Truman vs. MacArthur

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Truman vs. MacArthur

The Korean War changed the face of American Cold War diplomacy forever. In the midst of all the political conflict and speculation worldwide, the nation had to choose between two proposed solutions, each one hoping to ensure that communism didn?t sweep across the globe and destroy American ideals of capitalism and democracy. General Douglas MacArthur takes the pro-active stance and says that, assuming it has the capability, the U.S. should attack communism everywhere. President Harry Truman, on the other hand, believed that containing the Soviet communists from Western Europe was the best and most important course of action, and that eliminating communism in Asia was not a priority.

The question was whether the USA should pursue the same policy regarding communism in the Far East as in Europe, or should it concentrate on making sure that the Soviets couldn?t expand westward? Despite being a little too optimistic, MacArthur?s decisive policy addressed the global threat of communism better because it acknowledged that the U.S. shouldn?t just ignore one communist sector of the world, and because it recognized that we should eliminate an enemy that we are inevitably bound to come into conflict with.

Analysis of Truman?s Policy

Truman?s approach to Cold War politics was practical and logical, but it was too reactionary by nature. Truman failed to see that it was inevitable for the U.S. to eventually fight against the Soviets; in fact, one Soviet diplomat even said this himself as a rationalization for seizing more lands. The Truman Administration clearly realized that the Soviets had engaged in a struggle for power, a Cold War, so why then didn?t Truman do everything in his power to eliminate this...

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... passed, was more pro-active as opposed to reactionary. Also, wasn?t it Truman who allowed the general to invade North Korea in the first place?

But he wasn?t decisive and convicted enough to go all out. Maybe it was because Truman made many decisions regarding Korea based on the assumption that he thought that the Soviets were more involved than they actually were; in retrospect, if he hadn?t had those suspicions, he may not have been so cautious about driving Asian communism into the ground was the best course of action.

The lesson to be learned from all this: the deciding factor in diplomacy should be more based on what one thinks will happen as opposed to could happen. While a little idealistic, MacArthur certainly knew what he was talking about when it came to warfare, and America would have won the Cold War sooner if MacArthur?s mindset were accepted.

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