Foreign Relations Of The U.S. Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Military Type: Essay Paper: #80732255 Related Topics: Gorbachev, Foreign Aid, Foreign Countries, Wounded Knee
Excerpt from Essay :

A second lesson was found in Kennedy's management of the crisis. The basic lesson learned was that, in the midst of such a crisis, leaders need time away from the glare of the media to resolve their own thinking and communications, and they need the self-confidence to limit their objectives to only what is needed to resolve the crisis, not "win" it.

It is believed that the Soviet's lesson was that you can't mess with nuclear weapons. In other words, when it gets to the point that you know you might destroy millions of innocent people, that is the depth of fear that leaders must realize, confront, and not back away from. What they must do is back away from the unnecessary and catastrophic events their pride might trigger.

The lessons learned by European leaders were probably not good ones. Kennedy did not consult with them during this crisis. They resented not being involved in such a critical crisis that could easily affect Europe in the end. The removal of the Jupiter missiles in Turkey made the Germans and the rest of Europe worry about the U.S. commitment to Berlin. France pulled its forces out of NATO. It wounded the alliance and took time to heal.

3. What were the reasons for American intervention in Vietnam? Why did each president from Truman to Nixon regard Vietnam as important to the United States? What are the lessons of the Vietnam War and what are its consequences for American foreign policy?

In two words -- domino theory. The U.S. Government at the time (1949) believed that China was about to go communist as a result of its civil war. So, with Viet Nam right next door, they looked at the little country not only as a buttress against communism in Southeast Asia, but also as the first domino in that region of the world that needed to be "contained" against communism.

The French were fighting the communist insurgents in Viet Nam and they were asking the U.S. For help. Eisenhower officially invoked the domino theory language in a speech in which he said that if China and Viet Nam fell, then India, Japan and Indonesia were not far behind.

In the years that followed a military and civilian consortium of advisers pushed the domino theory as if the United States itself was threatened. The U.S. felt it had to draw a line as far as communism was concerned, and, in the mid-1950s, Viet Nam became that line. The U.S. poured billions of dollars in support of the South Vietnamese government and military. It was not long before the U.S. footed the entire bill for running the country, and outfitting the police and military.

By 1956 all of the French troops were gone, and by 1960, U.S. military advisers in Viet Nam exceeded the number allowed by the Geneva Accords -- 685. As everyone knows, from the Kennedy administration forward, the conflict escalated and the U.S. involvement deepened into full military conflict. And as we poured more dollars and troops into the country, each succeeding administration felt we had to protect our investment.

Though he had spoken, in 1954 against military involvement in Viet Nam, Kennedy saw Viet Nam as a test case for Khrushchev's political doctrines favoring wars of liberation. Khrushchev had specifically pointed to Viet Nam. Kennedy's advisers proposed an army of 10,000 soldiers be sent and the U.S. take over military reconnaissance and airlift. North Vietnam should be bombed to keep them from supplying the Viet Cong. Kennedy refused to send more troops. Then in early 1962 he began sending small groups of 300 military and proposed continuing that process so that, by 1964, about 25,000 men would be in the country.

After Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963, President Johnson felt he needed to continue JFK's policies, including Vietnam. The military-industrial complex pressured him to do just that. Then on August 4, 1964, in the Gulf of Tonkin off the East coast of Vietnam, the U.S. destroyer Maddox reported it was under fire from North Vietnamese torpedo boats. It gave LBJ his excuse to escalate the war. To this day it is debated where and how the "Gulf of Tonkin incident" occurred, and if LBJ arranged it.

During the mid to...


Tens of thousands of troops were sent in until the number reached approximately 500,000.

In 1968, after LBJ's resignation, President Nixon promised to end the Viet Nam war.

Now, the war became important to a new U.S. President for an ironic reason -- he had to figure out of way to get out of it and establish a "peace with honor." Eventually, he pulled all U.S. troops out. They were gone by 1973, and in 1975, the communist Viet Cong and North Vietnamese marched in to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, and declared victory.

Lessons learned in Viet Nam were many. Hopefully, the U.S. learned that military action is not always the solution to political and social problems, and often fail. And usually, it will motivate militarization by the enemy. Second, we learned that the security of the U.S. is not really threatened by what happens in small third-world countries. Supplemental to that, the lesson was that fighting a police action in such a country against homeland insurgents is a loser and not worth the horrible expense in humans and dollars.

But, when we look today at Iraq and Afghanistan, can we say we have learned any lessons at all, or are we suffering the consequences of not listening? I think the latter.

4. Identify and evaluate some of the major contending arguments explaining the end of the Cold War. What role did American containment policy play in the transformation of Soviet foreign policy under Gorbachev?

The main argument explaining the end of the Cold War is whether or not Ronald Reagan caused the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Many will argue both ways. The pro-Reagan forces point to rhetoric, action, and documentation that proves he forced the U.S.S.R. into submission and failure. The second part of the argument is, if he really did end the Cold War, was it his massive arms buildup and "evil" rhetoric; or did he do it through detente and disarmament discussions?

Both perspectives have credibility. However, in either case we would have to include the contributions of Mikhail Gorbachev. It may be true that, with any other hard-line Soviet leader, Reagan's "plan" to bring down the Soviets may have failed.

