KC Johnson

US and Cold War Foreign Policy


  • Research Paper (20-ish pages, use of primary sources required): 50%
  • Participation: 30%
  • Supplementary Reading: 20% [books & dates will be assigned the first week in class]

My Contact Information:

  • office hours: Wed., 4.00-6.00pm

Learning Goals

By the end of the course, students should be expected to demonstrate:

  • A familiarity with the historiography of U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War,
  • A usage of the relevant primary source material for the topic,
  • An ability to formulate and answer appropriate research questions in Cold War foreign policy.

1)      Introduction

  • Julian Zelizer, Arsenal of Democracy

2) Origins of the Cold War

  • Geoffrey Roberts, “Stalin at the Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam Conferences,” Journal of Cold War Studies 9.4 (2007) 6-40.

  • Jeronim Perović, “The Tito-Stalin Split: A Reassessment in Light of New Evidence,” Journal of Cold War Studies 9.2 (2007) 32-63.
  • Melvyn Leffler, “The American Conception of National Security and the Beginnings of the Cold War, 1945-48,” American Historical Review 89 (1984).

Supplementary Reading Assignments

(Barry) John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War (revised edition)

(Phil) Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars

Vojtech Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity

3) Militarization of the Cold War

  • Ernest R. May, “Introduction: NSC 68: The Theory and Politics of Strategy,” in May, ed., American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68
  • Michael Ybarra, Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and Great American Communist Hunt

Supplementary Reading Assignments

(Peter) Melvyn Leffler, Preponderance of Power

(Michael) Aaron Friedberg, In the Shadow of the Garrison State

(Pinar) Neil Sheehan, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War

4) The Cold War Beyond Europe

  • Matthew Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution : Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era


(JJ) Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism

(Phil) Chen Jian, Mao’s China and the Cold War

5) The Cuba Crisis

  • Tim Naftali and Alexandr Fursenko, One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Kennedy, and Castro, 1958-1964
  • David G. Coleman, “The Missiles of November, December, January, February . . . : The Problem of Acceptable Risk in the Cuban Missile Crisis Settlement,” Journal of Cold War Studies 9.3 (2007) 5-48.


(Barry) Ernest May and Philip Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes

Fursenko & Naftali, Khrushchev’s Cold War

6) Vietnam

  • Fredrik Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam


Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line

(Mwape) Gordon Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster

7) LBJ & the Middle East

  • Foreign Relations of the United States

8.) The Kissinger Era

  • Jeremi Suri, Henry Kissinger and the American Century


(Michael) Jussi Hanhimaki, The Flawed Architect

(JJ) Nicholas Thompson, The Hawk and the Dove

9) Internationalism and the 1970s

  • Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976
  • John A. Soares Jr., “Strategy, Ideology, and Human Rights: Jimmy Carter Confronts the Left in Central America, 1979–1981,” Journal of Cold War Studies 8.4 (2006) 57-91.


Craig & Logevall, America’s Cold War

(Pinar) Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War

10) The 1980s


April 14: The 1980s

(Peter) James Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan

(Mwape) Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire

11) The End of the Cold War

  • Philip Zelikow and Condoleeza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft
  • Mark Kramer, “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part I),” Journal of Cold War Studies, 5.4 (2003), pp. 178-256.
  • Mark Kramer, “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part 2),” Journal of Cold War Studies 6.4 (2004) 3-64.
  • 12) Post-Cold War Nationalism

    • David Gibbs, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia

    13) Cold War Legacies

    • Steve Coll, Ghost Wars

    14) Review

    Document sites:

    FRUS (older)

    FRUS (newer)

    National Security Archive

    Cold War International History Project

    Presidential Recordings Program

    Presidential Libraries

    13 Responses

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    1. Barry Goldberg said, on February 10, 2010 at 8.57pm

      Gaddis, John Lewis. The United States and the Origins of the Cold War: 1941-1947 (New York, 1972)

      Key Overall Arguments:

      – Analysis of U.S. policy towards USSR from 1941-1947 (Formation of the Grand Alliance to the Truman Doctrine)
      Domestic politics and bureaucratic pressure narrowed the range of options available to American foreign policy officials.
      Rejection of New Left school – desire to spread capitalism is the sole motive of these officials.

      Civil and military authorities offered competing strategies for achieving a quick end to WWII and an enduring peace.
      Military authorities focused more on immediate military objectives and preventing Soviet postwar expansion, particularly in Germany
      Civilian authorities (i.e. the State Department) focused more on forming stable agreements with the Soviets, even if accepting the formation of an Eastern bloc

      The U.S. both underestimated and understated the extent to which Soviet ideology hampered attempts at a postwar reconciliation of objectives.


      U.S.-Soviet WWII Relationship:

      Overall positive U.S.-USSR relationship in early 1940‘s:
      – Stalin eases up on the rhetoric of international revolution, dissolves the Comintern and renounces the right to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.
      Russia fights Nazism on the eastern front.
      General American belief that USSR promotes equality in a more regulated capitalist system, not a repressive Communist regime
      Belief that USSR and American political systems are moving closer together ideologically
      – Polls show that most Americans still, in the early 1940’s, have little interest in foreign affairs, but those who do are well-educated are the most optimistic about postwar US-USSR cooperation.
      – FDR believes Stalinism is not as brutal as Hitlerism and realizes an alliance between the two superpowers after the war will be necessary.
      Demand of unconditional German surrender satisfies Stalin and strengthens the Grand Alliance.

      Stumbling blocks to the relationship:
      Republicans reintroduce domestic “Anti-communism” into 1944 election.
      Some fear the New Deal and a poor European economy make the U.S./Western Europe susceptible to Communism.
      U.S. and Soviet Union have different postwar goals.
      Soviet Union wants border adjustments to protect against future German attacks.
      Troubling to Polish-American lobby, the Catholic Church, and to American public at large
      U.S. wants collective security, self-determination and free trade.
      Public expects the U.S. to uphold these ideals.
      USSR insists upon expanding its Eastern bloc to protect against German attack.
      U.S. pushes to open up a second front to keep Soviet plans on the down low to get American public behind the idea of the U.N.
      U.S. must sell the U.N. as an upholder of free elections, free trade, and self-determination (Atlantic Charter).
      Yalta: FDR tells Stalin to announce free elections in Poland and “broad-based” representative government including London exile Poles. Stalin is vague and evasive, but gives lip service to the idea. Pledge to draw up a UN Charter in San Francisco. Sign a Declaration of a Liberated Europe
      In all, FDR tells the public USSR will abide by free elections and tells the USSR it will have a free hand in Eastern Europe
      Ominous sign: FDR fails to prepare Americans for Soviet Eastern European policies. As a result, the public is surprised by Stalin’s control of the Lublin government after the war and begin to see Stalin as another Hitler that had duped America into appeasement.

      Emerging tensions at the end of WWII:

      FDR opts to keep the focus on military objectives during the war. Postwar issues will only complicate the military alliance.
      “Germany first” strategy convinces USSR that the U.S. would relieve burden of fighting.
      Great Britain opposes use of mostly British troops in major offensive, though.
      Wants naval blockade and use of air force to soften Germany’s control of Europe first. Prefers invasion of North Africa.
      FDR agrees to maintain strong Anglo-American alliance. This helps him save American lives, but Stalin is not happy.
      Hurts postwar cooperation. Leads to fear that Stalin will form a separate peace with Hitler, that he will try and impose his own postwar plans on Europe, and that he will be unwilling to help the U.S. in Japan

      Diplomatic trouble over how much lend-lease the US should give the Soviets.
      Should it continue even after the opening of a second front?
      FDR makes it contingent upon their implementation of Atlantic Charter principles.

      Stalin is fearful of being shut out of reconstruction policy decisions for defeated Axis countries
      Germans in Northern Italy

      Postwar agreement on Germany is toughest compromise – all three Allies fight in roughly the same proportion against it.
      War Department – harsh German policy, division of Germany into 3-5 states, priority is to gain Soviet trust and to appease Soviet desires for more territory in Eastern Europe. Want on-the-ground commanders to begin setting policies for occupied territories.
      State Department – No dismemberment. No harsh reparations. Foster free trade to help rebuild all of Europe. Central tripartite agency to manage German zones and assure each zone has equal standard of living
      (FDR leaves no clear indication of a single preference before his death and does not plan for postwar world until the powers are totally surrendered. Gaddis presents him as forgetful, physically exhausted and, essentially, “out of it” when these competing visions begin clashing).
      – Treasury Department – Morgethau Plan – counters free trade and moderate reparations idea. Aims to “pastoralize,” deindustrialize and disarm Germany suddenly. “Organized chaos” (121).

      End of the war/Postwar Soviet-American Relationship

      Russia needs industrial equipment to rebuild heavy industries.
      U.S. economy needs to maintain employment rates in peacetime and reconvert itself to consumer production.
      Solution: America gives Russia postwar economic aid. (U.S. also believes this can be used to leverage a different approach in Eastern Europe from the Soviets). Must be used for military objectives, not reconstruction projects. Does Russia need aid to rebuild? Will they repay the loan? Will the U.S. be willing to import enough raw materials from Russia to allow it to repay the loan? Lots of debate.
      In the end, FDR implements a new version of lend-lease, with the provision that it not go toward any reconstruction projects

      Truman plans to carry out FDR’s foreign policy.
      Churchill insists U.S. move in and station itself in Berlin to avoid Soviet takeover there. U.S. maintains focus on immediate military objectives and stops short of Berlin.
      Proposes four-power sharing agreement in Korea and agreement Nationalist-Communist cooperation in China.
      Economic aid to USSR: For Japanese invasion OK. For postwar reconstruction not OK.
      Keep German economy intact even if it means restricting reparations to Russia
      Large reparations for USSR means the U.S. is giving money to German economy that eventually goes to Soviet economy.
      Prosperous Germany = U.S. will emerge from WWII with a new market for its goods.
      Sends Hopkins to meet with Stalin after the San Fran Conference; sign that he’s taking a more conciliatory approach to USSR
      Expresses U.S. desire for friendly Russian regimes in Eastern Europe AND a free Poland. Stalin agrees to let Polish groups friendly to Allies + Russia have 4-5 ministries in Lublin government. Truman, like FDR, is happy with Stalin’s token gesture.

      UN Conference in San Francisco reveal Soviet-US differences to the world
      Molotov insists upon representatives from Lublin to come to the meeting
      U.S. wants Monroe Doctrine to be immune from U.N. policy
      USSR fears that the U.S. is using the conference a way to denounce the Soviets; U.S. fears that the USSR wants to use the U.N. as a tool to extend its own influence (Security Council veto)
      Russians pushing a hard bargain on reparations – they begin taking ‘war booty’ (not reparations, they say) as they march into Germany and give a significant chunk of East Germany to Poland. Want a fixed amount ($20 billion). U.S. would prefer to have each zone collect their own reparations.
      Final agreement at Potsdam:
      Each side takes from its own territory with proportional adjustments in industry and agriculture to balance the economies.
      Allows the U.S. to NOT ask taxpayers to foot the bill for German reparations.
      Undoes idea of unified Germany.

      The U.S. and the Bomb
      – U.S. knows it has a bomb at Potsdam
      But international situation becomes MORE rigid for the U.S.
      Congress asserts its control over foreign policy
      Oppose sharing bomb knowledge
      Demand tying economic aid to specific political reforms in Eastern Europe
      Push for rapid demobilization/low taxes – rejection of universal military training idea
      Soviets become more uncompromising on Eastern Europe
      No clear consensus in Washington about how to leverage the bomb into concrete policy concessions from the Russians

      Will U.S. maintain bomb monopoly or turn it over to international commission as an example for future nuclear powers?
      Truman chooses the latter, but will not directly approach the USSR about it.
      U.S. knows it will not have a bomb monopoly for long anyway, but it is also leery of giving up its own atomic secrets to the wrong people.
      Is it better to have an arms race or no race at all (Acheson, 252)

      Escalating Tensions/1946 as a Turning Point
      Moscow Agreement – In meeting with Stalin, Sec. of State Byrnes acts independently. Is able to get him to open up two new ministries in Bulgaria and Romania and broaden the government. Byrnes is happy because he can take this to the Senate and they can approve peace treaties.
      Criticized as appeasement by Senate Republicans and some Democrats (and Truman…who did not authorize Byrnes’ action)
      1946 = See the USSR’s desires as a threat to national security
      Idea that Soviet ideology is now driving force behind foreign policy
      Stalin makes a rare public speech explaining why Communism can stop wars – even distribution of material between countries
      Arrest of 22 Communist spies in Canada and U.S. charged with smuggling atomic secrets
      USSR uses UN veto on Anglo-French forces in Syria and Lebanon
      Kennan – head of Moscow Embassy – gets solicited for more advice
      Sees Soviet Communism as an international threat dividing the world in two.
      Movement supported by Communist state and directed underground from Moscow
      USSR relies on foreign threats to maintain domestic legitimacy
      USSR is not seeking world revolution, but using the ideology as a means to establish a repressive regime
      Provides the intellectual framework for a tougher Soviet policy
      Churchill speaks of an “iron curtain” in the U.S. and fully briefs the administration on what he will say
      Byrnes shifts his tune
      -U.S. insists on pushing the Soviet movement of troops towards Iran through the UN Security Council even though they promise to remove troops in 5-6 weeks.

      – U.S. gives big aid to Great Britain – rebuild Western Europe to prevent Communist expansion
      U.S. moves towards German dismemberment
      France possesses veto power among Big Four in Germany and pushes for disassembling of the Rhur and any attempt at economic unity in Germany
      USSR likes the idea of a united Germany they can control
      US halts reparations until USSR treats Germany as a unified economic unit
      US comes to believe dismemberment is preferable to united Russian Germany
      U.S. moves away from UN international atomic agency
      Baruch Plan – international authority will gain control of all uranium deposits; these can be loaned out for non-offensive uses only; U.S. reserves the right to decide whether to stop developing atomic weapons on its own; exempted from UN Security Council veto – passes w/ Russia and Poland abstaining

      – Truman Doctrine = deliberate attempt to recalibrate public expectations

      U.S. first practices “containment” when it moves navy into the Dardanelles region (peninsula on the southern tip of Turkey) to suppress a joint-Soviet-Turkish proposal for naval bases there.

      Some liberals still want negotiations with the USSR and see its defense against Nazism as admirable. Sees double standard of British imperialism in Greece.
      Truman fires Sec of Commerce Wallace

      – 1947: Britain stops military aid to Greece and Turkey due to economic problems.
      Acheson’s speech here is the climax of the idea that Soviet menace is driven by ideology.
      Aiding Greece = aiding the U.S.
      If it falls, other Middle Eastern states are next – the domino effect
      Speech becomes a way to educate American public about the need to support freed peoples everywhere
      – Puts U.S. policy makers in an “ideological straight jacket” (352) and makes it difficult to respond to Soviet conciliation after Stalin dies.


      – Neither side wants Cold War, but neither side takes the necessary steps to prevent escalation:
      U.S. and WWII – seeking security through involvement, not isolation
      U.S. mistakes Stalin’s attempt to secure USSR security with his attempt to spread communism worldwide
      U.S. assumes atomic bomb allows it to push Russia into changing its policies
      Stalin’s paranoia, traditional Russian distrust of foreigners, slow bureaucracy hampers chances for peace

      – “It is surely uncharitable, if not unjust, to condemn officials for rejecting courses of action, which to them, seemed intolerable” (357)

    2. pcaigner said, on February 17, 2010 at 12.07am

      Peter-Christian Aigner
      Melvyn Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford, 1992)

      Leffler’s book, winner of the 1993 Bancroft prize, was meant to be the first large-scale reassessment of early U.S. cold war policy in many years. The product of nearly a dozen years’ research, Leffler attempts to synthesize the enormous outlay in diplomatic history that followed the “massive declassification” of military and government records in the 1970s and ‘80s. Published the year after the Soviet Union’s collapse, it also seeks to bring some perspective to the post-Cold War world by looking at the biggest question of all: was it necessary?

      Intro, Ch.1 (“Ambivalence”) & Ch. 2 (“Global Security, 1945”)

      The most important thing to keep in mind is the recentness of WWII. Truman and FDR policymakers, having roots in Wilsonian liberalism, sought to uphold the principles of internationalism and “learn the lessons” of the two world wars. The Soviet Union, they knew, had been devastated by the war – Germans had desolated the land, and 20 million troops had died, causing labor shortage & massive poverty. It was still the “only conceivable adversary,” but it was very weak compared to the U.S. — it had no long-range air force, surface fleet, or a-bomb. Top military and government men saw that (Kennan, Eisenhower, Marshall, FDR) and wanted cooperation, as did the Soviets, but the absence of an organizing power in the world, and the danger of international “chaos”, made U.S. policymakers fear that the Soviets would use the situation to create another economic and military power bloc, as the imperial powers had in the earlier wars. Moreover, the dramatic increase of Communist Party membership in parts of Europe, their electoral successes, and the Soviets immediate move to sign bilateral trade agreements with occupied Eastern European countries raised fears of Communism filling the power vacuum.
      Leffler seems to say that the evidence suggests that FDR and Churchill basically gave Stalin Eastern Europe as a “sphere of influence,” or compensation for Soviet war efforts – the old Republican Yalta cry – although he notes that the language was ambiguous and FDR hoped that Stalin would keep to his promise to allow self-determination in the occupied lands. The USSR needed Eastern European resources to keep its prostrate economy alive, but the US wanted open multilateral economic arrangements, not closed trading blocs. Liberals feared “destructive competition” (a popular explanation for WWI) and Great Power maneuvering (the fear in occupied Japan/Germany – that the Soviets would use their economies to resurrect an imperial axis). Truman and others also knew that such large-scale economic isolation would spell the end of the U.S. lifestyle. The new corporate elite and Washington lawyers in the administration were particularly sensitive to this prospect, and thus were more aggressive than the military, whose branches did not however want to see wartime budgets shrink, but did not think the USSR was looking for a fight, or capable of one. It was the Korean War, finally, that accelerated the move to a U.S. build-up military and furthered U.S. support for defense of “the periphery” (or western imperial occupations, against nationalist movements). Acheson called neutralism “a shortcut to suicide” and others eventually considered intervention in “the Third World” when other means failed.
      Leffler: “Preponderance did not mean domination. It meant creating a world environment hospitable to U.S. interests and values.” In other words: U.S. dominance in the world, but not through force, unless necessary. Truman officials hoped, for example, that the UN would establish a pattern of international reconciliation that would prevent Soviet expansionism. In particular, Truman did not want to keep the promise of Yalta (“rollback” was never considered). One of Truman’s closest advisors and friends, ironically, was the prominent Democrat Joseph Davies, the former Soviet ambassador and author of the infamously naive Mission to Moscow, made into a 1943 propaganda film (Davies was in Moscow during the Purge Trials of the old Bolshevik guard, and thought life was just peachy.) He even included Davies in talks with the Soviets, but all of Washington was unsure of Soviet intentions. International instability gave them opportunities to increase their power and the U.S. feared that economic exploitation of East Europe would impoverish West Europe (the Soviet’s bilateral agreements denying them those resources) and make the East dependent on the USSR (hence the danger of “neutralism,” or not taking a side). The U.S. was willing to grant the Soviets security interests (East Europe, Asia), Leffler says, but not exclusive economic ones. They dropped bomb in part to prevent Soviets from approaching Japan about forming an alliance. Also feared another Pearl Harbor. The most remarkable shift here, to note, is that the U.S. now thought of the entire world as its responsibility or jurisdiction. It sought overseas air base and travel rights to place the tourniquet around Russia, forbid penetration of Latin America and Canada (essential to warmaking power), and tried to prevent the Soviets from obtaining bases in Dardanelles, Dodecanese, or Tripolitania, to accept U.S. domination of Ruhr/Rhine complex in occupied Germany and American domination of Japan (for decades, threat to its eastern front), not to support Communists in Greece, Italy, and France — even while establishing a military presence in Northeast Asia, ensconcing itself in Saudi Arabia, supporting the British in Iran, intervening in Trieste, negotiating base rights far from home, and trying to maintain its atomic monopoly . While not wanting to be provocative, the administration demonstrated immovability rather than conciliation.

      Ch.3 (The Cold War Begins) & Ch. 4 (From Truman Doctrine to NSA)
      Americans, on the other hand, were more concerned with job losses than with Soviet imperialism. Elite opinion was divided as to how real or dangerous the threat was. The Truman administration, knowing that “Public attitudes are shaped by elite opinion,” used Churchill’s visit to “launch a PR and diplomatic offensive” with the speech in Missouri. Meanwhile, the “X telegram,” synthesizing Kennan’s views into a relatively short article, was widely circulated. Appealingly simplistic, it taught that the Kremlin was beholden to Marxist ideological determinism, that it was a paper tiger impervious to reason and necessarily expansionist. (Ironically, in creating these anti-Soviet alliances, liberals were engaging in the kind of Great Power maneuvering they sought to prevent).
      Soviet control of the Pacific (Manchuria, China, Korea, Japan), it was said, would mean that World War II had been in vain, but Soviet expansion along Eurasian border would mean another war. Thus, both sides understood economics as the weapon of choice. Stalin, quite rationally, consolidated his own bloc, while U.S. figures saw rising decolonization as evidence of Soviet intrigue, despite lack of evidence (Stalin actually gave little support to revolutionaries abroad).
      The lone dissenter in this new bipartisan consensus was Henry Wallace, who championed spheres of influence (Kissingerian, no?) and decolonization. But, Leffler says, foreign policy was not part of the Democrats drubbing in 1946. Most incoming Republicans, including McCarthy, were isolationist. Truman had to sell the threat. The Marshall Plan gave priority to nations in fear of losing democracy. Korea was of tertiary interest. So too China and other nations. Yet, for some reason, the administration was not willing to write them off. Suddenly, the State Department became very important, especially after the appointment of Marshall. The NSC and other intelligence and coordinating governmental bodies are created, all following the Kennan line of reasoning.

      Ch. 5 (Marshall Plan, Germany, European Cold War ) & ch. 6 (Budgetary Conundrum)
      The “Bizonia” plan: Anglo-American alliance to freeze out Soviets in occupied Germany.
      U.S. alarmed by rise of far Left and far Right in France (70%). If Soviets win control of France and Italy, nearly all of Europe will be tied to the USSR against the U.S. and western powers.
      Greece becomes a major flashpoint here – CP very popular there . U.S. contemplated military intervention, after strikes and riots over CP exclusion from government by western powers.
      NATO however was not foreordained. The US wanted to avoid such institutionalization. Early on, it became aware of a “widening gap between commitments and capabilities.” U.S. resources were stretched incredibly thin. The key question was the ability to defend places like the Mideast and Mediterranean in case of war (hence the Navy pushed for overseas bases). Tensions reached all-time high, however, with confrontation in Berlin (triggered by a currency war).
      Policymakers fear that a Soviet drive westward will make the U.S. its “ultimate victim”. Russians have a superior ground force. Yet we knew that they were afraid to confront us directly and that they could not wage a successful war. Thus we tried to use their moment of weakness to contain them as much as possible, while using enough tact not to provoke outbreak of hostilities. Kennan advises a push to unify Germany, hoping that a federated Europe will emerge as a third force against the USSR. We also reached out to Tito and gave his independent communist regime aid to prevent Soviets from becoming center of power (hoping that Yugoslavia might eventually become democratic). Meanwhile, the Mideast becomes important because of oil (in case of war, western forces would need it; more importantly, denying Soviets access to it meant they would have to fight an oil-starved war; lastly, but not least, high living is not to be denied Americans). But far more money is spent on China and Korea, despite the view that they held no vital resources or essential bases (partly a legacy of WWII: the fear of “credibility gap” and the domino effect of evacuation).

      Ch. 7 (Acheson Takes Command) & 8 (Soviet detonation of bomb, NSC 68, 1949-1950)
      Truman had no desire to control foreign policy, left it to Acheson to conceptualize. Eisenhower begins to doubt ability to maintain new commitments within budgetary restraints; the Harman committee report says nuclear first strike would not mean decisive victory or having significant lasting impact. But an economic slowdown in spring 1949 for first time since the end of the war, plus estimates of Soviet military weakness (still had no bomb) led Truman to scale back U.S. military expenditures.
      U.S. decides to keep military in Germany against opposition from Foreign Relations Committee members in both parties. Several administration people for supporting Nationalists in China, despite failure to instantiate reforms and garner indigenous support. Acheson willing to allow inevitable, hoping indigenous resistance to CCP would eventually emerge – articulated in NSC-41 (“wedge strategy” paper) – made little effort to reach out to Mao, however. The CIA looked to Japan as counterweight, concerned about communism spreading in Southeast Asia (important trading partner for Japan, and European allies). The U.S. continues to support autocratic governments in Mideast (Greece, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia) with small amounts of military aid, endorses covert overthrow of Syrian government, looks forward to end of arms embargo so that British can do same in Egypt, Iran, Jordan.
      Kennan becomes marginal figure in State (bc of Marshall, although Acheson still seeks his counsel). Paul Nitze is appointed head of Policy Planning Staff, writes NSC-68, an important Cold War document that does not (in Leffler’s view) set forth new policies but “laid out options” and called for greater spending “in view of the sterling crisis, the European integration impasse, the fall of China, the threats to Southeast Asia, and the Soviet acquisition of the bomb.” In the background: Alger Hiss case, rise of McCarthy (attacks officials as assets to Kremlin), British arrest nuclear scientist Klaus Fuchs, rumors and leaks of Soviet spies in the U.S. administration proliferate. Republicans start to use the issue to bash liberal domestic programs. As a result, the nuclear arsenal multiplies rapidly (from 50 in June 1948 to 300 in June 1950). Some officials wanted more (“Army planners looked upon tactical atomic weapons as a key instrument for breaking up Soviet troop concentrations and seizing critical areas. With more and better atomic weapons, Western Europe might be held.” ) Surprisingly, Americans were unperturbed by loss of nuclear monopoly. Only 5% polled deemed it most important issue in the world. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff feared that the “psychological loss” would prompt the Soviets to be more adventurist, that a buildup of the Soviet arsenal would force them to consider a nuclear war. U.S. French and British become major arms suppliers to autocratic dynasties using them to maintain power and jockey against local rivals. U.S. fears anti-Western insurgencies in nations along Soviet periphery will shift balance of power, cut off strategic military points and indispensible oil supplies – also now believes that Far East just as important. Here is the earliest opposition to Ho Chi Minh (a “Soviet puppet”) to prevent “global war.” Note: it is not Soviet actions that precipitates this fear. “Stalin was clamping down o Eastern Europe, brutally purging foes, and preparing another reign of terror within the Soviet Union itself. But these were not the matters that preoccupied U.S. officials. Policymakers in Washington focused on the dollar gap, the European integration impasse, and the task of co-opting German and Japanese power. These problems were not caused by Soviet behavior.”

      Ch. 9 (Wresting the initiative, June-Nov 1950) & Ch 10 (Progress amidst Anxiety, Nov 1950 – Sept 1951)
      The North Korean attack caught U.S. by surprise. It did not expect overt aggression. Khrushchev: “I must stress that the war wasn’t Stalin’s idea, but Kim Il-Song’s. Kim was the initiator.” – an ardent nationalist, like many Korean communists. McCarthy and Robert Taft, another former isolationist Republican leader, blame the State Dept. By this point, it was estimated that Soviets had 25 nukes but no delivery system; U.S. by contrast had 300, and 264 nuclear-capable aircraft. After outbreak of hostilities in Korea, NSC 68 pursued with vigor (of 54$ billion earmarked for military, only $13 for Korea). There is not terrible support in Congress, but no terrible opposition either. It’s seen as the result of loss of nuclear monopoly. U.S. pushes forward on strengthening Germany (unacceptable to Europe) and Japan (Kennan: “The lessons of Versailles should be remembered… We must not make the same mistake with Japan”) – troops retained there – U.S. props up corrupt anticommunist Filipino government.
      The Kremlin, “awed by the intensity of the U.S. reaction to North Korea’s aggression and cognizant of the dramatic turn of events on the battlefield, invited discussions on all the most salient issues… intercepted radio broadcasts revealed that Moscow was telling Peking and Pyongyang that the Soviet Union wanted to stay out of the war and that aid to the North Koreans would have to come from China, if it were to come at all.” Policymakers were “not looking to negotiate”, however, until “more favorable conditions were established” although “At the most critical NSC meeting, CIA director Walter Bedell Smith emphasized that ‘he saw no reason to change the previous estimate that the Soviets are not prepared themselves to bring on a general war.’” MacArthur emerges as mercurial character in Leffler’s account (telling Washington that Chinese have no desire to get involved first, then advancing North without permission to its outrage). The failure of his “end-the-war offensive” in Nov. 1950 provoked an avalanche of Republican outcry (just after elections, during which Democrats fared well because the war was popular). The military, fearing “global war”, wanted to pull out, but State (Acheson) resists. (This is a recurrent theme in the book – places that are not considered important administration is nevertheless not willing to “give up.” The U.S. is willing to take more risks as it becomes more powerful militarily.) In December, NATO assents to German rearmament – after Eisenhower tours, France UK Belgium double military spending. Senate assents to four more European divisions. Still short of defense plan, however. U.S. contributes 13% NATO ground forces, 15% air forces, 25% naval forces. Western Euro economies in slow recovery. Truman reaches out to Tito, establishes cooperative military relationship with Yugoslavia for fear or Soviet-Balkan attack – Greece and Turkey absorbed into NATO. Danes and Norwegians warn U.S. “to be sensitive to Soviet perception of threat… encirclement” Acheson “understood these admonitions,” in Leffler’s view “carefully calculated what the traffic could bear.”

      Ch. 11 (Preponderance Amidst Instability) & Conclusion
      U.S. continues with military buildup. There are fears throughout western Europe that Russia will be provoked to war. “Acheson hoped that the absorption of Germany into the European Defense Community and the European Coal and Steel Community would create a European federation that would become economically viable and militarily defensible without U.S. assistance.” Increasingly, Soviets acquiesce to EDC. West German “economic miracle” inspires awe and apprehension. Japan recovers too (although, like Germany, not free to pursue independent foreign policy). Indochina seen as great priority by U.S., its loss would be devastation to Japan and the balance of power generally, were prepared to issue threat to Chinese to pull out –“A cruel dilemma faced Acheson and his colleagues. If the French departed, Ho and the Communists would take power. If the French stayed, there would be a protracted military conflict. … The only solution … was to increase the U.S. commitment.” By the end of their term, the administration was most concerned about “the periphery” – decolonization across Middle East, Africa, Far East.
      Leffler’s opinion somewhat mercurial. Note: “Truman administration officials grasped the nature of the Soviet threat… a shrewd understanding of Soviet weaknesses, … [and] strengths” But: Stalin’s “most provocative and heinous foreign policy actions came in the latter part of 1947 and 1948, … in response to Western initiatives. … the formation of the Cominform, the coup in Czechoslavakia, the purges in Eastern Europe, and the blockade of Berlin were reactions to the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and, most important of all, the affirmative program in western Germany. There is then, reason to assign as much responsibility for the origins of the cold war to the US as to the USSR. But it would be a mistake to carry the logic too far… the cold war was the legacy of WWII. That conflict deranged the international system, altered the balance of power in Europe, shattered colonial empires, restructured economic and social arrangements … [and] preordained a period of unusual anxiety and tension. The national security policies of the Truman administration were an attempt to apply the lessons and cope with the legacies of WWII as much as they were an effort to contain the USSR.”

    3. Michael Brenes said, on February 17, 2010 at 4.50pm

      In the Shadow of the Garrison State: America’s Anti-Statism and its Cold War Grand Strategy by Aaron Friedberg

      –In his well-researched book, Aaron Friedberg attempts to show how the construction of what might be termed the military-industrial complex shaped America’s response to the threat of the Soviet Union.

      –Thesis: Because of a strong strain of anti-statism in American politics and public life, the United States was able to avoid “the worst, most stifling excesses of statism” and therefore avoid become a totalitarian state and emerge as the victor in the Cold War (page 4).

      –Friedberg seeks to compare the U.S. response to war planning and defense spending to the Soviet Union. He argues that had an anti-statist sentiment not been present during the Cold War, the United States would have ended up like the Soviet Union–which he implies would be a bloated, economically underdeveloped state.

      –Friedberg is a self-professed Cold War triumphialist in the sense that he is someone “who not only rejoices in America’s Cold War success, but sees it as proof of the practical strengths as well as the moral virtues of the American regime” (8).

      –According to Friedberg, anti-statism is rooted in structures of American institutions and American politics. Founders from Alexander Hamilton to Thomas Jefferson were suspicious of a large state.

      –Friedberg argues that the U.S. has a relatively weak state. As such, the increase in the size of the state has come about only due to various crises that have confronted the U.S. (these include and are limited to, the Civil War, WWI, Great Depression, WWII, Cold War).

      –In the postwar era, U.S. policymakers felt increasingly vulnerable to attack. Technological developments in weaponry—particularly the creation of a nuclear bomb—dissipated any possible security provided by geographical distance from the enemies of the U.S. (37-38).

      –Republicans and southern Democrats in Congress became main source of opposition to increasing largesse of the state in 1940s and 1950s. Preoccupied with notion that country is headed toward socialism (higher taxes, large size of federal bureaucracy (43-44). Congress established the tone and direction of the state’s growth in the early Cold War.

      –McCarthyism was an expression or result of a weak American state, not because of its recent growth (47).

      — Business responds to larger state by promoting the “American business creed,” the myth of laissez-faire, in the U.S. in an attempt to influence policy and public opinion. Business believed that government control of any industry was tantamount to socialism. (48-50).

      –The American public were in “a conservative frame of mind” in the immediate postwar era. The public wanted a strong military, but not increases in taxes. They wanted a military large enough to defend the nation from external threats (communism), but did not want the government to control industries that produced military power, and did not want any apparatus that would place an undue financial burden on the pockets of Americans. (60-61).

      –Policy of Flexible Response was the result of the American strategic synthesis. Flexible response was the overarching policy of the Cold War (briefly interrupted by Reagan), but it offered a “compromise rather than a unique, elegant, or obviously dominant solution to the strategic problems confronting the United States” (74). This is in contrast to the Soviet Union, who—except for the Khrushchev period—sought to plan its Cold War strategy on building a defense that would counter any possible or conceived threat
      Friedberg argues that the U.S. would have done the same had not anti-statist forces existed.

      –What is noteworthy according to Friedberg was the small size of defense budgets from 1975-1990, not the largeness of them (81). He argues that concerns over taxes, deficits and inflation helped to rein in spending and the formation of a large state.

      –“For reasons both sincere and self-serving” the evolving military-industrial complex favored high defense budgets and for Congress to be favorable toward increased spending for defense. (81). However, anti-statist influences served to reign in the type of defense spending desired by defense industries and therefore avoid the Soviet model of military planning (81-82).

      –There existed a profound reluctance to pay higher taxes amongst American public between 1945 and 1950. Politicians and policy makers committed to balancing the budget and generally opposed to deficit spending and economic planning, as is evidenced from the watering down of the 1945 Full Employment Bill to the 1946 Employment Act. Commercial Keynesianism prevailed instead of growthmanship (full employment, active and expansive state (89-94).

      –Fear of rising inflation rates by Truman and Eisenhower also served to prevent more government spending.

      –“Fiscal constraint” present in Truman Administration (except for Korean War) and Eisenhower administration. 1960s was a time when new social welfare programs placed less emphasis on defense spending.

      –NSC-68: implemented because of Korean War. Truman was suspicious over its call for 300% increase in defense expenditures. Those officials who favored reduction or small defense budgets were overwhelmed by Korea and consensus in State Dept. and White House that increase in defense spending was necessary (108-109).

      — Truman sought a “pay as you go” strategy with defense—aligning revenues with expenses. However, Truman was stymied in attempt to raise taxes for additional revenues in 1949. Republicans passed tax cut in 1948. Truman gets tax increases passed in 1950 and 1951. Asks for another 10 billion in additional tax revenue and is defeated by Republicans and southern Democrats who view further increases as “socialistic” (118-120).

      –Truman left Eisenhower with stronger military, higher costs to maintain military power, increased tax revenues and a budget gap for fiscal year 1953. Eisenhower desired to cut taxes, but also sought reduction in deficits and was preoccupied with inflation; therefore he favored extending taxes and lowering defense spending in 1953-54.

      –In wake of Sputnik crisis, Eisenhower refused to increase defense budgets in significant manner for fear of deficits (138-139).

      –Kennedy desired to expand structure of defense under “flexible response.” Kennedy, over time, became less concerned with budget deficits and sought to campaign for full employment and increasing production and growth. However, “the persistence of conservative congressional opposition rather than any fundamental objection from the executive branch…held down the growth of nondefense expenditures in the 1960s” (147).

      –Discussing conscription, Friedberg argues that during the Cold War, Selective Service conscription was a compromise between Universal Military Training (UMT) and absence of compulsive military service (154).

      –UMT sought to create an army at the ready. Lesson of World War II was that the United States needed to respond early to any act of aggression. Truman viewed UMT as way to instill discipline and civics into America’s youth. UMT provoked strong opposition and ultimately defeated by public suspicious of statism.

      –Selective Service implemented during “heat of war” in 1951. Selective Service proposed as temporary solution during Korean War. Crisis, indirection, and compromise were the three conditions that led to Selective Service.

      –College students granted deferments when the numbers of candidates for service far surpassed the military’s required supply of soldiers. The legitimacy of the draft began to fall apart when its “universality” is called into question.

      –All-Volunteer force accepted because it adhered to anti-statist sentiments on both the left and the right and was welcomed by a large percentage of the American public (194).

      –The U.S. failed to adopt a defense industrial policy, according to Friedberg, because of free-market ideology, fear of the state directing the market. An industrial policy seemed like planning, which was anathema to American ideals (199-201).

      –Policy of “dispersal” promoted in late 1940s. Policymakers believed that the best way to thwart a devastating nuclear attack would be to spread population and industry throughout the nation (212). Korean War sought to centralize industrial planning in the federal government, but this policy did not last after the war was over as it was dismantled by Eisenhower.

      –Robert McNamara refused to allocated resources in preparing for a future war because he knew that the U.S. possessed nuclear superiority over the Soviet Union. Adhering to flexible response, a large mobilization for war was not needed.

      –Friedberg rejects the conclusion that the result of the U.S. government’s reliance on private companies to create weapons and armaments for the U.S. military was a result of tradition, efficiency, or the domination of private interests over the government. He claims that ideas and institutions played a pivotal role in the “privatization of arms production” (246).

      –Idea that private companies had saved the world from fascism and had brought the country out of the depression. Government had a much more favorable interpretation of businesses in the 1940s as opposed to a decade earlier.

      –Congress was the institution that pushed the government to rely on private arms dealers during World War II. This congressional trend lasted into the Cold War era.

      –Friedberg minimizes the role of the military-industrial complex in continuing the duration of the Cold War. He argues that defense companies were cost-effective, spurred innovation and left minimal or no deleterious impact on the institutions of American life. Federal government was just as reluctant to see the closing of defense companies as their private owners. This would mean the loss of jobs and loss of military resources.

      –Because scientific research and technological development were not led by the U.S. government, this allowed the United States to have the superior hand in technological innovation. In addition, because R&D projects were dictated by a few members of the Soviet government, the Soviet system did not allow the flexibility required in order to foster innovation and was unable to ever catch up with the United States in new scientific and technological developments.

      –Conclusions: By the 1960’s the United States had forged a “Cold War synthesis” that was uniquely shaped by anti-statist tendencies. This synthesis was sustained through the Cold War and provided the United States with a strategic advantage over their Soviet counterparts. Indeed, the civilian-military system of the United States was integral in the victory of the U.S. over the Soviet Union.

      –Furthermore, while the various constituents of the defense industry were integral in pressuring governmental officials for higher defense spending, this was not necessarily a bad thing, as it prevented full-scale military retrenchment and disarmament during the 1970s. In fact, by following “their own interest, the much-reviled members of the ‘military-industrial complex’ did good by doing well” (345).

    4. kcjohnson9 said, on February 17, 2010 at 6.07pm

      Pinar–Sheehan book


      (from “http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/she1bio-1”)
      Former New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan obtained The Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg and Sheehan’s edition of the Pentagon Papers became a national best-seller.
      In 1971 as a New York Times reporter Sheehan wrote a book on another scandal of the Vietnam War; “The Arnheiter Affair”.
      Sheenan’s book which is published in 1989, “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam” was hailed as the greatest book ever written about the war. In 1989 Sheehan was personally awarded a Pulitzer for this book.
      Neil Sheehan’s latest book “A Fiery Peace In a Cold War” is 484 pages and contains 83 chapters. Sheehan’s journalistic writing abilities makes this book an easy one to read.

      Sheehan focuses on the biography of Bernard Schriever, a General at the US Air Force. The author tells the life and accomplishments of General Schriever. Schriever was an immigrant from Bremen, Germany who achieved stars in the US Air Force, who was known for creating America’s intercontinental ballistic missile force and for his staunchness under stress and the deliberate fashion in which he would thread his way through multiple obstacles to a solution.

      As Sheehan puts it; “Bernard Schriever was to be the indispensable man in the creation of the intercontinental ballistic missile during the Cold War and the enormous consequences that were to flow from it, America’s penetration of space and an unspoken but permanent truce of mutual deterrence with the Soviet Union (page 173.)”.

      While General Schriever’s life and accomplishments were at the center of the Sheenan’s book, on the background, the author also tells a larger history; the history of the Cold War. The author successfully illuminates the military consequences of the bipolar world that emerged after the Second World War, nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the early Cold War years, the fear of nuclear Pearl Harbor that haunted President Eisenhower, the advent of Minuteman which put an end to this fear and the emergence of a nuclear stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union which is known as “Mutually Assured Destruction” world.


      After the defeat of Japan in WWII, the power relationship of the world was already in motion toward a profound transformation (page 51). The multi-polar world of 1920s and 30s was gone. Only the United States and the Soviet Union had emerged from the war with their statures enhanced.

      After WWII, the United States was the only country that had the atomic bomb. President, Harry Truman, was under the impression that the monopoly would last many years.

      However, the atomic diplomacy of President Truman and James Byrnes, Secretary of States, would only accelerate the postwar arms race Stalin had already initiated to catch up with the United States (page 54).

      In the late 1940s, George Kennan’s long telegram laid down the doctrinal basis for the hemming of Soviet power that was to become the U.S. policy of containment and his writings inspired the Truman Doctrine (page 81).

      On August 29, 1949, the Soviets Union exploded a device identical to the Nagasaki bomb at a spot on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan. The broken monopoly had been replaced by a balance of terror; the threat of nuclear devastation thrust into the minds and emotions of the American public and its leaders (page 102).

      After this… an arms race started between the United States and Soviet Union. By 1959, there was a missile gap between United States and Soviet Union which was widening steadily in favor of the United States thanks to the determination and perseverance of General Bernard Schriever.

      According to Sheehan, “War, with its victory-or-defeat, life-or-death in which there is no excuse for failure or mediocrity, rapidly sets the outstanding officer apart from the ordinary one. This was what was happening to Bennie Schriever.” (page 40).

      In March 1953, the vision of an ICBM had lit Bernie Schriever’s mind while he listened to John von Neuman and Edward Teller brief the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board meeting at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama (page 409).

      Schriever took command of fledgling Western Development Division on August 1954 and he gathered fifteen men at the Schoolhouse. After Schriever and the Schoolhouse Gang got going in the summer of 1954, the key in the ignition had been turned.

      Schriever and his comrades had reversed the missile gap in favor of the US with Atlas and Titan. The creation of Minuteman in 1961 put the United States so far ahead in the strategic missile competition. The advent of Minuteman put an end to the fear of a nuclear Pearl Harbor that had haunted Eisenhower (page 419). The military satellite systems later evolved into like systems for civilian use in communications, navigation, television broadcasting, and other fruitful purposes.

      Sheehan suggests that “sinister arms competition between the Soviet Union and the United States would help to bankrupt and dissolve the immense Soviet Empire and bequeath America a national debt of colossal proportions” (page 177).

      Neil Sheehan also argues that “To comprehend the real postwar world, one had to understand that while it was bipolar in terms of the two major powers, within the Communist sphere, as within the non-Communist one, there were national leaders with their own agendas who were prepared to act on those agendas regardless of what Moscow or Washington thought.

      The statesmen of one administration after another, from Truman down through Eisenhower and John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, clung to this delusion that they faced an international communist conspiracy, despite increasing blatant evidence to the contrary (page 107).

      The book ends with the narrative of one of the most dramatic moments of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crises and underscores that the fact that a nuclear attack by either superpower would result in a joint annihilation brought about the emergence of a Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine of military strategy.


      This book eloquently describes the early years of the Cold War and the arms race between the two superpowers of the world that emerged after the Second World War.
      I also came to the conclusion that the author does not focus on the topic, instead he gives his personal opinion on certain topics by giving irrelevant information, for instance, he refers to the Kurdish citizens of Turkey while he is describing the establishment of radar bases in Diyarbakir, while ethnicity does not have relevance with the topic of the book.
      -War, with its victory-or-defeat, life-or-death dynamic in which there is no excuse for failure or mediocrity, rapidly sets the outstanding officer apart from the ordinary one (page 40).
      -Nazi cruelty toward the Russians was deliberate and without limit, emanating from the racial doctrine that all Slavs were subhuman (page 68)
      -If Louis XIV could say “L’etat, c’est moi” of 17th and early 18th century France, Joseph Stalin could have said the same of the Soviet Union he created (page 69)
      -Albert Einstein was upset over the postwar arms race that had sprung up between the United States and the Soviet Union, because he regarded the proliferation of nuclear weapons as a threat to the existence of humankind. (page 180)
      -Napoleon is said to have remarked that a man makes his own luck. There is also an old Marine Corps maxim that may express the thought more precisely: “Luck occurs when Preparation and opportunity coincide.” (page 225)

    5. Phil Lienert said, on February 24, 2010 at 5.04pm

      “Mao’s China and the Cold War”
      By Chen Jian, University of North Carolina Press, 2001

      Reviewed by Phil Lienert

      Key Points
      • China’s centrality to the Cold War
      o Despite the fact that the conflict is largely defined in US-Soviet terms
      • Continuous revolution
      o Using international crises to motivate the Chinese people
      • The effect of the “victim mentality” on foreign policy decisions
      • China had a great need to be taken seriously as a great power on the international stage
      • China as the primary American adversary during the cold war
      o China played a much bigger role in both Vietnam wars than has previously been understood
       Particularly during the First Indochinese War
       Surprising revelations about the extent of the Chinese role at Dien Bien Phu and the mass number of Chinese engineers and artillerists fighting against the Americans from 1965-1969
      • Under Mao’s tenure, China continually alienated its neighbors, world powers and former allies:
      o Japan
      o South Korea
      o Soviet Union
      o India
      o Viet Nam
      o Taiwan
      o US
      • The rapprochement with the US signaled more Mao’s decision to scale back the continuous revolution than to acknowledge that China was surrounded on all sides by enemies

      Key Episodes in Chinese History under Mao’s Leadership
      • Chinese Civil War
      • Korean War
      • Sino-Soviet Split
      • Support of First Indochinese War
      • Polish and Hungarian Crises of 1956
      • Taiwan Straits Crisis
      • Support of Vietnam War
      • Rapprochement

      • Uses a number of declassified Chinese internal sources that had previously been unavailable to scholars
      • Excellent argument for China’s importance in the cold war and as the US’ primary international adversary from 1949-1972

      • Compiled in part from a series of essays by the author
      o This shows, as it is repetitive in places
      o Despite the chapters being organized chronologically, there is an occasional lack of thematic unity
      • Not enough insight into Chinese domestic situation, particularly the disastrous effect of Mao’s programs and policies on the Chinese population
      o Ironic, given that Jian concludes that “China’s external behavior has been primarily shaped by domestic concerns—both under Mao and continuously in the post-Mao era” (pg. 279)
      o More info on Great Proletarian and Cultural Revolution of Summer of ’66, in particular, would be enlightening
      o The author downplays episodes such as the famine in the late 1960s resulting from Mao’s domestic programs that reportedly killed millions of Chinese

      Major Themes of Book
      China in the Cold War
      • Clearly a much more provocative and less pragmatic power than the Soviet Union from 1949 until rapprochement
      • Mao determined “ten thousand years” as the “basic scale in measuring the grand mission of his revolution” (pg. 190)

      Concept of Continuous Revolution
      • Stemmed from Mao’s belief that he needed to keep the Chinese people motivated and mobilized after the 1949 revolution through a series of major international crises
      o Jian notes Mao’s belief that he had to continually push the revolution forward in order for it to succeed
      Korean War
      • Despite the issue and challenges, the Korean War gave the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) an opportunity to further the revolution and legitimize its domestic authority
      o “China’s entry into (the Korean War), as Mao had expected, triggered a new wave of patriotism and revolutionary nationalism among the Chinese people” (pg. 95)
      o The Korean War led to Mao and the CCP’s treating foreign policy as part of “China’s Continuous Revolution” (pg. 116)
      Great Leap Forward
      • 1958 — A pivotal year for China
      o In Mao’s words, “Socialist revolution on the political and ideological fronts . . . (we are) now preparing to make a revolution in the technological field, so that (we may) overtake Britain in fifteen or more years”
      Taiwan Straits Crisis
      • Mao used the Taiwan Straits Crisis as a motivator for domestic programs, as they created “new momentum for his continuous revolution” (pg. 169)
      o “Besides its disadvantageous side, a tense (international) situation could mobilize the population, could particularly mobilize the backward people, could mobilize the people in the middle, and could therefore promote the Great Leap Forward in economic construction” (Mao, pg. 77)
      o When announcing the decision to renew hostilities with Taiwan during a politburo meeting on August 17, 1958, Mao noted that “everyone is a solider” (pg. 179)
      • Zhou Enlai to Soviets on justification for shelling: “To raise the combat spirit of our people and their readiness for war, to enhance the feeling of not being afraid of war and their hatred towards American imperialism and its aggressive, insolent foreign policy” (pg. 188)
      Vietnam War
      • Further mobilization of the population to serve the PRC’s foreign policy goals in both First Indochinese War against the French and the later Vietnam War against the Americans
      • Mao’s changes to the PRC society, including uprooting factories from the coast to the interior, “created a broad-reaching and intense revolutionary popular mentality in Chinese society and politics” (pg. 215)

      China’s Victim Mentality
      • Mao often took umbrage at what he perceived to be slights to China
      o Historical perception that China had been abused at the hands of global, particularly western powers, since the Opium Wars
      o “This mentality had been informed by the conviction that the political, economic, and military aggression of foreign imperialist countries had undermined China’s historical glory and humiliated the Chinese nation” (pg. 75)
      • China entered the Korean War partially under the pretext that it had long suffered at the hands of the US, both economically and politically
      • The Taiwan Straits Crisis offered Mao an opportunity to “emphasize the existence of outside threats” (pg. 169)
      • Part of the schism between China and Vietnam stemmed from what Jian defines as the latter not bowing to the former’s moral authority and the offense China took at this (pp. 236-237)

      China on the international stage
      • China sought to be taken seriously as a major international power
      • China saw itself as the center of the revolution after Khrushchev came to power, and the philosophical schism between the CCP and the Soviet politburo played a big part in the Sino-Soviet schism
      o China played an active role the major communist revolutions and wars against western powers in Korea, Indochina, and later, Vietnam
      o Mao and the CCP took an active role in the crises in Poland and Hungary in 1956 as an advisor to the Soviets
      • Mao used the UK’s and US’ involvement in Jordan and Lebanon as a pretext to shell Taiwan in 1958 (pp. 175-176)
      • He continuously sought to replace Taiwan as the representative of China to the UN
      • “It’s apparent that underlying Beijing’s more radical policy toward Vietnam were the ambitious Maoist revolutionary programs of transforming China and the world” (pg. 212)

      China’s enmity with the US
      • The book implicitly makes the case for China as the US’ primary adversary during the first half of the cold war
      • Jian argues that there was never a “missed opportunity” for the US and the PRC to pursue a peaceful relationship from 1949 on
      • Direct (albeit undeclared) war between the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) and the United States in Korea
      • Fighting US ally France in First Indochinese War
      • Taiwan Straits Crisis
      • Prior to second Vietnam War, “Instructions for Strengthening the Preparations for Future Wars” were drafted by Beijing:
      o “It’s necessary for China to further its preparations for a war with the United States”
      o Called on “the party, the military, and the whole nation to be prepared for a war with the United States”
      o “Supporting the Vietnamese people’s struggle to resist the United States and save their country, the document concluded, was to become the top priority in China’s political and social life” (pg. 218)

      Conflict with Neighbors
      • These resulted, in large part, from Mao’s belief that continual friction would serve as a galvanizing force to the Chinese people and the PRC
      o Border conflict between China and India in August of 1959 after New Dehli recognized the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile
      o Taiwan Straits Crisis
      o Sino-Soviet split
      o Both Mao’s and his predecessors’ conflicts with Vietnam, despite initial alliance and massive Chinese investment in the First Indochinese War and the Vietnam War
      o Sino-Soviet Border War of 1969
      • It’s believed, but not necessarily by the author, that part of Mao’s desire to seek rapprochement with the US came from the fact that China was surrounded by enemies, largely of Mao’s and the PRC’s creation
      • The role of “Mao’s confrontational, challenge-oriented character” (pg. 82) in alienating other nations, including former allies

      • It was more about the end of the “continuous revolution” than China looking for an ally against its hostile neighbors
      o Jian remarks that the Cultural Revolution “brought Chinese society, as well as the communist state, and party apparatus, to the verge of total collapse”
      • “Starting in early 1969, Beijing’s top leaders, and Mao and Zhou in particular, began to reconsider the role the US could play in China’s security” (pg. 233)
      • Jian’s interpretation: “In a geopolitical sense, Nixon’s visit did establish the framework in which a strategic partnership could be constructed between China and the United States . . . More importantly, especially for Mao, the unique format of the communiqué allowed China not only to remain a revolutionary country but also to claim an equal footing with the United States in the world”

      Major Issues under Mao’s Chairmanship
      Sino-Soviet Split
      • According to Mao, “the overturning of (our relations with) the Soviet Union occurred in 1958; that was because they wanted to control China militarily” (pg. 74)
      • Tension between China and the Soviets over military matters
      o Moscow proposed a joint submarine flotilla and a long-wave radio transmission center
      o Mao thought both tied into “Moscow’s attempt to control china” (pg. 74)
      o Khrushchev had to visit China to patch things up, but this was the beginning of the Sino-Soviet split
      • Great Leap Forward—Soviet’s reaction:
      o Mao pushed the Chinese people, among other things, to begin forging steel in “small backyard furnaces” (pg 77)
      o Khrushchev calls the tens of thousand of people’s communes that had sprung up “reactionary” (pg. 77)
      • Mao and his comrades felt that a Soviet statement expressing regret about the war between China and India meant that Moscow “had virtually adopted a policy to support India’s position” (pg. 80)
      • Khrushchev’s speech on September 30, 1959 at the 10th anniversary ceremony of the Chinese Revolution
      o He spoke in favor of relaxing tensions between East and West, noting, “It is unwise to use military means to test the stability of the capitalist system” (page 80)
      o Mao is insulted by this, thinking that the Soviet premier is criticizing his foreign policy
      o Khrushchev then had a contentious meeting with the Chinese over Taiwan, Tibet and the Chinese-Indian conflict
      • Khrushchev reduced aid to China and recalls all military and other experts from China in July of 1960
      o Jian believes the Great Leap Forward led to big problems already
      • Mao blamed the Soviets for the Great Leap’s failure
      o “In the early 1960s, Mao repeatedly used the conflict with Moscow to claim that his struggle for true communism was also a struggle for China’s national integrity” (pg. 82)
      o China-Soviet alliance virtually dead by 1963-64
      • Malinovskii, the Soviet defense minister, did not help matters when he asked the other Chinese leaders to overthrow Mao

      Korean War
      • Three guiding principles behind China’s entry in the war:
      o China had long suffered political and economic aggression from America
      o Internal belief that the US was not that strong
      o Conflict between China and the US was inevitable
      • Mao’s initial goals in Korea:
      o Guarantee the safety of Chinese-Korea border
      o Expand the CCP’s authority and credibility at home
      o Promote new China’s prestige in the international scene
      • Mao’s original intention in Korea was to “win a glorious victory” by “driving the Americans out of Korea” (pg. 85)
      o Slogan on Chinese home front was “beating American arrogance” (pg. 88)
      • War known in China as “Great Movement to Resist America and Assist Korea” (pg. 88)
      • Three factors shaped China’s perception and management of the course of the war in Korea:
      o CCP’s domestic and international concerns
      o CCP versus US/UN strategies to end the war
      o Beijing’s perception of its needs and those of Moscow & Pyonyang in Korea
      • The Inchon Landings on September 15, 1950 changed the course of the war (pg. 89)
      o Beijing decided to send troops in the first three weeks of October, 1950
      o Stalin pushed the PLA’s intervention in order “to give our Korean comrades an opportunity to organize combat reserves under the cover of (Chinese) troops” (pg. 89)
      • Despite Soviet pressure for China to enter the war, “from the very beginning, Mao was inclined to enter the war, and he played a central role at every crucial juncture in formulating Beijing’s war decision” (pg. 90)
      • Northeast Border Defense Army—260,000 troops
      o Under command on Peng Dehuai
      o Numbers would eventually reach 1.35 million by 1953
      o Army had weak logistics and no initial air support, although Soviet air force flew limited missions in their support during the war
      • Chinese troops entered Korea on October 19, 1950
      o “Strategy of inducing the enemy to march forward and then eliminating them by superior forces striking from their rear and on their flanks” (pg. 90)
      o By mid-December, Chinese and Koreans had regained control of nearly all North Korean territory
      • 13 country peace proposal
      o Presented on December 5th
      o Headed by India with other non-Western countries
      o “Beijing’s leaders, however, were unwilling to accept anything short of a total victory” (pg. 92)
      • Peng was against offensives past the 38th parallel, which was the pre-war dividing line between South and North Korea
      o Mao ordered Peng to cross the 38th parallel on December 21st, 1950
      o Seoul fell on January 4, 1951
      o Beijing’s gains were strong, but the supply lines were overextended, they had received heavy casualties and there was no air support
      • UN Proposal of January 11, 1951
      o Immediate cease-fire
      o Gradual withdrawal of foreign troops
      o Meeting of four powers (Soviet Union, CCP, UK and US) to discuss eastern problems
      • The US/UN troops launched a counter-offensive on January 25, 1951
      o Peng asked Mao to retreat (pg. 96), but Mao made him launch a 4th offensive instead
      o Following Peng’s visit to China to give Mao a strategic update, though, Mao allowed the Korean and Chinese forces to retrench and reinforce
      Ending the War
      • A 5th Chinese offensive in April of 1951 failed
      o China began to reassess its war aims
      o New strategy of “preparing for a prolonged war while striving to end the war through peace negotiations” (pg. 98)
      • A prolonged period of negotiations, breakdowns and increased military pressure in order to bring about more favorable terms in negotiations
      o POW issue was one of the major points of contention
      o Stalin’s death in 1953 had an effect both on the POW issue and the negotiations
      • Jian claims how the war ended was as important as how it began
      • Zhou Enlai’s five condtions for peaceful settlement of the war in Korea:
      o All foreign troops withdraw from Korea
      o US Forces leave the Taiwan Strait
      o The Korean issue be solved by the Korean people
      o Beijing take’s China’s seat at the UN from Taipei
      o An international conference be called to discuss the signing of a treaty with Japan
      • Jian notes, “China’s capacity to wage war did not equal its ambitious aims” (pg. 116)
      o The CCP leaders eventually “changed their definition of ‘China’s victory in Korea” (pg. 116)

      China and First Indochinese War
      • Regarded as “Part of the overall anti-imperialist struggle in the Far East” (pg. 123) by China
      o “Beijing’s leaders were convinced of an overall American plot of aggression in the Far East, against China, Korea, and Vietnam” (pg. 123)
      • Jian believes it’s an under-researched topic
      • Mao’s goals in first Indochinese War:
      o Help Vietnamese organize and establish a formal army
      o Assist in planning and conducting of major operations to defeat the French
      • By summer of 1953, the Viet Minh gains combined with the end of the war in Korea in July of 1953 put communists in a position to succeed against the French
      • Ho Chi Minh had a long history in China, traveling there in 1924 to assist Sun Yatsen
      • CCP guerillas would regularly help Ho fight the French in the early stages of the war
      • China was able to provide the ICP (Indochinese Communist Party) with more resources after the CCP’s victory in 1949
      o Ho and Vietnam were supported much more by China than they were by the Soviets (pg. 121)
      o Stalin had his hands full in Europe in 1948-49
      o Stalin was also suspicious of Ho
      o Although Stalin encouraged by Mao and Liu Shaoqi to support East Asian revolutions in separate visits to Moscow in 1949
      • It was “Beijing’s mission to promote an Asian revolution following the Chinese model” (pg. 122)
      • April, 1950—ICP sends a list of formal requests to China:
      o Chinese military advisors
      o Training for Viet Minh troops
      o Ammunition and military equipment
      o China stepped up aid accordingly
      Stages of War
      • Border campaign
      o Changed balance of power and initiative in Vietnam to Viet Minh’s favor
      o Big Chinese influence in this early stage of the war
      o Active role of Chinese general Chen
      o Major Chinese guidance to Viet Minh in terms of strategy and tactics
      • Northwest Strategy
      o The Chinese convinced the Viet Minh to concentrate operations in Northwest Vietnam and Laos as opposed to the Red River Delta, which was Giap’s plan
      o According to Jian, it was Wei Guoqing’s (top Chinese military advisor to Indochina) idea to launch a major campaign to surround the French at Dien Bien Phu
      o Beijing apparently instantly grasped what a major victory at Dien Bien Phu would mean internationally (pg. 133)
      o Both the Soviets and the Chinese realized what a bargaining position success at Dien Bien Phu would be and pushed the Vietnamese to succeed there (pg. 134)
      o Ho generally supported and trusted the advice of his advisors in Beijing
      o Beijing to Wei: “While attacking Dien Bien Phu, you should avoid making assaults of equal strength from all directions, rather, you, need to adopt the strategy of separating and encircling the enemy, and annihilate them bit by bit” (pg. 134)
      o The Viet Minh anti-aircraft battalions, a major part of the victory, had received training in China (pg. 134)
      • Massive aid from China to Viet Minh:
      o Beijing sent over engineering experts who had fought in Korea to teach the viet Minh how to dig trenches and underground tunnels (pg. 135)
      o Chinese also offered and gave the Viet Minh a limitless supply of artillery shells, plus recommendations on tactics for using them (pg. 136)
      o Included “200 trucks, over 10,000 barrels of oil, over 100 cannons, 3000 pieces of various types of guns, around 2,400,000 gun bullets, over 60,000 artillery shells, and about 1700 tons of grain” (pg. 135)
      • A rift developed soon after the victory, though
      o “The Chinese did not feel comfortable dealing with the Vietnamese, a people who had struggled against Chinese Control for centuries and who had so vigorous a nationalist tendency” (pg. 138)
      o After Korea, Beijing needed to devote more resources to its domestic agenda (pg. 139)
      o Coming off five years of confrontation with the West
      o It saw the possibility of American intervention in Vietnam
      o Zhou Enlai thought the Vietnamese were unrealistic and amateurish (pg. 141-142)
      o He was afraid that they would cause American intervention
      o Zhou was considered to be clear winner at the Geneva conference in 1954
      o The origin of confrontation between China and Vietnam can be traced to their cooperation in the first Indochina War

      Poland and Hungary
      • Both incidents in these countries in 1956 led to “the decline of international communism as a twentieth-century phenomenon” (pg. 145)
      o 1956 was a time of disagreement between the Chinese and Soviets (pg. 156)
      • “Beijing’s experience during these two events enhanced Mao’s determination to bring China’s continuous revolution to a more radical phase” (pg. 145)
      o Helped lead to the anti-rightist movement and the Great Leap Forward
      • Ties to Chinese “victim mentality”
      o “Mao and his comrades believed that the origins of Poland’s crisis lay in Moscow’s ‘big power chauvinist’ policy toward Eastern European countries” (pg. 146)
      o Mao compared the Soviet’s behavior in Poland to a rude father beating his child
      • The CCP announced that it would protest if Moscow used force on Poland (pg. 147)
      • Chinese also took offense to Khrushchev’s denigration of Stalin:
      o Mao felt that Stalin’s mistakes could be criticized only after “his overall reputation had been properly protected”
      o Mao was also cautious to criticize Stalin’s cult of personality, as he was busy developing his own
      o Developed a 70-30 ratio to discuss Stalin’s achievements vs. mistakes
      o “Stalin is a sword . . . It can be used to fight the imperialists and various other enemies . . . If this sword is put aside completely, if it is damaged, or if it is abandoned, the enemies will use this sword to try to kill us” (pg. 150)
      o Khrushchev disagreed with this assessment
      • Contrary to their recommendations on Poland, the CCP urged the Soviets not to withdraw from Hungary
      o They viewed this uprising as “anti-Communist” as opposed to “anti-Soviet,” and therefore, much more dangerous (pg. 156)
      o Beijing thought that it made a great contribution to “suppress the reactionary elements in Hungary” (pg. 157)
      o China would later “invoke the lessons of the Hungarian reactionary incident” to quell domestic unrest

      The Taiwan Straits Crisis
      • Jian defines the Straits as “one of the main ‘hot spots’ of the cold war since the CCP defeated the GMD in 1949 (pg. 165)
      • Mao and the CCP leadership in 1954: “By highlighting the task we mean to raise the political consciousness and political alertness of the people of the whole country” (pg. 169)
      o Part of his program of “continuous revolution”
      • Jian notes the shelling of Taiwan on August 23, 1958 “touched off a major international crisis” (pg. 182)
      • Major threat of turning the situation into “a Chinese-American showdown” despite Jian’s assertion that Mao was looking for “a conflict short of war” (pg. 185)
      Development of Beijing’s Taiwan policy:
      • The CCP was preparing a major amphibious campaign to liberate Taiwan
      June, 1949
      o Liu Shaoqi went to Moscow for assistance, but Staling only agreed to help the PLA set up a navy and air force
      o In October and November of 1949, the PLA was defeated by GMD forces off of the islands of Jinmen and Dengbu
      o The attack was postponed repeatedly
      • Korea
      o The war drained Chinese military resources
      o Truman also sent the US 7th Fleet to the area
      o The GMD also uncovered the CCP’s large spy network on Taiwan
      o The CCP formally called off plans to invade Taiwan in October of 1950
      o Nationalists would occasionally launch attacks on the CCP shore areas
      • 1st Crisis
      o 1954-55
      o Beijing prepared to invade Dachen and Yijiangshan in early 1954
      o This was a preventive measure to protect the industrial areas of the Zhejiang Province, including Shanghai
      o The GMD used these offshore islands to harass the CCP
      o Jinmen was bombarded on 3rd and 22nd of September in 1954
      o Washington and Taipei signed a defense treaty on December 2, 1954
      o “The US did not intervene, as defense of these islands wasn’t part of the treaty” (pg. 169)
      • Peace initiative, 1955-57
      o Zhou Enlai wanted to “solve the issue peacefully” and sought a “peaceful liberation” of Taiwan (pg. 169)
      • Ties between Mao’s revolutionary agenda and renewal of crisis
      o In 1958, the decision to renew hostilities against Taiwan was tied to other “diplomatic offensives” to further the revolution during the Great Leap Forward (pp. 173-174)
      o Jian writes of “the rapid radicalization of China’s domestic and foreign policies” at the time (pg. 174)
      o Mao was suffering from “post-revolution anxiety” through the two decades after 1949 and sought intense ways to galvanize the Chinese people (pg. 174)
      • Mao’s aims in attacking Taiwan:
      o “To punish the GMD’s lack of initiative in the CCP’s peace initiative” (pg. 175)
      o Further radicalize the Chinese people during “the communization of China’s rural population and the militarization of the entire Chinese workforce” during the Great Leap Forward (pg. 179)
      • US forces in region
      o Military build-up on Fujian
      o Eisenhower sent two carrier groups to East Asia
      o “These developments did not come as a surprise to Mao, since one of his main purposes was to stir up international tension on his own terms” (pg. 182)
      o US state department “announced that the GMO-controlled offshore islands such as Jinmen and Mazu were vital to the defense of Taiwan itself” (pg. 184)
      • Zhou’s justification of shelling to the Soviets:
      o “Prove to the Americans that the People’s Republic of China is strong and bold enough and is not afraid of America”

      China in the Vietnam War
      • China’s role was to “guarantee logistical support and defend the North, so that the Vietnamese could send as many of their troops to the South as possible” (pg. 221)
      • Aid included:
      o Engineering troops for “defense works, airfields, roads, and railways”
      o Anti-aircraft artillery for “defense of important strategic areas and targets” in the North
      o “Supply of large amounts of military equipment and other military and civilian materials”
      o Over 320,000 Chinese engineering and artillery troops served in Vietnam from1965-1969
      • China initially rebuked Vietnam’s attempts to spread the revolution to the South
      o “Unlike the First Indochinese War . . . the Vietnamese communists did not let the Chinese interfere in decision-making” (pg. 221)
      o “The most fundamental, most important, and most urgent task (is) how to promote socialist revolution and reconstruction in the North” (pg. 206)
      • The Vietnamese unilaterally made the decision “to resume the resistance” against US-backed forces in the South
      o But “Beijing took no active steps to oppose a revolution in the South” (pg. 206)
      o “China offered substantial military aid to Viet Nam before 1963” (pg. 207)
      • Protecting North Vietnam
      o PLA Chief of Staff Luo Ruiqing “told Vietnamese leaders that if the Americans were to attack North Vietnam, China would come to its defense” (pg. 207)
      o Mao to Van Tien Dung’s visit in 1964: “If the United States risks taking the war to North Vietnam, Chinese troops should cross the border (to enter the war)” (pg. 208)
      o Zhou Enlai: “if the United States dispatches its troops, China will also dispatch its troops” (pg. 209)
      • Effect of Sino-Soviet split on Vietnam:
      o It became important for Beijing to back Hanoi to keep the Vietnamese on their side
      o Beijing did not want to look hypocritical for “criticizing Moscow’s failure to give sufficient support to revolutionary national liberation movement” (pg. 211)
      • Chinese strategy in Vietnam:
      o China would have to send forces if the US invaded North Vietnam
      o China would give the US clear warning not to invade North Vietnam “let alone bring the war to China”
      o Avoid a direct “military face off with the US as long as possible; but it would not shrink from a confrontation” (pg. 216)
      • End of aid to Vietnam
      o Beijing recalled its troops when Vietnam began negotiations in Paris with the US
      o Vietnam growing closer to the Soviets also contributed to the Schism, along with Hanoi’s involvement in other part of Southeast Asia
      o “The two countries immediately fell into a series of disputes after the Vietnamese communists won their country’s unification in 1975” (pg. 236)

      • Despite China being hemmed in on all sides, Jian believes that the “geopolitics-centered interpretation alone does not fully reveal the complicated reasons behind Mao’s decision to improve relations with the United States”
      • To Jian, the rapprochement was more about the “fading status of Mao’s continuous revolution”
      • Lin Bao affair
      o The attempted coup by Mao’s number 2 was a big political crisis for the PRC
      o Jian believes Mao “needed a major breakthrough in China’s international relations, one that could help boost the Chairman’s declining reputation and authority while enhancing the Chinese people’s support for Mao’s communist state if not necessarily for Mao’s communist revolution” (pg. 270)
      Key events in the thaw:
      • Nixon’s inaugural address
      o Contained a statement that “the United States was willing to develop relations with all countries in the world”
      o Reprinted verbatim in the Chinese press, which was unheard of
      o Jian speculates that Mao authorized this in order to “reveal that he had noticed Nixon’s message” (pg. 238)
      o Nixon had been outspoken for many years on extending an olive branch to China
      • Edgar Snow’s invitation to China
      o Mao tells him he’d be “happy to meet Nixon, either as president or as a tourist” (pg. 256)
      o Mao was “implying that improving relations with the United States would have to be closely interwoven with major changes in China’s political and social life” (pg. 257)
      o Jian interprets this further as “on a subconscious level, he was virtually saying farewell to this most radical phase of his continuous revolution” (pg. 257)
      • Table tennis diplomacy
      o Zhang Zedong and Glenn Cowen
      o Mao praised Zhang’s efforts to reach out to the American table tennis team during a tournament in Japan and invited the American team to China
      o Zhou Enlai: “Your visit has opened a new chapter in the history of the relations between Chinese and American peoples” (pg. 261)
      o Washington terminated the 22-year-old trade embargo hours later
      o Jian believes that Mao let the American table tennis team visit China as much to influence his own people’s attitudes as the Americans (pg. 262)
      • Kissinger’s trip
      o To set the agenda and discussion points for Nixon’s visit
      o The Chinese felt that Taiwan was “the principle and prerequisite problem, which had to be resolved before any relations could be restored” (pg. 263)
      o Immediate respect was established between Zhou Enlai and Kissinger (pg. 266)
      • New flexibility on Mao’s part
      o Mao’s reaction to Kissinger’s partial withdrawal proposal for Taiwan: “It would take some time for a monkey to evolve into a human being” (pg. 267)
      o According to Jian, “Mao was willing to provide the Americans with the time needed to complete the change in policy . . . withdrawing US forces from Taiwan gradually, acknowledging Taiwan as part of China, and not supporting Taiwan’s independence” (pg. 267)
      • Official invitation to Nixon
      o From Zhou Enlai, “knowing of President Nixon’s desire to visit the People’s Republic of China . . . to seek the normalization of relations between the two countries and also to exchange views on questions of concern to the two sides” (pg. 268)
      • For the US, rapprochement “enormously enhanced Washington’s strategic position in its global competition with the Soviet Union” (pg. 276)
      o Jian also believes that rapprochement was a crucial cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union

    6. JJ Herman said, on March 7, 2010 at 12.59am

      In Containing Arab Nationalism Salim Yaqub writes about the different relationships and political makeup in the Arab Middle East during the 1960’s and how it fit in with American Cold War policy and the Eisenhower Doctrine. He also goes into detail how the Eisenhower Administration perceived Arab powers and their policies.
      In his introduction one gets the sense that the author has an agenda. With his tangent on Orientalism he argues that the US until present day relates to Arabs as if they do not exist.
      Yaqub explains in detail that the Americans got involved in the Middle East as a direct result of the Suez War between Britain, France, Israel and Egypt during 1956. Until that point Britain was the hegemonic power in the region. Yaqub argues that once Britain waged war against Egypt on the side of the Israelis,Arabcountries, such as Egypt lost faith in Britain and therefore a power vacuum in the Middle East was created.
      The United States determined that In order to fill the vacuum with an acceptable (non -Soviet) power the US would have to come up with some kind of plan in order gain influence in the region.President Eisenhower came up with a 3 pronged solution which would attract and retain Arab support In the West’s fight against communism.

