America's engagement in Cold War in Asia, after the Second World War, was primarily objective at eliminating the growth of communist domination across Asia. Based on the desire to eradicate communism, America and its one-time ally, the Soviet Union, clashed over the appropriate measures of reorganizing the past world (Gaddis, 1972). The Cold War thus arose due to each party's perception of the other group as a threat to national security, institution, and influence across the globe.
The United States took part in various war events after the World War II to fight the anti-democratic ideals that they perceived that the Soviet Union intended to spread across the globe. According to Gaddis (1972), the United States roles in various Cold War events including the Japan recovery and occupation, the Sino-America relations, the Indo-Pakistani-American relation, the Korean War and Vietnam's war were objective at destroying the Soviet Union friendly governments so as to pave way for democracy. The United States that engaged in Cold War to sacrifice their democracy for other nations to gain democracy.
Japanese occupation and recovery
After the World War II, it was a mutual intention of all Allied Powers to take actions that could render Japan incompetent of getting back to battlefields. Thus, the defeat of Japan in the World War II paved ways for occupation and recovery processes; roles that were taken by the Allied forces, the United States (Borden, 1984). A primary policy introduced by the United States in the demilitarization of Japan included abolishing of Japan's armed forces, destruction of the Japanese military industries and elimination of the expression of patriotism from the Japanese schools and public lives. Gaddis (1972) states that the defeat during World War II left a majority shocked and disillusioned to their leaders and thus the opportunity for the United States to reform the political, economic and civic values; the occupation and the recovery process.
The Japanese's occupation and recovery processes, led by Supreme Commander General Douglas MacArthur, was based on establishing a democratic Japan; a country that would be peace loving. Assumptions for peace initiation was linked to the peaceful United States; unlike the Hitler's Germany and the pre-war Japan that were non-democratic (Borden, 1984). The occupation and recovery that lasted for seven years, between 1945 and 1952, the aftermath is considered a success since Japan has not engaged in war thereafter and its relation with the United States has improved and structures set by the United States has not been reformed.
Political, economic and civic values are the primary foundation for the occupation and recovery process that the United States capitalized on. Political changes came along with the adoption of a new constitution for Japan. Borden (1984) states that the constitution completely differed from the Meiji Constitution of 1889 through the introduction of political basis of democracy and civil liberties including freedom of speech and weakening of powers of police. Economic institutions were also made more democratic and reforms for economic laws were made to make the industrial sector more independent and allow for expansion of unions.
Sino-American relationship since the Korean War to Nixon's visit in 1972
In the 1960's China had pulled out of official alliances hence isolating itself from the rest of the world. The isolation placed it in an interesting place of Cold War with America and the Soviet Union. However, the United States President's, Richard Nixon, visit China in 1972 marked a resumption of a harmonious affiliation for China and America (Xia, 2006). The visit marked an end to a 25 year period of no communication and diplomatic ties between the nations.
Xia (2006) further states that before harmonization of the relations between China and United States, the two nations were in containment between 1949 and 1969. For the two decades, the United States was a constant attempt of disrupting and destabilizing China's communist government. The Cold War was founded on America's believes China was an aggressive and an expansionist power that posed threats to neighbors that were non-communist. The United States thus colluded with other nations and set up military camps to keep an eye on China (Xia, 2006). In addition to discouraging its allies from getting into diplomatic relations with Beijing, the U.S. also cut off trade with China.
The Korean had War subjected the two nation's forces to fighting against each other; an aspect that further dashed the hopes of People's Republic of China getting into a dialogue. However, during the visit in 1972, the tension and Cold War between the nations was eased. A diplomatic relationship was created and few concrete achievements including improvement of trade activities and development of more open dialogue were realized.
India, Pakistan, and the United States in the Cold War
In 1965, Pakistan and India engaged in a second conflict over the states of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the clash never resolved the differences. Instead, it engaged America and the Soviet Union in a way that would instead have implications (Xia, 2006). The United States support for Pakistan, based on Pakistan's involvement in holding the line against communist expansion, saw India move to the United Nations to find a solution to the conflict.
According to Gaddis (1972) analysis, the Indo-Pakistani-Americana relation was based on a series of large illusionary fears regarding America's vulnerability. The alliance of the United States with Pakistan in 1945 was perceived a monumental planned measure towards heightening the India and Pakistan hostility. It was also perceived as a measured objective at undermining the regional stability that would subject India to seeking closer ties with the Soviet Union. The American's strategic vision is defined to have been based on ill motives, inconsistency, and contradiction due to their exaggerated anxieties about the Soviet threats (Gaddis, 1972). It is also considered to have been linked to the United States' failure of incorporating interests as well as concerns of developing nations into their foreign policies.
The Korean War and the development of the two Koreas
According to LaFeber (1985), Korea's woes date back to 1904 when Japan and Russia were in conflict to take control of the country. In 1910, Japan had taken control of the country and by 1926, the Japanese were in complete control of Korea's cultural identities, language as well as customs. However, after the Second World War, the Japanese territory was destroyed and Korea became a victim of Cold War. With reference to the 38th parallel, the south line was controlled by Americans and the north line controlled by Russians.
As Cold War intensified, negotiations amid America and their once allies, the Soviet Union, became unsuccessful leading to unified Korea. With the north gaining support from China and the south getting support from the United States and a majority of United Nation countries the 38th parallel remained the boundary after the invasion by the north (LaFeber, 1985).
The United States' involvement has seen South Korea's economy prosper under a series of dictatorship. Also, South Korea eventually became democratic; a contrast to North Korea that has remained an economic basket case as well as a police state that is under a family leadership. Even though the United States' roles in the Cold War was aggressive and made other states nervous, it helped stop communist expansion and helped in upholding Truman Doctrine.
The struggle for Vietnam to unify
The end of World War II marked a collapse of Vietnam's monarchy and attempts by France to re-establish its colonial rules were defeated. However, the country was portioned by the Geneva Accords of 1954 with promises of democratic elections to re-unite the country made to happen in 1956 (Gaddis, 1972). South Vietnam collaborated with the United States to allow the United Nations to oversee the elections so that fraudulent cases are eliminated. On the other hand, North Korea and the Soviet Union collaborated to refute the election requisites of South Vietnam and the United States (Gaddis, 1972). The two parties thus remained in conflict until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Due to the Cold War, the re-unification was however marked with lots of difficulties such as internal repression and isolation from international communities.
The differences between America and the Soviet Union was due to the communist domination that the United States feared affecting other neighboring countries since it paved way in Vietnam. The support for South Vietnam saw the region gain great progress in democracy and development of institutions; a progress that would be later destroyed by the North Vietnam warriors upon withdrawal of the American troops (LaFeber, 1985). In 1975, Vietnam united under a communist government and the United States seemed to have failed to achieve its objective.
Borden, W. S. (1984). The Pacific Alliance: United States Foreign Economic Policy and Japanese Trade Recovery, 1947-1955. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press.
Gaddis, J. L. (1972). The United States and the origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947. Columbia University Press.
LaFeber, W. (1985). America, Russia, and the Cold War. Knopf.
Xia, Y. (2006). China's Elite Politics and Sino-American Rapprochement, January 1969-February 1972. Journal of Cold War Studies, 8(4), 3-28.
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