The Cold War can be most aptly characterized as an ideological conflict between two superpowers which enveloped and polarized the world for fifty years. It was a conflict between communism and capitalism, the Soviet Union versus the United States. Both nations foreign policies were shaped in order to retain and increase the influence of their respective ideologies whilst restricting the spread of the other. Since 9-11, U.S. foreign policy has had similar purposes and employed similar means to quelling so called evil doers and consequently certain parallels can be drawn to the Cold War. However since 9-11, the U.S. has had to change it foreign policies due to characteristics of both the modern world and the enemy.
The U.S. policy of containment during the Cold War stated that the United States would support any free people threatened by communist aggression or subversion. By simply replacing communism with evil in the previous statement, obvious similarities can be drawn between the U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War and after 9-11. Thus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can be compared with that of Vietnam as the U.S. committed military forces to stop evil or communism in order for democracy and freedom to prevail. Whether or not the occupants of the countries the United States chose to free wanted their help is irrelevant as the policy has been consistent.
Why was the Cold War named the cold war? It was named the Cold War because it possessed the longest length of time of any war, in modern history, in which two nations were at odds without engaging in direct battle. The Term Cold War was used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist syndicate from the end of World War II until 1989. After ...
It does also illustrate that the United Sates have had policies in place whereby there will act on perceived threats and interests, regardless of legitimacy. However that is where the main similarities end as U.S. foreign policy since 9-11 has had to evolve to combat a seemingly invisible enemy. U.S. foreign policy since 9-11 differs most significantly from the strategy employed in the Cold War due to globalization and the nature of the enemy. To accomplish 9-11 the terrorists turned to the tools of globalization. This means that the sovereign invincibility once maintained by missile shields was no longer a viable defense. Terrorism has also been able to transcend national boarders because only a small proportion of Muslims subscribe to terrorist acts, and with the increased presence of Muslims all over the world, the U.S. have had to concede that Islam is inescapable presence.
Thus their policies have had to reflect this. As Benjamin Barber suggests, American independence is a casualty of September 11, and it is apparent that the only true friends are democracies. With globalization ever increasing and terrorism non-discriminating towards targets, U.S. foreign policy is aimed at ensuring democracy prevails over terrorism, not just the United States over terrorism, even though the U.S. is flying the freedom flag and leading the way as is evident with the war in Iraq. Thus the policies have embraced the need for cooperation between democracies as the problem of terrorism is global, and the Unites States know that the democracies of the world need to combat it together.
But in order for democracy to prevail, U.S. foreign policy has had to change policies which were not strategies against communism, but policies which may have in fact created the current world climate. Al-Qaeda and terrorist networks have been the focus of U.S. foreign policy since the terrorist acts of 9-11, but what caused Al-Qaeda commit them? According to Ussama Makdisi, anti-Americanism is a recent phenomenon fueled by American foreign policy, not an epochal confrontation of civilizations. Thus Samuel Huntingtons Clash of Civilizations can be discounted as numerous acts committed by the United States in the past fifty years incited the violence that eventually manifested itself in the horror of 9-11. Thus U.S. policy has to learn from its mistakes and not alienate the people they are trying to save.
It is true that foreign strategy of the United States during the Cold War (1947-1989) is called containment. This policy can be described as the efforts to stop global political movement toward communist and socialist ideology (the ideology of the Soviet Union) and promote political popularity of democratic ideas dominating in Europe and the United States. That is how it was supposed to create a ...
Globalization may well be the policy response to this. As terrorism is committed by a worldwide minority, the solution lies in appealing to the majority. As Robert Wright suggests, globalizationmight eventually dampen the appeal of radical Islam, especially if economic liberty indeed intends to bring political liberty. The key for globalization in bringing cultures together is the understanding of different cultures. With more understanding come less hate, and as Wright suggests, The less hatred in the world, the more security we can have without sacrificing personal freedom. U.S. foreign policy after 9-11 is trying to achieve greater understanding by creating democracies which different cultures can interact peacefully.
U.S. foreign policy since 9-11 has certainly changed since the Cold War. The United States is facing a seemingly anonymous enemy which is not confined to boarders and utilizes readily available technology to wage its war. Thus unlike the Cold War, where policies were for more selfish reasons, it is now in the best interests of the U.S. to fight for democracy along side other countries to protect shared values, as it is these values which are attacked. The policy has also changed to encourage understanding which can be obtained from the globalization of values which leads to the tolerance of different cultures. Word count: 824 Bibliography Barber, Benjamin.
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Paterson (Houghton Mifflin 2005), pp. 573-584. Wright, Robert. Two Years Later, a Thousand Years Ago, New York Times, 11 September 2003, excerpts in Major Problems in American Foreign Policy Relations, vol. II: since 1914, eds. Dennis Merrill and Thomas G.
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