The Role of Todays Military in Todays Post-Cold war
The role of the United States military has been a
question of the government in this modern post-cold war era.
The fall of communism has put away any external threats to
national security and made America the worlds last
superpower. The government must decide what to do with the
worlds strongest military. Several questions have arisen
since the end of the cold war. Should the U.S continue
build its military to keep our worldwide strength?Should
we downsize the military to better aid people in our own
country? What should be the role of the current military?
Should we be a worldwide police force, or just respond to
eminent threats to ourselves. The U.S government faces
these choices as we are the last remaining superpower.
To understand the current worldwide scenario was must
understand its history. The cold war started during the
second World War. Mutual suspicion had long existed between
the West and the USSR, and friction was sometimes seen in
the Grand Alliance during World War II. After the war the
West felt threatened by the continues expansionists policy
of the Soviet Union, and the traditional Russian fear of the
spread of Western influence continued.Communist then
seized Russia, and sealed off their controlled areas of
Eastern Germany and Austria. This sparked intense conflicts
within the United Nations. This now formed the Iron Curtain
between the East and the West.
During the cold war the general policy of the West
toward the communist states was to contain them, with hope
that internal disputes would eventually fade communism out.
The Soviet Union began to directly challenge the West by
creating a blockade of the western sectors of Berlin, but
the United States airlifted supplies into the city until the
blockade was lifted.This action against the United States
caused the formation of NATO. After NATO was formed the
Russian counterbalance it by forming the Warsaw Treaty
Organization with the communist bloc.
Communist then began to spread to Asia. Communist
leader Mao Zeodong gained control of the mainland of China
in 1949. The U.S then came to support the Nationalist
movement in China with its headquarters in Taiwan. This
lead to the creation of the four point program in fear of
communism spreading to Asia, Africa and Latin America. The
four point program was created to help underdeveloped areas.
The cold war split up many areas of the world as communist
gained a country nationalism would gain a country right
beside it. The two sides would try to gain the power in as
many countries as possible.They would gain a countries
support by military force or by supplying that country with
arms and economic aid. The newly emerging nations of Asia
and Africa became the scene of these cold-war skirmishes.
In Europe the East German Government erected the Berlin
Wall in 1961 to check the embarrassing flow of East Germans
to the West. Then in 1962 an extremely tense confrontation
between the U.S and Soviet occurred after the U.S found
Soviet missile installations in Cuba. Direct conflict was
narrowly avoided putting the fate of the world in jeopardy.
This made obvious that neither side wanted the risk of a
Then in the late 1950s and early 60s both sides in the
European alliance began to weaken somewhat. Individual
countries on each side began to explore closer relations.
In the 1980s U.S President Ronald Reagan revived
cold-war polices as referring to the Soviet Union as the
evil empire and escalating the nuclear arms race and
buildup of military might. This poured millions of dollars
into the pockets of the military trying to strengthen each
sides military in the event of possible confrontation.
From 1989 to 1991 the cold war came to an end with the
opening if the Berlin Wall and the complete collapse of the
communist party dictatorship in Eastern Europe, the
reunification of Germany, and the disintegration of the
The cold war basically brought complete dependence on
the military. During the cold war the majority of the
Budget was shoved into the advancement and buildup of the
U.S military.This caused many technological advances and
an increase in the economy but left little money for other
government programs. The federal Deficit had sky rocketed
as a result of the Cold War. The United States military was
huge and left standing as the strongest military in the
world. The fall of communism completely ruined the Soviets
military power and economy. The United States had come out
on top in the end of the cold war.
The United States has become the controlling control in
todays world. The Clinton administration has six goals in
minds to bury the post-cold war rhetoric. The first is to
build a peaceful democratic Europe. The second is to build
a strong , stable integrated Pacific region. Third,
asserting American leadership in promoting peace in the
world. The forth is to prevent terrorism and drug
trafficking. Fifth is building an opening trading system.
The final goal is for the U.S. to maintain a strong military
and provide enough resources for democracy.(Pamela Benson
CNN, 3-27-97) These are what the role of todays military
will need to enforce in the rest of the World. The rest of
the world may fall into the hands of the United States
military. Smaller weaker countries need our support or
cause minor skirmishes. While larger stronger countries may
become a threat or an ally. Communism is still alive in a
few countries such as China and Cuba and must be taken
With the end of the cold war the need for defense has
seems to be diminishing. The threat to national security
has fallen but not disappeared. The end of the cold war,
like its beginning, raises the question of how important
military security is in comparison with other goals of
public policy. The government has been forced to rethink
the nations security.Many politicians believe American
security is now more threatened by domestic problems than by
external threats. Politicians in Washington have
drastically reduced the resource that are being put into the
nations defense. The new funds have been used to deal with
issues such as domestic poverty, educational crises,
industrial competitiveness, drug trafficking, international
migration, environmental hazards, global poverty and so on.
The need for defense is still strong in todays world.
The United States has been called upon by many countries to
be a type of police force. Many smaller third world
countries are weak and unable to take care of internal
threats so the United States must come to the aid of that
country. The more major areas where the United States has
done this is Somalia, Bosnia, the Falkland Islands, Iran
and Panama. This use of force has been questioned by other
countries. They believe disputes are being fought by the
U.S for unimportant reasons and the United States should
stay out of foreign affairs. But the United States must
help these countries in order to keep them peaceful with
neighboring countries and on the side of the U.S.
A major area of the world in which military force is
required is the middle east. Many of the countries in the
middle east are considered hostile and a threat to national
security. The threat of neighboring countries to our ally
Israel has caused alert for U.S forces. The Iran-Iraq war
has involved our government. The Gulf War was a major use
of force for the United States military. This is a prime
example of the usefulness and power of our military. Most
recently the threat of Biological and Saddam Husseins un
cooperation with U.N inspectors have put the United States
military into a major course of action in Iraq.
The government must also keep in mind the threat of
communist China. China is still a major threat to America.
China seems to be drastically rising in power with its huge
population. China also has the worlds largest air force. I
believe China will be the United States next great enemy.
The main role of the military in the coming century
will be the same as it is now. The role of providing
protection from outside threats, keep peace in foreign
countries, defend the constitution, and provide enough
resources for diplomacy. After the end of the cold war the
U.S military power has decreased sharply, but now the
government can see the need for a strong military with
threats like China on the horizon. Now military funding is
once again increasing. Also the need to combat newer
domestic threats such as terrorism. The main goal of the
military is the same as it always has been. To keep the
United States strong and defensive against outside threats
and deeply influential in todays world.
–Michael J. Hogan, ed. The End of the Cold War: Its
Meaning and Implications. New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1992, 294 pp.
–Benson, Pamela, Time To Bury Post-Cold War Rhetoric
Washington, TIME, 3-27-97
–Information Please Almanac The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Fifth Edition Copyright 1993, Columbia University Press.