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The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy, SWOT Analysis Example

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SWOT analysis

Introduction

Of the many United States Presidents that the country has had, John F. Kennedy (JFK) is arguably the most remembered, especially in regards to his stance on communism and guerrilla warfare; especially during the period known as ‘The Cold War’. Despite much negative criticism as to the President’s actions in the Bay of Pigs event and communism in Latin America, South East Asia and Europe; his overriding doctrine was known as the ‘flexible response’. This was shown in his urge to “pay any price; bear and burden”; and one that he strived to meet during his time in office and the foreign policy initiatives that he endeavoured to implement.

U.S. Diplomatic Efforts

The Bay of Pigs invasion into Cuba, in particular, was a particular situation that had unexpected outcomes. To overthrow Fidel Castro, the dictator of Cuba, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with the help of the United States Military, invaded Cuba in efforts to prevent a political uprising. Unfortunately, the plan backfired, many were killed, and the United States forces were made to surrender. President JFK was instrumental in negotiating for the survivors release; and later mentioned that he was following a plan initially orchestrated by the prior Eisenhower government. It was later revealed that the President said ‘no’ to the invasion of Cuba when first approached by the CIA, and later fired the top three leaders of the CIA for going ahead with the plan, according to Operation Zapata (Manor, 2010). Although seen as both important and controversial, it gave rise for the President to seek other methods of political intervention (Mabely, 2011). However, this was not the end of the initiatives that President JFK took to overthrow communism.

According to his doctrine, he would not give up without a fight. He went on to suppress communism in Latin America with the launch of the ‘Alliance for Progress’, which provided much aid and resources for developing countries in the region, without supporting the same initiatives of the communist government. President JFK also fought communist forces and influence in Southern Vietnam, and partnered with the President of the country, Ngo Dinh Diem, to defeat communism. One of the greatest moments in President JFK’s history was his speech near the Berlin Wall, where he criticized communism in front of a million people in West Berlin. Many of the people supported him, and were part of the crowd that ultimately broke down the Berlin Wall in 1989-1990; signalling the long struggle and victory over communism.

Diplomatic Doctrine

The culmination of the ‘flexible response’ initiated by President JFK was crucial in his defense strategy, as implemented during his time in office and The Cold War. Such a response focussed on a three-stage plan. Stage One was direct defense, and was intended to ward off the Soviet attacks on West Germany by forcing them to halt in a conventional manner, with the help of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Allied Command Europe, the central command of military forces. This would endeavour to put an end to warfare before it escalated to nuclear war. Stage Two was deliberate escalation, and was intended to be established in the case of outnumbered forces, in which instance NATO would revert to the use of tactical artillery. Although more powerful than normal weapons, it was intended to be used as a scare tactic to force the Soviet army to retreat. Stage Three was a nuclear response, which was only to be used in the event that the Soviet forces had launched a nuclear war on American forces prior to an all-out attack. This was the last option on the defense strategy, in which case it would change to an offensive strategy. Whereas many former presidents opted for a selective or liberal approach, the coming of the cold war in its initial stages was still suppressed during the time of President JFK (Rorabaugh, 2009).

One of the main purposes of such a doctrine was to ensure a fall-back plan in the event of war. President Kennedy stressed that this was not to fight nuclear war head-on, since this would undermine deterrence and would fuel the arms race. It was also technically impractical and unfeasible in a political sense to do so. This was one of the main proponents of keeping the President in power; he did not revert to nuclear war to solve political difficulties. He was, in fact, at the forefront of many peace talks and negotiations of deterrence between opposing nations, including Russia and Israel.

Diplomatic Efforts

Both Western Europe and Germany in particular , retained a crucial role in the strategy initiated by President JFK, and kept their alliance with America solid and cohesive (Nuti, 2010). Due to many discussions and negotiations with both Presidents, an all-out nuclear war was kept at bay during the time of JFK’s presidency. The countries were also able to strengthen diplomatic ties with the American government, and this proved to be a milestone in the JFK administration. President JFK was also influential in supporting the peace and prosperity of both nations, and its people in particular. This caused him to be greatly admired by the people of America and other countries as well. His doctrine that promised to ‘pay and price; bear any burden’ certainly came to fruition during his time as President of the United States.

Conclusion

In summary, the President’s doctrine has an important impact on the position of the United States, in terms of its political ties and efforts in other countries, and its own. The advantages of President JFK’s doctrine include the suppression of communism in major parts of the world, the evasion of all-out nuclear war, and the rise of the human rights movement, to name a few. However, it also ended in the killing of many soldiers and opposing people who did not welcome the United States presence, especially the government under Fidel Castro. However, when communism was ultimately brought down by the people of Cuba, it was a victory for the United States as well. Overall, President JFK and his overriding doctrine strengthened international diplomacy and increased awareness for the peace and human rights on an global scale.

Reference List

Mabely, M. (2011). The Kennedys. Journal of American History, 98(3), 939-941.

Manor, R. (2010). Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs. The Journal of History, 20(9), 10-11.

Rorabaugh, W. (2009). The Real Making of the President: Kennedy, Nixon, and the 1960 Election. The Journal of American History, 96(4), 1244-1245.

Nuti, L. (2010). A Delicate Balancing Act: The Place of Western Europe in JFK’s Foreign Policy. Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 8(3), 236-246.

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