Explain the importance of NSC-68 in US Foreign Policy? Essay

The National Security Council Report 68, or commonly known as the NSC-68, was a classified information drafted on April 14, 1950, under the administration of Harry S. Truman. The report was created along with recommendations for military strategy by a special committee led by Paul Nitze. NSC-68 was issued following the detonation of a Soviet atomic bomb and the triumph of the socialists movement in China over the nationalists. The report eventually became the blueprint of the United States’ foreign policy, converting the country’s diplomatic and economic containment strategy into one of military involvement.

NSC-68 recommends for rearmament and the buildup of the country’s military strength that is capable of confronting an enemy that pushes for a different form of government, which the Soviet Union was doing during the Cold War. The report, according to Fordham (1997), marked the militarizing of the foreign policy instead of the former diplomatic and economic approach the country adopted towards the Soviet Union. Prior to the issuance of NSC-68, many believed that the threat posed by the Soviet Union was only exaggerated.

Even after the report was handed to the president, high government officials still did not believe that the Soviet can outsmart the country and outpace its economic and scientific growth. Although the NSC-68 drew from George F. Kennan’s influential telegram, which called for a multi-based approach in dealing with the threat presented by the Soviet Union, the report called for a gradual and calculated containment of the enemy using a superior military force that the country should spend money on.

Truman’s administration was trying to curb military spending and NSC-68, Fordham says, effectively end the president’s restraint on military spending. The report had received many criticisms but when the Korean War erupted, the United States saw the real need to strengthen the military (Schilling, et al. 1962). When the war broke out, opposition to NSC-68 weakened. The Army, Navy and Air Force were able to obtain approval to increase its manpower and its armament.

From that point onwards, the United States had adopted an active militarization strategy by involving the country and its allies in wars fought in other countries to curb the influence of the Kremlin government. The U. S. was a primary player in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and others like it, wherein the real reason for the fightings was the U. S. and the Soviet Union’s getting the upper hand during the Cold War. Even up to the present administration, U. S. foreign policy calls for military mobilization to allied regions being threatened by non-democratic and oppressive forces.

The government spends billions of dollars for defense spending and support to the American forces in foreign soil and the advancement of military technology. 2. Henry Kissinger is a war criminal who should be arrested and tried’. To what extent, if any, do you agree with this? Why? I agree to a large degree that Henry Kissinger was a war criminal and should be arrested and tried. My reasons for agreeing are not because Kissinger had killed or murdered anyone by his own hands but because he was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of many innocent people.

Kissinger as Secretary of State and National Security Affairs Assistant to the President had undoubtedly issued orders that led to war atrocities and the murder of civilians. He had power in his hands and had the capacity to prevent senseless killings. The bombings of Cambodia is one of those examples wherein the former State Secretary did not question the wisdom of the president’s mandate (Hitchens 2001). Instead, he followed the order to the letter, resulting to thousands of deaths in an action that can be put in genocidal level.

Kissinger has also been linked to other actions that although not directly attributable to him, the hands of the government he represented was clearly involved. Based on accusations hurled at the former Secretary of State, Kissinger was working to gain the United States allies that are in strategic locations but was blind to others who could not be of use to the country. As a person working to strengthen the power of the United States, it was alleged that Kissinger had a hand in deposing state rulers who were against America, and putting in place rulers whom America can dictate and control.

Hitchens relates that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, according to the CIA documents released in 2000, confirmed the country’s involvement and support of Pinochet. Being the Secretary of State and Assistant to the President, Kissinger was the one giving the orders to the people who committed the deeds. Pinochet, it later turned out, became a very bad ruler and imprisoned and killed many who opposed him (Gee 2002). Since Kissinger helped to put Pinochet to power, then he could be accused of indirectly killing many Chileans.

Not all of Kissinger’s war crimes happened because of design but because of the indiscriminate support of governments that were pro-American. Although many peace efforts and better diplomatic ties with China were attributed to Kissinger’s name, these deeds do not compensate for the damage and loss of lives that resulted because of him. Essentially, the former Secretary of State was shown two faces in his dealings. He wanted peace but for him that means eliminating people who were in his way.

