2 SEP 2002
WAR FROM THE COLD WAR TO PRESENT
The end of World War II was the spawn of a new war that would continue for over fifty years: The Cold War. Technically this war was not a fifty-year physical confrontation between two countries but more of a political confrontation between the worlds two remaining super-powers. The dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the beginning of a new arsenal that would lead to the development of nuclear weapons.
After Japan and Germany were defeated in World War II, a solutions to prevent the future event of a third world war were taken by the establishment of the United Nations to outlaw all private wars. Another right of the United Nations was to punish those villains that were guilty of war crimes against humanity. The problem with this type of procedure is that the winners of a combat situation, whether right or wrong, are the ones that get to decide who is on the wrong side of the law and who is not.
The atom bomb, which was mentioned earlier as the problem solver of World War II, would prove to lead to a larger dilemma. Prior to the atomic bomb and later the hydrogen bomb, it was thought that any weapon could be defended against. The problem with the communist countries of Russia was their doctrine of totalitarianism.
The main focus of the time was building an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and the only countries with the resources were Russia and the United States. Russia shocked the world with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 followed by the first orbital flight around the world. It appeared that the Soviets were going to beat the Americans in the Space Race and reap all of the benefits from it as well: Reconnaissance, surveillance, communication, and delivery platforms for weapons.
The Russians philosophy was built on the teachings of Clausewitz in that they maintained that war was a political means, peace was only a step towards war, and that conflict is inevitable. The Soviet Union was in no hurry to attack any country, but the state did engage in other types of warfare, such as political, economical, and psychological. The United States formed the Counter-Intelligence Agency as a means to resist the communist state.
The rest of the world suffered from economic crisis and some were open to the ideas of communism for resolution. The United States answered this problem through the use of economic aid in the form of the Marshall Plan, which offered money to countries in order to reform industry and restore the state to production of goods and linked the non-communist countries together.
The European sector needed to band together nations in a pact of protection from the communist threat. The Dunkirk was the first treaty that was formed between Britain and France to protect each other from Germany, which was further built upon by the Brussels Treaty that added the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. This treaty lead to the forming of the European Coal and Steel Community that strengthened the Europeans economically in order to further resist the communist threat, which eventually lead to the establishment of the European Economic Community that sought elimination of tariffs, free movement of labor and capital, wage standards, and common investment fund.
After the Russians had attempted a blockade at Berlin, the United States decided to further reform the Monroe Doctrine to conform to a global economy. Europeans and North Americans joined together to build the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Although unsuccessful, other treaties included the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO), and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). The Russians countered with the Warsaw Pact.
It was considered that non-nuclear countries would not be able to defend against an attack and even the super-powers were unsure about the unpredictability of such powerful weapons. A nuclear action could be started accidentally and both parties engaged would suffer a great deal of unacceptable collateral damage, which would eventually affect neutral countries. The strategist of the nuclear conflict came from two schools of thought. The first was the nuclear strategist, which sought an effective strategy for the eventual deployment of nuclear weapons. The second strategist is the arms controller, which sought to make the world safer by controlling and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. The United States overall sided with the arms controller in order to eventually rid the world of its nuclear threat.
The bomber gap and the missile gap were both Russian propaganda plots that helped to push the United States ahead even further in both. Nuclear weapons eventually were placed in the bombers in the air and submarine vessels at sea. Although the Russians had beaten the Americans at the beginning of the space race with the launch of Sputnik I and superior air defense capabilities shot down Gary Powers U-2 over Russia, the United States was able to pull ahead to launch the first photographic-taking satellite over Russia just a year after the U-2 incident.
The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) produced the first attempt at freezing arms productions with the SALT I Treaty. This treaty froze all arsenals of offensive missiles at their current levels. The Russians had an advantage in numbers, but the United States had more ICBMs with multiple target acquisition warheads. Although the number of offensive missiles was frozen, the continuance of improving the missiles remained and the United States priority, which began to develop the Tridents. Submarines loaded with ballistic missiles were of great strategic value and the United States was classes of submarines were superior to the Russians, which were considered too noisy.
Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs), which were not covered by the SALT treaty, depended on the ability to forward deploy the launching station. Further improvements were also made through the development of the cruise missile, which were a pilot-free aircraft that could be launched from land, air, or sea and the stealth bomber that was less visible to radar. The Soviet Union was spending up to seventeen percent of their Gross National Product (GNP) on defense, which boosted them ahead in nuclear development, while the United States only dedicated about six percent of GNP. Although the provisions set forth in the SALT II Treaty failed ratification, both President Ford and Secretary-General Brezhnev agreed to stand by it, as well as the SALT I Treaty.
The conventional wars of the Cold War were many, but without the use of nuclear arms. During 1950 the North Korean government sought to gain control of the divided South Korean peninsula and crossed the 38th parallel. This evolution was the result of the Russian withdrawal, and the surplus of military weaponry left with North Korea, in 1948 along with the United States withdrawal from the south in 1949. The North Korean Army forced their way to the southeast corner of the peninsula. The United Nations approved the use of force headed by General MacArthur to help reestablish the South Korean territory. The effort was successful and MacArthur, despite Chinese warnings, crossed north over the 38th parallel on a course into China. The United Nations forces were meet by the Chinese and forced back south of the border in 1951. The war continued on for two more years and President Truman confessed that nuclear weapons were even consider on two occasions. The innovations of the Korean War were the helicopter for medical evacuations, naval power for evacuations, and improvements on the amphibious landing.
The Vietnam War was the result of the 1954 American political action against the takeover of Vietnam by the communist Ho Chi Minh. The United States sought to delay the political election process, because it had become obvious that Ho Chi Minh would be elected and the rest of southeast Asia would fall like dominoes, as coined by President Eisenhower, to the communist influence. Ho Chi Minh resumed the civil war in Vietnam by the use of guerrilla and mobile warfare in the south. As conditions worsened in Laos, it seemed that the United States under newly elected President Kennedy was in the midst of two and a half conflicts: Strategic with Russia, Conventional with Vietnam, and Minor Conflict through Laos. By 1965, after the assassination of President Kennedy and the appointment of President Johnson, ground troops were committed to Vietnam.
The Viet Cong strategy was sturdy due to the persistence of Ho Chi Minh for independence. The North Vietnamese tactics consisted of using Cambodia and Laos as supply lines that lead down the Ho Chi Minh trail into South Vietnam, and they maintained ties with Russia and China in order to keep supplies and munitions coming into the country. The Viet Cong also used the political divisions within the United States on Vietnamese policies to implement and maintain constraints on the American use of force. United States involvement in Vietnam consisted of troops, strategic bombing, civic action, population relocation, search and destroys, and positional showdowns.
President Nixon decreased troop involvement and continued to supply the South Vietnamese while secretly driving the Viet Cong out of Cambodia. He then worked with Russia and China to isolate North Vietnam and then continued to bomb them. The new weapons that came out of the Vietnam War were the helicopter gunship, laser-guided missiles, infrared scopes, and the much-used B-52. After the war ended the North Vietnamese did, as predicted by President Eisenhower, invade Cambodia in 1977 and Laos in 1975 in an effort to further implement communist ideology.
The nation of Israel has been a source of tension since it was established in 1948 by a British mandate. The surrounding nations of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq were not ready to welcome the new state into their midst and a territorial dispute commenced. The Israelis further pressed the issue by attacking through the Sinai Desert to take control of the Suez Canal in 1956 as a front for the English and French establishment on the canal until international pressures forced their withdrawal, but Israel maintained control over the Gaza Strip. This action paved the road for future aggression initiated from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq in 1967 during a six-day conflict, but superior Israeli airmen as well as French and American planes were sufficient enough to overcome the attacks. The Arab-Israeli conflicts are still a global hotspot today.
The important fact to note about the conventional wars during the Cold War era is that the cost of lives far outweighed any other era, due to the increase in weaponry technology and the selling of these weapons to the majority of third world nations. Other countries involved in conventional wars during the Cold War era include India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Argentina, and Iran.
Another design of military fighting that made great strides of development during the Cold War was low-intensity conflicts, which consist of guerrilla and terrorist techniques modeled after Mao Tse-tungs takeover of China after World War II. Although a single definition of low-intensity conflict has not been established, it has become one of the most utilized techniques of today to achieve political or ideological objectives. The advantages to using this type of warfare are fewer personnel, lower costs, and the influence compared to the investment is greater. The effects of this type of engagement are that the loss of civilian lives is devastating, psychological result is immense, and some civilians may grow sympathetic for the cause.
The terrorists are usually members of a small group or even a group of small groups known as cells, which work without the knowledge of other cells existence. Most of the time these villains are working covertly, agency identity is concealed; or clandestine, origin of the mastermind is hidden. It is hard to define a terrorist because what one country considers a terrorist may be another countrys freedom fighter.
Guerrilla warfare consists of trained men that infiltrate the enemys lines and then work from within to destroy as much as possible. The other type of maneuver is the mobile warfare, which is basically a hit and run. The effects of these types of warfare are demoralization of the enemy, attrition of enemy forces, and public reaction against the enemy.
Peacekeeping commissions have been set up by the United Nations in order to help countries that are unable to deal with an internal or external conflict. In 1948 the Security Council established the United Nations Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to assist in matters as a mediator and peace talks in Palestine. Other nations that have set up similar commissions are Pakistan, India, Lebanon, Yemen, and the Dominican Republic.
Another form of peacekeeping measures established by the United Nations in 1957, in order to maintain a peacekeeping force in the Middle East, is the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). The blue helmeted force was put together as a show of more than just observers. Forces were only dispatched if the host country approved them, and although they were authorized to carry arms there were strict rules that had to be followed. The UNEF could only use the weapons for self-defense, force could not be used to carry out their mission of observation, and they were not allowed to interfere with the countries administration. The UNEF would be expected to govern all of the United Nations actions after its establishment and for the most part has done so. Although the United Nations peacekeeping methods have not ended all threats to every country on the global front, the methods are a step in the right direction to a solution that provides every land with a peaceful resolution.
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