The Cold War and the Change in the Nature of Military Power

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The Cold War and the Change in the Nature of Military Power

Transcript Of The Cold War and the Change in the Nature of Military Power

The Cold War and the Change in the Nature of Military Power
by: Lee M. Peterson supervisor: Dr. Christopher Coker

UMI Number: U615441
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Abstract
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was called by many observers of international affairs the end of the Cold War. However, fifteen years earlier, commentators such as Alistair Buchan had also declared the end of the Cold War. Was this just an premature error on Buchan's part or is there a link between the events of the early 1970s, which is referred to as the era of detente and those leading up to the collapse of the Berlin Wall?
It is the intention of this thesis to argue that these periods are integrally related mainly by the fact that they were each periods when one of the two superpowers was forced to re­ evaluate their foreign policies. The re-evaluations were brought about by changes in the international arena, most importantly a change in the nature of military power. Because the two superpowers were to recognize the change in the nature of military power at different times, it was not until both the United States and the Soviet Union had re-evaluated and altered their foreign policies was the Cold War really over.
This thesis will firstly discuss the theoretical approaches to International Relations and the issue of power. It will then identify and define this change in the nature of military power by tracing the evolution of war and conflict in the past century. The thesis then trace the development of both US and Soviet foreign policy from the origin of the Cold War, through its various stages until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through materials obtained from both US and Soviet archives, as well as interviews, this thesis will argue that this change in the nature of power was a central factor in altering the thinking of American and Soviet leaders at the time they brought drastic change to their foreign policies. Finally, this thesis will briefly look at the future role of military power as the world moves into the twenty-first century.
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Acknowledgements
Whenever one takes as long as I have to write a Ph.D. thesis, there are always a great number of people that need to be acknowledged. My case is no exception. I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Christopher Coker. Although he stepped in late to become my supervisor, he gave me the guidance and belief in my work that I so desperately needed. For that, I am deeply grateful. I would also like to mention two people, though no longer living, who introduced me to and gave me a great love of my study, Dr. Richard Kenney and Dr. Thomas Flinn. I need to express my gratitude to Philip Windsor. As anyone who has spent any time in the International Relations Department at the LSE will attest, one can not help but be influenced by his teaching. I owe a debt of thanks to Dr. Bo Huldt. It was while working under his direction as a visiting researcher at UI, that I came up with the idea for this thesis. In my research, I was very fortunate to find a wealth of primary source material. There were four people whose assistance was key to my finding that material, Dr. Scott Pamham; the Nixon Project, Stuart Kennedy; The Oral History Project, Georgetown University, Gabriel Partosh; BBC World Service, and Dr. Robert Litwak; The Woodrow Wilson Center. I need to thank Michi Ebata and Nicola Phillips who read various versions of this thesis and offered constructive criticism.
I have far too many friends to name, whose support and encouragement were key to my completing this thesis. Although this is hardly sufficient, thank you! To those who were kind enough to give me a room when I needed one, especially Edgar Whitley, David Bremer and Harry and Carol Greenway, I am forever grateful. Finally, to my mother, father and brother who indulged me for so long (some even think over indulged me), I can’t express enough thanks, I can just say we did it!
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This is dedicated to the Memory of C.B. McLeod. ‘Hey McLeod, here I am! ’
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Table of Contents
A b s tr a c t............................................................................................................................... 2 Acknowledgement ............................................................................................................. 3 Chapter 1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 7 Military Power and Its Changing Nature ........................................................................... 7 Defining American Foreign Policy and Its Perception of Power ........................................14 Defining the Soviet Perception of P o w e r............................................................................ 25 C o n c lu s io n .............................................................................................................................. 37 Chapter 2 Introduction........................................................................................................................... 39 C o n ta in m e n t............................................................................................................................39 Eisenhower and Massive R etaliation....................................................................................49 Kennedy and the Crisis Years ..............................................................................................55 LBJ ........................................................................................................................................66 Conclusion.............................................................................................................................. 72 Chapter 3 Introduction........................................................................................................................... 74 Nixon-Kissinger Relationship................................................................................................ 75 American Conception of Detente ......................................................................................... 83 The Nixon D octrine............................................................................................................... 92 The End of Detente, Yom Kippur War and the ‘Step-by-step* Approach......................... I l l Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 118 Chapter 4 I n t r o d u c t io n .......................................................................................................................... 121 The Carter Administration....................................................................................................121 The T u r n ...............................................................................................................................125 The Reagan Administration................................................................................................. 