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Cold War or New War: American Foreign Policy since 9-11

Uploaded by tommy3ts on Sep 04, 2006

The Cold War can be most aptly characterized as an ideological conflict between two superpowers which enveloped and polarized the world for fifty years. It was a conflict between communism and capitalism, the Soviet Union versus the United States. Both nations’ foreign policies were shaped in order to retain and increase the influence of their respective ideologies whilst restricting the spread of the other. Since 9-11, U.S. foreign policy has had similar purposes and employed similar means to quelling so called ‘evil doers’ and consequently certain parallels can be drawn to the Cold War. However since 9-11, the U.S. has had to change it foreign policies due to characteristics of both the modern world and the enemy.

The U.S. policy of containment during the Cold War stated that “the United States would support any free people threatened by communist aggression or subversion.” By simply replacing communism with evil in the previous statement, obvious similarities can be drawn between the U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War and after 9-11. Thus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can be compared with that of Vietnam as the U.S. committed military forces to stop ‘evil’ or ‘communism’ in order for democracy and freedom to prevail. Whether or not the occupants of the countries the United States chose to free wanted their help is irrelevant as the policy has been consistent. It does also illustrate that the United Sates have had policies in place whereby there will act on perceived threats and interests, regardless of legitimacy. However that is where the main similarities end as U.S. foreign policy since 9-11 has had to evolve to combat a seemingly invisible enemy.

U.S. foreign policy since 9-11 differs most significantly from the strategy employed in the Cold War due to globalization and the nature of the enemy. To accomplish 9-11 the terrorists turned to the tools of globalization. This means that the sovereign invincibility once maintained by missile shields was no longer a viable defense. Terrorism has also been able to transcend national boarders because only a small proportion of Muslims subscribe to terrorist acts, and with the increased presence of Muslims all over the world, the U.S. have had to concede that Islam is inescapable presence. Thus their policies have had to reflect this. As Benjamin Barber suggests, American independence is a casualty of September 11, and it is apparent that...

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Uploaded by:   tommy3ts

Date:   09/04/2006

Category:   American History

Length:   4 pages (941 words)

Views:   3265

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