Cold War vs. United States Essay

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The Cold War ended in 1991 after the Soviet Union fell apart. Since then,

Russia’s economy paralyzed, and the United States is three trillion dollars in

debt, and both counties were weakened by the Cold War because of military

spending. To have world peace does not mean that United States should increase

its military strength. The Realist theory would argue that military strength is

important to maintain peace both domestically and internationally. Even though

the United States as the only superpower remains in certain perspective, the U.S

can not be the peace keeper for the whole globe and every state on it.

First of all, there are more than two hundred sovereign states in the

whole world, and to have world peace requires every sovereign states’ effort not

only the United States but also every other states. A good example was the

coalition force led by the United States under UN command which defeated Iraq’s

invasion army in Kuwait City in 1991. But the United States still respected

Iraq’s sovereignty under international rules. That was probably the reason why

President Bush did not order the U.S army to invade Iraq after the U.S led

coalition force expelled Iraq’s force in Kuwait. Another example would be when

Iraq’s government massacred thousand of ethic minority Kurds when the Kurds

rebelled against Iraq government in northern Iraq. The United States did not do

a lot to help the Kurds because United States and the rest of the countries

around the world recognized Iraq as a sovereign state in the international

community even though that United States had a large military presence in the

Persian gul f area during that time.

More and more, non goverment organizations also play very important

roles in world peace. Since 1945, the United Nations, a non government

organization, has helped to bring cease-fire agreements to numerous hot spots

around the globe in place like Cambodia or the Mid-East. Individual persons also

play important roles in world peace. Such as former President Jimmy Carter, who

helped negotiate the peace agreement that restored the democratic elected

President Aristide back to his office in Haiti and avoided a direct military

confrontation between the United States and the Haiti’s military government in

the last minute.

Secondly, the cold war made former Soviet Unions bleed to white but

also put the United States three trillion dollars in debt, and the debt is going

up too. According to the IRS, the United States government is spending fifteen

percent of gross annual revenue just paying off the interest of the three

trillions deficits in 1996 (3). So people in the United States wonder where did

all the deficit come from? The answer is that during the Cold War, especially

during the Reagan administration, military spending skyrocketed because of the

fear and mistrusts of a Soviet Union which would pose a threat to world peace.

That was the Realism’s way of thinking, that in order to contain the threat of

the Communist Soviet Union, the United States spent billions ands billions of

dollars on new weapons, such as the Star War program to increase military

strength. Now it is such a big financial burden that the issue of deficits made

the United States government shut down twice in 1996 and it continues to be one

of the topics of the 1996 presidential election. People could imagine that the

United States government could go bankrupt in the future if it keeps on spending

and wastes its moneys without certain limits. Another issue here is the

environment. Because the United States government built thousands of nuclear

bombs to increase its military strength during the cold war, it costs more

money now to take the bombs apart and safely store all the hazardous material

without polluting the environment. It seems to makes absolutely no sense at all

to spend money on something and turn around and spend more money to take it

apart. the United States should wake up from its Cold War dream and start to

face the reality of the twenty first century. Increasing military strength

always leads to a fear and mistrust by other countries and an arms race by

Realism’s way of thinking. There is no real winner or loser in an arms race. At

the begin of the Cold War right after World War II, the United States was the

strongest state in the world by far. It manufactured about fifty percent of

goods and had about seventy percent of the gold reserves in the world at the

time.(1) But fifty years later in 1996, the United States has the biggest

national deficit ever seen in the whole world.

When we walked in to twenty first century, there are more ways to keep

the world in peace than just military strength, and economic strength also plays

important role in world environment. It was Japan and Germany, the two economic

giants, helped to pay for the gulf war. Without them paying the bill(2), United

States could not handle the financial burden from the war by itself.

Thirdly, the U. S military force is trained to defend America and not to

be a global policeman. I often heard the complaints from fellow soldiers who got

deployed overseas on such peace-keeping missions because they were going to be

away from their family and moral of the troops was not too high when I was in

the army. Sometimes, such global police action does not work out as it has

planned, for example the country has a major ethnic conflict such as in Somalia,

the U. S military was supposed to bring peace to the people of Somalia and feed

the hungry in 1993. A year later, the U. S military did not bring peace to this

chaotic state, but instead heavily engaged in fighting with the warlord in its

civil war. It is possible to recall the vivid image of a dead U.S service man’s

body which was dragged by the warlord’s soldier across the street of Mogadishu

on CNN. Then United States quickly took all of its military forces out of

Somalia in 1994 and the fighting is still going on to this day.

Finally, the United States should use its other influences than its

military strength to keep the world in peace. Every country in the world looked

at the U.S as the leader of democracy, and today U.S is still the most powerful

country in terms of economic. All the international trade is calculated in the

demontion of U.S dollars and the United States manufactures about 25 percent of

goods in global trade. Sometimes economic strengths are more powerful and work

better in dealing with other countries. A good example was the global joint

effort of economic sanctions against the South African government which

subsequently gave up its discriminating racial policies and released it leading

civil right leader, Mr. Nelson Mandla, who was elected as the first black

President in South Africa’s history in 1995. Another example was when by

keeping the communication channels opening, and with its influences, the United

States helped Israel and Palestine to sign the historic peace agreement

between th ese two states at the white House in 1995. This ended the forty years

of fighting between these two states. The agreement brought peace to the mid-

east area at last and ended the ethnic fighting for good. Another good example

was the joint efforts from United States, Russia and China, to bring about a

free election in the small South-East Asia country of Cambodia after thirty

years of civil war. Democracy was back to camblia and the people of Cambodia

could enjoy their peaceful lives finally.

Having world peace does not mean that the United States must wave a big

stick at other countries so everybody else in the international community

behaves according to the standard of the United States. Realism thinks that by

having larger military with greater strength alone will maintain world peace,

but global cooperation and communication are probably more important than

military strength. Instead of military confrontation, the United States should

assume its responsibilities as the leader of democracy by keeping cooperation

and communication channels open with other countries so that world peace will

and can be preserved.

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