      Yaqub argues that the US did not understand Egyptian or Arab thought. The Egyptians and Arabs in general were interested more in their national agendas than communism. He cites Jordan as an example. Thisargument is difficult to accept because Jordan was a staunch anti-communist regime before the request for aid was made. King Hussein sacrificed a lot in order to align with the west and not with the USSR and its proxy states in the region such as Egypt and Syria.
      Yaqub sites an argument maintaining that the US and Egypt did not get along because of the age old clash of civilizations. He discounts this by saying “Leaders on both sides were rational, resourceful and selectively principled men…” “Theirs’ was a clash of interests and priorities, not of civilizations.
      Soviet Encroachment in the Middle East was caused by Arabs perceiving the West as Imperialistic and A Zionist ally. “Truman supported the creation of Israel…” These actions had a corrosive effect on US-Arab relations.
      On top of the “Israel fiasco” When Truman tried to organize and Arab command, in response to Korea, Egypt was further alienated from the US.
      • King Farouk of Egypt Abdicated 1952 and was replaced by Abdul Nasser.
      American actions only regarded the Cold War as a consideration. Yaqub cites the ousting of the Mosedeq regime in Iran as case in point of how Americans were only interested in one thing: fighting the Cold War. Although Mosedeq was not communist he was perceived as a threat. He was associated with the Tudeh communist party which made him a target. Furthermore, the Americans and the British were able to replace him with the pro-Western Shah. In 1953 the CIA and British Intelligence organized massive demonstrations and had Iranian armed forces place Mosadeq under house arrest. Oil was then under national control in name only. (Yaqub)
      Abdul Nasser and what came to be known as Nasserism was raging force in Egypt at the time. When Secretary of State Dulles visited Cairo in 1953 Nasser told him that the British and Israelis were a much larger threat than the USSR. Nasser was preoccupied with a pan Arab agenda, not one that included the Soviet Union. Yaqub argues that Nasser’s hands were tied in the sense that he had to do what was best for his countrymen. The following statement by the author illustrates his sentiments: “There was no excuse for the mistreatment of British, French, and Jewish residents of Egypt, but it is hard to fault Nasser for using other means at his command— such as threatening to request Soviet intervention…”

      The author explains that only after Stalin’s death did the USSR begin to try to court Arab countries. It was then that Arabs began to look for more in terms of political alliances. The UAR was formed. Syria, which was virulently anti-Western became Egypt’s closest ally.
      Nasser opposed the Baghdad Pact because of its imperialism. The US specifically did not join the pact in order not to give Nasser something else to complain about (Yaqub). When the Soviets sold arms to the Egyptians the Americans and British devised an economic package in order to try to court the turn the Egyptians away from the Soviets. When this did not work the US began creating an anti Nasserist coalition. In part Saudi Arabia was used in garnering Muslim support by portraying Saudi Arabia as the centrality of Islam. This way Arabs would look at Saudi Arabia, and not Egypt, as the hero. Yaqub writes that a British diplomat reported to London that Eisenhower favored “building up King Saud as monkey monk of the Arabs.”
      To cap with what he started with, Yaqub recount the Suez War and how it began with the nationalization of the Aswan Dam. Abdul Nasser announced that he was nationalizing the Dam the British, French and Israelis agreed that the Israelis would attack at which point the French and British would demand the removal of Israeli and Egyptian troops fromthe area. At this point the Israelis agreed and the Egyptians refused. The British and French then took control over the Canal Zone. Much to the dismay of the French, British, and Israelis the US joined in the international demand for theremoval of the foreign troops.
      The author cites the fact that Secretary of State Dulles was out due to illness. He argues that since Dulles was experienced and knew how to bridge the gap between American and Egyptian interests his absence contributed to a decline in American-Egyptian relations.
      Britain was the one who suffered the most from the disgrace of the Suez War. Britain was in the process of declining as a global power. It was losing interests all over the world. The Arab world was the last blow. Yaqub cites Jordan as a case where Britain had its relationship ended as a result of the Suez War.
      At first when the US began gaining more and more influence in the Middle East the Eisenhower administration thought that it could convince Arab countries to side with the US in the Cold War prospectus because of the brutality shown on the part of the Russians in Hungary. When the administration saw that this was not working in 1956 they began switching gears to incorporate economic aid and promise of arms with an expected promise in return not to deal with the soviets.
      Yaqub attributes the Soviet rise in influence in the Middle East on two factors. 1. Soviet changing attitude towards the Middle East 2. Continuing presence of French, British and Israeli troops pushed Nasser towards the Soviets.

      By December 1956 Eisenhower was presented with options. 1. Join the Baghdad Pact 2. Create regional pro western alliance. 3. Create actual security pacts with nations friendly to the United States
      Such a resolution, Eisenhower said, “would, first of all, authorize the United States to cooperate with and assist any nation or group of nations in the general area of the Middle East in the development of economic strength dedicated to the maintenance of national independence. It would, in the second place, authorize the Executive to undertake in the same region programs of military assistance and cooperation with any nation or group of nations which desires such aid.” The third provision was to gain the most attention. The most attention. It would authorize “the employment of the armed forces of the United States to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid, against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by International Communism.”

      “There was also a widely shared assumption that, whatever the actual merits of the program, Congress simply could not refuse a presidential request made in the name of combating international communism, lest U.S. credibility be eroded.”

      Yaqub states that Jordan was the testing ground for the Eisenhower doctrine. It is interesting that the way Avi Shlaim writes about this is that although there were many Jordanians who cared more for Pan Arabism. But there were also large numbers who were fiercely loyal to the Hashemite regime, namely the Bedouin population.
      Yaqub accurately describes the events of Jordanian acceptance of American aid. In the conflict between King Hussein and his more left leaning advisors the king was able to align himself with the west because of the confidence that he can rely on American aid.

      Lebanese President Chamile Chamoun plays a central role in Yaqub’s narrative. Since Chamoun was a pro-Western Maronite in a country that has a heavy Syrian influence and was very mixed with reference to the religious and political makeup of its population it was a place where the leader had to navigate the politics carefully. Yaqub argues that because Chamoun was backed by the United States he alienated people form every political and religious walk of life- including Maronite politicians such as Paul Maushi.

      Yaqub writes that the doctrine was not able help regimes from consolidating power and moving closer to the USSR… What bout Jordan? His example of Syria begs is problematic because of the instability and upheaval permeating the Syrian government from 1954 on.

      Yaqub ends the book with Lebanese crisis of 1958. He uses the crisis to show that all the Eisenhower doctrine did was complicate Mideast policy to the point of paralysis.

    7. Barry Goldberg said, on March 7, 2010 at 2.50pm

      Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001)
      Summarized by: Barry Goldberg

      – Goal is: “Putting the history of white supremacy on the same page with the history of the Cold War.” (ix)
      o Evaluating U.S. gov’ts response to racial discrimination at home and abroad
      o Evaluating the interplay of African independence movements and Civil Rights movement
      o Explaining how the U.S. gov’t used human/civil rights as a bulwark against Communist expansion and also maintained traditional alliances with southern locals and colonial regimes abroad
      o Analyzing the ways in which Cold War policymakers make decisions based on racial connotations and frameworks.
      • “The tradition of white supremacy in the United States was embedded in a broader global pattern of white control of people of color…” (46)
      Chapter I:
      – Brief account of American race relations pre-1945
      o Ideals of political egalitarianism in antebellum south collapse.
      • View of Mexicans during westward expansion
      • Entrenchment of legalized racism in Jim Crow South
      • Growth of scientific racism/eugenics and anti-immigration laws
      • Extermination of Native Americans on the western frontier
      • Sets precedent for racial views of Filipinos during Spanish-American War
      • White mob violence against southern blacks and discrimination in the army and race riots during Great Migration in Northern cities
      • WWII = growth of segregated army camps in integrated northern and western areas + growth of wartime industry and black jobs in cities (leads to white resentment)
      – Growing resistance to white rule
      o Pan-African Congress, Zionist Movement, NAACP
      o Rise of Japan as industrial, military power
      o Ethiopia overturns Italian rule
      o WWI seen as a “white suicide”- exposes fallacy that whites spread civilization and refinement – opens up opportunities for anti-colonial movements
      o Blacks exposed to egalitarian French society during WWI
      o League of Nations seen as tying fate of “white” U.S. to different ethnicities, races, nationalities
      o Atlantic Charter offers hopes to colonials/persecuted minorities at home
      o Struggle against Hitler moves Americans away from racist thinking
      o Less costly to integrate some infantry units and encampments during WWII
      o Africans fight to liberate countries from Axis rule
      o UN Declaration of Human Rights opens up Jim Crow to criticism

      – In all: WWI, and especially WWII open up new pressures for more racial inclusiveness

      Chapter II:
      – Racism undergirds Cold War policies during Truman administration
      o Marshall Plan – preserves “white rule against indigenous independent movements in Asia and Africa” (47)
      o NSC-68 bemoans international chaos brought on by decolonization
      o Kennan’s Long Telegram – attributes USSR deception to Asian ethnicity
      o James Byrnes – Sec of State – South Carolinian and “reactionary racist” (51)

      – Emerging civil rights movement
      o Brown v. Board of Ed (1954)
      o Banning of interstate public transportation segregation (1946)
      o Truman desegregates army and federal service (1948)
      o Truman addresses NAACP and produces Committee on Civil Rights
      • Argues that Jim Crow hurts American standing in the world
      o Truman calls for anti-lynching law
      o Black groups appeal to UN – see racial discrimination in an international context
      • An Appeal to the World (Du Bois)
      – Overall: Truman is first Democratic President with strong and concise civil rights agenda.

      – Continued reaction against decolonization and racial advancement
      o Linkage of domestic subversion to civil rights groups – civil rights groups labeled as Communist. Must choose between supporting American anticommunism and trusting the gov’t with civil rights or continuing push for civil rights and decolonization abroad (even if it leads to Communist gov’ts)
      o Relationship to South Africa
      • Raw materials and military assistance during WWII and Korean War
      • Cultural connections between Jim Crow South and Apartheid
      o Korean War furthers racist connotations of Asians (but also quickens military desegregation and leads to interracial marriage)

      – In all, Truman takes power at a global crossroads between anti-Communism and decolonization.
      – Attempt to build a multiracial anti-Communist coalition is complicated
      – “The elemental problems for America’s first Cold Warriors in dealing with race was their inability to wall off white American racial attitudes and practices from the rest of the world and its nonwhite majority” (74)

      Chapter III
      – “[Eisenhower] failed t recognize either the central moral issue involved in racial equality or the significance of race relations in the modern world” (86)
      o Ike = essentially a southerner who dislikes prejudice, but has little sympathy for African-Americans or civil rights movement; segregation is a political, not a moral problem; wants moderate/centrist/gtadualist course to civil rights; possesses “sturdy Eurocentrism” (111) – diplomatic experience with Europe

      – Civil Rights advances
      o Birth of independent African countries in the UN leads to new awareness of African-Americans
      o Brown v. Board of Ed
      • Allows schools to be desegregated with “all deliberate speed”
      • News is broadcast throughout the world (to advertise American benevolence)
      • Causes backlash
      • Emmett Till murder
      • Southern Manifesto signed by southern reps. supporting states’ rights
      o Ike still respects local rights and doesn’t intervene in discrimination cases
      • Little Rock Crisis
      o Ike downplays sending federal troops as an act of racial justice
      o Worldwide attention exposes sham of U.S. race relations
      o Ike more concerned with world reaction than with domestic reaction
      • FBI investigates Communists in desegregated schools
      – In general: Civil rights concerns in terms of international reputation, not as a moral problem
      o Khrushchev reaches out to Third World
      o Third World fear of American/European presence

      – In general, Ike ignores Africa until the late 1950’s, and eventually must accept nonalignment for fear of driving Africa to USSR
      • Votes for UN policy condemning apartheid
      • Stations integrated ships off the South African Coast
      • Sends blacks musicians abroad to highlight harmonious American race relations
      o Author analogizes southern white resistance to African whites opposed to black rule in newly independent countries

      – Major crises at the end of Ike’s term:
      o Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa
      • Ike issues mild, token regret, but is unsure about whether responding is too strong a signal of friendship to African nationalist groups
      o Congolese independence
      • Ike wants to remove socialist/neutralist Lumumba from power b/c he wants to bring anti-Communist/Belgian mineral-rich region back under his rule; ends up supporting UN mission to reunite the country to prevent racial conflict that will push Congolese towards USSR alliance
      o Castro’s public stay in Harlem to highlight American racism during UN visit

      – In all: Eisenhower has segregationist sensibilities, but must align himself reluctantly with Africans and African-Americans when white resistance/actions get out of hand (Suez Crisis, Little Rock, Congo)

      Chapter IV

      – JFK wants to create “a unified free world alliance of the First World-Third World” (136)- Campaigns on domestic civil rights and supports African independence, but…
      o Must appease Southern judges and Congressional leadership
      o Parts of Cabinet still want Eurocentric foreign policy
      • African strategic importance is relatively minor
      • Africans still distrustful of U.S. segregation policies
      • JFK tries to accommodate both whites and blacks in southern African states that are experiencing instability
      • Supports Angolan independence, but also offers NATO aid to Portugal
      • Maintains relations with South Africa – need for minerals and for missile-tracking station – arms embargo to S.A. represents a middle ground.
      • ANC in South Africa seen as a Communist front. CIA helps arrest Nelson Mandela. Close ties with American-South African defense establishment
      o Must compete with Castro for African alliances

      – JFK wants to moderate and control civil rights movement to prevent embarrassment abroad
      o Freedom Rides embarrass Kennedy during meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna
      o Gradually becomes disenchanted with white mob violence. Supports civil rights bill in 1963 and illuminates civil rights as a moral issue
      • Southern backlash – whites desert the Democratic Party; increasing mob violence; make conscious connections between Communism and civil rights protesters; Kennedy seen as domestic Khrushchev/dictator

      o In all, “Kennedy bent over backwards to avoid alienating the white authorities of Dixie and of South Africa” (171), but over time the intransigence of local Southern leaders and the violence directed at Southern civil rights workers begin to change his attitude.

      Chapter V

      – 1964 – 1968 = increasing radicalization of race problems at home and abroad
      o “Johnson believed that he occupied the middle ground between black and white extremism, and he sought to co-opt the energies of both” (173)
      • Sees himself as “generous patron” to racial minorities at home and abroad (174)
      • Sees Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 as “siphoning off the energies of the much larger civil rights constituency” (179)
      o Has CIA hire South African mercenaries to prop up unpopular and pro-Western Tishombe in the Congo and use Belgian troops to rescue white hostages taken by Congolese government
      • Proves divisive – Afrian/African-American leaders condemn; white leaders focus on justice of rescuing hostages
      o This dovetails with refusal to seat Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at Dem. National Convention in 1964.
      o “Bloody Sunday” in Selma dovetails with first ground troops being sent to Vietnam – leads civil rights organizers to question sending troops abroad, but not down south to protect peaceful demonstraters

      – Vietnam: “The issue of race never lay far below the surface for American policymakers dealing with Southeast Asia.” (191)
      o Civil rights leaders highlight black discrimination in the army and question why blacks fight when discrimination exists at home. Begin to connect disenfranchisement with of blacks with disenfranchisement of South Vietnamese peasants – feeds into fear that civil rights = communism.
      • Segregation spreads to army bases/neighboring towns abroad where troops are stationed
      • Blacks suffer disproportionately more casualties than whites
      • SNCC takes on a more militant and internationalist tone – fighting dictators at home = fighting dictators abroad.
      • Believe they are part of an “international struggle for liberty by people of color everywhere.” (205)
      • Dovetails with riots in Northern cities
      • Civil rights turn towards Black Power
      o Johnson administration struggles to respond to UDI of South Rhodesia – independence of country, but maintenance of small, white elite with all political power. Conflict here brings renewed attention to South African apartheid

      In all: Johnson faces growing radicalism of domestic and foreign racial minorities who “dismissed the paternalistic liberalism and preference for gradual reform of the Johnson administration and much of the white West.” (221)

      Chapter VI

      – After 1968, international colonialism, Cold War tensions (détente) and domestic racial conflict ebbs.
      o Opens dialogue with China to spur détente with the USSR
      – Nixon – power politics above racial ideology:
      o Slows busing programs, appoints segregationist Supreme Court judges
      o Cares little for African diplomacy
      • Except South African white elite – who controls pockets of gold/mineral deposits on the continent
      • Does not support majority rule in Rhodesia until surrounding states get aid from USSR
      • Supports anti-Leftists Angolan forces (fighting with South Africans) after Portuguese retreat
      o “Southern strategy” at home

      – Carter wants to “bring racial justice to the forefront of U.S. foreign relations” (243)
      o Contrasting power politics of Nixon, Carter focuses on human rights
      o Carter’s election, as a Southerner with black support, marks the end of international attention of American treatment of racial minorities
      • By the 1980’s: White supremacy can no longer lead to political power in the U.S.
      • Sanctions on South Africa passed by Republican-controlled Congress
      o Affirmative Action becomes hot-button issue (Bakke case)
      o Renewed attention to Africa
      • Appoints first African-American ambassador to the UN
      • Withdrawal of forces from Vietnam allows more attention on Africa
      • Increased strategic importance of independent African states
      • African Americans gain power as voting bloc = increased attention to Africa and promoting black rule there
      o Renewed attention to Iran and Afghanistan ultimately eclipses Africa, however, and Carter never really moves beyond rhetoric of increasing sanctions on South Africa while nor does he remove American business.
      o Carter ultimately returns to more militant Cold War stance by 1980

      Overall conclusions:
      – Race relations hinder U.S. efforts at international leadership during the Cold War
      – Race relations don’t impact STRATEGIC goals, but affect the way these goals are pursued
      – U.S. support – through NATO and the Marshall Plan – of Western Europe allows colonial powers to maintain white rule in Africa
      – After 1960, growing civil rights movement coincides with African independence movements
      o U.S. moves gradually towards support for majority rule
      – Presidents from the South were more receptive towards civil rights initiatives than those from outside the South
      o Shows that the south, in post-1945 world, learned to live in world where racism is not institutionalized and legalized
      – “By the end of the Cold War, the United States had emerged as the multiracial leader of a multiracial world.” (271)

    8. Mwape Mumba said, on March 10, 2010 at 5.49pm

      Lessons In Disaster – Gordon M. Goldstein
      This is about the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of McGeorge Bundy who served as National Security Adviser in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Unfortunately, Bundy passed away before the project was completed, but through Bundy’s writings and conversations that Goldstein had with Bundy, this book came to fruition.
      Bundy was known as the very personification of the “Best and Brightest”. The legend goes, a group of outstanding students were asked to prepare papers on the Duke of Marlborough. The next day Bundy was called upon to read his paper in class. As he read, his classmates began to giggle. They continued all the way through the reading of his excellent paper. The next day, the teacher asked one of his students for an explanation. Didn’t you know?, said the student. He was unprepared. He was reading from a blank piece of paper.
      Bundy was held in high esteem.

