In Part One, I dealt at length with America’s relationship with “Lesser” or “Third World” powers because that is where we have been most active since the Second World War. I now turn to America’s postwar rivalry with the other “Great” power, the Soviet Union, and offer some thoughts on our growing relationship with China.
For more than half a century, we and the Soviet Union were locked in the Cold War. During that time we were often on the brink of Hot War. We organized ourselves to fight it if necessary but we also created political alliances, economies and politico-military structures with the announced aim of avoiding war.
Thus we built such organizations as NATO, CENTO and SEATO, stationed much of our army abroad and manned thousands of bases around the world. We also recast much of our economy into the “military-industrial complex” to supply our overseas ventures.
Inevitably our efforts in foreign affairs upset traditional balances within our society. It is beyond my purpose here to describe the growth of “the National Security State” since the 1947 acts that established the governmental organs and profoundly altered universities, businesses and civic groups. Here I focus on the strategy that grew out of the Cold War and which is now returning to dominate our thought and action on China and shaping our action on the emerging alliance of China and Russia.
With shows of military force adjacent to major Russian bases, we have returned to the confrontation that marked the most dangerous Cold War episodes.