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ThenationalsecuritypaperNSC-68 is a fifty-eight pagesecretreportdocument,compiledby theU.S. Department of State Policy Planning Staffonseventh of April 1950. Thereportis one of themostinfluentialdocumentscomposedby thegovernmentduring thecoldwarperiod.ThedocumentunveiledtheU.S. objectivesandprogramsfornationalsecurityandwasapplieduntil 1975, whenthedocumentwasdeclassified1.TheNSC-68 outlinedwaysof combatingopponentsin thewakeof thecoldwar.It identifiedtheSoviet Union’s spheresof influence,providingreasonsas to whySoviet’s continued influenceneededto becontained.ThedocumentshapedtheUS policieson foreignpolicies,rejectingpoliciesof aggressionrollback orfriendlydétente2.TheNSC-68 was a reexamination of theU.S. foreignpoliciesandobjectives,during warsandpeacetime,includingtheprobableeffectsof theimplementedpolicies.Thiswasafter a strategicreportfollowingfeasibilitystudyof theUSSR requestedby President Truman, which showedthattheUSSR hadacquiredthermonuclear weaponsandwasincreasingits influenceto othercountries3.ThispaperexemplifiestheNSC-68, depictinghowtheUS depictedtheSoviet as an enemy,andtheproposedactionsto attainfreedomas visualizedby the US.
Majorityof Americans stillrememberedtheisolationistpoliciesthat theyhadadoptedpriorto theFirst WorldWar,and the huge fatalities of world wars. Therefore, they werewillingto remainsoafter thecompletionof theSecond World War. Majorityfeltthatthecoldwartheatrics would not escalateandwould besolvedunder thenewlyformedUnited Nations (UN). However,theUN becameone morearenafortheUS-USSR conflictwhich majorly involvedeconomicideologies.Itcameas a surprisewhentheconflictescalatedto involvenationalpolicies,ratherthan thepreviousdiplomaticbickering4.The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill declaredthatUSSR haddroppedan ironcurtainto influencecountriesadoptits communist ideologies.Thisprompted theUS developedtheTruman Doctrine. Usingthedoctrine,theUS aidedTurkey andGreece in rejectingthecommunistentangles.WhentheSecond World War ended, Truman regime adopted the isolationist policyand adopted fair deal policies. There was increased domesticexpenditure, leading to establishment of social infrastructures, suchas schools and hospitals5.
Withthefairdealpolicies,Truman trimmedthemilitaryspending, whichtroubledtheEuropean powerssince theUS wasamong its majorallies.Reduced military expenditure wasfurtherintimidatingsincea strategicreportshowedthattheUSSR hadsuccessfullybuilt and testedatomicbombs.Truman directedtheState Department to undertakea strategicreexamination of appropriatepoliciesto adoptduring warandpeacetimeandthepossibleoutcomes.Accordingto theUS,theSoviet aimedat underminingthestrategicandpoliticalpotentials of thewesternpowers6.TheUS was under the impression that Soviet aimedat usingallmeans,especiallyviolenteffortsto reducepowersandinfluenceofmajorwesternpowers,settingthem economically, sociallyandpolitically backward.There wereconcernsthattheSoviet wantedto setthemajorwesternpowersagainst eachother,a toolto weakentheirstrengthsince they were beyond Soviet dominance. In this view, theNSC 68 was drafted to propose probable course of actionsto combatactualandpossibleatrocitiesagainst theUS, or any otherwesternpower7.
TheNSC 68 proposedthattheUS hadto be patient,firmandvigilantin dealingwith theSoviet andadoptappropriatelong-term measures,which would assistin containingtheUSSR expansivetendencies.Thedocumentarguedthatitwasbeyond doubtthattheUSSR wasopposedto thefreewesterninstitutions,hencethe westhadto applycountermeasuresto ensuresurvivalof westerninstitutions,The counteractiveforcewould constantlyshiftto reflectthegeographicalandpoliticalchangesin theinternationalarena8.Further,thedocumentclearlyrejectedtheU.S isolationpolicy,since inaction on the part of the US would allowtheSoviet to increaseits dominationon theEurasia. Thedominationwould maroontheUS to thewesternhemispherecuttingitfrom theotherallies.Additionally, marooningtheUS to thewesternhemispherewould denythealliestherequisiteresourcesto ward off USSR increasedinfluence9.Containment of the spread of Soviet’s communism ideologies wouldpromote capitalism, which according to the US depicted freedom.
