Cold War vs. United States

The Cold War ended in 1991 after the Soviet Union fell apart. Since then,
Russia’s economy paralyzed, and the United States is three trillion dollars in
debt, and both counties were weakened by the Cold War because of military
spending. To have world peace does not mean that United States should increase
its military strength. The Realist theory would argue that military strength is
important to maintain peace both domestically and internationally. Even though
the United States as the only superpower remains in certain perspective, the U.S
can not be the peace keeper for the whole globe and every state on it.

First of all, there are more than two hundred sovereign states in the
whole world, and to have world peace requires every sovereign states’ effort not
only the United States but also every other states. A good example was the
coalition force led by the United States under UN command which defeated Iraq’s
invasion army in Kuwait City in 1991. But the United States still respected
Iraq’s sovereignty under international rules. That was probably the reason why
President Bush did not order the U.S army to invade Iraq after the U.S led
coalition force expelled Iraq’s force in Kuwait. Another example would be when
Iraq’s government massacred thousand of ethic minority Kurds when the Kurds
rebelled against Iraq government in northern Iraq. The United States did not do
a lot to help the Kurds because United States and the rest of the countries
around the world recognized Iraq as a sovereign state in the international
community even though that United States had a large military presence in the
Persian gul f area during that time.

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More and more, non goverment organizations also play very important
roles in world peace. Since 1945, the United Nations, a non government
organization, has helped to bring cease-fire agreements to numerous hot spots
around the globe in place like Cambodia or the Mid-East. Individual persons also
play important roles in world peace. Such as former President Jimmy Carter, who
helped negotiate the peace agreement that restored the democratic elected
President Aristide back to his office in Haiti and avoided a direct military
confrontation between the United States and the Haiti’s military government in
the last minute.

Secondly, the cold war made former Soviet Unions bleed to white but
also put the United States three trillion dollars in debt, and the debt is going
up too. According to the IRS, the United States government is spending fifteen
percent of gross annual revenue just paying off the interest of the three
trillions deficits in 1996 (3). So people in the United States wonder where did
all the deficit come from? The answer is that during the Cold War, especially
during the Reagan administration, military spending skyrocketed because of the
fear and mistrusts of a Soviet Union which would pose a threat to world peace.

That was the Realism’s way of thinking, that in order to contain the threat of
the Communist Soviet Union, the United States spent billions ands billions of
dollars on new weapons, such as the Star War program to increase military
strength. Now it is such a big financial burden that the issue of deficits made
the United States government shut down twice in 1996 and it continues to be one
of the topics of the 1996 presidential election. People could imagine that the
United States government could go bankrupt in the future if it keeps on spending
and wastes its moneys without certain limits. Another issue here is the
environment. Because the United States government built thousands of nuclear
bombs to increase its military strength during the cold war, it costs more
money now to take the bombs apart and safely store all the hazardous material
without polluting the environment. It seems to makes absolutely no sense at all
to spend money on something and turn around and spend more money to take it
apart. the United States should wake up from its Cold War dream and start to
face the reality of the twenty first century. Increasing military strength
always leads to a fear and mistrust by other countries and an arms race by
Realism’s way of thinking. There is no real winner or loser in an arms race. At
the begin of the Cold War right after World War II, the United States was the
strongest state in the world by far. It manufactured about fifty percent of
goods and had about seventy percent of the gold reserves in the world at the
time.(1) But fifty years later in 1996, the United States has the biggest
national deficit ever seen in the whole world.

When we walked in to twenty first century, there are more ways to keep
the world in peace than just military strength, and economic strength also plays
important role in world environment. It was Japan and Germany, the two economic
giants, helped to pay for the gulf war. Without them paying the bill(2), United
States could not handle the financial burden from the war by itself.

Thirdly, the U. S military force is trained to defend America and not to
be a global policeman. I often heard the complaints from fellow soldiers who got
deployed overseas on such peace-keeping missions because they were going to be
away from their family and moral of the troops was not too high when I was in
the army. Sometimes, such global police action does not work out as it has
planned, for example the country has a major ethnic conflict such as in Somalia,
the U. S military was supposed to bring peace to the people of Somalia and feed
the hungry in 1993. A year later, the U. S military did not bring peace to this
chaotic state, but instead heavily engaged in fighting with the warlord in its
civil war. It is possible to recall the vivid image of a dead U.S service man’s
body which was dragged by the warlord’s soldier across the street of Mogadishu
on CNN. Then United States quickly took all of its military forces out of
Somalia in 1994 and the fighting is still going on to this day.

Finally, the United States should use its other influences than its
military strength to keep the world in peace. Every country in the world looked
at the U.S as the leader of democracy, and today U.S is still the most powerful
country in terms of economic. All the international trade is calculated in the
demontion of U.S dollars and the United States manufactures about 25 percent of
goods in global trade. Sometimes economic strengths are more powerful and work
better in dealing with other countries. A good example was the global joint
effort of economic sanctions against the South African government which
subsequently gave up its discriminating racial policies and released it leading
civil right leader, Mr. Nelson Mandla, who was elected as the first black
President in South Africa’s history in 1995. Another example was when by
keeping the communication channels opening, and with its influences, the United
States helped Israel and Palestine to sign the historic peace agreement
between th ese two states at the white House in 1995. This ended the forty years
of fighting between these two states. The agreement brought peace to the mid-
east area at last and ended the ethnic fighting for good. Another good example
was the joint efforts from United States, Russia and China, to bring about a
free election in the small South-East Asia country of Cambodia after thirty
years of civil war. Democracy was back to camblia and the people of Cambodia
could enjoy their peaceful lives finally.

Having world peace does not mean that the United States must wave a big
stick at other countries so everybody else in the international community
behaves according to the standard of the United States. Realism thinks that by
having larger military with greater strength alone will maintain world peace,
but global cooperation and communication are probably more important than
military strength. Instead of military confrontation, the United States should
assume its responsibilities as the leader of democracy by keeping cooperation
and communication channels open with other countries so that world peace will
and can be preserved.