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Political Science

Chapter 3: The Cold War & Foreign Policy Analysis The Cold War: Power Politics Ascendant Cold War dominated global politics for over 40 years Citizens of every state on earth put @risk by nuclear arms race Cold War was fought in international area through diplomacy, ideological rhetoric, arms races, regional proxy wars and interventions, & competition for allies & military basses around the world History of relationship between superpowers reveals several themes that persisted until collapse of Soviet Union: • Cyclical pattern of confrontation & cooperation • Nuclear Stalemate • Development of informal rules & mutual understandings • Political pragmatism versus ideological rhetoric • Superpower involvement in regional wars Most countries of Western Europe joined NATO, which bound members to come to assistance of any member should it be attacked; NATO built against threat posed by Soviet Union Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), commonly callW edarsaw Pact, joined countries of Eastern Europe with Soviet Union in alliance against NATO Origins of the Bipolar Era Origin of Cold War started in latter half of WWII; distrust began to develop between Western Allies & Soviet Union Membership of U.S. & U.S.S.R. in UN, which was mandated to preserve world peace, offered hope that cooperation would continue Relations between “West” & “East” deteriorated into open hostility & rivalry that largely paralyzed UN Security Council Hostility & Rivalry hadideological dimension, geopolitical dimension, strategic dimension, international dimension Ideological Dimension • Rivalry between 2 antagonistic political, economic, & social systems • Majority of Western countries perceived Marxism-Leninism as fundamentally authoritarian political ideology that stifled the political & economic freedom of individual • Communism threatened overthrow of Western liberal democracy • Capitalism & communism can’t coexist; Soviet Union had to do what it could to accelerate historical inevitability of communist revolutions around the world • During Cold War, persistent debates raged about whether U.S.S.R. was expansionist power o Hawks argued: Marxist-Leninist ideology was guide for Soviet actions Ideological writings of Lenin & Stalin & pronouncements of Soviet leaders outlined plans & worldview of Soviet leadership o Doves argued: Foreign policy of Soviet Union was essentially defensive, concerned primarily with preserving & protecting Soviet state Ideology was not a guide to Soviet policy • Competition between 2 systems manifested in extreme nationalism in both countries Geopolitical Dimension • Geography placed important role in strategic & foreign policy decisions of Washington & Moscow • In U.S., Soviet threat was cast on geopolitical context of Mackinder. Soviet Union seemed to occupy “heartland,” & was poised to expand along “interior ring” to dominate “world island” – thereafter the world • From this position, Soviet Union had geopolitical advantage of interior lines of transport • U.S. desire to geographically contain Soviet Union & prevent spread of communism, U.S. would assist democratic countries that felt threatened by U.S.S.R. and dictatorial & military regimes • By supporting regimes diplomatically, financially, & militarily while ignoring brutal treatment citizens endured @ hands of their governments, U.S. was associated in some of the worst human rights abuses perpetrated during Cold War • Soviet geopolitical view – Soviet Union is encircled, & long border of Soviet Union is threatened by enemies & security concerns; Any potential to break out of encirclement would encounter some enemies or threats Strategic Dimension • Both superpowers & allies maintained large military forces throughout Cold War • Strategic character of Cold War was defined by nuclear weapons & nuclear arms race between U.S. & Soviet Union • Nuclear Weapons were useful only for preventing their use by others; they were instruments ofdeterrence, not warfighting • 2 types of deterrence strategies: o Deterrence by denial o Deterrence by
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