Реферат: THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY SINCE THE END OF SECOND WORLD WAR
THE UNIVERSITY OF HULL
Department of Politics
Comparative National Security Policy
THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
SINCE THE END OF SECOND WORLD WAR
Eric J. Grove
March 10, 1995
The aim of this work is to account for the evolution of the American
national security policy since the end of the World War II.
Charles Kegley divided the history of the American foreign policy of
containing the Soviet Union into the five chronologically ordered phases:
1. Belligerence, 1947-1952
2. Tough Talk, Accomodative Action, 1953-1962
3. Competetive Coexistence, 1963-1968
4. Detente, 1969-1978
5. Confrontation, 1979 onwards
The same pattern fits for the US national security policy quite well. Only
some additions must be introduced. The period of confrontation ended in 1986.
The period between 1987 and 1990 could be called ‘Ending the Cold War’, and
the period from 1991 onwards - ‘The Post-Cold War Era’. The period between
1945 and 1946 could be named ‘Toward Containment’.
So, the goal of the US national security policy for nearly forty years was
the containment of the Soviet Union by all possible means.
But in the 1991 the US founded itself in the confusing situation. The major
threat - the SU - simply dissapeared. The US left the only superpower. There
are no large specific military threats facing the US. The US national security
policy must be changed, and it is changing. The problem is that there is no
clear consensus in the US over the threats to the security and economic
well-being of the US.
Toward Containment, 1945-1946.
The World War II showed that the US must change its role in the world politics.
The World War II reafirmed that the US could not pretend to be immune from the
global turmoil and gave birth to the notion of the US as a “superpower”.
 The first problem was how to deal with the Soviets. The immediate
postwar American policy towards the SU was based on the belief that the SU
could be integrated in the postwar security structure. President Roosevelt
developed the ‘Four Policemen’ idea, which was based on the vision that the US,
Great Britain, the SU, and China would impose order on the rest of the postwar
world. But in fact, experience showed
that there was little the US could do to shape Stalin’s decisions. It was
realized that neither trust nor pressure had made any difference.
 In less than a year President Truman realized that the Soviets would
expand as far as they could unless effective countervailing power was organized
to stop them. Stalin obviously placed a
higher value on expanding the Soviet sphere of control then on maintaining
good relations with the US.
Many American defense officials in 1945 hoped to avoid the escalation with the
SU. But at the same time their aim was to prevent Europe from falling under
Communist regime. The American objective was to avoid Soviet hegemony over
Eurasia. In winter 1945-1946 the SU
increased pressures on Iran and Turkey. The US viewed this as a threat to the
global balance of power. The battleship Missouri was sent to Istanbul.
In October 1945 the first postwar base system was approved by both the Joint
Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the civilian secretaries. It included Iceland as a
primary base area. So, when Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron
Curtain” speech in March 1946, the US was on the path of the Cold War
In fact, the origins of the Cold War were in Europe. Martin Walker wrote: “The
Cold War started in Europe because it was there that US and Soviet troops met
in May 1945, over the corpse of Nazi Germany, and discovered that their
concepts of Europe’s postwar future were dangerously incopatible.”
Five Stages of Containment:
1. Belligerence, 1947-1952. There are different opinions about the date
when the Cold War began. In fact, there is no date of the begining of the Cold
War. It didn’t begin in one night. It began step by step. And it began from
In February 1946, Stalin gave a speech in which he spoke about “the
inevitability of conflict with the capitalist powers”.
On February 22, 1946, George F.Kennan, at that time charge d’affaires in the US
embassy in Moscow, sent to Washington his famous “long telegram” assessing the
motivations of the Soviets. Later he published his well-known article “X” in
the Foreign Affairs (1947). In it, Kennan argued that Soviet leaders
would forever feel insecure about their political ability to maintain power
against forces both within Soviet society andin the outside world. Their
insecurity would lead to an activist - and perhaps hostile - Soviet foreign
In March 1947, the Truman Doctrine was announced. This was a dramatic departure
from traditional US foreign, defense, and security policy. It was based on a
view of international politics as a contest for world domination, with the SU
as an imperial power bent on world conquest.
This was the start of containment policy. Containment was designed to
circumscribe Soviet expansionism in order to (1) save the international system
from a revolutionary state, and (2) force internal changes in the SU.
 Containment was a desired condition in US-Soviet relations. It was a
geopolitical rather than ideological or military strategy. Its ultimate
objective was a stable and peaceful international system.