      Six powerful lessons are the center of the book. These are:

      Lesson 1 – Counselors advise but Presidents Decide.
      John F. Kennedy was adamant about not deploying military troops to Vietnam. Goldstein writes, “it became obvious that the prospect of intervention in Vietnam was among the major challenges he confronted. In fact, in the fall of 1961 Kennedy’s most senior advisers almost unanimously warned him that the odds were sharply against avoiding a catastrophic defeat in Vietnam unless the President approved the first increment of a ground combat force deployment that might ultimately reach six divisions, or more than two hundred thousand men.” Among those recommenders was McGeorge Bundy. He later tells Goldstein he has no recollection of that recommendation. Kennedy’s administration saw the Cold War as a global competition and strongly felt that the United States had to play its part. There was a New Frontier mindset – one in which foreign policy is guided by considerations of national interest and a calculus of circumstances and capabilities which might take the form of a formal alliance, foreign assistance or if appropriate disengagement. The united front was strongly opposed to the worldwide expansion effort of the Soviet communists and their allies. Kennedy, however, stood his ground and would not be bullied into going along with his senior advisers. He, the President, ultimately made the decision.

      Lesson 2 – Never Trust The Bureaucracy To Get It Right.
      The client government in Saigon had imploded. An exercise of regime change engineered by senior members of the national security bureaucracy was at the core of the problem. Gordon writes, “The plot to topple President Ngo Dinh Diem illustrates the power of an untamed bureaucracy to produce dramatically unintended consequences and thereby change the context for future policy changes.”
      January 3, 1962 – Kennedy gathered his advisers and re-emphasized the importance of the United States not becoming further involved in Vietnam. He wanted a limited role for the US military personnel. Bundy reflects, “Kennedy wanted to support the Saigon regime in its conflict with the communist insurgency, but only through means that excluded American combat commitment.”
      U.S presence in Vietnam had tripled in 1963 and the Vietcong were becoming stronger. The Cuban missile crisis had taken a heavy toll and then the Hue crisis. Monks were burning themselves. Great divisions in American government.
      Cable of August 24 sent to Henry Cabot Lodge in Vietnam – Kennedy was away in Massachussetts, McNamara was mountain-climbing, Rusk was out of town and Bundy (National Security Adviser) confided in Goldstein, he cut himself off when he went away for the weekend. Hence, the cable went out. It read, “US cannot tolerate situation in which power lies in Nhu’s hands. Diem must be given the chance to rid himself of Nho and his coterie and replace them with the best military and political personalities available. If in spite of all your efforts, Diem remains obdurate and refuses, then we must face the possibility that Diem himself cannot be preserved.”

      Lesson 3 – Politics is the Enemy Of Strategy
      Kennedy was assassinated.
      Diem had been assassinated.
      Johnson and his inherited staff were concerned with keeping the White House. They worried about the ball game of the Cold War. Johnson was the quarter-back and a loss by the United States was unfathomable. There were hard lobbies for more aggressive attention in Vietnam.
      Bundy recommended strategic bombing against North Vietnam.

      Lesson 4 – Conviction Without Rigor is a Strategy for Disaster
      Christmas Eve 1964 – NLF bomb US officers billet in Saigon.
      Bundy’s logic – employing calibrated military force against the Vietcong, inflicting pain in measured increments as this would provide the US with coercive leverage to contain the communist insurgency.
      Johnson doubted the efficacy of this strategy. Bundy put forth a memo designed to push Johnson out of the zone of indecision. (Fork In The Road).
      Feb 1965 – Bundy , for the first time, sets foot in Vietnam.
      Pleiku Episode – NLF struck the South Vietnamese and in the process killed 9 Americans and wounded 137 Americans. Bundy swiftly recommends air strikes. Johnson goes with ground troops.

      Lesson 5 – Never Deploy Military Means In Pursuit of Indeterminate Ends.
      Bundy’s most surprising lesson – “The endurance of the enemy”.
      The war lasted from 1965 -1973. US strategy failed. France before them had failed. The struggle had become a war of attrition. Critics became more vocal. Bundy agrees to do the CBS interview. Johnson is furious. Bundy’s rationale for the war, “US made a national pledge to help South Vietnam to defend its independence. To dishonor that pledge, to abandon this small brave nation to its enemy and to the terror that must follow would be an unforgivable wrong. We are also there to strengthen global order. To leave Vietnam to its fate would shake the confidence of all these people in the value of American commitment.”

      Lesson 6 – Intervention is Presidential Choice, Not an Inevitability.
      Goldstein concludes by noting Bundy’s thoughts on the what if? According to Bundy, had Kennedy been alive, he would not have fallen captive to the domino theory as he harbored serious reservations about the viability of war in South Vietnam.
      The major thrust here is, no troops can be deployed without the exclusive approval of the Commander-In-Chief.

    9. Michael Brenes said, on March 24, 2010 at 4.49pm

      Jussi Hanhimaki, The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)

      –Jussi Hanhimaki is not concerned with whether Henry Kissinger can be classified as a war criminal or not, but rather, he asks if he made an impact on U.S. foreign policy that had any lasting legacy. He argues that “Kissinger’s realism [realpolitik], much like the idealism he criticized, ultimately led to disillusionment” (xxii).

      –Kissinger’s early writings on nuclear strategy and U.S. foreign policy were the basis of John F. Kennedy’s policy of “flexible response.” Kissinger believed the “United States needed to embrace a military doctrine with an array of choices” (10).

      –Kissinger and Richard Nixon maintained a strict working relationship that was impersonal. Kissinger was turned off by Nixon’s anti-semitic remarks and his boorish behavior. Nixon distrusted Kissinger for his intellectualism (27).

      –Kissinger established a diplomatic back channel with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin which became “the medium for negotiating on all the important issues” between the United States and the Soviet Union during Nixon’s presidency (34). This back channel, conducted in secret, would lead to further problems down the road as the American public began to criticize the secretive aspects of détente and foreign policy making under Nixon.

      –Kissinger was uninterested in restoring diplomatic relations with China initially. He felt that relations with the Soviet Union mattered more and he doubted that Nixon would travel to China up to the fall of 1969. His attitude changed after the Sino-Soviet border clashes on the Ussuri River in March 1969. Kissinger came around to thinking that the “China card” would be valuable in negotiating an end to the Vietnam War (55-56).

      –The invasion of Cambodia in 1970 was ultimately a failure. It produced the conditions that led to Prince Sihanouk’s overthrow and the rise of the Khmer Rouge. The invasion destabilized the country and had no affect on ending the Vietnam War in a more timely fashion (78 and 81-82).

      –Kissinger sought to co-opt Ostpolitik for American purposes and coordinate Brandt’s foreign policy with the goals of détente. Kissinger was afraid that “Ostpolitik, if not properly managed, would easily become an asset for the USSR to be used to counter any leverage that the United States might get from improving relations with China.” Ostpolitik essentially become another victim of linkage (87). The Soviets, however, were reluctant to “link military and political détente,” thus Ostpolitik was more successful in its attempts to restore relations between East and West Germany.

      –Kissinger’s Chile policy was an abhorrent failure. Like Cambodia, Kissinger favored policies that led to the economic decline of Chile (high inflation, supporting anti-Allende politicians, and discouraging investment from external sources) which in turn led to the overthrow of Allende on September 11, 1973. Kissinger helped to turn Allende into a martyr and exacerbate anti-American sentiments in Latin America (104-105).

      –Nixon sought to keep Kissinger away from the administration’s policy toward the Middle East because he was afraid Kissinger would be biased toward Israel because of his Jewish background. Kissinger took over coordinating Middle East policy after Secretary of State William Rogers proved ineffective (94-95). Kissinger used Middle East clashes to exert leverage over the Soviets (Kissinger: “The key to our attitude in the Middle East would be found in the Soviet attitude toward Vietnam”). Kissinger had “outmaneuvered” Rogers by 1971 despite the lack of progress on Vietnam, SALT and China with Nixon’s full support (115).

      –The breakthrough with China occurred when Nixon was invited in June 1971 to visit China. Kissinger would grow famous over the opening to China. He was, after 1971, recognized as the “Uberdiplomat” according to Hanhimaki (120).

      –By early 1971, Nixon and Dobrynin reached a tentative agreement on SALT. Hanhimaki considers the talks involved with arms reduction “one of the most contentious issues of the Cold War” because nuclear weapons were associated with the issue of credibility (128). The SALT talks were affected by protests over ABMs by Democrats (who included Edward Muskie, Frank Church, and William Fulbright).

      –Hanhimaki concludes that Kissinger’s trip to China to prepare for Nixon’s arrival was “the most significant foreign policy event of the Nixon administration” (152). Kissinger’s visit widened the gap of the Sino-Soviet split and was integral to the Soviets changing their attitude toward getting involved with U.S.-Vietnam negotiations but it did not prevent Soviets from sending military aid to Vietnam (152).

      –Kissinger considered the formation of Bangladesh and the South Asian crisis to be the “first practical test of triangular diplomacy,” the problem was that the conflict did not conform to his concept of détente and triangulation (154-155). Soviets had no influence on India’s decision to attack Pakistan, but Kissinger, viewing India as a Soviet ally, sided with Pakistan presuming that this was the case (156).

      –One of the first issues where Kissinger had to deal with right-wing opposition to China policy was the expulsion of Taiwan from the United Nations and the entry of China to the U.N. Hanhimaki states that the Taiwan issue was “hardly a major problem for Kissinger” because Rogers and George H.W. Bush were attached to the failure, not Kissinger (174-175).

      –The so-called “opening of China” ultimately “improved Nixon’s prospects in the November 1972 elections” and in addition, “offered a welcome diversion from the years of domestic disillusionment with the Vietnam War” (200).

      –In beginning of 1972, U.S-Soviet talks over Vietnam stalled despite Kissinger’s “secret trip” to Moscow in April. Kissinger fared no better with Le Duc Tho who held their first meeting since September 1971 ended in Kissinger “losing his temper and putting the blame on the North Vietnamese” for starting the war (212). Kissinger and Nixon continued to face stringent opposition over SALT, now from hawkish democrats like Henry M. Jackson who introduced the Jackson Amendment which was passed by the Senate on September 14, 1972 that made it legally impossible for the U.S. to have less numbers of “strategic forces” relative to the U.S.S.R (221).

      –The Moscow Summit of May 1972 led to the creation of the Basic Principles of Relations Between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Basic Principles codified and consolidated the essence of détente by pledging that the United States and the Soviet Union would seek global peace. However, Kissinger dismissed the document as merely expressing a “general spirit” of accommodation rather than a straightforward course of action (222). It did little to end the Vietnam or Middle East crises.

      –Hanhimaki concludes that the Paris Peace Agreement ending the Vietnam War “left behind a situation ripe for further turmoil rather than a tentative peace” (259). After the heady days following the Cambodian invasion, the incursion into Laos, the Spring Offensive, and Christmas bombing that spurred domestic protests, Hanhimaki states that the Nixon administration had marginalized Vietnam by détente—opening to China, SALT talks, Moscow Summit—thereby minimizing the impact the U.S. withdrawal would have on the public. Kissinger was forced to concede to North Vietnamese demands (no simultaneous U.S.-DRV troop withdrawals). While Kissinger’s diplomatic skills were on full display during the 1972 negotiations the peace agreement he produced was “tenuous.”

      –Up until the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Kissinger was preoccupied with his “triangular diplomacy” and exploiting the new inroads he had made with the Soviets and the Chinese. Kissinger sought for 1973 to be the “Year of Europe” but turned it to be one where Kissinger managed crisis in Southeast Asia (Cambodia in particular). Kissinger proposes a new “Atlantic Charter” which would eventually become the June 1974 Atlantic Declaration signed in Ottawa which proposed that “détente and defense” be the cornerstones of the NATO alliance (351).

      –Kissinger becomes Secretary of State September 22, 1973. Kissinger becomes Secretary of State at an inopportune time. He faced a Congress that had reservations over détente. The Jackson-Vanik amendment of March 1973 forbid the U.S. from bestowing Most Favored Nation (MFN) status on the U.S.S.R. if it did not allowed Jewish immigration to the U.S. or Israel. Kissinger faced accusations over wiretaps of his staff members. In short, Kissinger is an embattled public figure throughout most of 1973 (294-301)

      –The breakout of the October War (Yom Kippur War) saw Kissinger engage in “shuttle diplomacy”. Kissinger engaged in “unilateralism” (his “one man show”) in the Middle East: he pursued peace with the attempt to marginalize Soviet influence in the region (325-236). The negotiations cost the United States dearly in terms of détente with the Soviet Union and Vietnam as it distracted the Nixon administration from these two aspects of U.S. foreign policy. The public image of Kissinger, at least in the American press (“Super-K”), is revived after the successful conclusion of the war in 1974 (330-331).

      –November 1973 visit to China was a failed attempt to make the Chinese accept U.S-Taiwan relations while still maintaining the normalization of the Sino-American relationship. In the final analysis, the meeting “represented the culmination of the Nixon administration’s China policy” (339). By 1974, Hanhimaki concludes that “triangular diplomacy was running on empty” (356).

      –Nixon’s resignation over Watergate in August 1974 was welcomed by Kissinger although he was taken aback by the swift downfall of the President. While Kissinger retained a favorable image in the press, Kissinger’s détente suffered from attacks by Congress. The passage of the War Power Resolution limited the White House’s authority to make foreign policy, much to Kissinger’s chagrin.

      –The SALT II talks begun by Nixon and Brezhnev are continued by Gerald Ford in 1974. At Vladivostok, Kissinger was allowed to take over the negotiations, something which would never occur under Nixon. Ford is dependent on Kissinger in terms of foreign policy from 1974-1976. Vladivostok represented for Anatoly Dobrynin a time when “détente reached its height and began its decline” (373). SALT II becomes under fire from Henry Jackson. Soviets fail to accept Vanik amendment, reject the Trade Act (allowing increased international trade) leading to the breakdown of “economic détente.”

      –As the fall of Saigon unfolds in 1975, Kissinger deflects blame to cabinet members, Congress, and the North Vietnamese for its collapse and at the same time discredits the importance of Indochina as a “sideshow” according to Hanhimaki (396-397). He was concerned that the fall of Saigon would have a negative impact on American credibility, and in order to save face, refused to establish any diplomatic relationship with the North Vietnamese after their victory.

      –Kissinger’s Angola policy, Hanhimaki argues should be considered the “worst hour” of his tenure as Secretary of State. Kissinger was concerned for the first time about “falling dominoes” in Africa. Kissinger supported anti-MPLA forces in an effort to bolster American credibility. By attaching American credibility to Angola where there was none, the Soviet-Cuban victory led to a collapse in dependability of the U.S. to resolve conflicts. In essence, Kissinger saw Angola as a struggle within the bipolar framework of the Cold War, thus when the MPLA assumed power, it became a win for the broader communist world.

      –Despite being a controversial figure and the subject of polemical books and articles, Henry Kissinger retains his place as an authority on U.S. foreign policy.

      –Kissinger’s fatal flaws were that he was convinced that the Cold War would provide the structure for foreign policy for years down the road and he failed to see regional/local conflicts through any other lens than that of “triangular diplomacy.” Kissinger was not a “war criminal” but a man who was “short-sighted” in his efforts to restore a balance of power (486-492).

    10. pinar said, on April 14, 2010 at 8.10am


      Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times
      Cambridge University Press, 2007

      (Received from the personal page of the author; http://personal.lse.ac.uk/westad/)

      Odd Arne Westad is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and an expert on the history of the Cold War era and on contemporary international affairs. He co-directs LSE IDEAS, a centre for international affairs, diplomacy and strategy, is an editor of the journal Cold War History, and a general editor of the forthcoming three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War. Professor Westad lectures widely on China’s foreign affairs, on Western interventions in Africa and Asia, and on foreign policy strategy.

      Professor Westad’s most recent book, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, received the Bancroft Prize, the Michael Harrington Award, and the Akira Iriye International History Book Award. It has been translated into fourteen languages. He is now working on a history of Chinese foreign affairs since 1750.


      Professor Odd Arne Westad’s last book , “The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times” seems to be a result of a vast archival work. He bases his analysis on many primary and secondary sources.

      In the Introduction the author states that “The volume grew out of my interest in the motives and decisions of the Cold War superpowers in their Third World policies, which I felt needed to be reinvestigated now that archival materials from both sides are available for the first time.” Thus, in this book, the author focuses on internationalized conflict in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East from the end of World War II to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

      The author does not consider the Cold War as a bilateral military-strategic contest centered on Europe. He rather suggests that the Cold War was a multifaceted competition of social and political ideals of America and Russia in the Third World.