TheUS wasawarethather unassisted actionswould not leadto deathof thecommunist,henceinsistedon theincreasedcooperationbetween theUS with otherwesternpowers.However, theUS wassurethatits actionwould increasestrainon theoperationsof theSoviet, which would proveapt in containingits spread.The US aimed at forcing the Soviet to greaterdegreesof moderationin a wayto promotetendenciesto promoteoperationsof freeinstitutionswithin theSoviet10.This shows the great importance put in operations of freeinstitutions, since according to the US, smooth operations of freeinstitutions signified national peace. Thoughactions to combat the Sovietwould strainthealreadyworserelationswith theSoviet, itwasan importantdecision.The inaction of the USwould haveledto evenworsepredicamentsfortheUS and other powers. Theadoptedstrategieswould suchas to avoidthedestructionof theUS, andproveits worthas a greatnation,that promotes national and global freedom11.
TheNSC 68 proposedobjectivesin its relationsto theSoviet during warandtimeof peace,among them reducingtheinfluenceof theUSSR into levels thatshewould nolongerthreatenworldpeace.TheUSSR powerwould bereducedsuchthatshewould neverthreatentheindependenceandstabilityof Western powersoranyothernationin theworld12.Additionally, in its operation,theUS would ensurethatthere is abasicchangein theconductof theinternationalrelationswith theincumbentgovernmentsto promote world peace.To attaintheseobjectives,theUS would developmilitaryreadinessandmaintainitsuchas to deteranymilitaryaggressionfrom theSoviet13.Additionally, theUS would maximize economicpotentials andstrengthenits orientationandinfluenceover countriesthat hadearlieradoptedcommunism.TheUS would employadequatemeasures,policiesandinstitutionsto remaincognizantof actionsthreateningnationalsecuritythat arisesfrom within oroutside theUS would alsotryto destabilize thepoliticalstructureof theSoviet, especiallybetween Moscow andcountriesthat hadadoptedcommunism14.In this view, freedom involved social, political and economicsuperiority of the US, in comparison to the Soviet.
Despitethesestrategies,theUS ruledout possibilitiesof strikingtheSoviet as a retaliatory strategysince suchactionwould warrantsoviet’smilitaryoffensive.Anymilitaryoffensivefrom theSoviet would devastatethewesternpowerssince theSoviet hadprovedto be a militarygiant15.Additionally,expertsweresurethatUS citizenswould be opposedto anymilitaryaggressionagainst theSoviet since thecountrywasyetto recoverfrom thedevastatingeffectsof theSecond World War. TheNSC 68 didnot ruleout possibilitiesof negotiatingwith theSoviet, in caseswhendialoguewasthemostappropriatemethodof solvingescalatingconflicts16.However,a dialoguewould onlybe adoptedifitsuitedtheobjectivesof theUS andwould onlysucceediftheUS could createsuitable economic and political conditions of a freeworld.Appropriateconditionsof a freeworldwould helpin deterringtheSoviet from pursuingmilitaryaggressiveness to solvetherivalriesof theCold War period.TheNSC-68 attested thattheonlyplausiblemethodof containingtheSoviet Union wasavailing moreresourcesformassivebuildingof conventionalandnuclearbombs17.Themovewould increasetheUS militarypreparednessandmorespecificallyprotecttheUS andits alliesfrom theSoviet in thecaseof anymilitaryaggression.Additionally, theUS would commitmoreresourcesto institutionsaimedat obtainingintelligenceto promotetheUS militaryadvantage.Moreimportantly, theUS would establishinstitutionsto maintaintechnicalandsupportingservicesthat would increaseUS militarysuperiority18.The US greatly aimed at deterring military aggression against the US,since military aggressions would curtail freedom of the US citizens,such as the freedom of movement among other freedoms.
