“Fun Storyline” Two Cold War Empires: Imposition vs. Multilateralism

Shortly after World War II came to a definite end, the United States and the Soviet Union quickly discovered their disagreements (although the disagreement was encountered during post-war planning in WWII). Both countries were given the label “imperialist” in reference to what they were doing after WWII. It was apparent during that period of time that both U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were shaping the influence and character of other nations around them. Moreover, both nations were appalled to the label they had just been given. This, in time, would ultimately open up the doors to the Cold War; a war between Stalin’s idea of imperial influence (imposition) and Washington’s push towards a world order (Multilateralism/Internationalism) and the unawareness of both countries. In order to make sense of his argument, John Lewis Gaddis distinguishes the arguments made by both countries.

He begins by describing the structure and ideals of Stalin and his Soviet empire first. With Stalin as the head of the Soviet Union, he envisions not only an authoritarian vision, but an imperial one as well. Which is interesting because he evolves out of an era fighting against the spread of any type of imperialism. Nevertheless, Stalin’s vision was to extend communism and the Soviet spheres as far as those boundaries could reach; to spread its own social systems and squeeze out capitalist order (which he viewed ineffective). Understanding that his allies from WWII would not resist this imperialistic wave— largely due to the fact that they had “earned” the right to do what they desire for its WWII sacrifices made it difficult for western nations to turn on them—Stalin continued his attempt to extend the regime he built inside the Soviet out towards other countries. However, he was not aware that his new Soviet order would not be welcome among the countries with free elections and in time his communist expansion, eventually, would grow hostility from other countries—including America. Not to mention, Moscow would, in the course of time, begin to feel threaten by what they believed as an effort of the U.S. to impose their vision of the postwar upon the Soviets.

For a period of about two decades, America had enjoyed a time of isolation from war. The U.S., then, dismissed the idea to imperialize after the Spanish-American War, Philippine revolution, and WWI. Therefore, there was no imperial motive on the minds of the Americans—especially after avoiding warfare in their own land. However, the isolation state of mind collapsed at the rise of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. The attack of Pearl Harbor would ultimately change the mentality of Americans, leading them to form an empire in order to eliminate any future vulnerability. These events, then, would become crucial in the actions taken during confrontations with the Soviets after WWII. In due time, following WWII, the U.S.S.R. would become an enemy to the United States due to Stalin’s imperialistic action. Afraid of future harm from the Soviet’s movement, the U.S. not only began establishing bases around the world to resist of any possible future aggression, but also attempted to institute international community through the United Nations. Nevertheless, the Soviets would view this as an American imperialistic vision, leading to additional tension between both countries.

In the end it became obvious that these two great powers had differing opinions on how “world order” was going to take its form. Thus the Cold War came down to a simple objective—sphere influence. Many see the Cold War as two nations with conflicting ideas of wielding their power. The underlying problem with this notion, however, is that it does not focus on the broader picture of the real problem; and in essence, it is overlooked. The real problem, nonetheless, focuses on the disagreement of conflicting ideas and the misinterpretation (misjudgment) of both nations to understand the problem and not on the concept of wielding power. Although the Soviet Union believed the United States ultimate objective was to spread its influence—it was not. Imposition vs. Multilateralism thus presents accurately, as an overarching title, the conflict between both nations.

The United States, contrary to Stalin’s push of communism onto the Europeans, pressed towards postwar international order by integrating the elements of self-determination and economic integration. More preferable than communism, America’s multilateral agenda would help the European governments from being swayed by any form of imperialistic movements—including both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.—and say no to imperialism.

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“Fun Storyline” FDR’s Successful Wartime Diplomacy

During the primitive stages of World War II, FDR was equated under the shadows of Woodrow Wilson. The League of Nations had come to an abrupt halt leading FDR to be swayed into the conclusion that the only possible solution to restoring international relations was through the “Great Powers” guidance. The only problem with FDR’s notion, however, was taking his assessment without the preconception that he was just a prototype of Woodrow Wilson’s idealist entourage; he was later quoted as saying “I am not a Wilsonian idealist, I have problems to resolve.” Moreover, the post-war conflict created a whole new set of complications as to how Europe, the Far East, the Mediterranean, and other countries were going to be handle. Nevertheless, FDR saw a great prospect in the World War to open up a new set of regulations for international affair and diplomacy.

