MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

858 views

What motivations informed US foreign policy during the Cold War?

The question can be answered from three different historical perspectives: the orthodox, the revisionist, and the post-revisionist. The orthodox account blames the expansionary tendencies of the Soviet Union, well exemplified by the consolidation of Soviet-friendly regimes in Eastern Europe and the promotion of Communist ideology in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The US containment policy was a reaction to the Soviet aggression, warranting of the development of tight relations with Western Europe as well as intervening in the Third World to prevent Communist regime changes. Thus, it was primarily the ideological and political commitment to liberalism and democracy which informed US foreign policy. The revisionist accounts question the benign nature of the US by reinterpreting the historical trajectory of the Cold War confrontation. Given the post-war devastation in the USSR, it did not have the material base to launch a worldwide Communist expansion. Rather, the US is conceived as an expansionary state driven primarily by economic interests. The ‘open door’ policy among its allies was not an act of goodwill, but a means to open markets to US business. Further, the lack of ideological commitment to democracy was manifested in its subversion of democratic processes (e.g. Nicaragua, Guatemala) and its support for authoritarian leaders (e.g. Japan, South East Asia). Hence, US policies were rather shaped by economic and strategic interests. Finally, the post-revisionist accounts integrate the insights of the two accounts to offer a more balanced analysis. 

 

What should be deemed more critical perhaps than weighing the evidence for one or another account is why these questions still get discussed and remain highly contentious? Beyond the ‘correctness’ of these accounts, the debate over US motivations is political (Orwell’s famous quote is pertinent here: Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past). By contextualising these accounts (when, where, by whom) the political nature of historical narratives can be revealed. Further, these interpretations with their specific conceptualisation of US motivations shape the way we interpret US geopolitical activities in the contemporary era.

Kaia K. A Level History tutor, GCSE History tutor, A Level Politics t...

3 years ago

Answered by Kaia, who tutored A Level History with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

92 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Saffron L.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered:History, Government and Politics+ 1 more

History
Government and Politics
English

“Second year History Student ready to offer help in English, History and Politics from 11 Plus to A-level”

MyTutor guarantee

£36 /hr

Tsiona L.

Degree: History (Masters) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered:History, History of Art+ 6 more

History
History of Art
English and World Literature
English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“Hello! My name is Tsiona, I'm studying my Master's in History at the University of Edinburgh. I have always loved history, talking through ideas and getting a clear understanding of the past. I am very friendly and patient, I love meet...”

£20 /hr

Daphne B.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered:History, Extended Project Qualification+ 3 more

History
Extended Project Qualification
English Literature
Economics
.HAT.

“I am a second year History student at the University of Exeter. I am incredibly passionate about the subject, and can offer really useful sessions. ”

About the author

Kaia K.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: MA International Political Economy (Masters) - Warwick University

Subjects offered:History, Politics

History
Politics

“A Master's student at the University of Warwick hoping to share my knowledge and experience in History and Politics”

You may also like...

Other A Level History questions

"'Gladstone's attack on Disraeli's foreign policy was the most important reason for the Conservative defeat in the 1880 election.' How far do you agree? [50]" - How would one write an introduction to this essay question?

Assess the view that the military planning of the great powers, rather than their long-term rivalries, better explains the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

What is the difference between February Revolution and October Revolution?

How significant was the 1933 Reichstag fire in consolidating Nazi power?

View A Level History tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok