To What Extent Was the Cold War an Ideological Struggle?

The Cold War refers to the conflict that prevailed after World War Two between the two hegemonic powers in the world system at the time, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The Cold War is named so due to the cold nature of conflict between the two nations, never coming into direct conflict with one another, but instead fighting proxy wars through their support of different sides in otherwise domestic conflicts. The differing ideologies of the two states and the political rhetoric used during the conflict has led to many commentators viewing the Cold War as an ideological struggle. The main question which arises from the study of the Cold War is whether it was in-fact an ideological struggle rather than a conventional struggle for security between the two hegemonic powers of the time. When one views the Cold War from a post-revisionist stance, it can be seen that it was not solely an ideological struggle between the Communist ‘East’ and the Capitalist ‘West’ but rather should be viewed as a conflict concerned with the balance of power and economic influence exacerbated by the ideological differences and rhetoric of the time along with other factors such as mis-interpretation and the question of leadership.

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The Cold War should not be viewed in the rhetoric of the United States at the time, as a battle between the Liberal forces of the ‘free world’ and the oppressive Communist ideology, but as a struggle for security between the two hegemon powers at the time exacerbated by the deep routed ideological suspicions of either side, inhabiting itself in the misinterpretations of either sides foreign policy, each seemingly confirming the others suspicion. However, this is not to say that ideology did not play an important role in aggravating the Cold War, but rather the conflict should be viewed in terms of a struggle for security rather than as a battle between two opposing ideologies.

The procedure of peace-making following World War Two lead to the first area of dispute between the USA and the USSR on how best to achieve security, with the USA support of a universalist approach and Stalin’s insistency on the establishment of spheres of influence. The Kremlin perceived that the only way to achieve security was through the establishment of spheres-of-influence, seeking the establishment of Soviet friendly regimes across eastern Europe. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. argues that this was very much in line with Stalin’s primary goal of ensuring Russia’s security remarking that “above all the Russians were determined to protect their frontiers”[1]. This idea of establishing a sphere of influence was not a novel goal of Stalin and cannot be viewed in terms of an ideological based dispute with its new enemy neither was it an exclusively Communist goal and by establishing this sphere of influence Stalin would in-fact be achieving an age-old dream of the tsars.[2]  In 1939 Stalin agreed on the Soviet-Nazi Pact already setting out an agreement on the USSR’s necessity to establish a sphere of interest as a major criterion in achieving security. Furthermore, it can be seen that if (as the United States feared) this was part of the USSR’s goal of achieving a world communist revolution, the USSR would be unlikely to support the establishment of a western sphere of influence. In 1941 Churchill and Stalin agreed a sphere-of-influence deal supporting one another’s claims for their own sphere of influence. If Stalin had been hellbent on the establishment of a world communist revolution he would be unlikely to support Britain’s need for the control of Greece, and would have seen the civil war that prevailed between the communist forces and the Greek army between 1946 and 1949 as an ideal opportunity to further his perceived goal of a global communist revolution.

For it can be seen that Stalin’s continued importance placed on ensuring a sphere of influence should not be interpreted as a means for spring boarding a global revolution but out of what he viewed as necessity to ensure his power. Despite Stalin’s apparent ideological dedication, it can be seen that Stalin’s primary concerns were to consolidate power within the Soviet Union leading him to be inherently cautious in much of his policy. Historian Vojtech Mastny stressed this point in his work Cold War and Soviet Insecurity stating that “revolution was for him [Stalin] a means to power rather than a goal in itself”[3]. In their work Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Kruschev, Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov argue that the reason for such abandonment of revolutionary goals was due to Stalin’s achievement of power forcing him to act “according to geopolitical realities, national conditions, [and] the logic of power itself”[4]

The issue of security can also be seen as a major driving force in Stalin’s opposition to the Bretton Woods Agreement, and the Marshall Plan of 1947. The USSR did not withdraw from the Bretton Woods Agreement on any ideological stance but rather over concerns their authority would be subordinated to that of the USA. When one reviews the documents written by Gerashchenko regarding the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, presented in Harold and Marzenna James’ work ‘The Origins of the Cold War: Some New Documents’, it can be seen that the main areas of discern for the USSR were not ideological ones but concerns over apparent subordination to United States authority; “In practice our participation in these institutions would increase their authority”[5]. Furthermore, it can be seen that Stalin’s opposition of the Marshall Plan should be viewed in regards to the issue of security in the Soviet sphere of influence. Stalin’s opposition to the Marshall Plan arises from the stance that he perceived it as an attempt by the United States to economically penetrate his sphere of influence by providing states with particular appeal to communism with funds in attempt to prevent further communist revolutions.

This necessity for security was also a major driving factor behind much of the United States’ policy, but in contrast to the USSR they perceived the only way of achieving this goal by the containment of Soviet influence and policy rather than the establishment of their own sphere of influence. [6]While this correlation between the appeal to security and the containment of Soviet influence may have ideological influences, it was not as simple as an opposition to the ideology of Communism. The United States’ goal of containment was primarily driven, like the policy of the USSR, by the concern for security and geopolitics rather than as a war against the ideology of Communism. For all the political rhetoric of the United States of presenting the conflict as a battle between the forces of the free world against the oppressive nature of Communism, the United States’ foreign policy was primarily driven by the need for security and promotion of its’ economic interests.

However, this is not to say that the ideological differences of the two powers had no influence in the hostilities that prevailed following the Second World War. It can be seen that in the USSR, the ideological stance point meant that any action of the United States was unlikely to be viewed in a pragmatic way based solely on the concerns of security. Stalin’s dedication to the teachings offered by Marxists-Leninist’s ensured that any action taken by the United States, or any capitalist nation alike, would be inherently viewed in a very negative light. The teachings of Marxism and Leninism, the base for the ideology of Communism, viewed capitalism and ‘communism’ as mutually exclusive in the world system and this deep routed belief that the outside world remained hostile can be seen as a major driving factor in much of Stalin’s insistency on the issue of security. Due to this deep routed belief in the ideology of communism that capitalism would only be appeased by the destruction of Marxism, Stalin and his associates were destined to view any foreign policy of the leading capitalist power, the USA in the light of an attempt to encircle and destroy the USSR.[7] However, one should question just how prominent ideology was in driving Stalin’s actions. Although it can be seen that the Marxist-Leninist ideology gave Stalin a very suspicious view of the United States, when one examines much of the policy of the United States it would lead one to perhaps see reasoning behind this. While the security concerns and suspicions of Stalin perhaps had an ideological basing, it can be seen that he had very real rationale behind it. While Stalin’s dedication to the revolutionary nature of communism, a global communist revolution, is questionable through the study of his foreign policy; the United States appeared to fulfil the role to which communist ideology ascribed to the capitalist system, seeking to limit its spread as much as possible.

The Marshall Plan of 1947 is an example of just this. By offering European nations grants and loans for its rebuilding following the Second World War. After a particularly harsh winter of 1946-7 the United States hoped to improve the conditions within much of Europe, which was leading many nations to see the capitalist system as failing and giving rise to the gaining popularity of the communist movements across Europe. [8] In fact, for all its talk of promoting the ideals of freedom and promoting Liberalism, the USA’s commitment to opposing the spread of Communism would often take president over the spread of the ideals of freedom and the promotion of liberalism. For it can be seen that the United States support of Greece, Turkey, and South Africa, all in turn being included in what became known as the “free world”, was not due to the nations appeal to the ideals of freedom and democracy but rather their acceptance of the capitalist economic system and their anti-communist sentiment. Th fact that the United States was to incorporate South Africa, a racially oppressive regime, into the ‘free world’ highlights the importance of anti-communism over its commitment to spreading the ideals of freedom. This leads one to question the motives for the United States aggression towards communism. The United States inclusion of authoritarian and oppressive regimes into the ‘free world’ leads one to believe that the United States policy was driven by purely economic factors, with its desire to open the world to free trade, providing the United States with new markets for its trade in goods and services. Furthermore, it can be seen that the USA’s week commitment to the ideals of freedom and security leads one to question whether the Cold War was truly an ideological conflict or rather a power struggle between the two hegemonic powers of the time.

In conclusion it can be seen that the Cold War should not be viewed as an exclusively ideological struggle between the forces of neo-liberalism and communism but should deny any single motive narrative. The Cold War was a result of a combination of factors, but should be viewed in the of a power struggle between the two major powers of the time motivated by the promotion of each sides interest with the two opposing ideologies of either side only serving to exacerbate the conflict. This is not to say that ideology played no role in the onset of the Cold War, but that the conflict should not be  viewed in a solely ideological light.


Foner E. Give Me Liverty: An American History. 4th Ed. (W.W. Norton& Co., New York 2014).

Gaddis, J.L., ‘The Emerging Post-Revisionist Thesis on the Origins of the Cold War’ in Journal of Diplomatic History vol.7 (Summer 1983).

James, H. & James, M. ‘The Origins of the Cold War: Some New Documents’ in The Historical Journal vol.37, no.3 (1994).

Mastny, V. Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years. (Oxford University Press, New York 1996)

Schlesinger, A., ‘Origins of the Cold War’ in Journal of Foreign Affairs vol.46 (October 1967)

Zubok, V. & Pleshakov, C. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Krushchev. (Harvard Univeristy Press, Cambridge, Mass.1996)

[1] Schlesinger, A., ‘Origins of the Cold War’ in Journal of Foreign Affairs vol.46 (October 1967) P.29

[2] Schlesinger, A., ‘Origins of the Cold War’ in Journal of Foreign Affairs vol.46 (October 1967) P.31

[3] Mastny, V. Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years. (New York, 1996)P.12.

[4] Zubok, V. & Pleshakov, C. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Krushchev. (Cambridge, Mass., 1996) P.62

[5] Gerashchenko, 1945 from The Collection of Molotov. Presented in James, H. & James, M. ‘The Origins of the Cold War: Some New Documents’ in The Historical Journal vol.37, no.3 (1994). P.619

[6] Gaddis, J.L., ‘The Emerging Post-Revisionist Thesis on the Origins of the Cold War’ in Journal of Diplomatic History vol.7 (Summer 1983).

[7] Schlesinger, A., ‘Origins of the Cold War’ in Journal of Foreign Affairs vol.46 (October 1967) P.47

[8] Foner, E. Give Me Liberty: An American History.4th Ed.(New York, 2014). P.900-901

Human Adaptations to Extreme Cold

Humans have successfully adapted to environmental stresses, including extreme cold. A review of existing literature examining archaeological data, historical data, and current populations regarding human adaptation to cold stress (average annual temperature of ~ -14°C / 7°F) yields evidence supporting distinctive morphological, physiological and behavioral traits that compensate for the stress. Morphological adaptations can be seen in elongated and narrowed nasal passages (long narrow noses), which help warm and hydrate the air before it passes into the lungs; and a decreased surface area to volume ratio and allowing the individuals to more easily maintain a normal core body temperature. Physiological adaptations include: increased basal metabolic rate, which increases the amount of body heat produced; and a higher prevalence of type 1 diabetes, which may be a genetic adaptation that protects cells from freezing. Additionally behavioral adaptations can be observed in agriculture, awareness of fickle environmental factors, and clothing. Traditional populations in sub-polar regions tend to be hunter foragers; agriculture is limited to what can be cultivated in the short growing season. Some populations demonstrate acute awareness of weather patterns, modifying their behaviors to minimize exposure to dangerous conditions while taking full advantage of more temperate periods. The author finds ample evidence of widely varied human adaptations to extremely cold environments which allow sub-arctic populations to survive more easily in their specific environments.

