Yonosuke, Nagai & Akira Iriye on "the Origins of the Cold War in Asia"

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The modern history of Asia is one of the dominance by foreign powers, and an area of major conflict between different ideologies, which led to the Cold War and the “containment” of the USSR. The “Red Scare” became the great focus in the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Consequently, this became of great interest to many scholars, who started a three year project of “Basic Studies on the International Environment” in Japan in 1975. The book offers a series of essays on the root cause of the Cold War by a variety of authors, who cooperated to put in perspective the historical study of the undeclared war.

In Professor Watts’ essay he sheds light on three causes such as the American defeat in Vietnam, the shock McGovern’s defeat which he argues became a cultural shock for many. The book describes the suspicion some of the European countries had, and the doctrine of separation of the U.S. military from the political sphere. He stresses the reluctance of Great Britain to wait for Germany to attack her unlike the USSR and the U.S., because she was convinced that Hitler was intent on establishing German supremacy, and thus recognized no restraint. (p.10).

In Yonosuke’s essay, he highlights the central policy of the U.S. in the containment of the USSR, and how the policy divided the world into spheres of influence. He argued that the problem for the Truman administration was how to draw a containment line across Asia, and how the North Korean attack forced a change in the “limited notion of containment” and thus opened the way for unlimited “globalization and militarization of the containment.(p16). He discusses the impact of George Kennan and his role in the creation of “The political general staff” and the National Security Cou...

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... more likely to use all available resources to prevent total Communist domination of Europe. Finally, they argued that the war was kept under nonmilitary levels, ideological, political, economic, and cultural, because of the destructive power of a nuclear war. (429). One might argue, the “Cold War” did serve its purpose, since neither side was willing to cast the first stone, even though the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, came close to a nuclear war..

All in all, this was an interesting book which offers the reader various perspectives on the Cold War, and why it was not a “Hot war” and the how it was defeated in Europe, but was more successful in some parts of Asia. I would highly recommend this book for all graduate history and political science students, who can quickly decipher the key aspects of the essay, and thus have a broad perspective on the subject.
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