US Grand Strategy in the Post-September 11 World: Lessons from the Early Years of the Cold War
The Montreal Review, November 2010
In an article for the Foreign Policy Analysis Magazine (July 2010) Heather S. Gregg argues that the Bush Administration missed the chance to learn from the early Cold War politics of Truman and Eisenhower.
In "Crafting a Better US Grand Strategy in the Post-September 11 World: Lessons from the Early Years of the Cold War ", he writes that in its dealings with the Islamic terrorism America did not succeed to build an efficient grand strategy that combines diplomatic, ideological and military approaches.
Heather S. Gregg reminds the American strategy in the early years of the Cold War:
"The Truman administration developed the bulk of the programs used throughout the duration of the Cold War. These assets included the ambitious reconstruction and economic development initiatives of the Marshall Plan, public diplomacy and information programs embedded in the State Department, and sincere efforts to understand the United State's real and potential adversaries through the cross-cultural academic exchange envisioned in the Fulbright Scholarship program. Simultaneously, the Truman administration used the military tool, including both conventional and nuclear deterrence, military confrontation in Korea, and covert operations in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East (employing both the psychological tool and force)... US grand strategy was not fixed during the Cold War; rather, different administrations blended the tools of statecraft according to developments in the geo-strategic environment, technological advances, and their understandings of the adversary. The Truman Doctrine amassed economic, psychological and conventional military power, and an emerging nuclear deterrent with the goal of containing the Soviet Union and, specifically, denying its expansion into the industrially developed centers of Europe, Japan, and Korea. The Eisenhower administration adopted a more aggressive grand strategy, promising to check communist movements, wherever they arose and building a nuclear deterrent based on massive retaliation... Ultimately, both the Soviet Union and communist ideology were defeat through a mixture of the tools of statecraft, not through military means alone. It took roughly 45 years to win the war."
According to Gregg, Bush Administration failed to create a successful public diplomacy campaign, because it did not take time to understand its audience. "In the early years of the Cold War, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations began with programs that aimed to better understand citizens in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, and Soviet leadership. This knowledge allowed these administrations to tailor its message to these audiences more effectively. The United States government's weak public diplomacy campaign, coupled with a military dominant grand strategy, had disastrous consequences for the US image abroad. In particular, the Bush administration did not succeed in explaining or justifying US actions in the Global War on Terror to the Muslim world."