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the new look and flexible response

The New Look and Flexible Response

"There is one solution and only one: that is for the free world to develop the will and organize the means to retaliate instantly against open aggression by Red armies, so that, if it occurred anywhere, we could and would strike back where it hurts, by means of our choosing."

nsc 68
  • Defending the western hemisphere and essential allied areas in order that their war-making capabilities can be developed
  • Providing and protecting a mobilization base while the offensive forces required for victory were being built up;
  • Conducting offensive operations to destroy vital elements of the Soviet war-making capacity, and to keep the enemy off balance until the full offensive strength of the United States and its allies can be brought to bear;
  • Defending and maintaining the lines of communication and base areas necessary to the execution of the above tasks; and
  • Providing such aid to allies as is essential to the execution of their role in the above tasks.
korean war
Korean War
  • Massive troop build up
    • Trying to rebuild after the ‘peace dividend’ of WWII
  • Massive casualties
    • The poorly trained and initially poorly equipped Americans fell pray to a disciplined, Soviet supported North Korean force
    • Then the Chinese entered as U.S. forces approached the Yalu
  • Massive expense
    • See next slide
  • Limited success
    • North Korea is still Communist (your fault Lanie)
how do we save money
How do we save money?
  • The New Look
    • A movement away from the idea of a traditional standing army
    • In order to reduce costs, a small standing army and navy combined with a GIANT Air Force
    • Every incident would necessitate a nuclear response
    • This was tested in a couple of incidents immediately
dien bien phu and hungary
Dien Bien Phu and Hungary
  • The Gutless Frogs decide that a base in the valley of a giant ravine is the best place to defend and make their last stand in Vietnam
  • Mortar shells from the surrounding mountains easily pummel them into submission (not that a good firm tone of voice wouldn’t have accomplished the same)
  • The French need to be airlift rescued out of DienBiienPhu and this ends the occupation of “French Indochina”
  • The Godless Commies invade Hungary in 1956 to quell a revolt and impose control
  • A student led protest was crushed by the Soviets.
  • They install a pro-Soviet government that crushed dissent by 1957
the new new look
The ‘New’ New Look
  • Finalized in December of 1954, NSC 5440 was the first step towards the policy that would be known as ‘flexible response’
  • The goal was still to get economies of scale with the use of a deterrent nuclear arsenal
  • However, a mixed of policy options would become ever more ready to respond to a rapidly changing world
  • Let’s take a look at NSC 5440, shall we
nsc 5440
NSC 5440
  • The ability to apply force selectively and flexibly will become increasingly important in maintaining the morale and will of the free world to resist aggression. As the fear of nuclear war grows, the United States and its allies must never allow themselves to get into the position where they must choose between (a) not responding to local aggression and (b) applying force in a way which our own people or our allies would consider entails undue risk of nuclear devastation. However, the United States cannot afford to preclude itself from using nuclear weapons even in a local situation, if such use. . . will best advance U.S. security interests. In the last analysis, if confronted by the choice of (a) acquiescing in Communist aggression or (b) taking measures risking either general war or loss of allied support, the United States must be prepared to take these risks if necessary for its security
importance for latin america
Importance for Latin America?
  • Rio Pact
    • In light of the developing Cold War and following the statement of the Truman Doctrine, the US wished to make those new anti-communist commitments permanent.
    • The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance was the first of many so-called 'mutual security agreements
    • The treaty was adopted by the original signatories on September 2, 1947 in Rio De Janeiro
guatemala 1954
Guatemala 1954
  • JacoboArbenzGuzmán, elected president of Guatemala, introduces land reform and seizes some idle lands of United Fruit proposing to pay for them the value United Fruit claimed on its tax returns. (PS– CIA Director Allen Dulles is on the Board of Directors of United Fruit)
  • The CIA (led by Director Allen Dulles) organizes a small force to overthrow him and begins training it in Honduras.
  • When Arbenz naively asks for U.S. military help to meet this threat, he is refused
  • When he buys arms from Czechoslovakia it only proves he's a Dirty Communist.
    • Guatemala is "openly and diligently toiling to create a Communist state in Central America... only two hours' bombing time from the Panama Canal." --Life
  • The CIA broadcasts reports detailing the imaginary advance of the "rebel army," and provides planes to strafe the capital. The army refuses to defend Arbenz, who resigns.
  • The U.S.'s hand-picked dictator, Carlos Castillo Armas, outlaws political parties, reduces the franchise, and establishes the death penalty for strikers, as well as undoing Arbenz's land reform.
    • "This is the first instance in history where a Communist government has been replaced by a free one." --Richard Nixon
the rio pact
The Rio Pact
  • The treaty was invoked again in supporting the United States' naval blockade unanimously during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • During the Falklands War (Malvinasin Spanish), the United States, who is committed to the Rio Treaty as well as NATO, arguing that Argentina was the aggressor, favored the Great Britain, as did Chile and Colombia.
  • This was seen by Latin American countries as the final failure of the treaty.
  • In 2001, the United States invoked the Rio Treaty after September 11th but all Latin American democracies declined to join the "War on Terror" actively.
  • In September 2002, citing the Falklands example and anticipating the Iraq War, Mexico formally withdrew from the treaty; after the requisite two years, Mexico ceased to be a signatory in September 2004
  • Note that NSC 5440 does not reject the idea of containment
  • It actually enhances the American responsibility for the ‘free world to resist aggression”
  • Also note the tones of a more global ‘Roosevelt Corollary’