Postwar American National Security Policy

In Strategies of Containment, John Lewis Gaddis looks to analyse the United States national security policy since World War II. Gaddis divides the postwar old ages into five distinguishable geopolitical codifications, which he analyzes in deepness. Gaddis systematic analysis asks the undermentioned inquiries of each geopolitical codification:

  1. What construct did the disposal in inquiry have of American involvements in the universe?
  2. How did it comprehend menaces to those involvements
  3. What responses did it take to do, in visible radiation of those involvements and menaces?
  4. How did it seek to warrant those responses?

Gaddis nonsubjective, as he rather humorously puts it, is to throw out a big, but [ he ] hopes non excessively indigestible ball, which should at least give the splitters, who have been on a pretty thin diet recently, something to masticate on. The word containment, as Gaddis puts it, is the term by and large used to qualify American policy toward the Soviet Union during the postwar era. The term comes from Gaddis first subject: George F. Kennan, used the term containment in 1947, while moving as manager of the Policy Planning Staff in the White House. With his long wire and The Beginnings of Soviet Conduct article, Kennan became America first Soviet Expert. Kennan recommendations for containment focused chiefly on psychological agencies ( in the United States ) and through economic rehabilitation of Western Europe and Japan. It is this accent on psychological agencies that Gaddis describes as Kennan policy fatal defect.

Academic anxiety?
Get original paper in 3 hours and nail the task
Get your paper price

124 experts online

With Kennan surrender from the Policy Planning Staff in 1949, an ad hoc commission of State and Defense Department functionaries created NSC-68, a papers that was mean to systematise containment, and to happen the agencies to do it work. Among the things that NSC-68 did were: changed the policy from a strongpoint defence to perimeter defence, increased defence outgos without war, and approved the determination to construct the H-bomb. NSC-68 did non revolutionise the National Security Policy of the United States, but more so piggybacked on many of Kennan thoughts from 1950 through 1953.

In 1953 the Eisenhower disposal went through a planning exercising known as Operation Solarium, designed to find the best options for national security. The disposal adopted a strategic construct, which came to be known as the New Look, based chiefly on changes to NSC-68 under the counsel of Kennan. The New Look popularized footings like brinksmanship, monolithic rhenium taliation, ” “psychological warfare” and “covert operations.” In a general sense, the New Look tried to accomplish the maximal possible security against communism at the least possible disbursal. Gaddis uses the four chief expostulations of the “New Look”:

  1. inordinate trust on atomic arms ;
  2. failure to “deal” with Third World issues ;
  3. allowed a missile spread to develop ; and
  4. neglected diplomatic negotiations in covering with adversaries–as a model for analysing it.

Gaddis describes Eisenhower as something less than a “genius” and agrees with three of these four unfavorable judgments and adds the Eisenhower’s success came with a good trade of fortune. He does keep, nevertheless, that Eisenhower’s scheme was “more consistent with than detrimental to the national interest.” Whether that is a good or bad thing remains to be seen in my eyes.

John F. Kennedy program for National Security rested on six major countries:

  1. long pillow conventional and unconventional military capablenesss;
  2. strategic missile build-up;
  3. solidify confederations;
  4. accent on non-military instruments of containment;
  5. manage defense-vital domestic resources better; and
  6.  expand diplomatic negotiations.

This scheme, dubbed one of flexible response would determine America attack to the universe until 1969. Gaddis

analyzes the effectivity of this flexible response policy by looking at the war in Vietnam. Gaddis feels that the flexible response construct did non work because there was a deficiency of balance between terminals and agencies. In the terminal Gaddis calls the consequence a strategic vacuity in that the complete face-to-face occurred as to what was planned. As Nixon enters the White House in 1969 he appoints Henry Kissinger as his national security adviser. Nixon and Kissinger scheme for containment was called d tente which would try to stop the cold war with the Soviet Union. In July of 1969 Nixon set forth the Nixon Doctrine, portion of the larger scheme which basically phased down America committednesss in the universe.

Gaddis ends Schemes of Containment with the idea that containment did non germinate because of what the Russians did during the old ages following the war, but did germinate because of internal forces inside America. He besides argues that historiographers tend to see the old ages of containment as really stable old ages but infrequently give the policymakers appropriate recognition. Gaddis lays out a really systematic and precise analysis of the three decennaries following WW II and how the national security policy of the United States was formed. Although slightly bogged down with proficient inside informations of the period ( though likely necessary for complete apprehension ) the book presents a really interesting subject from a perspective really few people of all time witness.


This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

Need a custom essay sample written specially to meet your requirements?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper Without paying upfront

Postwar American National Security Policy. (2017, Jul 23). Retrieved from