128 The Return of Detente .........................................................................................................148 Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 155 Chapter 5 I n t r o d u c t io n .......................................................................................................................... 157 Joseph Stalin and the Early Post-War P erio d ......................................................................157 The Khrushchev Era ........................................................................................................... 171 Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 190 Chapter 6 I n t r o d u c t io n .......................................................................................................................... 192 Soviet Conception of D etente...............................................................................................199 The Soviet Military Build U p .............................................................................................. 203 Soviet Policy in the Third World .......................................................................................207 Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 231 Chapter 7 I n t r o d u c t i o n ..........................................................................................................................233 New Political Thinking........................................................................................................ 233 Relations with Eastern E u ro p e ............................................................................................248 Conventional Force Reductions in Europe ........................................................................251
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Policy Toward the Third W o rld ......................................................................................... 253 Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 259 Chapter 8 Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 261 B ibliography....................................................................................................................... 267
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Chapter 1
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was heralded by many observers of international relations as the end of the Cold War and the post-war era. However, it is interesting to note that there were commentators on international relations who had already proclaimed the end of the Cold War fifteen years earlier. In 1973 for example, Alistair Buchan suggested such an end to the Cold War in his book entitled The End of The Postwar Era.
Writers, such as Buchan, who heralded the end of the Cold War in the early 1970s had been dismissed for being premature in their declaration. However the rejection of these writers over their timing of the ending of the Cold War failed to recognize a far greater contribution they made in identifying a fundamental change that has taken place in international relations. The sudden collapse of the Cold War showed not only that mainstream International Relations was at a loss to predict the demise of the Cold War, but also to explain it. This research will examine the Cold War, by focusing on this phenomenon of the post-war period, namely; the change in the nature of military power and the impact it has had on transforming the international system. It will approach the Cold War from the perspective of the two main protagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union. This thesis will trace the respective themes in the foreign policy of the two powers since 1945 and examine how their changing perception of military power affected policy. Military Power and Its Changing Nature
Although power has been a central concept in debate on international relations, there has been little agreement on a common definition of power. In the absence of a universally accepted definition of power, Robert Dahl’s definition serves as a starting point. Dahl’s definition of power states: 'A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do’.1 However, this definition of power is a rather wide one. Partridge, in an article in Political Studies, distinguishes two poles within which the concept of power lies, ‘influence’ and ‘domination’. He argues that if A affects the behaviour of B in a planned way, though B is not required to subordinate his wishes, beliefs, etc. to A ’s and a conflict situation does not appear, this is influence. Alternatively, when domination is
Dahl, R., ‘The Concept of Power’, found in Shapiro, I., and Reeher, S., (ed.) Power. Inequality and Democratic Politics: essays in honor of Robert Dahl. Westview Press, Boulder, 1988, p.80.
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involved, A controls the behaviour of B , where A ’s wishes prevail over B , and B acts that way only because he is compelled by A and would not act that way if it were not for A ’s ability to make B act in ways that he would normally not want to do.2
Partridge then goes on to say that between these two poles there are various forms of ‘bases’ and ‘mechanisms’ by which power is exercised.3 It is at this end of the scale of the forms of power that one finds military means as a mechanism of power. And that in international affairs domination which has been maintained by military power for most of history has begun to lose its effectiveness.
As mentioned above, one of the first exponents of this idea that conflicts and military power has changed was Alistair Buchan. In his book Changes Without War, he points out this change in power, ‘The calculus of military power is changing. Of the three traditional functions that it has served, to promote the economic power of a nation, to promote the ideological objectives and to protect the security of itself and its allies, only the third is now accepted as legitimate’.4 The loss of legitimacy of two functions of military power, securing economic and ideological objectives, has greatly reduced the scope of military power as a means of statecraft.
Evan Luard takes this even further and argues that since 1945, the nature of conflict in international relations has developed in such a way that no longer is it the side with the greatest military power which prevails but rather the side with the greatest political power.5 Luard goes on to say that because of this decline in the effectiveness of military power, the outcome of recent conflicts has been contrary to what traditional military balance would suggest. He then suggests that a gap has developed between what is thought of as power in traditional means and the true means of power. It therefore follows in Luard’s analysis that much of the power potential that states possess has become conditional and often times can not
Partridge, P., ‘Some Notes on the Concept of Power’, Political Studies. Vol. XI, No.2, 1963, pp. 106-107.
Partridge, P., 1963, p.l 12.
Buchan, A., Change Without War: Shifting Structures of World Power: The BBC Reith Lectures 1973. Chatto & Windus, London, 1974, p. 104.
Luard, Evan, The Blunted Sword: The Erosion of Military Power in Modem World Politics. I.B. Tauris &Co Ltd, London, 1988, p. 15.
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