin hailed a final phase of the partnership between Russia and United States (Dudziak, n.p.). This was aimed at addressing the many problems that affected the globe at large.

Conclusion

The Cold War greatly affected the daily lives of the Americans and all the aspects of the society. The antagonism between Russian and the United States affected the American Society both in negative and in positive ways.   They affected the relationship between the two countries in a great way.  The foreign policy of America was greatly influenced by Cold war since America wanted to be the dominant power in the world and hence affected its foreign policy. The two countries massively spent on their militaries since they had a different understanding of the meaning of freedom.  This made cold are to be the defining factor of the most of the second half of the 20th century.  It affected almost every domestic and foreign policy decision made by America.

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  1. Chomsky, Noam. “After the Cold War: US Foreign Policy in the Middle East.” Jewish Quarterly 38.1 (1991): 9-19.
  2. Dudziak, Mary L. Cold War Civil rights: Race and the image of American democracy. Princeton University Press, 2011.
  3. Fleck, Robert K., and Christopher Kilby. “Changing aid regimes? US foreign aid from the Cold War to the War on Terror.” Journal of Development Economics 91.2 (2010): 185-197.
  4. Jacobs, Lawrence R., and Benjamin I. Page. “Who influences US foreign policy?” American Political Science Review 99.01 (2005): 107-123.
  5. Moore, Will H., and David J. Lanoue. “Domestic politics and US foreign policy: A study of cold war conflict behavior.” Journal of Politics 65.2 (2003): 376-396.
  6. Pickering, Thomas Reeve, Chester A. Crocker, and Casimir A. Yost. America’s Role in the World: Foreign Policy Choices for the Next President. Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 2008.
  7. Sutter, Robert G. Chinese Foreign Relations: Power and Policy since the Cold War. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.
  8. Waltz, Kenneth N. “Structural Realism after the Cold War.” International Security 25.1 (2000): 5-41.
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