Soon the first results of the containment appeared. The National Security Act
(1947) created a unified Department of Defense with an autonomous Air Force, a
Joint Chiefs of Staff system, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National
Security Council. In June 1947, the
Marshall Plan for the economic recovery of Europe was announced.
In July 1947, intelligence analysts in the War Department maintained that the
Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan provoked a more aggresive Soviet attitude
toward the US. So, the result of the
beginning of containment was the escalation.
Another step to deeper hostility was the document called NSC-68 (approved by
President Truman on September 30, 1950). NSC-68 was designed to (1) bolster the
conventional capabilities, (2) strenghten the strategic nuclear forces, (3)
assist the US allies, especially in Europe.
The aim of NSC-68 was “to check and roll back the Kremlin’s drive for world
The first military attempt to contain the communism was the Korean War (1950),
which had pushed the budget appropriations for defense up to a peak of almost
$57 billion (67 per cent of the whole budget) for fiscal year 1952.
 The Korean War marked a globalisation of containment in terms of
operational commitments as well as rhetoric.
This period was also marked by the creation of North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO). The NATO Pact was signed in April 1949. This was
open-ended, multilateral, peacetime alliance among the US, Canada, and West
European nations that commited the US to consider an attack on any member
nation as an attack on itself. The
creation of NATO was a response to Soviet actions in Czekoslovakia, Berlin, and
Also the US signed bilateral mutual defense treaties with Japan and the
Philippines and a trilateral pact with Australia and New Zealand (the ANZUS
Treaty). All three were signed in 1951.
2. Tough Talk, Accomodative Action, 1953-1962. This was the period of the
American superiority in terms of the nuclear capabilities. But President
Eisenhover understood that American resources are not endless. The idea of his
policy was security and solvency - to regain American initiative in foreign
policy without bankrupting the nation.
His policy had two elements. The first was “New Look” defense policy, and
second - the formation of a global alliance system.
The “New Look” was based on three concepts: rollback, brinkmanship,and
Rollback stated the goal the US was to pursue: reject merely containing
the spread of communist influence and instead “roll back” the iron curtain.
Brinkmanship was a strategy for dealing with the Soviets by backing them
into the corner with the threat of nuclear amihilation.
Massive retaliation was a countervalue nuclear weapons strategy that
sought to achieve American foreign policy objectives by threatening mass
destruction of the Soviet population and industrial centers.
All this was called compellence strategy, which lasted until1961.
In the early 1960s the American superiority declined. This pushed towards
deterrence strategy. Deterrence means discouraging an adversary from taking
military action by convincing him that the cost and risk of such action would
outweight the potential gain. The
concept of flexible response was formulated. It means the increase of
conventional war capabilities. In 1962 the capacity to wage “two-and-one-half “
wars was embraced as the official strategy.
The formation of the global alliance system continued. The US signed
bilateral agreements with South Korea (1953), the Republic of China (Taiwan)
(1954), Iran (1959), Pakistan (1959), and Turkey (1959). In 1954 South East
Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) was created. In 1959 the US became a member
of Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO).
Also the Middle East became the area of concern, especially after the Suez
crizis (1956). Fear of Communist incursions in this area led to the formulation
of Eisenhower Doctrine.
Of course, the most important event during this period was the Cuban crisis
(1962). It was the most dangerous event of the Cold War, and a good lesson for
the officials of both superpowers. A nuclear exchange was so close that both
White House and Kremlin officials frankly expected the bombs to fall.
 They recognized that the superpowers must change their policies.
3. Competetive Coexistence, 1963-1968. Because of growing parity of
American and Soviet military capabilities the fact was that the alternatives
were coexistence or noncoexistence.
The powers began to look for the ways to coexistence. One of the first signs was
the instaliation of the “hot line” linking the White House and the Kremlin With
a direct communication system in 1963. Also a number of agreements were
negotiated: The Antarctic Treaty (1959), The Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963),
The Outer Space Treaty (1967), The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1968). All
this paved the way towards detente.
4. Detente, 1969-1978. Detente - a policy and a process designed to relax
tensions between the superpowers.
Nixon and Kissinger viewed detente as yet another in a long series of attempts
to contain the power and the influence of the SU.
In July 1969, the Nixon Doctrine was declared. There were three major points:
(1) that the US will keep all of its treaty commitments; (2) that the US will
provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a allied nation;
and (3) that the US will furnish military and economic assistance when
requested in accordance with treaty commitments.
The first real step in implementation of the Nixon Doctrine was the gradual
withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam. Nixon also reduced the
“two-and-one-half” war strategy to a “one-and-one-half” war strategy.