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Human Adaptations to Extreme Cold
Humans have successfully adapted morphologically, physiologically, and behaviorally to environmental stress, including extreme cold. As a species, humans have survived Ice Ages which brought the intensely cold environment, normal for our polar and sub-polar regions, across much of the planet. To understand the wide variety of adaptations which have proven successful, the author explored existing literature analyzing data from archaeological, historical, and anecdotal sources, as well as from current populations. Because more information involving human populations exists for inhabitants of sub-polar regions than for any other extremely cold environments (except high-altitude locales where oxygen level is a significant contributing factor for adaptation and would complicate conclusions which might be drawn about adaptations to cold stress) the author focused there. ‘Extreme cold’ is defined, in terms of environment, by examining monthly mean temperature charts provided online by the U.S. Navy (Guest, 2000). These data show that monthly mean temperatures at sub-polar locations, both north and south, range from -30°C (-22°F) in January to +5° C (+41°F) in July, with daily variations from -40°C (-40°F) to +30°C (+86°F) yielding average annual temperatures ~ -14°C (7°F). Ample evidence exists to support conclusions that morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations have occurred in response to the stress of existence in extremely cold environments.
Morphological adaptations can be seen in elongated and narrowed nasal passages, broad pelves, and relatively short, stocky bodies. (Kennedy 2007; Hernandez, Fox, Garcia-Moro 1997). “Fueguians and the Eskimos are the human groups with the narrowest and highest nasal apertures, displaying a combination of large nasal height and low nasal breadth values, while groups from equatorial areas have low, wide nasal passages” (Herná, et al. 1997). Both groups lived and/or live in the sub-polar regions (one nearer the southern pole, one nearer the northern). Fueguians inhabited Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South American after the ice sheets receded, ~ 10,000 to 12,000 BP (before present). Unlike the sub-Arctic environment, which is cold and dry, the climate of Tierra del Fuego is extremely cold, rainy, foggy, and windy. Average temperatures are in line with our definition of ‘extreme cold,’ but in addition the area receives ~3000 mm (118 in) of rain each year and strong, persistent winds that blow off the glaciers, inducing a significant windchill affect. (Herná, et al. 1997, and references therein) took craniometric (measurments of the skull) measurements of 180 skulls from three distinct tribal groups of the area and analyzed them in relation to Howells’ 28 craniometric series in order to increase the statistical significance of the sample. When all the measurements were plotted on a climate map, a strong correlation between increased nasal height combined with narrow breadth and extremely low temperatures is apparent. Researchers postulate that high, narrow nasal openings allow frigid air to be warmed by the mucous membranes lining the nasal cavity to prevent damage to delicate lung tissue, and enhance “the recovery of heat and moisture from expired air.” (Herná, et al. 1997)
Another morphological adaptation supported by existing studies is a short, stocky body structure. “Body proportions of humans [and other endothermic (i.e., ”warm-blooded”) species] have long been known to show significant correlations with climatic variables and their proxies. Specifically, two empirically derived ecogeographical rules, those of Bergmann (1847) and Allen (1877), state that within a widespread endothermic species, those in colder regions will tend to weigh more (Bergmann’s rule) and be characterized by shorter appendages (Allen’s rule) than their conspecifics [members of the same species] in warmer climes.” (Holliday and Hilton, 2010 and references therein). They also put forward “colder-climate groups being characterized by broader pelves,” and reference C.B Ruff’s work from the early 1990s. Holliday and Hilton (2010) examine skeletal data from the Point Hope Inuit (another name for Eskimo) of North America. A total of 173 individuals, 127 from the Tigara period (13th to 17th century AD) and 46 from the Ipiutak period (~100 BC to 500 AD) were measured and analyzed relative to other Native North Americans, and samples from Europe, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa (from similar periods). Based on results from previous studies referenced, Holliday and Hilton concentrated their effort on measurements which have already been determined to vary with climate, “specifically limb bones from the four major limb segments, femoral head diameter, skeletal trunk height (the summed dorsal body heights of T1-L5 plus sacral ventral length), and bi-iliac breadth [pelvic width].” (Holliday and Hilton, 2010). From the basic measurements, the authors computed seven ratios which are identified as indices for comparison. Results show that African samples provide the lowest indices while circumpolar populations show the highest, with European numbers in the middle. Neither of the groups measured specifically for this study (nor the third Native North American sample) is significantly different from the other, but marked variations exist between these groups and both of the African groups. Interestingly, results do not support the authors’ expectation that the Inuit and Europeans would show a discernible variation using the specific indices studied. However, the bi-iliac relative breadth index (pelvic breadth compared to assumed trunk height) did separate these two groups distinctly. As a counter-point, it is noted that there are other factors which can affect overall stature, such as under-nutrition. In a harsh environment, maintaining sufficient nutritional intake is likely compromised, and so the shorter body may not be simply an adaptation to the extremely cold environment.
Popular rhetoric holds that a layer of body fat helps keep humans, and other mammals, warm. In his 2007 American Journal of Human Biology article, “Human cold adaptation: An unfinished agenda” Steegmann does not disagree; he says, “Fat insulates better than muscle per unit of thickness. However, in a fit person, muscle layers are usually much thicker than subcutaneous fat and consequently have higher absolute insulative value.” Studies in the 1950s and 1960s (referenced in Elsner (1963): LeBlanc, 1954; Baker and Daniels, 1956; Daniels, et al, 1961) demonstrated that Caucasians with a thicker layer of body fat, as measured by skinfold, maintained core temperature, skin temperature, and metabolic rate more reliably when exposed to 15° C (59°F) for two hours. However, in a similar study (Elsner, 1963) compared the skinfold thickness of eight hunter-gatherer groups (aborigines of central and northern Australia, Inuit of Canada, Eskimos, Alacaluf Indians of southern Chile, Lapps, Peruvian Indians, and Kalahari bushmen), and cold-acclimatized Norwegian students, with urban Caucasians as a control. Skinfold thickness was measured at ten locations: abdomen, back (subscapular), calf, cheek, chin, iliac crest, knee, pectoral, upper arm,and side. The urban Caucasian control group had higher values across the board, except for the cheek measurement. Of particular interest, Canadian Inuit, and Eskimos had amongst the lowest values; not what was expected from populations that acquire 70-75% of their caloric intake (see above) from animal fat. Additionally he measured the rectal temperature, metabolic rate, and skin temperature of his subjects during an eight-hour sleep period with ambient room temperature of 0° – 5°C (32° – 41°F) during which time they had only one thin blanket to wrap up in. Elsner reports that there was poor correlation between skinfold thickness and the measurements of interest during the overnight study. In support of these findings, from another study, Steegman (2007) reports results which demonstrate that Inuit “traditionally had high muscle mass and high work capacity, but low body fat.” Aside from the subjective observation that the “primitive” groups had “better sleep” than the control group, three sets of reactions emerged from Elsner’s study: 1) Canadian Inuit, Eskimos, and Alacaluf Indians, and cold-acclimatized Norwegian students demonstrated high metabolic rates (measurement technique not defined) and warm extremities; 2) Kalahari bushmen and aborigines from central Australia had stable or falling metabolic rate and cooler skin; and 3) Peruvian Indians and Lapps had low rectal temperatures and higher extremity temperatures. So, while a thicker layer of body fat does not seem to be a human adaptation for survival in extremely cold environments, increased metabolic rate and some protective mechanism to keep extremities warm both appear likely. (Makinen, 2007)
Physiological adaptations include: increased basal metabolic rate, high protein/high fat/low carbohydrate nutritional requirements, and some evidence of variations in blood chemistry. (Westerterp-Plantenga 1999; Srivastava, Kumar 1991; Moalem, Storey, Percy, Peros, Perl 2004)
“…An inverse relationship between BMR and mean annual temperature has been documented, which holds true even when controlled for differences in body size.” (Snodgrass, et all 2005) In fact, Snodgrass, et al (2005) conducted extensive research among the Yakut population in Siberia (sub-polar Asia) which supports the claim that increased basal metabolic rate is an important human adapation to the stress of an extremely cold environment. With a thorough and well-documented scientific process, participants in the Snodgrass study underwent measurements of core temperature, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and heart rate in a thermoneutral (23° – 27°C) environment after a 12-hour fast. Results for basal metabolic rate (BMR) were predicted based on three standards drawn from a European population: fat-free mass (FFM), surface area (SA), and body mass. In all three cases, for males and females, the Yakut BMR measured significantly higher than predicted values. The BMR of Yakut men and women were demonstrably elevated over their more southern-dwelling, European counterparts. Another metabolic adaptation might be seen in the increased incidence of Type 1 diabetes mellitus among northern Europeans. Moalem, et al (2004) “Recent animal research has uncovered the importance of the generation of elevated levels of glucose, glycerol and other sugar derivatives as a physiological means for cold adaptation. High concentrations of these substances depress the freezing point of body fluids and prevent the formation of ice crystals in cells through supercooling, thus acting as a cryoprotectant or antifreeze for vital organs as well as in their muscle tissue.” Citing the example of cystic fibrosis conferring immunity to typhoid (salmonella typhi), the authors suggest that elevated blood glucose levels, such as are seen when the body does not produce insulin, may be the result of genetic mutation which gave an evolutionary advantage to inhabitants of cold climates about 14,000 years ago when world-wide temperatures dropped dramatically. Life expectancies then were short, so genetic adaptations that enhanced survival would have favored changes in the short term. Now that our life expectancies have increased to 70+ years, we can observe that such changes might have been beneficial then, but currently are causing dangerous health issues within the aging population.
Traditional dietary intake of these populations of cold-dwellers depends completely on what is available at any given time. In 2004 Patricia Cochran, a native Inuit Alaskan, wrote on the traditional diet for “Our meat was seal and walrus, marine mammals that live in cold water and have lots of fat. We used seal oil for our cooking and as a dipping sauce for food. We had moose, caribou, and reindeer. We hunted ducks, geese, and little land birds like quail, called ptarmigan. We caught crab and lots of fish-salmon, whitefish, tomcod, pike, and char. Our fish were cooked, dried, smoked, or frozen. We ate frozen raw whitefish, sliced thin. The elders liked stinkfish, fish buried in seal bags or cans in the tundra and left to ferment. And fermented seal flipper, they liked that too.” She reports that in the short summers the villagers would forage for roots, greens, and berries.. “What the diet of the Far North illustrates,” says Harold Draper, a biochemist and expert in Eskimo nutrition, “is that there are no essential foods-only essential nutrients. And humans can get those nutrients from diverse and eye-opening sources.” Inhabitants of extremely cold climates do not live to eat, they eat to live. The traditional Inuit diet, which seems to a Westerner to be sorely lacking in fruits and vegetables, which the U.S. government insists are necessary for wellness, supplies all they need to maintain health in their sub-polar climate. Vitamin C, which is a vital component for healthy connective tissue, is found in raw animal organs, raw kelp, and even muktuk, which is as rich in Vitamin C as orange juice, gram for gram.Fat-soluble vitamins A and D are metabolically mined from cold-water fish and mammal fats and livers. Not surprising, then, that the traditional Inuit diet comprised 90% of its caloric intake from meat and fish, 50-70% of its calories specifically from wild animal fat – fat is the source of not only calories but also necessary nutrients.
This traditional Inuit diet based wholly on what food is available from hunting, fishing and forage-harvesting might be a behavioral/cultural adaptation to the climate, while also encompassing metabolic/digestive adaptations. While morphological and physiological adaptations to environment take eons to manifest, some cultural and social adaptations may be apparent on a far shorter time scale. Steegmann (2007, and references therein) speaks about Richard K. Nelson’s comparison of Kutchin natives of east-central Alaska to Eskimos, explaining Nelson’s observation that Kutchin hunters keep moving if they lose their way, afraid if they stop they will sleep and freeze. Eskimo rest as needed and only move to stay warm. He also noted that Eskimo had a complex understanding of weather prediction and were better equipped to plan accordingly and keep themselves safe. “In both cases, Eskimos seem to practice higher survival skills and both behaviors are strongly directed by cultural traditions.” Two very different responses to the same stimuli in similar environments, with potentially diametrically opposed results: survival and death. Another surprising and non-intuitive variation in responses to the extreme cold of sub-polar life can be found in the clothing styles of arctic and some sub-arctic populations. According to Herná, et al. (1997) arctic inhabitants, such as the Inuit, wear clothing designed to protect them from the harsh cold, whereas the three Fuegian tribes they study, who lived at the southern tip of South America, are anecdotally described as “almost naked throughout their lives.” The Fuegian tribes are extinct, so no opportunities to explore their cultural adaptations to their extreme environment.
Human adapation to the stress of an extremely cold environment, such as those of sub-polar regions, can be seen in morphological changes, physiological changes, and behavioral/cultural developments. Morphological changes include long, narrow nasal passages, to pre-warm icy air and protect fragile lung tissues and short, stocky body structure, which increases the body mass to surface area ratio, conserving body heat. Physiologically, increased basal metabolic rate is strongly supported as an adaptation, in a contemporary population, to the extremely cold climate of Siberia. An increased incidence of Type 1 diabetes in cold climates is suggested as a favorable mutation during the rapid onset of a mini Ice Age, but more studies would be needed to prove this as a lasting adaptation. Changes in metabolism and digestion in order to extract necessary nutrients from the limited food sources available in a sub-polar climate may be a physiological adaptation, but without studies to demonstrate a change in how the Inuit (or other sub-polar inhabitant) body processes food in order to extract necessary nutrients, it should be categorized as a behavioral/cultural adaptations. They eat to live, utilizing all food sources available. Other behavioral adaptations can be observed in a more precise ‘weather awareness,’ perhaps, and clothing styles.

Was the Cold War inevitable after World War II?

Unless you believe in predeterminism, nothing is inevitable in history. However, some things have a higher probability of happening than others, and this is what this study addresses. It looks at possibilities other than the outcome which occurred and explores why these scenarios did not prevail. It then looks at the actual unfolding of events and the deeper history which led to the Cold War emerging between 1945 and 1947/48. It analyses the factors which inclined the world towards ideological polarisation and evaluates what was the most significant.

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Several outcomes other than an armed, hostile stand-off could have emerged at the end of World War II. There might have been a hot war, with the vast armies of the Soviet Union pitched against the equally powerful armed might of the Western Allies. Alternatively, there could have been electoral successes and popular uprisings by communist and other radical left-wing movements across Western Europe leading to the coming to power of regimes less willing to take a hostile stance towards the USSR. Thirdly, elections in Eastern Europe might have resulted in Soviet influence stopping at her own borders and hence no Iron Curtain “stretching from Stettin to Trieste” (Thomas, 1988, 703). Finally, a more cooperative, consensual and less suspicious approach to diplomacy would possibly have achieved a mutually acceptable rapprochement.
Apart from some hot-headed, dyed-in-the-wool anti-communists, such as General George Patton, there was little desire to start up another war against erstwhile allies. For the politicians of the democracies, initiating a new war would have been political suicide. For Stalin, there was little to be gained since he was in control of sufficient east European territory to create a series of buffer states to protect the Soviet Union (Leffler, 1986). Additionally, the USA had developed and demonstrated the use of the atomic bomb, something which the Russians had not yet mastered. Equally significantly, despite Churchill’s extreme wariness about Soviet post-war intentions in Europe, President Roosevelt was less concerned with ideas of Russian expansionism and he was by far the senior Western partner. He was willing to treat with Stalin, seeing the winning of the war as much more important than manoeuvring for later anti-communist geostrategic advantage (Offner, 1999). Despite his death a month before victory in Europe, his cooperative legacy prevailed long enough to make a shooting war with the USSR a non-starter (van Alstein, 2009).
The prospect of a much more left-leaning political Europe was a genuine possibility. In Britain, the Labour Party won an overwhelming victory in the 1945 election, while in Italy there was a very real possibility of the Communist Party at the least being a participant in Italy’s first post-war government. Determined that Italy must remain in the Western camp, President Truman authorised the covert transfer of vast amounts of cash to the anti-communist Christian Democrat Party which proved significant in overcoming the initial broad support for the anti-fascist parties of the left (Mistry, 2014). Even more decisive was the decision to finance and arm the right-wing government in Greece during the civil war which began in 1946. Truman’s support came at a crucial moment when it looked like communist forces might prevail. Significantly Stalin chose not to back the insurgents, honouring the agreements reached at Moscow in 1944 and the Yalta Conference of 1945 over spheres of influence in Europe. Similar US aid was extended to Turkey to prevent her entering into any agreement with Russia over defence and access to the Mediterranean. Had things turned out differently in those countries, it might well have strengthened the already powerful communist movements in France and Belgium (Gaddis, 2005; Edwards, 1989).
The scenario of elections in the eastern European nations occupied by Soviet forces at the end of the war producing non-communist governments was not impossible, although neither was it likely. Western historians have largely seen the Russians imposing puppet communist governments upon unwilling populaces, but in each country there were strong indigenous communist movements (Theoharis, 1976; Joll, 1973). Once in power, however, each regime refused to submit itself for re-election. This was not wholly because of Russian force of arms, but also because these regimes knew that their hold upon power depended on remaining within the Soviet bloc and thus they acquiesced in becoming client states. For Stalin they provided a buffer against what he still saw as a threat from the West to their very existence (Starobin, 1969). After experiencing foreign intervention in the 1917-22 civil war, international ostracism in the subsequent interwar years, and a brutal, genocidal invasion by Germany, it is not altogether surprising that Stalin was somewhat wary.
It has been argued by numerous revisionist historians that, in the immediate post-war years, Stalin was seeking rapprochement with the West (Zubok & Pleshakov, 1996; Roberts, 1994; Starobin, 1969). This seems persuasive since the Soviet Union was in desperate need of a period of retrenchment after the terrible depredations of the life-or-death struggle against Nazi invasion which it had just endured. There was a shield-wall of buffer states in place, Stalin was both unwilling and unable to expand any further, no attempt was made to incorporate Finland or Austria into the communist orbit despite having ample opportunity to do so, both the Western Allies and the USSR had demobilised the great bulk of their armed forces by 1948, and the West had been given free rein to impose its preferred political set-up in Italy, Greece and Turkey (Hobsbawm, 1994). Why then did there not emerge a period of international tensionless coexistence?
There seems to be two principal reasons for this: the presidency of Harry Truman, and Western (especially American) ideological intransigence. Truman was a truculent, belligerent individual who had little experience of foreign affairs when he became president upon Roosevelt’s death. He had a very black-and-white, us-and-them view of the world, and despite his lack of knowledge of political belief-systems beyond the USA, was viscerally anti-communist (Costigliola, 2010). Alan Offner described him as “a parochial nationalist who lacked the leadership to move America away from conflict and towards détente” (1999, 150), seeing his aggressive posturing towards the USSR as a major factor causing Stalin to adopt more hard-line, domineering policies in the Russian zone of influence in eastern Europe.
It was during his speech announcing US aid to Turkey and Greece that Truman first enunciated his Policy of Containment towards the Soviet Union.
[T]otalitarian regimes imposed upon free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States… It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures. (Edwards, 1989, 131)
Truman was setting up the USA as the world’s policeman, and in the process was creating the basis of American policy towards the USSR for the next forty years. The Soviet Union was to be treated as an implacable foe, as the ideological antithesis of what America believed it stood for, and as a state intent on undermining democracy and Western civilisation (Roberts, 1991). As such it was an existential threat which must be opposed and contained everywhere and at all times. Some historians have argued that “Containment” was the wrong term for American/Western aims during the Cold War – the goal was in fact “the collapse and destruction of the Soviet state and system and its displacement by liberal democratic institutions, whatever the rhetoric about co-existence.” (Kimball, 2001, 352) Truman began this policy, marking a distinct break with the consensual approach of his predecessor (Costigliola, 2010).
Obsessive anti-communism so permeated successive high-level American thinking that almost all foreign policy was seen in terms of defeating the Russians and their evil doctrines. Joseph Siracusa described the USA developing “an increasingly rigid ideological view of the world – anti-communist, anti-socialist, anti-leftist – that came to rival that of communism.” (Siracusa, 2001, 154) The roots of this preoccupation can be traced to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, not so much the events or even the consequences for Russia, but rather the self-proclaimed global mission of fomenting world insurrection against the established order, the propertied classes and liberal capitalism. However, during the interwar years, the USSR was not viewed as a dangerously powerful state, and when Stalin promulgated the policy of “socialism in one country” there was even less reason to be proactively hostile. Ideological animosity was still intense, but action was confined to trade embargoes and a refusal to recognise the Soviet Union. It was only in 1933 that Roosevelt extended recognition when the threat of fascism appeared much greater than that of communism (Roberts, 1991).
As well as the personality and worldview of Truman, events between 1945 and 1948 progressively and cumulatively increased the polarisation and ratcheted up hostility. Among these were the abandonment by Britain and the USA of their commitment to making the Germans pay substantial reparations, something which had been agreed at Yalta and was seen as important and necessary by Russia which had suffered far worse infrastructural and economic damage than the Western Allies. Choosing the option of rehabilitation over repression (Thomas, 1988), the British and Americans merged their occupations areas into the Bizone, then created the Trizone by adding the French sector, introducing a single currency for the whole area. This established a framework for an integrated administrative economic area in the Western sectors, a development advanced greatly in 1947 by the Marshall Plan (Lewkowicz, 2008). The Marshall Plan was not the simple gesture of a generous United States unselfishly seeking to help a debilitated Europe recover. The aim was to create an Open-Door policy within a free-trade Europe where the USA could freely sell its surplus production and invest its huge capital reserves. Money which was offered as aid came with strings attached. What could be bought and from whom was carefully prescribed, the greater part being American-made goods, while the supra-national decision-making body administering the Plan was dominated by the Americans (Roberts, 1994).
The Russians, initially welcoming the Plan, quickly recognised its underlying economic and political disadvantages. They saw it creating a design for Europe which would work to the benefit of the USA within an ideologically unacceptable framework, and declined to participate. The creation of the Trizone and its further binding together with Marshall Aid was only one step away from the implementation of political integration. Following the Berlin Blockade, this duly happened in May 1949 with the declaration of the Federal Republic of Germany. Five months later the German Democratic Republic was established (Lewkowicz, 2008; Roberts, 1994).
The crystallisation of a bipolar Europe was mirrored in the Far East. As part of a deal struck with Stalin, the Americans were given free rein to restructure both Japan and the Philippines which they turned into compliant pro-American, pro-capitalist states. Korea was divided between the two blocs, while Vietnam was prevented from unifying as one nation under Ho Chi Minh and his nationalist-communist liberation movement by the Americans. Against all the anti-imperial promises of Roosevelt, Truman encouraged the French to return as colonial masters in the South rather than let the country be united under a left-wing regime (Theoharis, 1976; Herring, 1986). Effectively, the USA was engaging in an economic, ideological and military-backed expansionist policy while accusing the USSR of that self-same activity.
Post-war international relations were always going to tend towards the development of two rival camps, but that is not sufficient to explain the intense hostility which emerged. In early 1945, cooperation was still the dominant paradigm among the Allies, not just to defeat the Axis, but for reasons of future security and peace. Ideological differences were seen more as domestic matters than major shapers of international relations. Soviet expansionism and her claim to zones of influence were regarded largely as conventional Russian nationalist ambitions, and were matched by the Western Allies’ own zones of influence. However, coinciding with the advent of Truman, suspicions and misreadings of the other side’s intentions emerged. Fearing the worst, both began acting upon their misconceived views of the other and started behaving in ways that confirmed their opponents preconceptions, creating self-fulfilling prophecies about what the other would do (van Alstein, 2009).
It is not surprising that Stalin acted out of paranoia and suspicion as his domestic record in the late 1920s and 1930s testifies, but Truman was his ideological counterpart in his misreading of Russian intentions and his doggedly anti-communist certainty. William Fulbright summed up the emerging ideological mind-set which would dominate US foreign-policy thinking for four decades and which was the most important factor in creating the reality of the Cold War:
Like medieval theologians we had a philosophy that explained everything to us in advance, and everything that did not fit could be readily identified as a fraud or a lie or an illusion… The perniciousness of the anti-Communist ideology arises not from any patent falsehood but from its distortion and simplification of reality, from its universalization and its elevation to the status of a revealed truth. (Fulbright, 1972, 43)
It was not inevitability which led to the Cold War, but inflexibility.
Costigliola, Frank. “After Roosevelt’s Death: Dangerous Emotions, Divisive Discourses, and the Abandoned Alliance.” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (2010): 1-24.
Edwards, Lee. “Congress and the Origins of the Cold War: The Truman Doctrine.” World Affairs 151, no. 3 (1989): 131-141.
Fulbright, J. William. “Reflections: In Thrall to Fear.” The New Yorker, January 1972: 41-43.
Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War . London: Penguin, 2005.
Herring, George C. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. 2nd edition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986.
Hobsbawm, Eric. Age of Extremes. London: Penguin, 1994.
Joll, James. Europe Since 1870: An International History. London: Pelican, 1973.
Kimball, Warren F. “The Incredible Shrinking War: The Second World War, Not (Just) the Origins of the Cold War.” Diplomatic History 25, no. 3 (2001): 347-365.
Leffler, Melvyn P. “Adherence to Agreements: Yalta and the Experiences of the Early Cold War.” International Security 11, no. 1 (1986): 88-123.
Lewkowicz, Nicolas. The German Question and the Origins of the Cold War. Milan: IPOC di Pietro Condemi, 2008.
Mistry, Kaeten. The United States, Italy and the Origins of Cold War: Waging Political Warfare, 1945-1950. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Offner, Arnold A. “‘Another such victory’: President Truman, American foreign policy, and the Cold War.” Diplomatic History 23, no. 2 (1999): 127-155.
Roberts, Geoffrey. “Moscow and the Marshall Plan: Politics, ideology and the onset of the Cold War, 1947.” Europe-Asia Studies 46, no. 8 (1994): 1371-1386.
—. The Soviet Union in World Politics: Coexistence, Revolution and Cold War, 1945-1991. London: Routledge, 1999.
Siracusa, Joseph M. “The ‘New’ Cold War History and the Origins of the Cold War.” Australian Journal of Politics and History 47, no. 1 (2001): 149-155.
Starobin, Joseph R. “Origins of the Cold War: The Communist Dimension.” Foreign Affairs 47, no. 4 (1969): 681-696.
Theoharis, Atan. “The origins of the Cold War: A revisionist interpretation.” Foreign Affairs 4, no. 1 (1976): 3-11.
Thomas, Hugh. Armed Truce. Sevenoaks: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988.
van Alstein, Maarten. “The meaning of hostile bipolarization: Interpreting the origins of the Cold War.” Cold War History 9, no. 3 (2009): 301-319.
Zubok, Vladislav, and Constantine Pleshakov. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

The Middle East during the Cold War

The impact of the rivalry between Soviet Union and United States in the Cold War distorted internal politics and exacerbated or complicated regional conflicts. Indeed, the grafting of the USA/USSR competition over pre-existing Middle Eastern rivalries in several cases intensified them. At the same time, though, and in some cases, the Middle Eastern political élites themselves made use of the Cold War to pursue their own interests of hegemony, security or colonial emancipation. Following Khalidi (2009) in assuming that during the Cold War the level of penetration of the Soviet and American influence was proportional to the degree of the strategic importance of the region, I will first discuss the strategic and geopolitical features of the Middle East. Secondly, I will describe some significant historical events, in order to show how the Cold War logic affected the area and how it shaped the region’s political reality, both from a regional and a domestic point of view.

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The Cold War and the Middle East
The Cold War dominated world politics from the end of the WW2 to the collapse of Soviet Union. On 5 March 1946, when Churchill pronounced its famous speech at Westminster University, in Fulton, Missouri, describing Europe as divided by an iron curtain, with eastern Europe subjected to the “Soviet sphere” and the West under American influence, the Cold War was already on going. For more than forty years, superpowers competed ideologically, militarily, technologically and diplomatically. The effects of the rivalry extended all over the World, generating high degree of polarization and aggravating pre-existing conflicts. Although there were no wars fought directly by the two superpowers, proxy confrontations occurred in Southeast Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.
The Middle East was a primary area of contention (Khalidi, 2009). Since WWII, superpowers were aware of its importance, in terms of its strategic geographic location and its vast oilfields and gas deposits. In fact, from a geopolitical point of view, the region lays at the junction of three continents, immediately south to the border of Russia and the Caucasus and it is surrounded by four major seas, namely the Mediterranean, the Black and the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Before the end of the war, both United States and Soviet Union were already strategically interested in the Middle East’s oil reserve. In fact, not only at the time were the great powers the World’s major oil producers (Khalidi, 2009), but also the war made them increasingly aware of the strategic role oil had acquired in warfare. Their motorised forces, in fact, were crucially dependent on oil for their propulsion, as were their navies and air forces (Khalidi, 2009). Consequentially, they become intensely concerned about the risk of their supplies being denied by their enemies and about preserving them.
Nonetheless, the region’s importance in terms of military strategy and oil supply further established throughout the Cold War. In the late 1950s and until the Cuban missiles crisis of 1962, American missiles launching submarines were based in Turkey; in the 1960s and for about a decade, when a longer range missiles technology became available, American submarines were in Spain, with Soviet antisubmarine naval forces and air units based in Egypt and Turkey. During the 1970s, the military and strategic territorial concern of both powers moved to the Arab Peninsula and the region bordering the Indian Ocean, where the new generation American missiles launching submarines were positioned (Khalid, 2009).
Anyway, in the aftermath of the WWII, United States and Soviet Union were already militarily and diplomatically engaged in the region, respectively in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. The Middle East, thus, became a major theatre of bitter rivalries between the great powers, the effects of which would deeply influence and shape its politics and historical dynamics.
Conflicts, alliances, nuclear threats and the complex events which occurred in the Middle East during the Cold War were determined by the following underlying forces: fear of the superpowers of being excluded from the control over the region; their attempt to replace Britain’s power in the Middle East; anti-colonialism and the struggle of Middle Eastern states for the emancipation, which led to their alliances with the superpowers; the emergence of Arab nationalism and the diffusion of the communist ideology. Ideology, indeed, played a fundamental role. It was adopted both in terms of appeal made to potential allies and in terms of economic, political and social models they offered to them (Halliday in Sayigh and Shlaim, 1997).
One of the events which reveal the pervasive effects of the international competition in the Region is The Arab cold war of 1958-1970, as Malcolm H. Kerr (1965) has called it. In the aftermath of the Suez crisis, in which both superpowers have supported Egypt and the Arab states against Israel, French and Britain, the pre-war Saudi-American relationship was cemented by the “Eisenhower Doctrine” and Saudi adherence to it. In his famous speech of January 1957, Eisenhower admitted the strategic importance of the area and denounced the Communist threat in the Middle East and Soviet Union’s interest in power politics, which have become clearer with its involvement in the Suez crisis. Soviet political, economic and military aids were depicted by President Eisenhower as ‘International Communism’s instruments of domination’ (Eisenhower, 1957), apparently harmless means to manipulate local instability for Soviet power-purpose. Thus, he authorized ‘the employment of the armed forces of the United States to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid, against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by International Communism’ (Eisenhower, 1957).
The Saudi-American relation exacerbated Saudi relations with Nasser’s Egypt, a former non-aligned state which was moving closer to the Soviet Union. At the same time a heterogeneous agglomerate of political forces supported by the Soviet Union was formed, including not only communist and radical parties, but also nationalist, pan-Arab, anti-colonialist and “bourgeois-democratic” groups. In order to balance the secular and radical wave of Arab regimes, as Khalidi (2009) pointed out, Saudi Arabia and its ally United States adopted Islam and religious propaganda as ideological counter-weapon. In this way, Islam became a crucial tool of the American intelligence during the Cold War. The result was a high degree of polarization in the Region, with the Soviet Union aligned with authoritarian nationalist regimes and USA supporting absolute monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Arab Gulf States and authoritative regimes in Pakistan, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco.
Another instance of the superpowers influence over regional politics in the Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the origin of the conflict has little to do with superpowers rivalry (Halliday, the Cold War competition generated polarization around the issue, fuelling arms race and leading several times to the risk of a nuclear strike. In the first phase of Israel life, namely from its birth in 1948 to the Suez Crisis of 1956, superpowers competed in supporting Israel. Polarization occurred after 1956, with USA supporting Israel and Soviet Union supporting Arab States. The competition took place in terms of armaments supply and economic aids, with the stakes escalating and culminating with the 1968-1970 and the 1973 wars, when Washington declared nuclear alert for the last time in the history of the Cold War.
Internally, cold war rivalries distorted economic decisions, domestic policies, social, military and political balances, with the superpowers being responsible of – or supporting – coups and internal rebellions (Khalidi, 2009). Religion and ideology have been instrumentalised in order to pursuit the Cold War logic of balance of power, with some impacts also on the growth of democracy. Indeed, there was no stress by the United States to promote democracy or Human rights in the area. USA itself covered or supported actions to subvert Middle Eastern democracies – such as the American-British’s coup in Iran, which brought down the elected Mossadeq government and reinstalled the autocratic Mohammad Reza Shah in 1953. This behaviour was coherent with the American security tasks to preserve the Middle East from Communism and export the capitalist logic of free market; tasks which could be effectively pursued by aligning with the wealthy and conservative local elites. Soviet Union, instead, worked attentively to encourage the development of socialism and distributive logic in the area, trying to appeal to the working classes and local communist parties (Khalidi, 2009).
An instance of the pervasive effect of rivalry at the domestic level is the case of Iran. Due to geographical contiguity, Iran felt continuously menaced by the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the war, though, communism was not perceived by the élites as good option for the development of the country. Thus, at the beginning of the Cold War, United States security interests, coincided with the Iranian ones (). US supported Shah, whose conservative government led to absolutism, corruption and to political stagnation, which, combined with fast modernization and social disruption, contributed to the rise of the Islamic Revolution. USSR also played a role in undermining the power of the Shah. As Rubinstein tells us, although Soviet Union did not directly interfere in the fall of the Shah, communist agents played an important role in spreading discontent in the Iranian oilfields, contributing to the economic paralysis, which undermined the pro-American government.
However, concerning the case of Iran, two considerations must be done, which, to different extents, could be applied to several other cases in the region. First, the Cold War did not represent the first case of influence and penetration by a hegemonic power in Persia. In fact, for example, both Russia and Britain had great security and economic interest in the Persian Gulf and intervened several times in the country, both militarily and not. In 1907, in order to balance their influence, the two states agreed to divide Iran; 1942, unsatisfied of its neutrality, they agreed to invade it.
Secondly, not only the rivalry logic diverted Iranian domestic policy, but also Iranian (and not only) élites made use of the Cold War and of USA support in order to pursue their security goals and keep itself independent from the Soviet threat, which, as previous events show, had worried them long before the beginning of the USA/USSR competition.
Finally, as Halliday (1997) pointed out, the Cold War competition had also another role in the region. It worked as a distraction, diverting attention from domestic problems, which could otherwise be earlier observed and solved. What emerged from the end of the competition and the victory of the West, thus, is just a not distorted and more grasping picture of the region and its pre-existent complexities.
Work Cited (Eisenhower doctrine)

The Causes of The Cold War Essay

The Cold War was a period of tension and hostility between the United States of America and the Soviet Union from the mid-40s to the late 80s. It began with the end of the Second World War. It was called the Cold War because there was no active war between the two nations, which was probably due to the fear of nuclear escalation. There were many indirect conflicts like the Vietnam and Korea wars. There was the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 which was the closest the world ever came to a nuclear war. An American U2 spy plane took photographs of Soviet intermediate ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads. The Soviet Union sent a total of 42 medium range missiles and 24 intermediate range missiles to Cuba. The US threatened to invade Cuba over the issue. Ultimately the Soviets removed the missiles on America’s promise of not invading Cuba (, 2010)

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The cold war is not only a period in international history but also a description of the overall relationship between the USA and USSR during that period. There are three main views about the cold war. Each of them generates a set of discrete claims about the causes of the cold war, the nature of the cold war, the end of the cold war, and its legacy in contemporary international relations. Perhaps the most popular of these views is that the cold war was an intense struggle for power between the superpowers. (Callaghan et al, 2007)
Who was to blame for the Cold War?
Russian historians blamed Churchill (the British Prime Minister) and Truman (the American president, 1945-1953). They said Truman and Churchill wanted to destroy the USSR, which was just defending itself.
The Traditional View: At first, western writers blamed Russia. They said Stalin was trying to build up a Soviet empire.
The Revisionist View: Later, however, some western historians blamed America. They said Truman had not understood how much Russia had suffered in the Second World War.
The Post-Revisionists: Later still, historians think BOTH sides were to blame – that there were hatreds on both sides.  
Most recently, historians agree that the Cold War was primarily a clash of beliefs – Communism versus Capitalism. (
Causes of the Cold War
The Soviet Union wanted to spread its ideology of communism worldwide, which alarmed the Americans who followed democracy.
The acquisition of atomic weapons by America caused fear in the Soviets.
Both countries feared an attack from each other.
The Soviet Union’s action of taking control over Eastern Europe was a major factor for US suspicions.
The US President had a personal dislike of the Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
America was annoyed by the Soviet Union’s actions in the part of Germany it had occupied.
The Soviets feared that America would use Western Europe as a base to attack it. (, 2010)
Underlying Causes
Ideological: The United States and the Soviet Union represented two opposing systems of government. In the United States, the government was elected by free elections unlike the Soviet Union. The people could form political parties to voice their political opinions.
(ii) Economic: The United States wanted to encourage free trade throughout the world. The Soviet Union wanted to shield off her own sphere from international commerce. These differences led to much ill feeling between the United States and the Soviet Union.
(iii) Power rivalry: After the Second World War, with the decline of Europe, power was largely shared between the Soviet Union and the United States. As one wanted ‘to dominate the other, conflicts were inevitable.
Immediate Causes Leading to the Cold War
Incipient conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States began at the peace-time conferences. Their conflict was intensified after President Truman declared the Truman Doctrine and launched the Marshall Plan in 1947.
Extension of Russian influence in Europe: Even before the end of the war, the Soviet Union had gradually extended her influence in Europe. As the war was drawing to a close in May 1945, the Soviet Union quickly consolidated her control of Eastern Europe. The Red Army began by influencing the post-war elections. Although the non-communists could still gain some votes, most of the votes went to the communists. In late 1946, the French and Italian Communists were becoming the most powerful parties in France and Italy.
The reactions of the United States: Despite the increasing Russian influence in eastern and central Europe, many politicians in the United States were optimistic about the chances of co-operation with the Soviet Union after the war and did not advocate strong resistance against Russian expansion. But from May 1945 onwards, the situation was changed. The U.S. government favored a policy of strong resistance against Russia.
Poor relations between the United States and the Soviet Union: The deteriorating relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were reflected in two minor incidents in the year. Land-Lease was abruptly terminated by the United States and the Russian request for American economic aid for the purposes of post-war reconstruction was ignored by the government of the United States. (During the Second World War, the U.S. supplied much war material to the Allied nations through a Lend and Lease programme. As the Lend and Lease programme was suddenly stopped, the war-ravaged Soviet Union could not obtain American material support to help her post-war economic reconstruction.)
The poor relations between the East and West were also reflected in a speech by Churchill. In March 1946, Churchill made a speech at Fulton, Missouri in which he said, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent …. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the central and Eastern Europe – all are subject in one form or another not only to Soviet influence but also to a very high and increasing control from Moscow.” The Fulton speech increased the American suspicion of Soviet aggressive designs in Europe. (, 2010)
The two superpowers often jockeyed for position in the third world, supporting proxy wars in which they typically supplied and advised opposing factions in civil wars. The alignments were often arbitrary. For instance, the US backed the Ethiopian government and the Soviets backed next-door rival Somalian the 1970s; when an Ethiopian revolution caused the new government to seek Soviet help, the US switched to support Somalia instead (Goldstein, 2008).
The United States became alarmed with the growing of communism in Europe and set up the Marshall Plan in order to counteract the spread of communism. The Marshall Plan was an economic support program funded by the United States. They gave relief money to the war torn democratic countries in order to rebuild their economy. They did not give money to the Soviet Union and any of its satellites. The Unites States’ motivation for doing this was to provide themselves with trading partners and to economically exclude the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union also formed an exclusive economic federation between all the states in the Soviet Union called COMECON. This restricted trade to within the Soviet Union. These measures to isolate the enemy and set up economic barriers helped to provoke the Cold War. The Soviet Union and the west also formed political alliances to combat the other side. Western Europe and the United States formed NATO, a military pact. The Soviet Union created a similar pact, the Warsaw Pact, between the states within the Soviet Union.
These military coalitions put a greater threat behind the growing conflicts by involving more countries. These military alliances were supplemented by two edicts set by the Soviet Union and the United States. The United States issued the Truman Doctrine, which stated that they would support those countries resisting communism. Likewise, the Soviet Union later issued the Brezhnev Doctrine which decreed that the Soviet Union would intervene with force in order to protect communism in its satellites. One of the main issues that strained relations between the Soviet Union and the west was the threat of nuclear war.
Both the Soviet Union and the United States knew how to make nuclear weapons. This knowledge made the consequences of their actions much more cautious. This helped to cause the war during the Cuban Missile Crisis where the Soviet Union planted nuclear missiles at the United States from Cuba for a time. The Cold War was brought about by many factors caused at the end of World War II. The ideological differences, economic barriers, political and military alliances, and nuclear weapons all contributed to creating the Cold War. These differences caused the mounting tension between the Soviet Union and the west at the end of World War II. (, 2010)
The Cold War was the result of a clash between communism and capitalism, two opposing world-views. Another cause of the build up to the Cold War was the intransigent attitude of both sides. The Soviet Union was extremely concerned about its security after having been invaded twice in the twentieth century. In 1945 America created and used the atomic bomb against Japan and the USSR was determined to create one of its own. Both the USSR and the USA built up huge arsenals of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The United States tested a hydrogen bomb in 1952 and in November 1955, the USSR developed one too. After that the USA moved its bombers into Europe. In 1955 West Germany was allowed to re-arm and join NATO. Russia responded by forming the Warsaw Mutual Defense Pact with its buffer zone neighbors.
In 1957 the Soviets used a missile to launch Sputnik 1 into orbit around the earth. The arms race evolved into a space race as the United States rushed to launch its own satellites. The space race was an opportunity for the two nations to show their technological superiority. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first orbiting satellite, on October 4, 1957. On November 3, they launched Sputnik II with the first living creature, a dog, named Laika. (, 2010)
In the ’80s President Ronald Reagan of the US dubbed the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and predicted that it would be consigned to the ash heap of history. He announced a major weapons buildup and the SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) also dubbed “Star Wars”. The Soviet Union was too economically enfeebled to reply in kind. In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union. He adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the Americans and many arms reduction pacts were signed. In 1989 there was a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and in 1990 the Soviets agreed to the reunification of Germany. Movements against communist governments in Eastern Europe followed this. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 marking the end of the Cold War.

How The Cold War affected International Relations

This essay will look at ways the Cold War affected international relations between 1945-1990.
The cold war is a term that denotes the ideological conflict between western capitalism (USA) and Soviet-Marxism-Leninism (USSR), which involves the competition for domination between two economic and political systems ( Summy & Salla, 1995, p.20).
From 1945 until 1990, International Relations revolved round the resumed quarrel between the two superpowers. The ideology of the conflict ‘cold-war’ was transported around different parts of the world. (Cassels, A, 1996, p.207).
The extension of the ideology to a universal diplomatic terrain was furthered by the invention of the atomic bomb. The failure of the United States of America and the Soviet union to agree on an international atomic energy control system left the west in sole possession of nuclear weaponry until 1949 when the Soviets exploded their first nuclear device and then, some years later, acquired a missile – delivery capability (Cassels, A, 1996, p.207).

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The frightening power of nuclear weapons imposed a bar on their use, a ‘self-deterrence’ that operated even when the West enjoyed a monopoly. Both superpowers came to possess the ultimate weapon, parity was less important than Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) even when both threatened, there were elements of bluff involved. Because of the destruction atomic or nuclear war would cause and fearful of armed clash with each other, they were compelled to play their powers in third world. (Cassels, A, 1996, p.207).
The United States of America and the Soviet Union notion of the third world countries is underdevelopment, with little or no political advancement. They sought whatever kind of allies they could assemble, not minding their human rights records, be it a dictatorship or democratically elected government, they piled their arms in a determined effort to outmanoeuvre their main ideological rival in places as far apart as Cuba & Afghanistan, Vietnam & Angola. (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2008, p.82).
Proxy Wars such as events and conflicts in Asia and elsewhere also affected international relations between the periods of 1945-1990. In 1949, thirty-year-long Chinese civil war ended in victory for the communist. In June 1950, the North Korean attack on South Korea was interpreted as part of a general communist strategy, over 3 million people died. (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2008, p.61).
The Middle East experienced a more difficult era during the cold war. The founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Though, both the USA and the USSR helped the creation of a Jewish state in previously owned Arab lands. However, in the 1950s, relations between the superpowers had gone ‘cold’, the Soviet foreign policy supported Arab nationalism. The state of Israel was created by force. Israel developed relations with the British and the French, culminating in their secret agreement to attack Egypt in 1956. (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2008, p.61).
The death of Stalin in 1953 had significant consequences for the USSR, his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, helped unleash reformist forces in Eastern Europe. While Poland was controlled , the situation in Hungary threatened Soviet hegemony, and in 1956, the intervention of the Red Army brought bloodshed to the street of Budapest and worldwide condemnation of Moscow’s action. International relations were heading downhill. Khrushchev’s policies aroused fears in the West of a global communist challenge. The cold war saw the growth of large permanent intelligent organisations, whose roles ranged from estimating intentions and capabilities of adversaries to covert intervention in the affairs of other states. (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2008, p.62).
The Cold War affected international relations between 1945-1990 in so many ways but one of the most important is the replacement of a ‘multipolar’ with a ‘bipolar configuration of power (Gaddis,J.L, 1992, p.172). A Balance of power between the USA and the USSR, ‘two states, isolationist by tradition, famed for impulsive behaviour, they both showed in crucial cases to wary, alert, cautious, flexible and forbearing. This was a period of nuclear stand-off between two great powers.(Gaddis,J.L, 1992, p.172).
Germany’s reconstruction after the Second World War was in jeopardy because of the ‘cold-war’ between the two superpowers. The United States was in control of West Germany, while the Soviet Union was in control of East Germany. The cold-war had resulted to economic warfare, when the US introduced currency reforms, the USSR reacted immediately. They blockaded all links by land and cut all other supplies, subjecting the East to poverty and squalor while the Western part of Germany wallowed in economic reform and reconstruction. (McCauley, M, 1995, p.97).
The Berlin blockade increased the feeling of military insecurity in northern, western and southern Europe and there was pressure for a common military force. This led to the drawing up of North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington on 4th April 1949 and eventually to a common defence force, known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). (McCauley, M, 1995, p.98).
The Soviet union by way of rejoinder, established the council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) in 1949 and the WARSAW PACT, the Soviet Union’s answer to NATO, in 1955. With the formation of the (WEST) European Economic Area in 1958, the division of Europe was complete. (McCauley, M, 1995, p.97).
Because of the Soviet -American confrontation, a parallel process was underway – the formation of blocs. The division of Germany and the splitting of Europe, and indeed the world, into two camps, was a fait accompli by 1955. From then onwards, the two major political groupings competed for spheres of influence. (McCauley, M, 1995, p.99).
The bipolar world of two superpowers also affected countries who were not directly involved in the ‘war’ but had an allegiance to either Moscow or Washington. The Marshall plan, an economic reform programme, was introduced by the United States to help ‘kick-start’ the economies of European states including the Soviet Union. It placed the Soviet Union in a serious predicament, since the economy of European states was spiralling downhill thus needed the United States capital and goods to recover. The USSR believed the plan was an extension of Truman’s doctrine, which involved interference in internal affairs of other states and also the US intention to dominate political and economic dominance of Europe. The soviet response to Marshall Plan was negative. (McCauley, M, 1995, p.89).
The Cold War affected international relations, in the sense that, it limited the sovereignty of allies, especially that of the USSR, the Soviets decision to reject the Marshall Plan left the plan in tatters because of their mistrust of American motives, they were able to split Europe because of their deep pessimism about their ability to contain US influence (McCauley, M, 1995, p.91). Despite the initial approval of other communist countries, immediately the Soviet Union rejected the plan and applied pressure on its allies, they all withdrew from the Marshal Plan (McCauley, M, 1995, p.90). However, as the economic situation in Czechoslovakia began to deteriorate, crises developed and because of their support for Moscow, there appeared little hope of obtaining outside assistance. (McCauley, M, 1995, p.94).
The role of the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) The Corporation that were enjoyed in countries other than the USA and USSR suffered a setback. Communists in southern and western Europe were ordered to break with social democrats because they were seen as a tool of US imperialism. The Cold War, thus, ceased to be merely an expression of international politics; it had become a reality of internal politics by affecting every part of decision making process of allies loyal to the US or the USSR. (McCauley, M, 1995, p.92).
The ‘War’ also had an economic effect on the two superpowers, the end of the post-war boom and the onset of a period of low and declining profit rates which had detrimental effects on them. The boom had been sustained by the arms race. The USSR and the USA were doubly disadvantaged. They were affected by the global crises that meant relatively stagnant growth from the mid-1970s. Since they were the largest arms spenders, the consequences were more devastating for the USSR for two reasons. The arms race compelled the USSR to match the military build up of the US. The Soviet economy was much smaller and therefore much less efficient than that of the USA. (Summy & Salla, 1995, p.162).
As soviet – Chinese relations were deteriorating, and America’s involvement in Vietnam deepening, the tensions were getting out of control, thereby, resulting in the period of relative peace known as Détente. Both Washington and Moscow agreed on the peculiar status of Berlin, and the sovereignty of East Germany. The Détente of both superpowers had its roots in mutual recognition of the need to avoid nuclear crises, and in the economic sense, to avoid unconstrained nuclear arms race. But, the perception that the USSR was using arms control agreements to gain military advantage and the support for revolutionary movements in the ‘Third World’, Ethiopia in 1975 and Angola in 1978 killed détente. Some argued, that Reagan’s own incautious killed détente (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2008, p.64).
As part of the consequences of the cold war, international relations between the USA and some European countries took a new dimension, the Truman administration sought to justify limited aid to Turkey and Greece to arouse awareness of Soviet ambition and a declaration that America would support those threatened by Soviet expansion. (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2008, p.61).
The cold war was no longer between US and USSR, they had their trusted allies by their side as a way of engineering support and unleashing whatever consequences they deem fit for any oppression against any member of their association. The war has both directly and indirectly affected international politics as well as diplomatic relations between countries.

How the cold war promoted the civil rights movement in america, and how it promoted change

Cold war refers to the conflict between the nations that supported communism and they were headed by the Soviet Union and those that supported democracy and they were headed by the United States. The cold war was fought propaganda, fiscal warfare, political arguments and through martial conflicts at times. The cold war is said to have began around 1947 when President Truman of the United States affirmed his policy against communism thereby provoking a cold war commenced between the United States and the Soviet Union (Anonymous, 2002, 2).

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The war is said to have began as a result of the clear cut differences in the governance between the United States and the Soviet Union. For instance, in the United States, the populace had the privilege to select their own leaders and again they were allowed to come up with their own political organization and allowed the privileges to gather in the form of meetings and free communication (Anonymous, 2002, 3). While in the Soviet Union, the communist party had the mandate to select the people who would constitute the government, they had no right to form their own political movements; they were also not allowed the privilege of free communication and gathering (Anonymous, 2002, 4).
Another possible cause of the conflict was as a result of global trade. While the United States wanted free trade among the various countries, the Soviet Union was trying to prevent its member countries from trading with the other countries in the world. Russia for instance, was hesitant in opening up to the rest of the western countries through trade since it was afraid of this having an influence on its autocratic governance. This therefore created a lot of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.
At the end of the World War 2, Europe had collapsed and so the international power was split between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result of this, a lot of tension developed between these two unions as each one of them struggled to gain control over the world countries. Initial war started during peace agreement conferences and it got deepened when President Truman declared his policy against communism (Dudziak, 2006, 3).
The Soviet Union had already begun expanding her influence in Europe even before the world war came to an end. It did this by deploring its red army to various parts of Europe and by the time the war came to a halt, it was already in control of a larger portion of the eastern side of Europe (Dudziak, 2006,4). The communists controlled the voting process in Europe and even won the first election and retained the powerful ministries of defense and military in the newly created government. Other factors that promoted the cold war was the American’s response to Russians influence on Europe which was rather quite negative, this furthered the bad blood between these two unions(Dudziak, 2006, 5).
The reasons behind the establishment of civil rights movements.
The ingress of the United States into the world war caused it a lot; for instance, a good number of the Americans were forced to move into the coastal lands around the Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf in order to provide labor in the war industries. At the end of the war, America was significantly better placed after the war than several other countries that had been involved in the war. The GI Bill was passed in 1944 in order to provide support for the people who had been involved in the war to access education and economic development (Dudziak, 2006, 4).
The Americans therefore looked for all the means and opportunities to rebuild their lives. Though not all of them got an equal chance in exploring the available opportunities. The whites had an advantage in all this and were able to be better placed economically than the other groups such as the Hispanics and African Americans (Dudziak, 2006, 4) These groups, commonly known as the minority groups developed an aggression in fighting for their civil rights in order to enjoy the complete rights and privileges that had been indicated in the constitution after the war (Dudziak, 2006, 5).
The uprising of the civil rights movements in the US.
The civil rights movements in the USA refer to a fight especially by the African Americans to acquire equal. Civil rights as all the other Americans. This movements had a lot of influence on America and they lead to an improved approval of constitutional rights and it also exposed the country to the pervasiveness and cost of racial discrimination. As a result of this, the African Americans came together with the some of the whites in the United States to protest against bigotry that was real in the US. For quite some time during the world war, a few African Americans had united to fight for equal rights but after the world war quite a number of the civil rights movements came into the limelight. A significant period in the civil rights movements occurred between the years 1950s and 1960s when strong civil rights lobby groups were formed and Martin Luther king Junior became the head of these civil rights pressure groups (Dudziak, 2006, 7).
King arranged remonstration through public meetings, embargos and demonstrations. His expectation was that the individuals who were seeking equal rights through tranquility and courteous would be in support of the movements that he believed supported peaceful lobbying for the equivalent privileges for both the whites and the blacks. In 1964 and1965 (Dudziak, 2006, 7), the movements succeeded in having the central government pass the civil rights act and the voting rights acts. These acts abolished racial segregation, pledged the African Americans equal defense by the constitution and also guaranteed them the right to vote. Even though these acts were passed and the African American were really impressed, the civil rights movements did not stop here as the African Americans continued fighting for equal remuneration and access to educational opportunities for the blacks and the whites(Dudziak, 2006,8).
The cold war and the civil rights movements in the US highlight the correlation between the American approach to racism within its borders, across the borders and the international relations during the period just after the world war two. A weak correlation between the American home policy and foreign policy on racism and discrimination was evident during this period because racial discrimination (Dudziak, 2002, 76) economic and social inequalities and racial violence continued in the US. This sparked lot of international protests and the image of the United States became tainted internationally. It was rather absurd to have the United States trying to shape discrimination in the other countries while it could not handle the discrimination within its own walls.
In order to correct its tainted image, the United States defended itself by claiming that the existence of so many races within the country was a strong sign of racial equality in the country. The American government also decided to have control over the African Americans who were living in countries outside the United States; they did this in order to prevent them from bringing to the international community’s attention, the reality of racism in the US(Dudziak, 2002, 79). For instance, the government seized the passports of W.E.B DuBois and Paul Robeson when they tried to expose the discrimination against the blacks in the US. A number of writers such as Richard Wright and Baldwin James were also forced to flee to other countries; from those regions they continuously subverted the government’s strategies and policies on solving the racism issue. Josephine Baker, a musician was forced to move out of the country due discrimination in the US which according to her was seriously interfering with her musical career. Even after she denounced her American citizenship, the American government continued to silence her through propaganda, liaising with the media in the countries she was to discredit any information she gave and they also conducted investigations that could link her to communist governance in order to taint her name (Dudziak, 2002, 79).
Even though the government was trying to silence the anti racism activists leaving outside America, President Truman felt that as a result of the cold war that was raging between the US and the Soviet Union, it was important that societal amendments were made in order to put the US at an advantage in this battle. As a result of this, the president’s committee on civil rights in 1947 was formed; this policy analyzed the need to tackle the civil rights issue in the country since it was seriously interfering with the country’s international relations. The President therefore recommended the senate to pass the civil rights laws that would abolish killings of the African Americans, allow the blacks voting rights and to establish a permanent civil rights body to look into the rights of the blacks. All these recommendations failed to see the light of the day; this was as a result of the prevalence of the Southern Democrats in a number of the senate committees who had all along been opposed to granting equal rights for the African Americans and the whites(Dudziak, 2002,).
Truman felt frustrated by the senate’s conduct and so he decided to use the authority of the administrative and the lawmaking divisions in order to handle issues affecting the government. He therefore decided to integrate the US Armed forces through administrative command (Dudziak, 2006, 8). He also allowed the filling of the amicus curiae briefings that were in support of the cases that were presented by the NAACP at the courts. These updates laid emphasis on the need to abandon racism as it was becoming a drawback in America’s war against communism. The cold war therefore created a necessity to tackle the civil rights issues in the United States (Dudziak, 2006, 8).
The changes brought about by the cold war.
The cold war had a lot of impacts on a number of countries around the world. For instance, as a result of the cold war the communism system of governance ended, USA became the major super power, a number of the countries that had earlier on been under the Soviet Union attained independence, the Warsaw pact got dismantled(, 2005, 4), the two states that earlier on made Germany were unified again to form today’s Germany after the destruction of the Berlin wall(, 2005, 4), the Soviet Union crumbled, the Vietnam and Korean wars erupted and both The United States and the Soviet Union established huge caches of various types of weapons (, 2005, 4).
The cold war refers to a conflict that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union; while united sates supported democracy, the soviet union supported communism, this sharp differences was the cause of tension as each of the unions tried to draw a large number of the other world countries towards its ideologies. The cold war also intensified because the US acquired a lot of atomic weapons, the Soviet Union’s acquisition of a larger portion of the Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was also worried about the US using the Western part of Europe to wage war against it. These factors and several others, created a serious tension between these two unions.
At the end of the world war the Americans were looking for all the opportunities to improve their living standards but the minority groups such as the African Americans, Hispanics and the others felt exclude and as a result they started fighting for the rights to enjoy the privileges that the constitution had indicated for all the citizens. As a result of this, a number of civil rights movements were formed in order to fight for the rights of the African Americans that continuously became infringed by the white Americans.
The US fought the Soviet Union by strongly criticizing its communist form of governance and this meant a war to promote human rights and democracy. The irony of all this was that the United States was also facing a serious domestic problem; racial discrimination. This made the US’s efforts to fight communism futile as the foreign relations between the country and other democracies strained on the grounds that the US was abating racism. President Truman therefore made recommendations to the senate to pass bill that would promote equal rights and privileges for all its citizens. But since the recommendations failed to go through the congress, Truman used his executive powers to desegregate the armed forces. In 1964 and 1965, civil rights act and the voting rights acts were passed that allowed the African Americans civil rights as well as voting rights.
Work Cited.

Anonymous. The postwar United States, 1945-1968. 2002. 15 March, 2010, Causes and effects of the cold war. 2005. 15 March, 2010,
Dudziak, Mary. Cold war civil rights. 2006. 15 March, 2010,
Dudziak, Mary. ‘Cold War civil rights: race and the image of American democracy.’ University Press. ISBN0691095132, 9780691095134. 2002


Analysis of the Book ‘In Cold Blood’

The book, In Cold Blood, focuses on The Clutter family in the beginning. They were normal sized family living their life in a farm in Holcomb. The parents, Herbert and Bonnie, and their children, Nancy and Kenyon lived in a small settlement in western Kansas. Their family are well known members of the community and are given the proper amount of respect in Holcomb. The farther, Herb Clutter is known to be a generous employer but a disciplined farther. Although life of Nancy and Kenyon is pleasant and provided for. The story centers on the Clutter family during the events of November 14th, 1959. The book refers to this time period as the family’s “last.” At the same time In another part of Kansas, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith,  are on parole from the Kansas State Penitentiary. During this time they are planning a robbery based on a hunch that there is a safe with a large sum of money inside it. Richard and Perry begin their drive to Garden City and begin their entrance to the Clutter family’s home.

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Alvin Dewey begins an investigation with special agents Roy Church, Clarence Duntz and Harold Nye. At this time Perry and Richard have already left Kansas City and are reading about their crime in the newspaper. They begin wondering if the crime will ever be traced back to them. Perry and Richard are now headed for Mexico and get some quick cash by using some bad checks. The information regarding the murderers are slowly given away during the narration. While in the run, Perry has dreams of adventures and of being taken away from his problems by parrots reveling that he is not content and is stressing over his problems. He is a self-conscious person and is sensitive. Richard is a very cocky person, who had a normal past but turned to crime.
The investigative team gets a lead off a man called Floyd Wells who used to be an employee of Herb Clutter’s. He was a cellmate of Richard at Kansas State Penitentiary as well and is the one that told Richard about the safe that had inside of it cash that was inside the Clutters’ house. After following up on this testimony, it is discovered that Richard and Perry were traveling during the time that the murder happened. During this time Richard and Perry have come back to the United States. The police then trace a stolen car to them, and they are caught in Las Vegas. Their apprehension of Richard and Perry was only six weeks after the murders.
During the interrogation process Richard was caught in his lies and he gave a confession, but says Perry committed all of the murders. Perry says that that they broke into the Clutters because Floyd Wells told them that Herb Clutter kept ten thousand dollars in a safe that was located inside the house. No safe was found, so Perry snapped took the knife, from Richard and slitting Mr. Clutter’s throat, and shot the rest of the family and then they fled the scene. They were trial in Garden City. Richard and Perry undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and it is concluded that both are suffering from mental illness. Despite these findings, the court upholds the M’Naghten rule, which disregards mental illness in determining whether criminals are responsible for their actions. Richard and Perry were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. They were hanged on April 14th, 1965, in front of twenty witnesses.
The book In Cold Blood spends a good amount developing that characters Richard and Perry. Richard Hickock is more of the pushing factor in the team. He develops the idea to rob the Clutters as well as comes up with the idea of “no witnesses”. He seems very content with his twisted lifestyle, and it was much more of a choice for him to become a criminal then a forced lifestyle because of past experiences, meaning that his he has no roots that can be directly related with his criminal tendencies, such as childhood neglect. Although, Richard was involved in a car accident that resulted in a head injury. His father says that the day of the car accident he “wasn’t the same boy”. He spent most of his life being a low end criminal who is always looking for the easy way out. Perry Smith is a passive character who, prior to his murdering of the Clutters, was a sensitive, thoughtful, creative and very smart person. A theme throughout the novel is that Perry’s has a very strong belief in fate. He doesn’t think that he can’t do anything, and whatever is going to happen to him is going to happen to him regardless. This is one of his major personality traits, and where Richard somewhat balances him out. As Perry would be considered hyper aware of his situation, Richard is more carefree about what goes on and believes things will work out in his favor as long as he has a plan. He follows the belief that anything that happens in his life will happen and things will always be like this. This is a trait that was most likely inherited by his traumatic childhood. This is something he most likely saw his parents and siblings show as his life went on. His brother and sister committed suicide to avoid their life’s problems and his mother ran away from her own problems as well. Perry shows these traits in his personality throughout the story.
Family is a very key element in this book. The Clutter is what would be considered to be a textbook family. The farther holds everyone to very strictest standards, for example, he does not allow any alcohol or caffeine. He is especially strict with his children, for example, Nancy is almost never allowed out of the house after ten. However, he is an incredibly good provider for his family and employees. After the clutter family is killed, the reaction is “amazement, shading into dismay; a shallow horror sensation that cold springs of personal fear swiftly deepened” (70). The Clutters were shown in such in a way that made them look like the purest of family life. The polar opposite of this would be Perry. His roots are exactly what would be considered a life that would cause a negative mental impact on anyone, somewhere where no one would ever want to grow up. Although I am sure the Clutters’ were not perfect people, their strength is in caring nature of everyone in family. Dick as well has ties to root in family. He yearns for the life he had when he was still married to his first wife. He had dreams of becoming self-sufficient and wanted to be able to support their three sons. Although this ideal is pushed on (that the way you were brought up should directly result on how you perform when you’re older), there seems to be an exception to this rule is with regard to Dick’s parents. He seemed to have parents that raised him with care and that he had a genuine respect for them and like the affection. In the end he still became a criminal dispute this.
A very big theme of this book was mental illness and if the death penalty was the correct punishment for Richard and Perry. Both Perry and Dick’s criminal tendencies are shown to have past experiences that can be linked to cause medical issues. Perry is a schizophrenia and suffers from paranoia, while Dick has brain damage from a concussion that was gained during a car accident. The question of the murder trial is, are Perry and Richard still accountable for their actions or is their mental illness to blame? The book seems to very often to ask the question of whether the same moral standards should be applied to all people, regardless of their past and their life circumstances; or if Perry and Richard are in some way redeemable by the fact that they suffer from a mental illness. Despite this Perry and Richard still faced the Death Penalty. As I see it the punishment fit the crime. This crime scene was planned out from the very start and was done for money. Before the crime had actually even started the “no witnesses” rule was said. To me, although Richard and Perry were suffering from a “mental illness”, they knew what they were doing was wrong, therefore I see no excuses to keep them alive. Although I do believe that there was something mentally wrong with both Perry and Richard, this does not mean they should not of suffered the fate that they did.
During Perry’s confession to the murder of the Clutter family is the point in the book where all the anticipation had been building, even though during the book the event had taken place already It is at this point that the KBI investigators search for an explanation had ended, what happened during the murder was now completely explained. The confession given at this time was most definitely voluntary. Richard, right after being told that footprints were found that matched theirs, confessed to doing the crime. He said that although he had taken part in breaking into the Clutters Perry was responsible for all the murders. According to Perry though, Richard was responsible to two of the four murders. Neither of these confessions (Although Perrys was clearly fabricated) were forced in anyway and were due to a panic on Richards part. As far as evidence linking Perry and Richard there was slim to none. Although the boot prints were found that matched theirs, that was almost all they had to go on. If it wasn’t for the confession made by Dick they most likely would of gotten off completely scot-free and only would of been disciplined for their failure to follow the proper parole protocol.
Richard Hickock made several complaints to the Kansas Bar Association regarding the fairness of the trial. The improper handling of the case and failure to move the trial created some problems. This caused the case to have opened four appeals and it also postponed their impending death sentence for 5 years. The lawyers tried three times to have the case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court but this was unsuccessful every time without any reason given why.
As Perry and Richard are on death row are in a position where they can only think about their future, which will be leading them to death by hanging. Perry and Richard handle this both in their own way. Perry attempts to starve himself as he hates to see that as he thought, once again, he has no control over anything. This is his way of taking matters into his own hands and as he believes this is him actually making the choice to die rather than being forced. When Dick is put on death row he very calmly accepts the sentence. Although it seems as though he has actually accepted it he does concoct a number of ways to free himself. One of these schemes was to make the appeal to the Kansas Bar Association, which did have potential to work, but ended up failing. In the end, I believe that the sentences given to both Perry and Richard were fair and although the trail may not of been conducted properly (and chances are the sentence would of been completely different if it was). I was satisfied with the end result.

Was the Cold War an Identity Conflict?

The Cold War was a controversial war. Unlike previous wars the main actors never really frontally fought each other. By using client states to fight on their behalf, the USA and Soviet Union fought for their beliefs and identities. [1]Identity in IR can be associated with nationalism, and that is one of the reasons that the Cold War is seen as an ‘identity conflict’. The Cold War was in fact an opposition of different cultural, political, power and ideological identities.[2]This essay tries to clarify the semantics of the word ‘identity’, when this word started to have importance between the scholars an[3]d in particular why it is so important in order to understand better International Relations.[4] In this essay the main protagonists and events related to the Cold War will also be reviewed. After this important context is explained, the role of identities in the Cold War will be examined and described. By using some examples it should be clear why the Cold War was in fact an identity conflict.
What is Identity?
To understand the role of identities in the Cold War it is first necessary to understand what identity really means, in particular related to IR. Defining identity is not easy and if we look at the word in the Cambridge Dictionary we find this definition: “who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others” [1]. But as James D. Fearon relates in his manuscript [2] dictionary definitions fail to capture the meaning of identity in every day and social science contexts.According to many scholars, ‘identities’ play a central role in politics. Anthony Burke, for example, affirms that there would be no world politics, no people, no states and no international system without identity[3]. Before extending to groups such states or the international system[5] it is important to remember how the concept of identity starts from the individual. It is said that identity is what we make of it. Culture, education, family environment, media and many other factors shape every person’s identity. Another aspect that should be pointed out is that rarely is identity forever fixed, and in fact identities can change throughout places and time. Relationships, for example, are a powerful factor able to change one’s identity. Personal and national identities have a close connection as both mutually influence each other. A person’s identity is influenced by the national identity of the country he/she was born in, and at the same time national identity is formed by putting together the single people’s identities of its inhabitants. [6]But as Jervis Robert asks: “Can we treat national identity as singular in the face of internal differences?” [4]. That is the reason why understanding the individual’s identity and how they develop is important to understand how a group of identities work. We can refer to many aspects as identity. Identity in IR can often be related to nationalism, and this will be explained better later on. If we refer to cultural identity it is necessary to remember Huntington’s theory about the Clash of Civilisations [5]He argued that modern conflicts would happen mainly because of conflicts between civilisations. Regarding civilisations as cultural identities is evidence of how Huntington’s theory also applies to this case.
Brief summary of the Cold War
Besides clarifying the definition of identity, it is also important to understand the reasons for and the protagonists involved in the Cold War. As is well known, the Cold War happened mainly because of the tension between the two opposing superpowers, the USA in the West and the Soviet Union in the East. The Soviet Union was a communist system where, based around a central ideology, everyone owned the means to create a Commonwealth[7] while the United States was a capitalist system where almost everything was privately owned and run for profit. These two powers never really frontally fought against each other, instead, after World War II they started spreading their influence through the world and fighting each other using proxy wars, intimidation, propaganda and espionage. The Soviet Union and the United States spread their influence in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, trying to overthrow the old European colonial regime.
Nationalism and identity
As human beings we are considered to be social beings and for this reason we feel the desire or the necessity of belonging to a community. As explained before, an identity is something that belongs to a person and it is indivisible. Everyone has his/her own identity but everyone as human being has the need for belonging to a greater community or identity. Extending this fact to a national view we can understand how nationalisms are born. The pride of belonging to a nation and the desire to make one’s own country the greatest is a way of making yourself belong to a national identity, making your identity complete by being part of a greater identity.
In western counties, in particular in the US, the idea that one’s own country was better than other was common. And although Karl Marx believed that nationalism was something to avoid, communist countries, such as China and the Soviet Union, were strongly nationalist as well.
Nationalisms and wars are often connected to each other or even though necessary for the existence of the other. [8]The pride of one’s own culture and identity that comes with nationalism can cause people to believe that their own country is always right and keeps motivated people to make sacrifices for their own country and be willing to fight for it.

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We build our identity by excluding characteristics we don’t like. If we extend this concept to IR we can see how identities had a major role in the Cold War. Soviet identity, as an example, was shaped in opposition to the capitalist world as well, as Americans were constantly afraid of the spread of Communism (the Red Scare[6]). Americans believed that democratic ideology was the best , and that by globally spreading their ideologies they would assist the world to modernise and improve it. Communists from the Soviet Union had the same feelings about communism. By thinking like this it was inevitable that the two super powers would be pitted against each other.
Geopolitical divisions = clash of identities
During the Cold War the clash of identities was physically and geopolitically visible. Germany, Vietnam and Korea are clear examples of how there was a clear division and conflict between the two super powers’ identities. During the Vietnam War, the contrast between the two political and ideological identities was clear. South Vietnam was anti-communist and for this reason it was supplied by the US, while North Vietnam was pro-Communist and by using weapons from the USSR and China they fought against the south and against the US. The same scenario occurred in Korea and Germany,[9] in this last one by creating the material and physical division of the wall.This clash of identities was sometimes also immaterial[10]. An example of this is the ‘Red Fear’ that was spreading in the US during the war. The fear of the ‘other’ and the fear of the contagion of unwanted ideologies, in this case, communism was a daily reality in the US during the Cold War. This fear was extended outside US borders
By this point it should be clear that the Cold War was an attempt of preservation of national identities. The curious thing after all was said, as Jervis Robert 4 debates, is that the Soviet Union and the US had in fact a lot of similarities or parallels. As he ascertains, both implied a form of universalism and both were founded on ideas instead of nationalities or myths of common heritage or blood. Robert testifies that in a country where mostly everyone was an immigrant,[11] like the United States, it was possible to not be considered an American just by not believing in the ‘correct ideas[12]‘. Another aspect that they[13] had in common was that both believed they were the standard to be followed in order to obtain global progress and modernity.
How the Cold War ended
The way the Cold War ended is another clear example of the importance that identities had in this war. In fact, the Cold War ended only when one of the two side’s identities ended as well. As this war was happening mainly because of the contrast of the two main identities, when one of them failed there was no more reason for conflict to exist.
To summarise, it has been noted that conflicts of identities, if extended to an international level, had a major role in the Cold War. This particular war cannot be explained by classic IR. Just by analysing the role of identities in the global system this particular war can be understood properly. As was explained, identity can assume many different forms (political, ideological, cultural), and it is clear now how preservation and spread of identities were the two main reasons that for the Cold War. The two main ideologies of capitalism and communism started from the United States and the Soviet Union but rapidly spread globally creating internal conflicts in countries such as Vietnam, Korea and Germany. These clear distinctions and divisions, the development of the War and finally the way the Cold War ended make indisputable the fact that the Cold War was an identity conflict.
Adler-Nissen, R. ‘Stigma Management in International Relations: Transgressive Identities, Norms and Order in International Society’, International Organisation 68/1 (2014): 143-176
Berenskoetter, F. ‘Identity in International Relations’ in R. Denemark (ed.), The International Studies Encyclopedia (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010): 3594-3611
Burke, Anthony. Identity/Difference. In M. Griffiths (ed.) Encyclopedia of International Relations and Global Politics. London: Routledge, 2006: pp.394-6
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press
s.v. “Identity”…/english/identity
Fearon, J. What is Identity (as We Now Use the Word)?, unpublished manuscript (Stanford University, 1999)
Jervis Robert. Identity and the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, 2010: pp.22-43
Samuel P. Huntington 1996, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Touchstone Books.
Zachary Keck 2013, ‘How Geopolitics Doomed the Clash of Civilizations’, The Diplomat, .
Individual, transnational(means in the space between) identity