      In the first two chapters he explores the ideological origins of Moscow’s and Washington’s Cold War interventionism and the transformation of Third World politics that accelerated the superpower involvement.

      Westad affirms that, “ ‘Cold War’ was first used by George Orwell in 1945 and the term Cold War in the 1950s came to signal an American concept of warfare against the Soviet Union. The Soviets, on their side, never used the term officially before the Gorbachev era, since they clung to the fiction that their country was ‘peaceful’ and only ‘imperialism’ was aggressive, in a way similar to how US (and Western European) leaders used the ‘Cold War’ to imply Soviet threat. (page 2)”

      The author, then, describes the term “Third World” as follows: “The concept ‘Third World’ came into being in the early 1950s, first in French and then in English, and gained prominence after the Bandung Conference of 1955 and this term implied ‘the people’ on a world scale, the global majority who had been subjugated and enslaved through colonialism, but who were now on their way to the top of the ladder of influence”.

      The author’s use of these terms may be seen to point in two opposing directions: the term “Cold War” signals Western elite projects on the grandest of possible scales, while the term “Third World” means the former colonial or semi-colonial countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that were subject to European or rather pan-European, including American and Russian economic or political domination and this term indicates colonial and postcolonial processes of marginalization and the struggle against these processes (page 3).

      According to the author, the Cold War in the Third World looks very much like the imperial rivalries that preceded it. Westad states that “The Cold War was a continuation of colonialism through slightly by different means” (page 396).

      As said by the author, the United States and the Soviet Union were driven to intervene in the Third World by the ideologies inherent in their politics. In the first chapter titled “The empire of liberty: American ideology and foreign interventions” and in the second chapter titled “The empire of justice: Soviet ideology and foreign politics” the author give explanations on the ideology of these two powers of the Cold War in a criticizing manner. By tracing the events that took place since the end of the 18th century, the author argues that America and Russia had imperial ambitions and expansionist ideologies from the very beginning. “Locked in conflict over the very concept of European modernity – to which both states regarded themselves as successors – Washington and Moscow needed to change the world in order to prove the universal applicability of their ideologies, and the elites of the newly independent states proved fertile ground for their competition” (page 4).

      In the first chapter, the writer explains the role that America assumed as follows: “By the final decades of the 19th century, an increasingly strong argument was being put forward that the United States had a duty to assist in the ‘freedom and independence’ of others outside its new borders. …What does set the late 1890s apart, was the willingness of the American federal state under McKinley and Roosevelt to take political responsibility for the overseas peoples under its control….Rather than being one imperial power, the United States was fast becoming the protector and balancer of a capitalist world system.”(page 15)

      In this chapter, the author maintains that, Third World policies were not an afterthought to US foreign affairs, on the contrary, Africa was at the heart of the new Republic’s policies both at home and abroad during the first hundred years of its existence (page 21) and American elites welcomed the breakup of the European colonial empires because it meant opportunities for extending US ideas of political and economic liberties.

      The author underlines the fact that Soviet Union was the other major victorious state of World War II and American ideological insistence that a global spread of Communism would, if not checked, result from the postwar extension of Soviet might made the rivalry between the two powers into a Cold War (page 25).

      In the second chapter Westad argues that; like the United States, the Soviet state was founded on ideas and plans for the betterment of humanity, rather than on concepts of identity and nation and most of the interventionist impulses in Soviet foreign policy were unique to this specific form of Russian state, the Communists when taking power in Russia became successors to an old expansionist empire, in much the same way as the American revolutionaries developed out of the British empire (page 40). By the early 1960s, Soviet ideology had already reached a stage where the competition for influence in the Third World was an essential part of the existence of socialism. However, the views of the Soviet elites of their role in this process were conditioned not just by Marxist-Leninist political theory but also by Russian exceptionalism and by the experience of the Soviet leadership since 1917.

      In the third chapter titled “The revolutionaries: anticolonial politics and transformations” the author argues that while the processes of decolonization and of superpower conflict may be seen as having separate origins, the history of the late twentieth century cannot be understood without exploring the ties that bind them together. In this chapter the author writes on colonialism and its effects in the Third World, the anticolonial revolutions against colonial rule and semicolonial oppression, the roles Nehru, Gandhi, Sukarno, Sandino, Ho Chi Minh played during this period in their countries, creation of local resistance movements against colonial rule in the Third World, the destruction of colonial system after World War II, the reasons behind the radicalization of many Third World regimes in the 1960s, the events that brought about Bandung Conference and Nonaligned Movement, 1956 Suez Crisis and the impacts of this crisis on the Third World Leaders.

      Westad considers that bipolar nature of the conflict made the period after the Second World War different from that of the late nineteenth century. Unlike the colonial period, the availability of powerful outside backers later became a key element of instability within the Third World states, it helped to create lasting rebellions and insurgencies after decolonization (page 89).

      In chapter 4, titled “Creating the Third World: the United States confronts revolution”, the author discusses American involvement in the Third World countries with an anti-communist agenda and the exceptional intervention capabilities that the US possessed after the Second World War. In this chapter, the author provides detailed information US interventions against Iran with the Operation AJAX – the first postwar US attempt at removing a legitimate Third World government- and against Guatemala, its support for Israeli state, its relation with Egypt during the Nasser regime, its interference in Congo in the early 1960s and the Eisenhower Doctrine. In page 157, Westad states that, “By around 1970, the United States had done much to create the Third World as an entity both in a positive and negative sense.” According to the author, through its policies of confronting revolution, Washington had helped form blocks of resistance and a very basic form of Third World solidarity and its interventionist policies had also contributed to radicalizing many Third World regimes, including some that were distinctly uncomfortable with any association with the Soviet Union.

      In chapter 5, the Cuban and Vietnamese cases are discussed based on vast archival work. In launching their defiance of the Cold War as it had developed up to the 1960s, Cuba and Vietnam provided inspiration for a range of left-wing states and movements in the Third World (and some groups in Europe and America). In this chapter, the writer explains American and Soviet Third World policy in the 1960s and 1970s and tells how the fear of “Vietnams” happening elsewhere in the Third World became, for the US, a self-fulfilling prophesy and how Sino-Soviet split, failed American intervention in Vietnam, Egyptian defeat in the Six-Day War had an effect on Soviet Third World Policy. The writer also maintains that, the period of superpower détente, lasting from 1968 to 1975, was in many different ways a direct response to America’s debacle in Vietnam (page 194) and in practice, the end of the American intervention in Vietnam had shown that Moscow could stand by its allies while negotiating détente (page 206). In the following chapters on decolonization in Southern Africa, Angola, Ethiopia and the Horn, the author discusses how the Cold War affected Africa and the decline of superpower détente as a result of the role played by Soviet Union during this period.

      In chapter 8, titled “The Islamist defiance: Iran and Afghanistan”, while arguing the Iranian revolution that took place in December 1978 and the Afghan revolution and Soviet involvement in Afghanistan the author suggests that, while the 1970s marked the high point of Cold War confrontation in the Third World, it was also the decade in which the hegemonic presumptions of US and Soviet ideologies began to be challenged. The Iranian revolution broke with the pattern that revolutionary insurgencies against the established order came mainly from the Marxist-inspired Left, on the contrary, after the overthrow of the shah, the Left, was soon pushed aside by revolutionaries who found their inspiration in the Holy Koran, the Prophet, and, ultimately, in God (page 288). The Iranian revolution signified a shift in Third World opposition to superpower domination. Islamism provided an ideology centered on the Third World itself, through which both Western projects of modernization could be condemned (page 295).

      On the other hand, the Soviet decision to intervene in Afghanistan in 1979 was viewed in the West – and not just in the United States- as ultimate proof of aggressive intent and of the inherent aggressive characteristics of Moscow. Among the policy elite in Moscow, however, the intervention was seen as defensive, as a policy of last resort (page 322). The war continued for a decade and as a result, the Soviets had to commit substantial resources to the region. The Soviet decision of withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1987 became a global symbol for the failure of Moscow’s Third World policies. In addition, stagnation within the Soviet Union itself, the sharp drop from 1982 onwards in the international price of oil, the increasing discrepancy between Moscow’s international aims and the means available to achieve them and a lack of energetic leadership further weakened the Soviet Union.

      In chapter 9, the author argues the US Third World policy during the tenure of President Ronald Reagan. According to the author, the foreign policy of Reagan was in many ways a continuation of the policies and methods developed by Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and his staff. Well before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Brzezinski had – with the consent of Carter – begun implementing what some referred to as a “counterforce strategy” in the Third World, meaning an emphasis on supporting whatever opposition could be mustered to Soviet allies in Africa and Asia (page 331). US determinations to contain the Nicaraguan revolution and substantial increase in the US support for Afghanistan in 1984-85 are the main topics discussed in this chapter.

      In chapter 10, the author states that, after his accession to power in Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev believed that he could turn the Soviet relationship to its African, Asian and Latin American allies around, just as he could reform its European alliances and the Soviet Union itself (page 364). What Gorbachev failed to understand was that by the mid-1980s the PCI and their Western European allies no longer regarded the Soviet Union as a positive force in international politics. The anger over Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Poland, as well as the PCI’s outspoken criticism of the Soviet human rights record, had opened up a chasm that Moscow’s new propaganda efforts could not close (page 371).

      In this chapter, the author also states that, by the end of the 1980s the Third World had ceased to exist as a meaningful political or economic concept. “Instead of Three Worlds – whatever way they had been imagined – the 1990s presented the concept of “globalization” or, to use a better term, “Americanization”. Consumerisms and liberal democracy were seen as the main values for the emerging global middle class (page 387).

      As a result, in this book, Westad claims that the most important aspects of the Cold War were neither military nor strategic, nor Europe-centered, but connected to political and social development in the Third World. The author argues that while the dual processes of decolonization and Third World radicalization were not in themselves products of the Cold War, they were influenced by it in ways that became critically important and that formed a large part of the world as we know it today (page 396).


      There are many valuable references to primary sources in this book. I will just write down one of them which is relevant to my own country.

      While giving information on non-socialist revolutionary movements all around the world the author refers to Turkey in the following way; “Mustafa Kemal, later known as Atatürk, the general who headed the first modern and secular Turkish state and who saw the name of his first party, the Young Turks, used the world over as synonymous with a new generation of modernizing elites – argued that in the new Turkey one “should judge the measure of time not according to the lax mentality of past centuries, but in terms of the concepts of the speed and movement of our century. “We shall raise our country to the level of the most prosperous and civilized nations of the world. …” he stated (page 86):

    11. Mwape Mumba said, on April 14, 2010 at 8.15am

      A Failed Empire
      Vladislav M. Zubok

      This book explores the collapse of the Soviet Union tracing the personalities of the leaders from Stalin through to Gorbachev. It is comprised of ten chapters aptly titled:
      1) The Soviet People and Stalin between War and Peace, 1945
      2) Stalin’s Road to the Cold War, 1945 -1948.
      3) Stalemate in Germany, 1945 – 1953.
      4) Kremlin Politics and “Peaceful Coexistence,” 1953 – 1957.
      5) The Nuclear Education of Khrushchev, 1953 – 1957.
      6) The Soviet Home Front: First Cracks, 1953 – 1968.
      7) Brezhnev and the Road to Détente, 1965 – 1972.
      8) Détente’s Decline and Soviet Overreach, 1973 – 1979.
      9) The Old Guard’s Exit, 1980 – 1987.
      10) Gorbachev and the End of Soviet Power, 1988 – 1991.
      The brief opening of the Russian Archives allowed for Zubok to produce this international history from the Russian viewpoint on the lead up to the Cold War. The book addresses the issues that lead Zubok to describe the Soviet Union as, “…the Soviet socialist empire, perhaps the strangest empire in modern history, committed suicide.” He begins by describing the Soviet Union losses as not having been accurately reflected to the rest of the world. Contrary to common estimates, (the common estimate having been pegged at 679 billion rubles), surpassed the national wealth of England or Germany and constituted one third of the overall wealth of the United States. The loss was grossly under-reported. In latter days, Soviet calculations assessed the losses at 2.6 trillion rubles. Zubok traces the Soviet leaders from Stalin to Gorbachev and describes their characters and personality traits alluding to these as being a major source in their thinking and attitudes therefore playing a lead role in what we today have to know as Cold War history.
      Stalin’s response to these losses, brought about by World War II, was to beef up Soviet security via the creation of buffer zones as he was of the school of thought that lent itself to the more territory they conquered, the safety of the Soviet would be secure. Eastern Europe and the Balkans were their main targets. Stalin also sought to boost the morale of his citizens through ideology and he succeeded. Russia had won the battle against the Germans and he fed on this to raise Russian morale. Zubok calls this a “Pyrrhic victory”. However, the impact of the victory of the war is not lost on Zubok. Zubok cites Nikolai Inozemtsev from his diary who writes, “Russians are the most talented, gifted nation in the world, with boundless capacities. Russia is the best country in the world, despite all our shortcomings and deviations…All our hearts are overflowing with pride and joy. Russians can do anything. Now the whole world knows it. And this is the best guarantee of our security in the future.”
      As a result of these losses, the Soviet Union focused on regaining strength via bases, oil concessions and spheres of influence. All this of course, led up to confrontation with the United States and Great Britain. Zubok introduces his concept of the revolutionary-imperial paradigm. This is closely related to the United States policy of containment as a response to the Soviet ideology involving the spread of communist ideology. This results in the battle of the first and second worlds playing out in the third world. With Stalin’s death occurring in 1953, Khrushchev comes into power.
      Krushchev’s ascension to power sees the implementation of tremendous policy changes of which support of third world nations is paramount. Therein, lies the beginning of the socialist world market. America’s response was the Doctrine of Containment. Berlin, Cuba and nuclear warfare came about under Khrushchev. Sputnik was also launched during this time period. The stage had been set for the Cold War showdown. The Russian citizenry had also become weary of Krushchev. Zubok cites Sergei Dmitriev when writing about Krushchev’s downfall, “ Everybody is sick and tired of Khrushchev. His foreign voyages and empty and erratic verbiage have finally reached the state of idiocy. In the public and political atmosphere one increasingly notices the signs of absolute inertia, intellectual vacuum, and a lack of purpose. There are no thoughts, no movement.”
      Enter Brezhnev in 1964. Negotiation marked his tenure, the period of Détente. Brezhnev’s focus was on building a Superpower with the avoidance of war. “We must conduct negotiations in a big way, not a small minded way. And the arrangement we achieve should encourage tranquility in the world.” Brezhnev to Kissinger, April 21, 1972. Brezhnev had been a product of World War II and loathed war. But this did not mean the end of the arms race or the mutual suspicion. At this point, Vietnam, Angola, the 6 day war and Afghanistan occurred. The issue of Jewish immigration also came to the fore. This was the beginning of the end for Brezhnev. Brezhnev dies in his sleep on November 10, 1982.
      Andropov immediately took over the helm and viewed Reagan suspiciously. On March 8, 1983, Reagan described the Soviet Union as an evil empire which was a clear indication that he had upped the ante with regard to US-Russo relations. Previous administrations had abstained from such rhetoric. Andropov’s insecurity deepened. A period of deep mistrust ensued. The Arms race continued as did covert operations. Deep suspicion and the build up to a military showdown led to a realization that a war was unavoidable. February 9, 1984, Andropov passed away. A new dawn for the Soviet Union was on the horizon in the form of Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev was a consensus builder and not a fighter. He had a deep aversion to the use of force. Gorbachev is portrayed as a deep thinker, sensitive and committed to the creation of a better global order.
      The economic situation in the Soviet Union is not downplayed at all by Zubok and by the time Gorbachev comes into power, there is a new school of thought among the citizenry who at this time have been exposed to new cultural thought and education and are now seeking a better quality of life on a bigger scale. Exposure to Western music and movies opens up new doors for them. Also during this time, the Reagan administration is openly and staunchly in the Soviet’s face. There is a high level of interaction between the two powers. The U.S role although important, seems to take a backseat in this book and Zubok appears to attribute the end of the Cold War to the internal changes within the Soviet as the ultimate push factor. One of course could argue that precisely because of the U.S Doctrine of Containment, the Russians lost more economically. Zubok writes, “The United States emerged from this epic struggle as the only remaining superpower. But this book should serve as a caution to the Americans, who seem to draw triumphalist lessons from this victory and apply these lessons to foreign policy in other regions of the world…What mattered in the end was the decline of Communist ideology inside the Soviet empire and among elites and the growing appeal of Western models of democracy and modernization.”

      Vladislav Zubok is a Senior Fellow and an Associate Professor at Temple University. He is also a Research Fellow and Summer Projects Organizer for the National Security Archive at Georgetown University.

    12. Peter-Christian Aigner said, on April 14, 2010 at 4.01pm

      The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War (2009)
      James Mann

      James Mann, popular independent author of The Rise of the Vulcans (on the neoconservatives in George W. Bush’s foreign policy team), makes use of newly released documents and personal interviews in The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan to challenge the warring explanations of Left and Right on the controversial president’s actual role in ending the Cold War. Mann, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and guest teacher at Johns Hopkins (his early work is on China), takes a middle position, arguing that Reagan in fact helped bring about the peaceful conclusion of U.S.-Soviet hostilities—that he was not the senile “amiable dunce” of thoughtless liberal accounts—but that, contrary to what triumphalist conservatives have said and written for decades now, it was not Star Wars or the arms build-up that “brought the Soviet Union to its knees,” but instead that Reagan rejected the advice of hawks (realists and neocons) and chose to push for negotiation and demilitarization over brinkmanship. Reagan alienated his political constituency, defense and intelligence officials, and the foreign policy establishment of the previous two administrations, during his last three years in office, reversing course on U.S. foreign policy—and the statements on which he had built his reputation and career as the most prominent anticommunist in America. Unlike conservatives, Reagan saw Gorbachev as a different sort of Soviet leader, and he

      The problem with Reagan, as Mann and nearly everyone said, was that he was tight-lipped: “his policy shifts or his not-infrequent changes in strategy or tactics” were rarely explained. “He had shrew political instincts but rarely if ever articulated his underlying motivations. His interviews at the time, his private meetings, his autobiography, and his diaries have little to offer on questions of political judgments, trade-offs, or his reasons for reversing course.” With this comment, he explains that he chose instead to present his argument in four narrative parts:

      Part I: “Two Anti-Communists” describes the relationship between America’s two best-known anticommunist figures at this time: Nixon and Reagan. Looking at how they viewed the Cold War, Mann finds an explanation for why Reagan, after campaigning against détente, switched places with Nixon, who refused to support his efforts to normalize relations with the USSR.