Accordingto theNSC-68, freedomincludedprotectionof thecitizenry against attacksorfearsof attacks.Italsoinvolvedsmoothoperationsof establishedfreeinstitutions,suchas thefreemarket.ThoughNSC-68 proposedincreasedmilitaryexpenditureto containtheSoviet, itdidnot limitthefreedomof theU.S. in anysense.In actualsense,NSC-68 assistedin protectingthefreedomof theUS. Thedocumentledto increasedmilitaryexpenditure,which provedvitalin endingthecoldwar,hencepromotionof freedomof thecitizenry. Theincreasedmilitaryexpenditure,togetherwith otheradoptedpoliciesprovedaptin containingcommunism,destabilizing theSoviet structureandconsequentially endingthecivilwar.Theendof thecivilwarpromotesthepromotedfreedomin theUS andtheworldat large19.
Asaforementioned, theNSC-68 wasdraftedin by theUS Department of State Policy Planning Staffon seventh of April 1950. ThedocumentwasdraftedaftertheUS president,requesteda reexamination of its ideological opponent,theUSSR. Thereportdetailstheprobableactionsthat theUS would taketo coatingthewidelyspreadingconflictbetween thetwo majorpowersafter theSecondWorld War.TheNSC-68 stronglyrejectedtheearlieradoptedisolationistpolicyarguingthatthelackof actionagainst theSoviet would promotetheSoviet’s influenceover Eurasia. Subsequently,theUS would be maroonedon thewesternhemispheredenyingthealliesrequisitesupportandunityto combattheSoviet. Accordingto NSC-68, theSoviet wasworkingto underminethepoliticalandeconomicmightof theUS andthewesternpowers,usingviolentmeanssuchas instigatingwarsbetween allies.TheUS wasof theviewthattheSoviet aimedat attackingtheUS andthewesternpowersto increaseits (Soviet)superiority.Thedocumentdraftedobjectivesof combatingtheSoviet to containits spread.Thedocumentsruled out possibilities of military offensives due to possibilitiesof huge war fatalities, but did not rule out possibilitiesof dialogue.TheUS would alsochannelmoreresourcesto increaseits militarymightandpreparedness.Thesemeasuresassistedin promoting the freedom of the US citizens. They helped in deterringoutbreak of war between the US and the Soviet, and promotedoperations of free institutions, which were fundamental in promotingfreedom of the US citizens.
Fraser,Steve, and Gary Gerstle. TheRise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930-1980.Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1989. Print.
Hyser,Raymond M, and J C. Arndt.Voicesof the American Past: Documents in U.S. History.Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008. Print.
Marable,Manning. Race,Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in BlackAmerica, 1945-2006.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.
May,Ernest R. AmericanCold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68.Boston u.a: Bedford Books of St. Martin`s Press, 1993. Print.
Sherry,Michael S. Inthe Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s.New Haven [u.a.: Yale Univ. Press, 1995. Print.
WallWendy, L. Inventingthe "American Way”: The Politics of Consensus.London:Oxford University Press, 2007.Print
1 May, Ernest R. American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68. Boston u.a: Bedford Books of St. Martin`s Press, 1993. Pp.8-9
3 May, Ernest R. American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68. Boston u.a: Bedford Books of St. Martin`s Press, 1993. Pp.8-9
6 Hyser, Raymond M, and J C. Arndt. Voices of the American Past: Documents in U.S. History. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008, p.26
7 Sherry, Michael S. In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s. New Haven [u.a.: Yale Univ. Press, 1995. p.18
8 Hyser, Raymond & Arndt p.18
9 Marable, Manning. Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America, 1945-2006. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, p.19
10 May, p.11
11 Marable, p.17
12 Sherry p.10
13 Hyser, Raymond & Arndt, p.28
14 Fraser, Steve, and Gary Gerstle. The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930-1980. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1989 p.17
15 Marable p.19
16 Wall Wendy, L. Inventing the "American Way”: The Politics of Consensus. London: Oxford University Press, 2007, p.45
17 Fraser & Gary, p.18
18 May, p.11
19 Sherry, p.8