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Isolation Vs Intervention - World War 1

Autor:   •  January 18, 2018  •  1,406 Words (6 Pages)  •  373 Views

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to help maintain post-war peace, with America playing a big part as one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. America’s decisive part in assaulting Europe and the Pacific secured her role as the policeman and guardian of the free world for the next few decades.

After WWII, America fought the Cold War against Soviet Russia, which featured America’s aggressive interventionism to resist and contain communism. Immediately post-war, the Marshall Plan, introduced by Secretary of State George Marshall, featured American aid to all of Europe to help with reconstruction. This was the first major step of America’s post-war intervention. During his commencement speech at Harvard in 1947, Marshall stresses that the “policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos” – here he is trying to deflect suspicion and accusations that the Plan was “anti-Soviet”. “Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist” – here he marks the purpose of the plan to be extending the American model of democratic freedom to these European states. Marshall also shows some aggression towards the Soviets when he says that “groups which seek to perpetrate human misery in order to profit…politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States”, warning them that America will resist communist influence in post-war Europe. Marshall’s attitude towards the Soviets is representative of the prevailing interest in America to be involved in the world’s affairs with the primary objective of containing communism and prevent it from reaching America. To this end, America brokered a treaty and created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including most of Western Europe, as the “Capitalist” bloc of the Cold War who are pledged to defend one another if one is attacked. The National Security Council, in its report in 1950, stated that “[America’s] position as the centre of power in the free world places a heavy responsibility upon the United States for leadership”; as well as warning that if America continues to concede under pressure to the Soviets, there might be disastrous results. The report recommends a “rapid and concerted build-up of the actual strength of both the United States and other nations of the free world, and by means of an affirmative program intended to wrest the initiative from the Soviet Union” , referencing the need to stockpile nuclear weapons for a potential face-off with the Soviets, or as a weapon of “massive retaliation”, which was Eisenhower’s strategy of threatening Communist aggression with nukes. The single biggest event showcasing American intervention was the Korean War, when American forces helped repel North Korea from the peninsula. General Douglas MacArthur addressed Congress in 1951 and in his speech he supported the “realistic adjustment of military strategy” to counter “Red China…with superior ground forces” , again referencing the need for nuclear weapons to ensure the repelling of Communism. All of the above actions were pursued with mostly two thoughts in mind: firstly, America has the moral duty to spread its ideals and morals of democratic freedom – the famous Truman Doctrine, declaring that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” , is a good representative of this idea; secondly, if left unchecked, the Soviet regime could eventually disrupt the American well-being and way of life - a good, albeit a bit extreme example would be Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt of suspected “communists” in government. He successfully perpetrated a xenophobic and wary climate of communism in America that led to the public support of many interventionist policies.

America’s foreign policy is a delicate subject that must be handled with finesse, now more than ever with her status as the leading global power. Isolation and intervention is still a subject of intense debate with much argument over Bush’s Iraq War and Afghan War, and now on the subject of ISIS, the fight is more dangerous than ever. With the ending of Obama’s presidency, we can only hope that the next president will have the diplomatic finesse necessary to “Trump” global threats.


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