Global Security Headlines

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold War Series Part II: How the Cold War Was Not Won

 In our second series on the Cold War to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the odious Berlin Wall
on November 9, we examine how the West did not win the Cold War.

Our first part covered the Soviet communist ascendancy. Our final part of the series addresses lessons learned and informed perspectives about the ideological struggle between the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union and its client-states.

First, it is helpful to learn how the Cold War was not won. The ´´long telegram´´ from Moscow, written by ´´Mr. X´´ later appearing in Foreign Affairs in July 1947 (´´The Sources of Soviet Conduct´´), kicked off the intellectual debate about how to confront Soviet communism. Then US diplomat George F. Kennan in the US Embassy in Moscow argued for containment of Soviet expansionism. His identity remained secret for years, but his thoughts shaped the initial US response to the Soviet challenge. However influential and insightful, containment was a mere holding strategy - accepting Soviet communism and a losing strategy to keep it from flowing to other parts of the world.

Second, the Cold War was not won through détente - (relaxation in French) - a relaxing of tensions between the United States and Soviet Union, usually at moments of Soviet exhaustion to buy time. US-Soviet summits were mainly media events, carefully managed, and coveted by the often naive Western media who pressured the US side for concessions. The main topic was nuclear arms talks resulting in estimable treaties between the two sides. Agreements and treaties are only valuable if both sides intend to adhere to them. A piece of paper with signatures does not tame a sworn enemy.

 Containing tyranny and talking with tyrants do not solve the problem - how to protect freedom in the Hobbesian international system governed by the aggressive use of force. In part three of our series, we report how the West won the Cold War without the often-feared horrific nuclear exchange between Moscow and Washington. 

Get your International Policy books today!

No comments: