Current Events and US Diplomacy
United States presidential doctrine refers to course of action that a particular president in power adopts in dealing with in handling foreign policies. It is an ideological ground from which a US president executes a policy on a foreign country or region in an attempt to accomplish the US foreign objectives. Most if not all United States presidents had their own presidential doctrines. In fact, there have been many presidential doctrines in the United States. Nearly all the United States presidents have had their doctrines of dealing with their foreign policies.
President J. F. Kennedy’s doctrine was a foreign policy that he designed to curb the spread of communism during the cold war. The cold war was a period of strong propaganda that led to a very strong political and military tension between the United States and the Soviet Union soon after the Second World War. It is a period of time which involved continuous ammunition and rumor-mongering between these two powerful political blocks. This doctrine was a very flexible one because it would accommodate changes without weakening and this would surely help the united states prevent an outbreak of a third world war.
The United States aggressively promoted world peace and her commercial interests advanced beyond her borders to the overseas community. One of the most remarkable moments of this war is the Berlin crisis. This crisis began by the Soviet Union’s attempt to strengthen its grip on the Eastern Europe. Historically, this union had been a common enemy to many countries as it worked day and night to spread communism throughout the world. It secretly and constantly signed treaties with counties or political block with whom they shared same communist ideas. The Soviet Union soon teamed up with the Germany which had lost the Second World War to strengthen communism. Before this coalition, tension was already building up in Germany especially Berlin. In 1958, Khrushchev gave the Western powers an ultimatum, demanding that the United States of America, the France and the Europe withdraw from the West Berlin within a period of six months, sign a peace treaty with the two German states and to transform West Berlin into a free city within six months. Khrushchev aimed at put the under check the military growth and migration of people form Eat to West of the Berlin city. (Mariner and Piehler, 2009)
Before the President J.F. Kennedy’s doctrine, the United States and the Soviet Union had started developing a situation of mistrust between them. They constantly spied on each other especially to check on each other’s military development. The two political blocks had parallel ideologies. The United states were socialists while the Soviet Union was proponents of communism. After the Second World War, the pace at which the Soviet Union was spreading its ideologies was alarming. This actually angered the United States and the western powers in general. This state of affairs strained the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. In fact, the ultimatum that Khrushchev issued to the western powers occupying Berlin was a clear show of this vulnerable relationship. After all, cold war was a situation of using propaganda and support for the young and developing nations just to clinch their support. It was a war of numbers and showing the political blocks’ individual influence on the world. However, the Berlin crisis came into place when the western powers refused to let go of their control of Berlin and Germany in general. The allied forces refused to evacuate Berlin after realizing that the Soviet Union wanted them out so that they could spread their communist ideologies. The allied forces did not heed even to the propaganda of military action by the Soviet Union against them.
Currently, the President Barrack Obama’s administration is establishing very strong diplomatic relations with Russia (the former Soviet Union). Kittredge, Colo (2013) reports that the Obama’s administration is silently and gradually adopting new avenue to the United States cold war rival. He emphasizes that this sort of diplomacy is very healthy for the United States and it will yield more benefits than losses to the two nations. . Herzenhorn and Kramer also affirm that the Obama’s administration has used its first term trying to bridge and reconcile these two nations. According to them, the US Vice President Joseph R Biden has been using international conferences as platforms to approach and sweet-talk the Russians. These reports show clearly that president Obama is creating history as the first United States president to reconcile the former Soviet Union with the United States of America. (Herszenhorn and Kramer, 2013)
The effects of the J.F. Kennedy’s presidential doctrine of flexible response managed the United States of America to build alliances with other world countries. This presidential doctrine was indeed very unique to the previous ones which always resulted into war. It supported the prolonged presence of acceptable number of conventional forces which served two major functions. First, it would fight limited wars. This restored the German’s assurance of their security. President Kennedy’s administration was out to contain the spread of communism. In fact, he clarified to the congress that the Berlin Army’s divisional forces would upgrade to boost their conventional firepower and improve their military skills and tactics. This move would improve their efficiency hence keeping the Soviet Union communists at bay. This was actually the key and most unique effect of the President J. F. Kennedy’s doctrine. In essence, the President Kennedy’s doctrine revolutionized the way in which the military operated. This is because he formulated this doctrine out of research thus taking into consideration the aspects of his predecessors’ failures.
President J.F. Kennedy’s doctrine was one of its own kind. The way in which he designed it simply defined its success. I would reiterate that this doctrine achieved tremendous success because it managed to secure the Berlin city from the greed of the communists. It used non military action to execute its foreign policies by first of all giving the Berlin’s army power. It strengthened the Berlin conventional army to withstand any attempts by the Soviet Union to spread its communism ideology. In fact, it thwarted the Soviet Union’s military action that had characterized its operations. The Soviet Union had no option other than to separate itself from military to other more diplomatic options such as negotiations. Besides, its approach was cautionary in nature as it evaluated options before action would be instituted on any issue. This is a very clear show the doctrines success in changing the Soviet Union’s perception. However, in the eyes of the United States enemies, this presidential doctrine portrayed J.F. Kennedy’s presidency as a very weak one. This is because the doctrine never gave an upper hand in military action. It was based on diplomacy and rationale of a unitary global community.
Colo, K. (2013, February 11). Sunday Dialogue: U.S. Policy Toward Russia. The New York
Times , p. SR2.
David M. Herszenhorn and Andrew E. Kramer. (2013, February 1). Another Reset With Russia
in Obama’s Second Term. The New York Times , p. A4.
Kaufman, J. P. (2006). Concise History of United States Foreign Policy. Maryland: Rowman &
Rosemary B. Mariner, G. Kurt Piehler. (2009). The Atomic Bomb and American Society: New Perspectives. USA: Univ. of Tennessee Press.