FDR and Winston Churchill accepted the future role of acting as “policemen” to help the post-war effort of reconstruction. Even the Soviet Union’s leader, Joseph Stalin, assured the proposal as suitable. Only then was FDR convinced that the only way to maintain peace after the war was to disarm the small powers in order to avoid any spark of another war, which would deny Europe of any possibility of harmony. Stalin was even quoted by stating that his primary intent was to make Germany “impotent ever again to plunge the world into war.” In order to grasp post-war idealistic stability of FDR’s, he suggests strongly the adding membership of China in the four “policemen” dogma. Despite Stalin’s opposition to China’s firmness to deal with European relations, FDR quickly assured that it was not U.S. ground to partake in the exclusive European committee.

In the midst of all the pass ideology, the Yalta Conference contributed to be a factor in the planning of post-war reconstruction. With the tail end of the war leaning towards an Alliance victory, matter needed to be discussed. It was important for Churchill and FDR to attain Soviet contribution in the Far East, thus they allowed complete influence of Stalin’s Soviet Union over Manchuria, if participation was given in the Pacific sphere.

Other issues raised during the Yalta Conference involved the future of Europe itself (primarily Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe). The resolution on these issues agreed between the Big Three were: 1. That Germany should shoulder most of the responsibility in post-war construction 2. Allow Eastern Europe to hold free elections while allowing the Soviet Union to overlook 3. Allowed the Soviet’s to insert communistic rule in the Polish government. The United Nations also became another concern

After the Big Three left the Yalta Conference, there was an atmosphere of cordial celebratory. It felt as if the cooperation between both the U.S. and the Soviets would extend past the post-war state. Years later, however, the Yalta conference would ultimately become the center of criticism. Many disapproved of Roosevelt’s action to hand so much of Eastern Europe over to the Soviet Union (this included the Far East settlement as well. Churchill was quoted once as saying, “In the United States there have ben many reproaches about the concession made to Soviet Russia. The responsibility rests with their own representatives. To us the problem was remote and secondary.”

Nevertheless, the paradigm that was embedded by both Churchill and FDR, paved the way for fifty-years of peace and liberation from war until the 1990’s when the Soviet Union eventually collapsed. Not only did it avoid any type of warfare but even the Cold War itself was conducted without any real conflict between the tension of U.S. and Russia. The decision to fight the Second World War in order to avoid any more damage from further implications, rather than fighting in order to attain an upper advantage against Russians and communism, kept the Alliance and helped defeat the most prominent issue—stopping the Axis powers.

“Fun Storyline.” Patient Diplomacy and Measured Pressure: JFK’s Finest Hour

On the verge of a full-scale international catastrophe—which would most likely entail thermonuclear warfare—both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev found themselves in a threatening position. With Kennedy’s skepticism towards Khrushchev’s intent of giving Cuba armaments for “defensive” reasons, a pall atmosphere developed around the crisis. It was either go to war with the Soviets or, with a glimmer of hope, find a settlement that would eventually cure the tension. It was through JFK’s understanding of “patient diplomacy,” that would ultimately lead the U.S. and the Soviet Union from facing off in an unwinnable war that could have brought the very termination of humankind.

To Khrushchev, Cuba was deemed as beneficial to expanding their deployment of air missiles overseas, as well as advantageous in raising substantial leverage over accords (specifically over Berlin) with the United States. With such a sway in power, it would most definitely increase aggravation towards a future war. Khrushchev, however, did not see hostile rise from the U.S.—for the U.S. had place warheads in Turkey. Henceforth, putting warheads in Cuba would only implement a “balance of power” between both nations. Kennedy and his Executing Committee, on the contrary, were focusing on how to eliminate this imminent threat. For they viewed Soviet missile installation as an attempt to form an offensive against the U.S. Ultimately, this would leave Kennedy with a tough decision on how to act.