Probably, Kissinger misinterprets the concept of just war, or he simply did the things he was accused of because he was in a position to decide the fate of nations in his hands. Power can consume and Kissinger delighted in it. Because of all these, Kissinger should be arrested and tried. He should prove his innocence beyond doubt. 3. What were the aims of the first gulf war (1990-1991)? To what extent were they achieved? The Gulf War in 1990-1991 happened because of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Iraqi leaders had accused its neighbor of stealing its oil resources by slant drilling and used that as its reason for taking over the small Arab nation. The United States, along with 34 allies from the UN Security Council, with the cooperation of the Arab League, demanded for withdrawal of Iraqi forces in Kuwait. When Iraq failed to comply, the US and UN launched the attack to redress the territorial violation committed by Iraq. The coalition forces wanted to return the rule of the country to its rightful Emir. While this was the primary reason for the Gulf War, others exist, some of which were negative.

Among other justifications that the Bush administration provided for the attack were: to defend Kuwait and to confront an aggressive nation imposing its will by force on a smaller one; bring down the dictator Saddam Hussein; prevent the escalation of the invasion to Saudi Arabia; and stop the proliferation of nuclear arms (Selfa 1999). The coalition’s victory was decisive. In only a few months, the Iraqi forces were defeated and forced to go back to their country. Control of the government was given back to the Kuwaiti ruler. To this end, the coalition forces were very successful. However, the U. S.

failed to capture Saddam Hussein during the operation and the dictator kept his power for many years after the war. While the U. S. was able to display its military strength and the accuracy of its weapons, it did not succeed in deposing the former Iraqi president during that period. The Iraqi leader remained a threat to the U. S. for more than a decade after the Gulf War. Critics of the Gulf War and the government’s agenda had given their own interpretations why the Bush administration wanted the war to happen. Selfa asserts that while Bush provided reasonable excuses for the war, he had other agenda on the table.

According to Selfa, Bush did not want Iraq to control Kuwait not because of any noble reason but simply because the U. S. did not want Kuwait’s oil resources to fall into a hostile country. The Gulf region holds most of the world’s prove oil reserves and by intervening, the U. S. was ensuring its supply of crude. Selfa even accused that Bush wanted Iraq to invade Kuwait in order to gain advantages for the country. The Bush administration in some way encouraged Hussein to invade Kuwait when it assured the Iraqi president that the U. S. would not intervene in an Arab-Arab conflict (Furr 1990).If this were true, then Bush succeeded in his goal. Because of the Gulf War, the U. S. gained closer ties with members of the Arab League.


Hammond, Paul Y. , Schilling, Warner R. , and Snyder, Glen. “NSC-68: Prologue to Rearmament. ” Strategy, Politics, and Defense Budgets. Columbia University Press, 1962, pp. 267-378. http://www. mtholyoke. edu/acad/intrel/hammond. htm (Accessed October 21, 2008) Fordham, Benjamin. “Domestic Politics, International Pressure, and Policy Change: The Case of NSC 681. ” http://www. lib. unb. ca/Texts/JCS/SPR97/articles/fordham. html (Accessed October 21, 2008) Hitchens, Christopher.

“The Case Against Henry Kissinger, Part One, The Making of a War Criminal. ” Harpers Magazine, March 2001. http://www. thirdworldtraveler. com/Kissinger/CaseAgainst1_Hitchens. html (Accessed October 21, 2008) Furr, Grover. “Critique of U. S. Imperialist Aims in the Gulf War. ” The Montclarion, November 1, 1990, p. 14. http://www. chss. montclair. edu/english/furr/gulfwar2. html (Accessed October 21, 2008) Selfa, Lance. “The 1991 Gulf War: Establishing a New World Order. ” International Socialist Review Issue 7, Spring 1999. http://www. isreview. org/issues/07/1991GulfWar. shtml (Accessed October 21, 2008)

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