Cold War American Foreign Policy Analysis

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At the end of World War Two, the American public, political scientists, government officials, and Winston Churchill share the opinion that long-term hostilities between America and Soviet Russia were inevitable. In February of 1946, special advisor George Kennan confirms an existing political threat from Soviet Russia his “Long Telegram”. Since Kennan’s transmission, American foreign policy objectives became equated to American containment of communism. Determining which President achieves the most and least effective leadership requires establishing a metric. At the risk of generalizing, the criteria for effective American Presidential leadership during the Cold War is: establishing and executing effective foreign policy; protecting American…show more content…
Truman responded with the creation and implementation of the foundational pillars of United States Cold War foreign policy. George Kennan’s strategy of containment and Paul Nitze’s document NSC-68 became two of the strongest guiding forces for United States foreign policy throughout the Cold War. Containment and a build-up of military force was the prognosis for pursuing Cold War objectives. Simply put, the long-term goals presented by President Truman were: reestablishing a balance of power in Europe, altering the Soviet conception of international relations to bring an eventual end to the war, in addition to gradually fragmenting the international communist movement. In 1946, three post-war confrontations between America and Soviet Russia forced the need for a foreign policy focused on combatting communism. Truman denounced Soviet actions over a continued occupation of Iran, as well as aggressive intentions in Turkish Dardanelles where Stalin was hoping to achieve access to the Mediterranean, and a battle for control of ideological influence during the…show more content…
However in comparison to President Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War, American activities in Korea appear a success. The escalation of the Vietnam War amounts to a policy calamity haunting the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson and is the main factor in producing the conclusion that he is the least competent Cold War president. Although Johnson’s predecessor, President John F. Kennedy, gradually escalates military troop levels during his time in office to 16,000 men in advisory roles by the time of his death in 1963, Johnson would continue this trend of escalation and move to direct engagement with communist forces after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Escalation accelerated and by 1965 more than 165,000 American soldiers were fighting in an unwinnable war in Vietnam. Furthermore, “Billions of dollars” spent fighting the war were draining the economy, while “the fabric of American society strained” and “threated to unravel” as result of the escalation of the Vietnam conflict. President Johnson’s decision to adhere to the logic of applying the “domino theory” as the reason to commit to fighting a war of attrition with the Vietnamese people that had been fighting for freedom for hundreds of years reveals many of his flaws as a leader, such as arrogance when communicating the purpose of the war to the American public,

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