There were two requirements for implementing detente: (1) to engage the SU in
serious negotiations; (2) the concept of linkage .
Detente led to a series of negotiations and signing of treaties. The
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) was signed in 1972, the Vladivostok
Accords - in 1974, the Helsinki Agreement - in 1975, and SALT II - in 1979
(SALT II was never ratified by the Congress).
At the same time the more serious doubts about mutual assured destruction
strategy (MAD) arose. Early in 1974, President Nixon signed National Security
Decision Memorandum (NSDM)-242. This was the shift of emphasis away from the
MAD strike options in the strategic war plans toward more limited and flexible
options designed to control escalation and neutralize any Soviet advantage.
Another important issue was China. During the late 1960s, both Nixon and
Kissinger had reached the conclusion that it would not be wise to leave China
permanently isolated. Also it became
clear that the split between the SU and the China was real.
 Recognition of the People’s Republic of China and full diplomatic
relations with the Beijing goverment took effect on January 1, 1979.
Carter came into office in January 1977. In general, the Carter administration
continued the same strategy as Nixon. But some changes were introduced. The
Carter administration emphasized a more global agenda, concentrating on
regional issues, the North-South relationship, the economic interdependence of
the industrial democracies, and human rights. Another important departure was a
renewed emphasis on moralism in US policy.
The end of detente was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.
Ronald Sullivan pointed out: “The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan finally
closed the door on the policy experiment known as detente.”
5. Confrontation, 1979-1986. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan opened
the new period of the US-Soviet relations. Confrontation rather than
accomodation had once again become the dominant mode of interaction between the
Even before that the first signs of confrontation appeared. Carter Doctrine
(1979) declared: “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the
Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of
the USA.” So, the invasion was
regarded as an assault. Carter Doctrine also underlined the importance of Rapid
Deployment Force (RDF), which was created in December 1979.
In 1981 Ronald Reagan assumed office. His administration began to pursue much
more anti-Communist policy. The keys to the Reagan foreign policy were to be:
military and economic revitalization, revival of alliances, stable progress in
the Third World, and a firm Soviet policy based on Russian reciprocity and
In March 1983 President Reagan announced Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI),
also known as “Star Wars”. The US shifted the focus from offense to defense.
The new strategy suggested a profound shift in US nuclear strategy away from
reliance on offensive missiles to deter an attack - that is, from dependence on
MAD, which Reagan deemed “morally unacceptable.”
The new strategy led to a major increase in defense spending. Real spending in
fiscal year 1985 was over 50 per cent greater than in fiscal year 1980.
 Reagan administration also focused its atention on regional problems.
In 1983, a new joint service command - CENTCOM - was established to deal
specifically with contingents in Southwest Asia. By early 1986, a new element
of strategy informally known as the “Reagan Doctrine” had appeared. This policy
sought to roll back Soviet and Cuban gains in the Third World by active support
of liberation movements in areas such as Nicaragua, Angola, and Afghanistan.
During this period the relations between the superpowers were highly
escalated. But situation changed when Gorbachev came to power in the SU in
Ending the Cold War, 1987-1990.
Gorbachev’s ‘Novoye Myshlenniye’ or New Thinking in international affairs was
first spelt out at the Geneva summit with President Reagan in October 1985,
when they agreed in principle to work towards a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
to cut their nuclear arsenals in half.
Probably the most radical summit was the Reykjavik summit in October 1986.
Despite that fact that no agreement was signed, “it succeeded beyond the
limited horizons of diplomats and arms controllers in that it shocked the
US-Soviet negotiations into a wholly new dimension. The old ground rules of
superpower poker, of incremental gains and minimal concessions, had been ripped
up.” In fact, both Reagan and
Gorbachev recognized the posibility of nuclear free world. More, they both made
it their major mutual goal.
The real agreement was reached at the Washington summit in December 1987. The US
and the SU signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and formalized
their commitment to a 50 per cent reduction in strategic offensive arms.
 “The signing of the INF Treaty signalled an end to the New Cold War.”
Following a meeting between Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign
Minister Schevardnadze in Wyoming in September, Secretary Baker suggested that
the “era of containment” had perhaps come to an end.
Then followed the Malta summit in December 1989, where President Bush and
Gorbachev recognized common interests in maintaining stability in the midst of
revolutionary political changes and were even explicit about accepting each
others legitimate security interests and role in preserving European security.
The end of the Cold War solved one great problem for the US - the nuclear threat
from the Soviet side was eliminated. But it caused a series of other problems.