      This is, from what I know, brand new to “the literature.” Nixon had used Reagan as a foreign emissary on several occasions during his time as president. Reagan had done almost nothing to help Nixon get elected in 1968, although his underlings wanted to help with the campaign, and the Nixon folk asked him for support. But the Californian president had the governor of the state meet with foreign leaders in part because of his well known anticommunist credentials. Once Reagan became president, he reciprocated by appointing Alexander Haig as secretary of state (not the secretary of his second term, George Shultz, who Nixon praised as a good secretary of labor but someone uneducated in world affairs, “the Soviet Union in particular”).
      Peeking back into their careers, Mann reminds us that, more than any other politician, these two became symbols of anticommunism, which propelled their careers. But Reagan’s view of communism was “personalized,” shaped by his experiences as union leader dealing with the communists in Hollywood. It was a battle of ideas and political-economic systems, whereas for Kissinger and Nixon it was geopolitics. This explains why the two parted company in the 1980s, after Reagan met Gorbachev and turned left.

      At the start of Reagan’s tenure, it was NSDD-75, calling for containment and reversal of Soviet expansionism through military power and international diplomacy, which defined Reagan’s foreign policy. Drafted by the Harvard historian Richard Pipes, “one of Reagan’s most hawkish aides,” according to Mann, it was “a confidential declaration of economic and political war,” in the words of a colleague. Reagan had once explained his “theory of how the Cold War ends” to a White House visitor as “We win, they lose.” Nixon, writing in Foreign Affairs, months after Gorbachev became head of state, warned that the U.S. should not be fooled, the new Soviet leader was the same as the old. In a private memo, 26 pages long, he told Reagan after his meeting with Gorbachev at the Kremlin in 1986, “beyond the velvet glove he always wears, there is a steel fist… he is the most affable of all the Soviet leaders I have met, but at the same time without question the most formidable because his goals are the same as theirs.” Sec. of Defense Casper Weinberger and CIA’s top specialist Robert Gates agreed.

      The break came after Reykjavik (Oct. 1986), when Nixon, Kissinger, and the Reagan team discovered, to their horror, that Reagan favored a nuclear-free world. Some have argued that Reagan held these views for a long time, which anecdotes from the 1960s and 1970s deny. Reagan also opposed the nuclear freeze movement while president. But “by late 1983, it appears, Reagan had seen, heard, and witnessed enough” to be in favor of abolition. “At meeting after meeting,” he raised the issue with his team, but they would not hear of it. After meeting with Gorbachev for the first time in November 1985 (Soviet leaders Brehznev, Andropov, and Chernenko died before Gorbachev ascended in March 1985), the two sign agreement declaring that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought.” Reagan commented at the meeting that he would be fine with eliminating these weapons altogether, to which Gorbachev said, “We can do that.” Further accords, however, faltered because everything came down to SDI for Gorbachev. Reagan finally walked out.

      In response, however, to this news, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, West German chancellor Helmut Kohl, and French prime minister Francoise Mitterand all voiced opposition to the withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Europe, and Nixon and Kissinger took the “unprecedented” step of penning a joint op-ed in the LA Times that Reagan’s proposal to eliminate nuclear weapons had “create[d] the most profound crisis of the NATO alliance in its forty-year history.” Conservatives were nastier. Meeting with Paul Weyrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and Howard Phillips (of the Conservative Caucus) in the White House shortly after, Reagan got an unusually cold response. Meeting secretly with Nixon in April, Reagan’s attempt to get the former president’s support went nowhere. Writing in his diary that night, Nixon said, “There is no way he can ever be allowed to participate in a private meeting with Gorbachev.” The dove and the hawk traded places.

      Gorbachev’s motives and thinking, however, were difficult to ascertain from the distance of Washington, D.C. Fritz Ermath, the Soviet specialist at the NSC, told Mann, “A lot of [his] revolutionary potential… was revealed in [] one-on-one meetings.” But Mann states, not everything can be attributed to meeting Gorbachev. NS-DD75 had enshrined the desire to speak to the Russian leadership and provoke far-reaching changes in their system, before Reagan ever made his “evil empire” speech.

      Part II: “Informal Adviser” is a fascinating but frustrating look at Suzanne Massie, an informal adviser whom Reagan used to converse with Gorbachev outside the formal diplomatic channels (as he did with Iran-Contra). Massie was an independent writer, not a specialist, who managed to befriend a number of U.S. senators and military leaders before meeting Reagan. She introduced him to the Russian proverb “Trust, but verify,” a Reagan favorite. Declassified Reagan files reveal that she carried messages back and forth to Moscow concerning “timing, circumstances, and conditions” of Reagan’s summits, interlocutors including at least one KGB official. Introduced to Reagan by a national security adviser hoping to moderate the president’s hawkish inclinations in 1984, she was later kept away from Reagan by another because Reagan was seen to have become too dovish in the meantime. “Massie didn’t cause this shift,” Mann says, but one can trace Reagan’s evolution in her story.

      Notes from an aide during Feb 25 1987 meeting suggest that (1) her KGB contact was using Massie to make greater concessions, to “float ideas, offer proposals or arguments, and plead for understanding in Washington in a way that Gorbachev could not have done on his own;” and (2) Reagan was using her to avoid the normal lines of communication.

      This chapter is short, a tease, but promising.

      Part III: “Berlin” tells the story behind “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Less of a break with U.S. foreign policy than “commonly imagined,” Mann nonetheless considers it a gamble that helped accelerate the end of the war. Reagan stood opposed to many, particularly in State, who feared the militancy of the speech would derail the progress made thus far and, worse, jeopardize Gorbachev’s position in the USSR. Reagan, Mann says, wisely thought that Gorbachev could handle it.

      By 1980s, Berlin was a third rail. The only Soviet bloc country Reagan visited before Moscow in 1988 was an afternoon excursion into East Berlin in 1978. Placing of intermediate range missiles in Europe upset locals and Kremlin. West Germany wanted the Pershing II and cruise missiles because otherwise the Soviets could blackmail them with SS-20s, which could not reach the U.S. East German leader Erik Honecker also began to speak of a “coalition of reason,” suggesting he wanted to see missiles removed from German soil, too. With this Ostpolitik going on, Pravda suddenly began running articles in July 1984 warning against the dangers of reunification. Gorbachev, one of Chernenko’s aides, was particularly outspoken. America, meanwhile, became alarmed by mid-1986 that Kohl was considering permanent World War II divisions as settlement to the crisis.

      Reagan was not paying attention to Germany. Iran-Contra broke in November 1986. CIA director William Casey had a stroke, Robert McFarlane, the national security aide who approved the Iran initiative (and pushed Massie on Reagan to moderate him), attempted suicide. Reagan’s popularity was at 37% in most national polls.

      Speeches had to be vetted by State and NSC for policy implications. Tension with State and the speechwriters hit a high point over Berlin (State worried Gorbachev would be weakened). Gorbachev was using the terms perestroika and glasnost already (Chernobyl disaster was a push), but in West Germany these terms didn’t have much cache. Idea of tearing down the wall had been in the air; the Washington Post ran an op-ed weeks earlier with the phrase for a title. NSC more concerned about implications for low-level air flight. As reform stirring in Soviet Union, East Germans became demoralized. Honecker responded by clamping down with every loosening measure, particularly after Gorbachev suddenly announced to the Warsaw Pact nations in mid-1987 that its members would never start a war or strike first with nuclear weapons, that the organization was purely defensive (not learned by U.S. intelligence until years later).

      For Mann, the story of Reagan’s insistence on using the line, against the objections of his staff, demonstrates the “style and thinking of the president,” namely that he was not a instrument of larger forces and more assertive personalities. “When it came to the Soviet Union, Reagan not infrequently seemed to move in several directions at the same time… In rejecting the State Department’s warnings, Reagan was making his own judgment about Gorbachev. He was betting on the Soviet leader… He had obtained a sense of how desperately Gorbachev wanted new agreements to ease the international climate and to limit Soviet military spending… The new element in the substance of Reagan’s Berlin speech was… [that it] set out a standard by which Gorbachev should be judged: Would his reforms be limited in scope, or would they change the existing order in Europe. The speech reaffirmed Reagan’s long-standing view that the ideological differences between the United States and Soviet Union remained of fundamental importance. Finally, the speech buttressed Reagan’s public and congressional support inside the United States as he was preparing for further diplomacy with Gorbachev… Reagan never gave voice to such calculations, of course… The world saw only the simple façade.

      Part IV: “Summits” is the most familiar part of the book,

      With Scowcroft, Kissinger, and Nixon leading the public revolt by conservatives, Reagan pushed ahead with negotiations and demilitarization. He and Schultz “seemed to comprehend, where the old hands did not, that even if Gorbachev was seeking to preserve the Communist Party’s control at home, he was at the same time attempting to alter the Soviet Union’s relationship to Europe and to the rest of the world. As a result, it was in America’s interest to transact as much business with him as possible.” Critics since, on the other hand, do not give him credit for flexibility. “Reagan’s unusual blend of truculence toward the Soviet Union in his early years in the White House and eagerness for accommodation later on made sense as a negotiating tactic. It confused and unsettled his Soviet counterparts. It wasn’t entirely deliberate, but it was effective.” During the first nine months of 19877, Gorbachev made not one but several significant concessions to the Reagan administration: dropped his opposition to SDI research, and laid groundwork for far-reaching ban on intermediate-range missiles, including provision that it should apply only to Europe, and that USSR should retain one hundred missiles in Asia. At summit in Washington, the statesmen signed an agreement to destroy about 1500 Soviet nuclear warheads deployed in Europe and 350 in the U.S. “This was the first time that the two countries had agreed to eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons.”

      Republican opponents failed to kill the INF treaty, but they forced the administration to slow down its other, more ambitious efforts at arms control. Bush campaigned on being softer than Reagan domestically, but tougher on foreign policy, telling press, regarding Gorbachev’s intentions and changes in the USSR, “my view is, the jury is still out.”

      Meanwhile, Honecker, after three years of petitioning, won significant aid from West Germany in exchange for easing travel restrictions; 867,000 left for short-term family visits in the first eight months of 1987, up from 100,000 in the year of 1982. Honecker felt triumphant, but Bonn got the better deal. In October 1988, West Germany went further, providing aid to Russia in exchange for trade deals.

      “By a curious dynamic, Gorbachev’s deepening diplomacy with the Reagan administration helped to spur forward his domestic political reforms and to alter his view of the established order inside the Soviet Union. Increasingly, Gorbachev came to view the Cold War confrontation with the United States not merely as foreign policy issue but as a domestic one: the Cold War supplied the rationale used by the Communist Party leadership to resist change and political liberalization at home.” Soviet economy had been stagnating since 1960s. OPEC cartel strike diverted attention from this fact, as Russians sold oil to others, and huge arms to Middle East. This revenue was used toward Afghanistan. But in the late 1970s and ‘80s, Kremlin watched as Pentagon developed weaponry more advanced than any it could produce. When Gorbachev came to power, he focused on restoring discipline to the economy with campaigns against absenteeism and alcohol. These campaigns drained state revenues, which plummeted after the clean-up of Chernobyl.

      Gorbachev travelled to U.S. to meet with the new president and speak to the UN, a speech he said would be the exact opposite of Churchill’s Fulton address. He announced that the USSR would cut its military by a half-million troops, withdraw six armored divisions from East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary—and disband them—reducing the Soviet forces in these countries to 50,000 men and 5,000 tanks; he asserted that relations between nations should be free of ideology; and, in a single sentence, renounced the Brehznev Doctrine by stating that a country’s “internal processes” should be free of outside “interference… with the aim of altering them according to someone else’s prescriptions.” In January, Hungary announced that a Soviet tank division would leave in six months, and several more units by the end of the year. Poland said a few days later several Soviet units would leave it, too. Honecker, more moderately, to show solidarity with Gorbachev, said he would reduce its military strength by 10,000 troops. The rest is history.

      Mann: “Gorbachev unintentionally destroyed the Soviet system. Reagan gave him the help he needed to do it.”

      Ronald Steel concluded in the Washington Post: “With this book, following John Patrick Diggins’s landmark study “Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History” (2007), Reagan revisionism has truly begun in earnest.” I will only add, despite the very lopsided silence and praise, most of the conceptual ground-breaking in this work can be found in Diggins’ earlier study, which is much broader in scope, albeit less archive-based.

      An H-Diplo roundtable on James Mann’s Rebellion:

      Click to access Roundtable-XI-5.pdf

    13. JJ Herman said, on July 14, 2010 at 11.18pm

      Hello All,

      I apologize for the delay.
      Due to the nature of the book I tried to encapsulate what the author was driving at throughout the book. His thesis is that the two men he describes were at odds with each other over how to go about making policy towards the USSR. But they both knew they were both commited to the American cause. TO THompson the more important fact is how the two players in his book loved their country and how each one helped shape Cold War policy for over 40 years.

      The Hawk and the Dove is about the life of George Kennan and Paul Nitze. The author, Nicholas Thompson is Nitze’s grandson. Thompson is a Journalist by trade. He was inspired to write this book out of admiration of his grandfather. He did not necessarily agree with the policies his grandfather advocated during the more than 40 years he was involved in the shaping of American policy towards the Soviet Union. Thompson created a dual biography to include George Kennan. They remained friends for over 60 years. At the same times they were rivals when it came to their views on the Cold War. Thompson successfully shows how these two men were pure in their mission. Because of the purity of their purpose they were able to remain friends with no hard feelings towards one another. The book marks the lives of these two men, Kennan who articulated the idea of containment and deterrence which shaped policy for the next 30 years and Nitze who was vocal force in Washington as a proponent of the creation and buildup of the most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction to serve as deterrence to the Soviet arsenal.

      May 9th 1945 had George Kennan standing outside the American Embassy in Moscow. During this time Americans were being celebrated as allies. But “ as a student of history” Kennan “understood that the future depended on who won the peace, not only on who won the war.” “… The aftermaths of wars are the decisive moments of foreign policy.” Kennan felt a strong connection to Russia. Thonpson explains that one component was that one of Kennan’s relatives with the same name toured Russia and wrote books on it. He was stationed as part of the Foreign Service in the American Embassy in Moscow from the time it opened in 1933 until 1937 and then again from 1944.
      Paul Nitze had a different background than Kennan. His career did not begin in the Foreign Service. He grew as a privileged child of German descent. When he completed his schooling at Harvard he looked to get into business and went to work for Clarence Dillon. During the same time that Kennan was in Moscow acting as the Chief diplomat Nitze was in London as part of the US Strategic Bombing Survey. This organization was tasked with understanding how firepower will shape future conflicts. Nitze’s job was to draw the strategic lessons from WWII. He did work in both the European and Pacific theaters. One of his main triumphs in the European arena was the ability to interview Albert Speer who was one of Hitler’s key people. He interviewed Speer extensively before the Nazi was handed off to the Intelligence services. In the Pacific Nitze studied the effects of the atomic bomb and whether the bomb was necessary to end the war and if so to what extent.

      Paul Nitze grew up without a mother. His mother passed away when he was a few days old form a burst appendix. His father was an academic for over 30 years. Nitze was very bright student but not the most studious. He was able to enter Harvard and joined the Porclean club with his friend Chip Bohlen (who later served as the US ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1957). Both Nitze and Kennan married in the 1930’s and remained married; kennan remained married for the next 74 years until he died; Paul Nitze remained married until his wife died 55 years later.
      Both people had skeletons in the closet before they entered the service. Kennan wrote an essay seemingly favorable to the Communists and Nitze was suspected of sympathizing with the Nazis.

      After surveying the results of the A Bomb, Nitze noticed that those who made it to bomb shelters were spared. He thus came up with the idea of building a network of shelters just in case of an attack of its kind on the United States. After a speech given by Joseph Stalin George Kennan wrote a summary of the speech and was thus invited to interpret Soviet behavior. The author quotes the State deprtment request: We should welcome receiving from you an interpretative analysis of what we may expect I nthe way of future implementation of Stalin’s policies.” (Thompson, Nicholas, pg 56) This began the road leading to the Long Telegram and American Cold War foreign policy for the next 30 years.

      On February 22nd 1946 George Kennan had the telegram operator in the American embassy in Moscow send what came to be known as the Long Telegram. Thompson explains that to Kennan all the Soviets actions made sense. Based on Russian history and Russian psyche he felt that because of feelings of insecurity the Russians would be expansionist. The Marxist dogma preached in the Kremlin was “the fig leaf of their moral and intellectual respectabilitiy.” (Thompson pg59)

      Thompson makes it a point to tell about both Kennan’s and Nitze’s personalities. In one account Nize was quoted to Gerge C marshal for having called a business deal proposed by former Secretary of State Edward Stettinus crooked. Nitze had no problem “hollering” this allegation to Marshal and then backing it up ( Marshal then investigated the claim and agreed with Nitze).
      When war broke out in Greece in 1946 and Harry Truman invoked what came to be known as the Truman Doctrine, Kennan was very upset. He was opposed to fighting Communism just anywhere. He was of the opinion that the United States should wage war against communism in certain key areas; places that would count. Nitze on the other hand applauded the Truman Doctrine. He felt that it proved that the US was tough on communism.
      Thonpson makes the argument that Kennan and Nitze worked best when they worked together. Such was the case when the Marshal Plan was under scrutiny in congress. Kennan wrote the X paper which theorized that the United States did not have a conflict with the Soviet Union and win. It just had to outlive it. This was going to be made more possible with the Marsha Plan. By supplying aid to the shattered European states the US was ensuring that the Soviets would not gain control over Europe. Nitze worked with Kennan to get through the scrutiny of congress by explaining the economics of the Marshal Plan. He was able to lead the fight.
      When President Truman considered using the Hydrogen bomb Kennan and Nitze were once again on opposite sides of the argument. Nitze felt that the hydrogen bomb would just increase the strategic standing of the United States because it would act as a deterrent to the Russians. Kennan on the other hand felt that it would just cause an arms race. Deterrents were already in place he argued.
      For the remainder of the book the author follows Kennan and Nitze through their careers in Washington policy manking to their ousting of politics. Kennan was forced to leave politics when he was banned from the USSR after making inflammatory comments about Stalin. Nitze did not find a place in the Eisenhower administration. But they both made it back to politics eventually. Until the end of the Cold War Kennan and Nitze remained at odds on how to go about the Cold War but nonetheless remained friends. The Author consistently emphasizes how their disagreement was fueled by their love for their country and not by personal ambition.

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