A Delicate Balance Of Power Essay

2099 words - 8 pages

“We have learned that the threat of massive destruction may deter an enemy only if there is a corresponding implicit promise of nondestruction in the event he complies, so that we must consider whether too great a capacity to strike him by surprise may induce him to strike first to avoid being disarmed by a first strike from us.” – Thomas Schelling

The words of Thomas Schelling were extremely relevant during the time period of intense conflict that was the Cold War. His fantastic analysis of the new manner of conflict explains why conflict happened the way it did during the Cold War. What he’s saying here is that if an enemy is threatened with being utterly destroyed, the enemy is unlikely to succumb to its fear and will likely attack. There must be a balance of power for there to be stasis. Where there is no balance of power and one nation can obliterate another’s ability to strike back, one must consider whether one will be attacked simply because of one’s power. Russia and the United States both became powerful enough to obliterate the other first and because of this conflict the policies and conflicts of the Cold War escalated. While fighting the Cold war, and now the War on Terror the American government succumbed to its fear of Communism and became more totalitarian using censorship and control in order to fight against Communism, which is ironic because it was the exact thing that we sought to prevent.
During the Cold War, the U.S. government feared communism and used a system of censorship and excessive control to stop communist ideas from spreading in the United States. The Red Scare is the best example of this fear. It was exemplified by “McCarthyism”, which was an anti-communist strategy used on the homefront by Joseph McCarthy. Senator “Joe” McCarthy was a powerful politician during this tumultuous time, and he was extremely anti-communist and very paranoid. So paranoid, in fact that he traveled around the country accusing people of being communist with little or no evidence. He used secret informants to get his information and ruin people’s lives and careers without due process and based on little more than rumors. Congressman George Bender said “McCarthyism has become a synonym for witch-hunting” (Griffin, p. 264) McCarthyism is a vicious system of attack. It’s a system that could be better construed as an SS interrogation strategy. If you look at the SS and compare their interrogation strategies to McCarthyism, there are more similarities than one would expect. They both start with a presumption of guilt and use fear and innuendo to get a confession. The U.S. government allowed itself to become like the very thing it despised and was fighting against because of irrational fear.
Another manifestation of the fear of communism is Domino Theory, which states that if one country falls to Communism, then countries near it will necessarily fall, then countries near those countries will fall, and on and on. History...

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