The essential question to my research is this: Did the United States reject democracy in favor of capitalism during the Cold War? Because this question is rather large, this paper will be condensed to looking at Latin America, more specifically Chile. At the onset of the Cold War, the United States federal government created NSC-68, a document that has been said to be the blueprint for the foreign policy of the United States throughout the first half of the Cold War. The focus of the first part of the document is establishing the ideological reason behind United States involvement and action in the Cold War with the USSR – namely to defend the freedoms and liberties of democracy against the evils and slavery of Communism.
With this ideological definition of the Cold War, one would expect the actions of the United States to be consistent with the goal of advancing democracy and eliminating communism. Yet, as evident by many occasions, this necessarily wasn’t the case. One prime example of where democracy was not the prevailing goal of US foreign policy was in Latin America. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the United States formed an interventionist policy in Latin America that saw the US defending and establishing military coups/juntas in several countries that replaced democratically elected leaders. There could be many reasons for these actions, but the main reason seems to be an economic one. That is, the United States chose to promote capitalism instead of democracy in these countries. The US had huge vested interest with many economic ventures amongst Latin American countries, namely in the exportation of raw materials.
Therefore, this paper is seeking to show that connection using Chile as an example. Copper was a huge business for the United States in Chile and became threatened under the nationalization policies of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected Communist leader of Chile from 1970-73. Because of the potential collapse of US controlled markets in Chile, the United States government decided to support a military coup of Allende’s government and establish a puppet government that would assist our economic wants. However, the government they supported was not democratic, and in fact was the cause of huge human rights violations, which the US knew about. This will be the other focus of the paper – the support of a non-democratic, ruthless regime under Pinochet.
This paper is important for examining how the United States defines its foreign policy and then if those actions support its ideological stance. Not only does this topic have important implications for the subject of study, but also for how people view the United States government in general. Hopefully this paper will flesh out a...