Comparison of ‘War on Terror’ with the Cold War

Does the ‘Global War on Terror’ inaugurated by George W. Bush have similarities to the Cold War?
Since 2001, academics and the United States administration have continuously compared the war against terrorism to the Cold War. The confrontations that the United States and its allies experienced during the war against communism in the Cold War and, more recently, the War on Terror arguably share significant similarities. Although there is significant debate across academia, some argue that Terrorism is the new Communism which similarly seeks to challenge and overthrow Western ideas and the whole structure of the liberal democratic world order. Others, among them revisionist historians, Claim that the main similarity between the Cold War and the War on Terror is the desire of the US to benefit from conflict, capitalise and secure other countries in its economic structures for own benefit. However, even though these are significant arguments, there has been a significant rise of discourse that seeks to separate the War on Terror from other conflicts, including the Cold War, stating that it is a new kind of war which symbolises a profound social transformation in the contemporary globalised world. For the purpose of this essay I summarise the nature of the War on Terror and its prevalent similarities to the Cold War. After that I present arguments stating that the War on Terror is in fact significantly different.

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After 9/11 the Bush administration urged the national policy to strengthen the core need to focus on a stronger homeland defence. The Department of Homeland Security was established as a movement toward centralisation of security at a national level. The 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS) relied on force and action to uphold international standards, unlike the previous years where leadership through co-operation was emphasised instead. Arguably that was the case because of the change of the nature of threat that was exerted on the US. Before the War on Terror the threat was to American values, whereas now the threat was a lot more serious, questioning survival. In the 1990’s the United States were involved in peace and humanitarian operations, supporting and extending American values worldwide. 2001, however, symbolised a shift in world order which directly threatened not just the United States but also its allies in Europe and elsewhere (Vrooman, 2004: 82).
The United States were faced with a new type of war: a war without an easily identifiable enemy, which was not tied to a nation-state as we would traditionally expect (NSS, 2002: 5). This posed a number of problems with deterrence: The impossibility of destroying an enemy in a single manoeuvre, difficulty of identifying the enemy, and possibility of a costly counter-attack by the enemy. Terrorist groups were thought to have the ability, with the help of modern technology, to communicate while staying in the shadow, coordinating strategies and tactics. This allowed them to be highly decentralised and elusive while at the same time have the ability to act simultaneously for greater effect. The attackers were further seen to be mobilised by a common ideational standpoint: fanatical militarism legitimised through interpretation of religious texts in a certain way. This posed a serious problem as the attackers could not be negotiated with and shared little of the ideas the ‘west’ and America had (Vrooman, 2004: 83). What we can deduct from this is that the War on Terror now had a more direct dimension, posing physical threat to the United States while at the same time being strongly ideological in nature, showing a confrontation of civilizational ideas (Stokes, 2003: 571). It also meant that, because the attackers could not be intimidated or discouraged by the cost that their attacks would incur upon themselves, that the potential magnitude of terrorist attacks was unprecedented and had to be dealt with similarly unprecedented force.
While the War on Terror has become a primary focus of the United States in the aftermath of 9/11, 2001, with the Bush doctrine, it was largely carried out as continuation of exiting struggles that the U.S. faced in the middle-east during the Cold War, particularly during Reagan’s presidency in the 1980’s. The Reagan’s administration, during that time, was also expected of reacting quickly and as a result drafted many concepts, that were later used in the Bush doctrine, such as identifying terrorism as a form of warfare and not crime, or fighting regimes that could be seen as sponsors of terror rather than inter-state or transnational organisations (Toaldo, 2012: 3, Tirman, 2006: 3). Elements of the War on Terror, including fatal terrorist strikes, were present during the Cold War. Therefore, we can expect that the experience gained by the U.S. government during the Cold War would reciprocate into the post-2001 War on Terror (Smart, 2005).
The desire to be influential, rather than coercive through hard power, was seen as the main weakness that led to the increase of terrorist threat. In the late half of the 1980’s the secretary of state, George Shultz would actively advocate for a more aggressive stance, focusing on Libya in 1986. Scandals during the time made office officials leaning towards isolationism less inclined to act in this new manner. These ideas, however, would inspire the Bush administration in 2001 (Toaldo, 2012: 5), revolving around maintaining a physical presence of military might:
“To be safe, the US must be strong, with strength measured by readily available military might. Yet merely possessing military power does not suffice. Since perceptions shape reality, the US must leave others in no doubt as to its willingness to use power. Passivity invites aggression. Activism, if successful, enhances credibility” (A. Bacevich, 2011).
The US administration was interested in maintaining a foothold in the middle-east throughout the entire cold-war period, and the emphasis of the Bush doctrine on its importance is nothing new. The middle-east was an area of confrontation between the two superpowers of the time – The USSR and USA. The US identified the nations in the region as either violent radicals or moderate reformists, with the latter being their allies. Interestingly, the distinction originally used to categorize between areas of US and Soviet influence, saw a revival after 9/11, but this time with terrorists taking the place of the soviets. The philosophy of “with us or against us” that was so prominent during the Cold War remained a crucial factor affecting US involvement and foreign policy in the region (Harling and Malley, 2010).
What is fundamentally different with the new War on Terror, from the acts of terror that happened during the Cold War, is that it was no longer seen within the limits of being a tool in the Global Cold War, but an enemy in itself, since the threat of terrorism did not go away with USSR. The US was once again motivated to take action as soon as it saw a threat to the primacy of American ideals and its status as an absolute superpower (Toaldo, 2012: 23). The War on Terror continues the legacy that was conceived with the Cold War as there are: “affinities between terrorism and totalitarianism: both regard violence as an appropriate means to their political ends… Both reject the basic moral principles of Judeo-Christian civilization”(Jeanne Kirkpatrick in Toaldo, 2012: 24). Indeed, for the US, similarly to Middle-Eastern terrorists the ‘oriental’ Russian mind was viewed to do nothing more than pretend to be civilized and use this false image to work discretely in achieving its own ‘barbaric’ ends (Kennan, in Hutchings and Miazhevich, 2009: 4).
Larry Diamond (2002) categorizes terrorist groups that pose a threat to the US as the ‘new Bolsheviks’ due to their struggle against the same elements of leading capitalist nations that the ‘old Bolsheviks’ struggled against: corrupt, exploitative alliances and imperialism supported by the ‘West’ with US in charge. This logic is prevalent among large sections of the Muslim world, outside of terrorist groups, that was spared the benefits of post-Cold War world order led by US, because of corruption. Terrorist attack on the World Trade Center can therefore be seen as a symbol of a revolution, similar to that which happened in Russia in 1917:
“Like Hitler, Lenin and other charismatic demagogues before him (ideological enemies of the US), Osama bin Laden offers and alluring explanation: It is the fault of Jews, of the international capitalist system, and of the United States and the globalizing order it is imposing” (Diamond, 2002: 2).
As the War on Terror developed, some academics went as far as to see its development a representation of a new Cold War, between post-Yeltsin Russia and the US-led ‘West’. Russia was blamed for its involvement in Afghanistan which resulted in formation of Al Qaeda, and the ‘West’, primarily the US, was blamed for providing the conditions necessary for terrorism to flourish through its intervention in Iraq and desire to form and maintain a form of imperialistic hegemony. In this case, terrorism, even though not under control of any of the sides, can be seen to function as a source of continuing competition and friction between the US and post-soviet Russia. (Hutchings and Miazhevich, 2009: 2).
The ‘us versus them’, shows that during the Cold War and after it with the War on Terror, there is a continuity of an ideological confrontation based on competing ideas. Some writers (revisionist historians such Chomsky, Gaddis, Stokes, J. and G. Kolko), took that further, to argue that behind the ideological confrontations which were, and still are so obvious, is hidden the true purpose of the perpetuating conflict of the US with the rest of the ‘non-Western’ world. They see the confrontation as being in place to justify broader geoeconomic interests of US capital. They argue that all along it was “not the containment of communism, but rather more directly the extension and expansion of American capitalism, according to its new economic power and needs” (Kolko J., and G., 1972: 23). Therefore, we can see the Cold War as structural feature of a much longer period of exploitative relations between advanced capitalist economies and less developed, poorer nations.
In order for the US economy to progress after the end of the Cold War confrontation between USSR and US and not stagnate, it had to find another front for its military-industrial complex which generated significant revenue and economic growth for the US. Massive military spending was once again justified when the War on Terror was brought to the table. Between the Cold War and the War on Terror there was a confrontation with Latin American countries which symbolized the continuity of economic interests as guiding foreign policy of the US. Latin America, being rich in natural resources, saw great amounts of US influence which ensured control over the area, preventing egalitarian socioeconomic reform that could potentially threaten US interests (Stokes, 2003). Us involvement in regional governments can be seen with the case of Colombia in the context of the Drug War in 2000 (Stokes, 2003: 577). Arguably we can see that ideology was not the only common theme present in the Cold War and the War on Terror, but there was also a geoeconomic rationale that was guiding US foreign policy from within in both wars. The US was not only interested in promoting democracy, but also in constructing a capitalist world order conductive to its interests (Chomsky, 1997).
War on Terror also poses some new challenges to US Foreign Policy, and it is a weakness to discuss it simply from the premise of ideological confrontation and structural, geoeconomic standpoint without giving the necessary attention to its unique nature. Indeed, some scholars do not find the link between US foreign policy during the Cold War and War on Terror convincing. The War on Terror can also be seen resulting from a completely new development in social conditions connected with globalization due to a bridge between Industrial and Information Age. Therefore the war is no longer about ideas or the economy, but against competing global structures symbolized within terrorism. Al Qaeda has become a brand resembling the corruption of Western ideas. Modern Western society now has terrorist networks within its borders with many young terrorists born within its countries fighting against it through symbols of Islam. This is, perhaps, a very important distinction between the Cold War, which was fought between two distinctive camps, and the War on Terror. US foreign policy makers understand this, as globalization and its impacts are discussed within National Security Strategy (Smart, 2005: 3).
What is important however is that the American policy-makers still fail to understand the fact that terrorist groups are often not acting as a single organization within a centralized or decentralized structure, they act independently from each other. In Hardt and Negris Empire (2000), the multitude (or people of the modern proletariat) struggle against capitalism independently yet, at the same time, as a group. They do not communicate or organize, but pursue own small goals against the capitalist ‘empire’ system which add on to a greater picture and together represent a greater struggle. What is profoundly different about the War on Terror from the Cold War is that it pioneered this very same principle within terrorism: of many independent actors forming a greater struggle against a system (in this case the Western civilization) through their independent and autonomous actions.
Similarities can, without doubt, be seen in US foreign policy during the Cold War and the War on Terror. However these similarities are present even between the two wars, suggesting a pattern for US approach to foreign policy. Ideological, civilizational struggle, going as far as to claim it is still against Russia and America, can be used to describe the stance of US foreign policy in both conflicts just as well as structural economic and internal factors. However, reducing to these two points does not allow us to explain why the US has seen relatively low success in its fight against terrorism. It is a failure to identify the War on Terror in the same way the Cold War has been identified, since the first is fought on a new, rather obscure battleground that we do not yet fully understand against a highly decentralized enemy which is not embodied in any physical representative and works from within modern liberal society, against it. No matter how many similarities there are between the Cold War and the War on Terror, the US cannot fall into a trap of dealing with Terror the same way as it dealt with Communism as this is likely to never remove it, if not make it an even more significant threat.
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