“The Cold War ended wih the US and Britain in recession, the Japanese stock
market tumbling by 40 per cent, with the wealth of Germany devoted to the
rescue of its reunited compatriots, and the world poised for war in the Persian
The Post-Cold War Era, 1991 onwards.
With the collapse of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation (WTO) and the dissolution of
the SU after the failed coup, August 1991, the US faced the another problem -
the lack of a coherent American foreign policy. There is no clear consensus in
the US over the threats to the security and economic well-being of the US.
Bush administration’s emphasis was on prudence and pragmatism. The Bush record
of six military interventions in four years is remarkable.
 In the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Came) in December 1989, the
Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) in January and February 1991, and the
intervention in Somalia in 1992 (Operation Restore Hope), the US was motivated
by the desire to impose order in the international system.
But neither the foreign nor the defense policy of the Clinton administration is
yet well defined. Through the 1992
presidential campaign, Clinton emphasized the following new priorities for the
post-Cold War American foreign policy: (1) to relink foreign and domestic
policies; (2) the reassertion of “the moral principles most Americans share”;
(3) to understand that American security is largely economic.
 He also campaigned for the restructuring US military forces. The new
military force must be capable of: (1) nuclear deterrence; (2) rapid
deployment; (3) technology; and (4) better intelligence.
As president, Clinton directed Secretary of Defense Les Aspin to conduct a
review of military requirements. In September 1, 1993, the Clinton
administration’s first defense planning document named “Bottom-Up Review”
(BUR) was announced. The BUR identifies four major sources of danger to US
security: (1) aggression instigated by major regional powers; (2) the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; (3) the failure of former
communist states to make a succesful transition to democracy; (4) a failure to
maintain a strong and growing US economic base.
 (Recently, one more danger has been added: “transnational threats.”
 The BUR offers a force structure oriented around three general
missions: (1) waging two “nearly simultaneous” major regional conflicts (the
two-MRC requirement); (2) conducting peace operations; and (3) maintaining
forward presence in areas where the US has vital interests.
 The BUR accords significant weight to maintaining the overseas military
presence of US forces in sizing America’s post-Cold War force structure. The
plan is to retain roughly 100,000 troops in Europe and some 98,000 troops in
The BUR received a lot of criticims since it was announced. “There is no logical
flow from the “top” - political guidance based on the imperative to protect US
interests in a new security environment - to the “bottom”, i.e., planned
forces.” The other problem that
“there are grounds for suspecting that the force structure selected for the
late 1990s is geared more to meet fiscal goals than strategic ones.”
So, it is obvious that the end of the Cold War was not the end of the threats
for US national security , and not the end of the problems for the US defense
planners. More, it seems that it was easier to deal with one big threat
rather than with a complex of relatively small threats.
1. Brown, S., The Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in United States
Foreign Policy from Truman to Reagan (New York: Columbia University Press,
2. Clark, M.T., ‘The Future of Clinton’s Foreign and Defense Policy:
Multilateral Security’, Comparative Strategy, Vol.13, 1994, pp.181-195
3. Foerster, Sch., ‘The United States as a World Power: An Overview’, in
Foerster, Sch. and Wright, E.N. (eds.), American Defense Policy (6th.
ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1990) pp.165-187
4. Gaddis, J.L., Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar
American National Security Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982)
5. Gray, C.S., ‘Off the Map: Defense Planning After the Soviet Threat’,
Strategic Review, Spring 1994, pp.26-35
6.Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R., American Foregn Policy: Pattern and
Process (3rd. ed. London: Macmillan, 1987)
7. Korb, L.J., ‘The United States’, in Murray, D.J. and Viotti, P.R. (eds.),
The Defense Policies of Nations (3rd. ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins
University Press, 1994), pp.19-56
8. Krepinevich, A.F., ‘The Clinton Defense Program: Assessing the Bottom-Up
Review’, Strategic Review, Spring 1994, pp.15-25
9.Leffler, M.P., ‘National Security and US Foreign Policy’, in Leffler, M.P. and
Painter, D.S. (eds.), Origins of the Cold War: An International History
(London: Routledge, 1994), pp.15-52
10. Nitze, P.H., ‘Grand Strategy Then and Now: NSC-68 and its Lessons for the
Future’, Strategic Review, Winter 1994, pp.12-19
11. Sullivan, R.S., ‘Dealing with the Soviets’, in Foerster, Sch. and Wright,
E.N. (eds.), American Defense Policy (6th. ed. Baltimore: The John
Hopkins University Press, 1990), pp.165-187
12. Trachtenberg, M., ‘American Policy and Shifting Nuclear Balance’, in
Leffler, M.P. and Painter, D.S. (eds.), Origins of the Cold War: An
International History (London: Routledge, 1994), pp.107-122
13. Walker, M., The Cold War: And the Making of the Modern World
(London: Vintage, 1994)
14. Williams, Ph., ‘U.S. Defense Policy’, in Baylis, J., Booth, K., Garnett, J.,
and Williams, Ph., Contemporary Strategy. Volume 2: The Nuclear Powers
(2nd. ed. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1987), pp.28-55
 Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R.,
American Foreign Policy: Pattern and Process (3rd. ed. London: Macmillan,
 Korb, L.J., ‘The United States’, in
Murray, D.J. and Viotti, P.R. (eds.), The Defense Policies of Nations
(3rd. ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1994), p.30
 Foerster, Sch., ‘The United States as a
World Power: An Overview’, in Foerster, Sch. and Wright, E.N. (eds.),
American Defense Policy (6th. ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University
Press, 1990), p.152
 Gaddis, J.L., Strategies of
Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security
Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p.10
 Ibid., p.18
 Brown, S., The Faces of Power:
Constancy and Change in United States Foreign Policy from Truman To Reagan
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), p.31
 Ibid., p.34
 Leffler, M.P., ‘National Security and
US Foreign Policy’, in Leffler, M.P. and Painter, D.S. (eds.), Origins of
the Cold War: An International History (London: Routledge, 1994), p.23
 Walker, M., The Cold War: And the
Making of the Modern World (London: Vintage, 1994), p.59
 Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R., op.cit., p.56
 Ibid., p.58
 Ibid., p.58
 Sullivan, R.S., ‘Dealing with the
Soviets’, in Foerster, Sch. and Wright, E.N. (eds.), American Defense
Policy (6th. ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1990), p.165
 Ibid., p.169
 Ibid., p.170
 Leffler, M.P., op.cit., p.34
 Nitze, P.H., ‘Grand Strategy Then
and Now: NSC-68 and its Lessons for the Future’, Strategic Review,
Winter 1994, p.16
 Trachtenberg, M., ‘American Policy
and the Shifting Nuclear Balance’, in Leffler, M.P. and Painter, D.S. (eds.),
Origins of the Cold War: An International History (London: Routledge, 1994),
 Williams, Ph., ‘US Defense Policy’,
in Baylis, J., Booth, K., Garnett, J., and Williams, Ph., Contemporary
Strategy. Volume 2: The Nuclear Powers (2nd. ed. New York: Holmes and
Meier, 1987), p.34
 Brown, S., op.cit., p.58
 Korb, L.J., op.cit., p.27
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.172
 Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R., op.cit., p.83
 Ibid., p.83
 Ibid., p.84
 Ibid., p.84
 Ibid., p.86
 Ibid., p.109
 Williams, Ph., op.cit., p.29
 Walker, M., op.cit., p.171
 Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R., op.cit., p.61
 Ibid., p.63
 Gaddis, J.L., op.cit., p.289
 Ibid., p.298
 Ibid., pp.289-292
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.177
 Gaddis, J.L., op.cit., p.295
 Korb, L.J., op.cit., p.25
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.179
 Ibid., p.181
 Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R., op.cit., p.65
 Ibid., p.65
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.181
 Kegley, Ch.W. and Wittkopf, E.R., op.cit., p.95
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.182
 Ibid., p.184
 Walker, M., op.cit., p.290
 Ibid., p.294
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.184
 Walker, M., op.cit., p.300
 Sullivan, R.S., op.cit., p.185
 Ibid., p.185
 Walker, M., op.cit., p.326
 Korb, L.J., op.cit., p.30
 Walker, M., op.cit., p.340
 Korb, L.J., op.cit., p.54
 Clark, M.T., ‘The Future of
Clinton’s Foreign and Defense Policy: Multilateral Security’, Comparative
Strategy, Vol.13, 1994, p.181
 Ibid., p.182
 Ibid., pp. 184-185
 Krepinevich, A.F., ‘The Clinton
Defense Program: Assessing the Bottom-Up Review’, Strategic Review,
Spring 1994, p.16
 Gray, C.S., ‘Off the Mapp: Defense
Planning After the Soviet Threat’, Strategic Review, Spring 1994, p.31
 Krepinevich, A.F., op.cit., p.16
 Ibid., p.21
 Ibid., p.34
 Gray, C.S., op.cit., p.33