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The Cold War and U.S Diplomacy

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Cold war is a term used to describe the difference between people, organizations or countries whereby they are at war, but not literally. This was experienced after the Second World War between America and the Soviet Union. This was caused by ideological differences between the two countries. Americans believed in capitalism while the Soviet Union subscribed to communism. America and the Soviet Union did not fight literally, but they influenced other member states to fight. After the 1968 general elections, America got its 37th President known as Richard Nixon. He did not enjoy a massive support, but won with a small margin. Richard Nixon made some doctrines basing on the war, which came to be known as ‘Richard’s Doctrine’.

Richard’s Doctrine

As the war between America and the Soviet Union progressed, Richard Nixon was the current president of the U.S. On July 25 of 1969, he called a press conference at Guam where he openly put across his doctrine. According to Meiertöns (2010), Richard Nixon said that the other countries challenged by the communist had to have their own military defense, as opposed to America helping them. The other allies had to ensure their militaries were strong and could offer their own defense. In addition, he asserted that American militaries will aid them where there was a need to do so. The American military was being stretched to perform well in its commitments due to the Vietnam War.

Regarding all this, Richard made some promises that they had to comply with, and they included America militaries would keep on supporting their allies in the Vietnam War against communism so that at the end peace could be gained all over. Secondly, Nixon and Perlstein (2008) observe that he went ahead and proclaimed that the nations allied with America or whose survival was essential to America, will be protected from any nuclear explosions by the Vietnam. Lastly, the President promised that they would keep their treaty commitments by supporting their allies economically and in terms of defense in case of any threats from the common enemy.

Requirements for diplomacy

As the war between America and the communist nations continued, the Americans saw a need for diplomacy to end the war. Initially, Nixon had won the 1968 elections by a small margin and still lacked full support of the people. In a plan to end the war, the American troops were removed from the Vietnam grounds in small numbers, as they could not pull out at once. Meiertöns (2010) intimates that this made the people applaud President Nixon due to his struggle to restore peace. Just as the people celebrated this effort, on the 18th March 1968, breaking news claimed that the U.S troops had massacred almost 300 Southern Vietnamese at My Lai. This brought about tension between the two countries as the Americans feared something serious would result.

This led to demonstrations by the anti war activists from America who called for the end of the war. It is alleged that later on, the American troops bombed the Northern Vietnamese bases. This brought about more tension and more people took to the streets. In 1971, the President of America, Richard Nixon had to reach a diplomatic solution with the Soviet State and the People’s Republic of China.  Watson, Gleek, and Grillo (2003) point out that it was after a series of meetings that they concluded that America would be reducing their troops slowly. This diplomacy brought down the number of causalities of the war and made Nixon win the hearts of many during the 1978 general elections.

Diplomatic doctrines Nixon followed

At the peak of the war, Nixon had to exercise on his doctrines. He knew the Vietnam War was quite hard to win, but did not consider withdrawing as the public opinion would not appreciate either continuation or pulling out of the troops. At this time, at least 1000 people were dying every month.  Furthermore, Meiertöns (2010) observes that he was advised not to withdraw the American army, as this would have made the other nations undermine America. At first, he had to reduce the American troops in Vietnam. He branded this as ‘Vietnamization’. By doing this, he opted to reduce casualties of the Americans. It was tricky though to withdraw at once the whole army, and this was to take a longer time.

Secondly, he had to apply politics, which was termed as ‘Politics of Polarization’. Initially, in the 1968 general elections, President Nixon had won with a very small margin and had to take time to win the hearts of the people. This would have been used as a tool for him, to gain support for the ongoing war with communist.

Thirdly, Nixon organized meetings with the North Vietnam where Henry Kissinger would have represented him. It was dubbed ‘mad mad’ doctrine. In the meeting, Henry would have told the North Vietnam that Nixon was unpredictable, and so they had to pull off their troops.

Finally, Murty (1989) observes that Nixon discovered that the People of Republic of China and the Soviet Union were business minded. Due to this, he planned trade fairs between the two nations to foster peace.

Advantages of the doctrines

One of the advantages of the doctrines was that, at the end of war, President Nixon had gained a large following of the Americans compared to his initial support. It is claimed that, in 1972 election, he won with a big margin as more people now believed in him.

Secondly, the war came to a halt after agreements involving China, United States of America, and the Soviet Union. The number of casualties reduced at the end of the war.

Thirdly, the ‘Triangular Diplomacy’ led to a better relationship between Americans and the communist as they started relating economically.

Demerits of the doctrines

At first, Nixon came up with the doctrine of ‘Vietnamization’. This doctrine meant more harm to the Americans. The numbers of casualties rose above 1000 people per month. This also caused a lot of tension to the Americans.

Another sensitive disadvantage of the Nixon doctrines was that they led to delay in development of infrastructure. According to Murty (1989), as the American troops were busy fighting the Vietnams, time was being wasted instead of focusing on development matters. In addition, a lot of money was spent for the up keep of the troops, which could be invested in other economic issues. Furthermore, there was a poor relationship between the United States of America and Soviet Union. Basing on this, there could not be any trade fairs between the two countries.

Lastly, some of President Nixon’s doctrines led to his opposition. Just after the bombing at North Vietnam, a group of anti war activist stormed the streets to oppose his diplomacies. Arguably, his advisers misled him.


The Cold War began immediately after the World War 2. The main cause of the war was the difference in ideologies between the U.S.A and the Soviet Union. It was referred to as a Cold War because both America and the Soviet Union did not want to fight each other. Their differences spread to other countries, and it became a war between the communist and the non-communist. America supported the non-communist as Soviet Union was for the communist. After several years of the war, they settled for an agreement, to end the war led by the then President of United States, Richard Nixon.

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