For the few weeks that followed, Kennedy and his Ex Comm (Executive Committee) would meet numerous times in order to come up with a conclusion on possible military solutions. The possibilities included: “an air strike against the missile installations; a more general air attack against a wide array of targets; a blockade; and an invasion.” Kennedy, because he was not thinking in terms of a diplomatic solution at the time, was set on performing one of the military stratagems. The problem with taking military action, however, was that it was basically impossible to carry it out without resolving to a full-blown war. It was then that Kennedy began to have doubts about his earlier assurance on using military tactic.

Just as other administrations have encounter when dealing with major international issues, this one was certainty not going to go without any opposition. While one side of the Ex Comm was arguing to declare military action immediately (following the discovery of multiple bases with missile installations through a U-2 [spy plane] mission), while the other side of the committee warned against acting properly as a nation and not as the Japanese had done 20 years before in Pearl Harbor. For this was not the “American way” and such actions without warning could harm their current alliances. This left Kennedy at no better position than the beginning of the Ex Comm meetings and struggled with the committee’s unhelpful advice.

Nevertheless, Kennedy continued to exemplify great poise even through the clash between him and his committee. In due time, Kennedy would opt for an immediate blockade, or quarantine, of Soviet ships to Cuba. With the danger of risking a war, Kennedy warned the public about the situation occurring and U.S. future actions in case of Soviet failure to dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba. At first, Khrushchev was disappointed and even warned Kennedy’s for his actions. Desperate Nonetheless, Khrushchev would eventually plea for settlement and gave in to Kennedy’s demands to disassemble the missile sites in Cuba to avoid any quarrel that would deem catastrophic.

To conclude, it is fair to say that after this colossal conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union things could have ended in worst shape and confronted with actual warfare. When all is said and done, Kennedy’s patience to abstain from taking military action, which could have resulted in a cataclysmic war, proved to be an impetus for coming to terms on a peace settlement during what could be the most crucial moment of the Cold War era. Moreover, Kennedy’s performance during this crisis showed the importance of his leadership and its effectiveness in times of discord.

The Sheep and the Goats – Matthew 25:31-46 (Part 1)

Reading Acts

This pericope is a grand conclusion to the Olivet Discourse and sums up many of the eschatological themes in Matthew.  But is this a parable? Not in the normal sense of a parable, it is more of an apocalyptic prophecy with parabolic elements.  The story is usually treated as a parable, despite the fact it is not a story drawn from everyday life.  As an apocalyptic prophecy, the Sheep and Goats is an interpretation and re-application of themes from the Hebrew Bible to a new situation.

Clearly the “Son of Man” is not a symbol, Jesus is identifying himself as the one who will be doing the final judgment.  There is, however, a shift from Son of Man to “the King” in verse 34.  The King in this parable is not necessarily a metaphor for Jesus but an actual title of Jesus that he will have at that time.  That…

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Aid in a Broken World #ForFreedom

Leisurely, we wake up. We get up from our beds. Pursue our morning routine. It becomes another day. Another day we wake up to our subconscious. A customary course of procedure. Yet, the totality of our mental processes is stuck in unreportable mental activity. Our Subconscious.

It is easy to ease the mind when knowingly in our subconscious we have everything we need for survival. It easy to take such a component for granted. There is something, at least for me, that stimulates my brain activity that goes beyond my unreportable mental state. Music kindles every single strand of emotion that rests in the great voids of my inner being. Jenny and Tyler’s new E.P. covers album For Freedom, encapsulates the very meaning of benevolence and generates the response needed to align our emotions side-by-side with our Creator. With every song representing a dynamic range in character qualities, it is no surprise this is one of their most powerful and captivating E.P. to date. Though their songs are mere covers wonderfully crafted by other artists, the frame of reference that was used to fabricate this wonderful E.P., only virtuously galvanizes the emotional aptitude that these songs convey to another level.

 ImageTherefore, this album does justice to the sounds and tones employed in this wonderful E.P., but it also allows us to accompany Jenny and Tyler on the road to bring justice in human trafficking. With the purchase of this album, with transcending benevolence, Jenny and Tyler are generously transferring all proceeds of this album to aid organizations fighting human trafficking. Here’s a chance for us to come together as human beings and aid a cause that has unfortunately permeated this beautiful world that was created for a higher purpose. This album has brought an inescapable delight and exhilaration to my life that I have encountered very few times in my 21 years. Take hold. Or simply, let it catch you. #ForFreedom