There were many problems within the Soviet Union including lack of food supplies for the populace, an almost non-functioning political system, and over-all an empire collapsing in on itself. There is no doubt that Reagan and his purposeful increase in military budgets brought the Soviets to despair trying to keep up. His policies of aggressive containment were working. Speeches that Gorbachev gave to his government at the time prove that point.

Reagan truly believed in his Space Defense Initiative -- to blow incoming missiles out of the sky. Though he did not use it primarily as a budgetary weapon to drive the U.S.S.R. into bankruptcy, he knew it might and hoped it would. But he also believed that, militarily they would have to respond and could not afford to do so. He also hated nuclear weapons and proposed to Gorbachev that they both get rid of all of them. Reagan reached a detente and established a relationship with the Soviet leader. The combination of hard line action and detente, combined with two leaders ready to change politics as usual, led to the end of the Cold War.

Democratic party leadership will argue that Ronald Reagan played a bit part in a 40-year effort by many administrations that finally brought the Soviets to their knees. They point to the policy of containment as the central core of the U.S. strategy to stop the Soviets. Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson (all Democrats) took the point as far as facing down the communists.

Congress approved the funds over the decades to bury the U.S.S.R. Jimmy Carter approved the development of a neutron bomb. The European alliance of countries was vital to the effort.

Diplomacy, foreign aid, and global communications technology all played a role. Reagan, the Democrats say, was just in the right place at the right time -- an argument most dismiss.

And a third, but not widely accepted, perspective is that it was the loud, continuous, and persistent public call for peace that finally brought the Cold War to an end. The public action -- the peace movement -- to stop the arms race, to shout down the military-industrial complex, and to rail against apartheid, plus the many other protests by action groups brought…

Sources Used in Documents:


Barnett, R.J. "America in Vietnam: The Four Interventions (excerpted from the book: Intervention and Revolution)." 1968. 28 JUly 2009 <>.

Brenner, P. "The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: Turning History on its Head." 2002. George Washington University. 29 July 2009 <>.

U.S. Dept. Of State. "Kennan and Containment, 1947." n.d. U.S. Department of State. 28 JUly 2009 <>.

"What ended the cold war?" 8 August 2003. 28 July 2009 <>.

Cite this Document:

"Foreign Relations Of The U S " (2009, July 29) Retrieved October 25, 2021, from

"Foreign Relations Of The U S " 29 July 2009. Web.25 October. 2021. <>

"Foreign Relations Of The U S ", 29 July 2009, Accessed.25 October. 2021,

Related Documents
U.S. Approach to Terrorism Post 2001
Words: 3011 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Terrorism Paper #: 86839720

U.S. Approach to Terrorism U.S Approach to Terrorism Post 2001 The incidence of September 11, 2001 led to an anti-terrorism campaign by the government of U.S. And was called the war or terror. Since 2001, U.S. government has taken several steps to maintain security and counter terrorism by implementing certain strategies at national and international level. These approaches and steps, whether useful or not have been discussed in this paper. President Bush's Justifications

U.S. Foreign Policy and the
Words: 956 Length: 3 Pages Topic: American History Paper #: 42976300

8 billion. The Occupation authorities also helped the Japanese government overcome postwar economic chaos, especially rampant inflation, by balancing the government budget, raising taxes and imposing price and wage freezes, and resuming limited foreign trade" (Kesselman et al., 203). The U.S. aid not only helped to rebuild the country, but also ensured that Japan was stable enough so that renegade seedlings of Communism or comparable institutions didn't suddenly flourish. The

U.S. History Midterm Exam Essay Questions, Two
Words: 1355 Length: 4 Pages Topic: American History Paper #: 97326327

U.S. History Midterm Exam Essay questions, two (2) questions, 10 pts. each, for total of 20 pts. Answer everything in bold! Reflecting back on Units 1 through 11, describe America's incredible industrialization and urbanization from 1865 to 1945. What were the key elements of this change and what were the costs of such rapid industrialization (i.e. environmental and human costs and the Great Depression)? How did activists and politicians respond to these

U.S. Macro Economy Which Was Considered to
Words: 1238 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Economics Paper #: 97755054

U.S. Macro economy economy which was considered to be the world's largest has still not been able to recover completely from the financial crisis and resulting recession that hit in 2008. At the national level, spending increase to more than 25% of GDP in 2010, later in 2011 gross public debt exceeded 100% of GDP. The process of recovery for U.S. economy in the first quarter turned out to be weaker

U.S. Invasion Into Iraq: After the 911
Words: 1664 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Drama - World Paper #: 39022602

U.S. Invasion into Iraq: After the 911 terror attacks, the Bush Administration launched the war on terrorism in attempts to deal with the threats of global terrorism and enhance homeland security. The war on terrorism was characterized by a successful American military campaign to destroy Afghanistan's Taliban regime and interrupt the operations of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. In the aftermath of this successful mission, the United States military invaded Iraq

U.S. National Strategy What Three United States
Words: 4520 Length: 16 Pages Topic: Military Paper #: 17089313

U.S. National Strategy What three United States national interests do you think will be at great risk over the next five years? Describe those interests and identify which instruments of national power can be leveraged to protect or advance those national interests and how those instruments can be used. As President Obama stated in his addresses to Congress in February 2009, the most important problem that the country faced was the economy,