No other president of the 20th century inspired imagination of contemporaries and penetrated deeply into the collective consciousness of Americans, as John F. Kennedy. His youthful enthusiasm, with cold rationality of irony and charm, working on the media, signaled the transition to the new generation that was going to break out from the calm atmosphere during years of the Eisenhower presidency to the unknown fatal “new frontiers.” Kennedy was able to overcome the inertia of the policy of “cold war,” and displaying statesmanship, he achieved a relaxation of international tensions.
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Kennedy’s presidency victory in the presidential election of 1960 was largely contributed to a strong financial support of his family, though not the last role was played by the image of a young, vigorous politician of the new generation, who told Americans about the U.S. intention to withdraw to the “new frontiers” (LaFeber, 2008). Kennedy's domestic political election program planned a number of socio-economic reforms on reducing taxation, legislation on civil rights of colored people, elderly health insurance, raising the minimum wage, etc., which, however, was realized only by Johnson’s administration (LaFeber, 2008). His novelty of diplomacy of “New Frontier” was to update and expand the range of both peaceful and military methods to protect the U.S. interests in the global confrontation with the Soviet Union. Special attention was paid to the “third world” (LaFeber, 2008). In March 1961 “Peace Corps” were created for American volunteers to work in developing countries. After the failure of the CIA anti-Castro forces invasion in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (April 1961), the program of social and economic development of Latin America, “Alliance for Progress” was established (LaFeber, 2008). The military aspect of the policy of new frontiers was the doctrine of “flexible response,” which along with conducting an all-out nuclear war provided the local anti-guerrilla war involving nuclear and conventional weapons.
In foreign policy, Kennedy faced a big test: the Berlin crisis (August 1961) and the Caribbean crisis contributed to the manifestation of his best qualities: responsibility and realism. In the spring of 1963 the president often argued in favor of peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union. At the same time, the signing of the Moscow Treaty, supplemented by an agreement not to launch into orbit of the Earth of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (October 1963), caused discontent and criticism of Kennedy by supporters of the “cold war” (Leffler, 2010).
What is more, Vietnam and Cuba were at the center of attention during the Kennedy presidency. Something bigger than just a local threat to the interests of the American business was at the stake (Leffler, 2010). The American policymakers believed that if Vietnam surrender to communism and establish a regime which would impose restrictions on the USA interests, other countries in Southeast Asia would follow the same example. If Cuba was allowed to continue its communist line, then, they thought, all the countries of Latin America could be lost.
Apart from this, Kennedy began the U.S. war against the nationalists in Vietnam. In his speech in 1956, he warned that “Vietnam is a cornerstone of the free world in Southeast Asia” (Mitrovich, 2000), and warned about red tide of communism in Vietnam (Mitrovich, 2000). In a week after his inauguration in January 1961, Kennedy and his advisors discussed methods of dealing with the deterioration of the military situation in the south, where a pro-American puppet regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem gave in to nationalists (Mitrovich, 2000).
Hot spots of “Cold War” were Berlin and Cuba, two centers of the crisis, which were inextricably linked to each other, because the Soviet Union could put pressure on the West Berlin to keep the United States from Cuba's actions against its own satellites (Westad, 2000). This argument already played a role, when Kennedy spoke during the crisis in April 1961 against open military support of Cuban exiles who were using the CIA landed on the island. The president prevented a greater domestic political damage by taking full responsibility for the miserable failure of during operations planned by Eisenhower (Westad, 2000).
As a result of the crisis that brought the world to the brink of a nuclear disaster, a compromise was reached: the Soviet Union removed its missiles from Cuba, and the U.S. withdrew its missiles from Turkey and guaranteed non-interference of the military in Cuba. The Caribbean crisis has taught both Soviet and American leaders. The leaders of the superpowers realized that they could lead to the death of humanity (Westad, 2000). Going to a dangerous point, the “cold war” was declined. The Soviet and U.S. first began to limit their arms race. On August 15, 1963 an agreement on banning nuclear tests in three environments: in atmosphere, in space and in water was signed. However, conclusion of the contract in 1963 did not mean the end of the “Cold War.” In the following year, after the death of President Kennedy, the rivalry of two units worsened. However, now it was replaced out from the borders of the USSR and the USA – to the South-East of Asia, where in the first half of the 60-70's a war in Indochina began. The U.S. strategy in relations with the USSR was in the process of abrupt changes. These changes were intended to more extensive contacts and deals with the USSR. They went away from the old Cold War objectives. At the heart of the new strategy the USA sought to ease tensions and enter the period of grace or an informal truce, during which “interdependence” between the U.S. and the USSR could be set.
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