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The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

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The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

In 1950-s two most powerful countries - the United States and the Soviet Union - established their spheres of world influence, securing military-political blocs. These two countries were not directly engaged in military confrontations, though their rivalry for circle of influence often led to the local armed conflicts around the world. The decision of the Egyptian leadership to nationalize the Suez Canal in 1956 provoked a mixed reaction of the West and the full support of the Soviet Union. Provoked by this decision, the Suez crisis resulted in the weakening of the United Kingdom and France in the Middle East. US interests were a much more responsive to the establishment of international control over this key sector of navigational routes (e.g. oil from the Middle East was transported through this channel to the USA) than to the preservation of the national English-French control (Dwight D. Eisenhower, 2009). In October 1956, Israeli-Egyptian broke out. Britain and France also intervened to the conflict. Supported by the UN, the United States was able to convince the countries to conclude an armistice. Taking account of the origin of this crisis and the complications of the situation in other Arab countries, particularly in Lebanon and Jordan, the Soviet Union extended its influence to a number of countries in the Near East, as well as in the Middle East. US was enforced to to develop new foreign policy strategy. 

"Eisenhower Doctrine" went down in history as a program of the new US Middle East policy. It  was developed with the active participation of the President Dwight Eisenhower and US Secretary of State George Dulles. This doctrine held on the strategy of massive retaliation (Eisenhower Doctrine, n.d.). In the global context, this policy line was approved in response to the possibility of large-scale military conflict that arose as a result of the Soviet Union attempting to use the Suez crisis as a pretext to invade Egypt. Eisenhower considered it necessary to strengthen US influence in the region as a result of inability of UK and France to retain their control on these territories. According to thi doctrine, any country may request an economic or military aid from the United States if it is subjected to the armed attack by another state. Eisenhower emphasized the Soviet threat in his doctrine, expressing readiness of American troops to ensure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of the countries in need. He stated that there was a need to resist the military aggression of any nation controlled by international communism. Practically, the new doctrine of "massive retaliation" almost approved the use of nuclear weapons. In order not to embarrass the command in the war zone, it was supposed to create tactical nuclear weapons which could be used without the permission of the President. Eisenhower administration was intended to use nuclear diplomacy in practice. Doctrine was rather similar to blackmailing of the other nations: the possibility of American commanders to use the weapon of mass destructions was hard to believe, but the fear of its application was far stronger.

The second major element of American foreign policy strategy in 1953 - 1960 was the emphasis on bloc supporting, which meant the creation of such a system of relationships in which the United States was bound by the treaty agreements with dozens of friendly free countries in different regions. In general, declaratory nuclear policy and strategy of the United States under President Eisenhower was very straightforward and had the main purpose of demonstrating their resolve to bring down the entire US nuclear power in the USSR and China if necessary.

The effects of these diplomatic global efforts can hardly be overestimated.Firstly, the American way of life and attractiveness of the ties with America were represented in the entire world. This was achieved by creating information centers, inviting the foreign students to study in US universities, developing the radio programs, distribution of printed materials. Secondly, economic and military aid to the liberated countries significantly increased. It was considered primarily to those states that had proven their military and political commitment to the US, such as Taiwwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia. Thirdly, joint military units by US and some other western powers and developing countries were created. Fourth, US interventions to hostile states had a lot of after-effects, not to mention immediate direct effects. The extent of intervention was different: from covert CIA operations (disclosed in details until many years later) to direct military action. Examples of the activity of CIA were the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran, Prime Minister and President Arbenz in Guatemala.

In conclusion, it is significant to consider the main disadvantages and advantages of the doctrine. On the one hand, Eisenhower Doctrine was a militant, aggressive, highly publicized policy, very inconvenient for practical use. A significant drawback was the fact that the doctrine put forward the nuclear force of the US to the first place in the arsenal of tools of American diplomacy. Eisenhower faced a complicated problem of the time: the need to liquidate the threat of violence on the part of the socialist world. The President chose to fight fire with fire and invented the doctrine of deterrence which indirectly affected reinforced arms race between the USA and the USSR. The First Presidency of Eisenhower (1953-1957) was an acute phase of the Cold War, thus, there was almost irreconcilable antagonism.

On the other hand, each doctrine is based on force. In the real world there was a communist threat hanging over the capitalistic world, as well as the threat to U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, the doctrine indicated that US was not to tolerate this state of affairs. Revival of the US greatness was directed at the leadership all over the world, not only economically, but also by militarily (Ambrose, 1991). The result of the policy was the creation of the various committees dealing with the armed assistance to the other countries. There was great deal of effort to create the armed forces of military-political bloc of NATO. It was a strategic course of foreign policy that sought to lead the US and its allies to unite their efforts in the struggle against socialism.

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