Cold War: Opposing Ideologies
The Cold War between the US and USSR was a culmination of differing ideologies between the two countries. With the defeat of fascist Germany and militarist Japan at the end of the World War II there were only two superpowers that had opposing ideologies in all respect. While the US and the Western Bloc favored capitalism the USSR and the Eastern Bloc took pride in socialism with its leaders vowing to protect and spread it out to adherent nations. Consequently, there was a concentration of opposing views with each faction competing to attract as much allies as possible in order to defeat each other. The US, on the other hand, determined to spread the capitalism dogmas across the world. The two nations had nuclear weapons what meant that in case of any military confrontation they would suffer destruction on equal measure. This has limited their confrontations to foreign policy confrontations and sometimes in proxy wars that were fights in other countries between 1945 and 1991 when the USSR collapsed. This paper explores the opposing ideologies from the leaders of the two superpowers and how these ideologies reinforced the Cold War.
How Opposing Ideologies led to the Cold War
The leadership of the two superpowers determined that peaceful coexistence of capitalism and socialism was not possible to achieve. The Socialist faction highly doubted thesincerity of moderate Socialist and Capitalist leaders in Western countries. The USSR under Kremlin always experienced a traditional and instinctive sense of insecurity which led to its leaders seeking ways to protect their interest both nationally and internationally. The economically advanced West instigated fear of emergence of more competent, powerful, highly organized societies within its borders which may have opened its system to the outside world (Blumberg, 23). Hence, the involvement of the USSR in the war emanated from the fact that the leadership wanted its system of leadership to remain not only closed to the outside world but also spread to other nations. The US, on the other hand, believed that with its economic and military powers it had the right to be the world leader as it was proclaimed in the new world order and therefore the USSR and the Socialist world did not have the right to stop this agenda.
The beginning and continuation of the Cold War between the US and the USSR was founded on the fact that the two nations took diverging opinions on the issues that were affecting the world. The leadership of the USSR had already conceived existence of two centers of power in the development of international revolution. The two centers of world significance were to be represented by a socialist center with the countries which tended toward socialism, and a capitalist center with countries that inclined toward capitalism. This was an unavoidable situation and the US also had the same view before the end of the World War II (Blumberg, 25). Whereas the US leadership wanted to build a world economy that was based on capitalism by virtue of their position as a superpower, the USSR felt that their socialism model was the best on which the world economy could be built. The USSR also feared the influence of the outsiders on their model and sought to protect it at all by supporting the nations that were seen as allies of socialism (Wohlforth, 11).
As a result of power center concentration around capitalism and socialism, there still existed mistrust between the two warring nations as each considered military and economic powers to be a tool that could be used to muzzle the efforts of the other. Thus, the leadership of the two nations embarked on activities that included military and economic support to the nations that were seen as their supporters and who were likely to increase their influence in other parts of the world. For instance, the USSR strategically undertook to support the Cuban government against the aggression by the US during the Cuban Missile Crisis while the US supported the Korean War with a goal of destabilization of the influence of the USSR in the region.
Another ideology by the USSR was the determination by its leaders to do everything in order to advance relative strength of the USSR as a factor in the international society. Similarly, the USSR leadership also believed that every opportunity must be utilized to reduce strength and influence of both collective and individual powers of capitalism. On their part, the US and the Western Bloc determined to wage a relentless battle against Socialist led by the USSR and Social Democratic leaders abroad (Wohlforth, 21).
The pursuit of the ideologies by the two superpowers meant that they would always take diverging views on even simple issues that affected world leadership. The involvement of the USSR in the war in Angola through Cuba was an indication that the USSR was determined to curtail the influence of the US in the African continent. Furthermore, the US pursued its agenda by supporting the enemies of the Socialism and the USSR by extension in India and Pakistan. The Russian leaders decided that they were going to participate officially in international organizations where there was a prospect of extending Soviet power or of reducing or diluting power of others. The US leadership used the foreign policy which reflected the imperialist tendencies of American monopolistic capital, and which was characterized in the postwar period by striving for world supremacy to perpetuate its ideologies in friendly nations like Britain and India. The US also used the colossal need by the European and Asian countries in consuming and supplying goods and in the process of infiltrating their national economies with its capitalist ideologies. This was also aimed at strengthening the economic position of the US and capitalism around the world thus paving the way for the domination of the US in those countries (Blumberg, 33).