The Cold War

The Cold War created detent allowing both sides (US and USSR) to co-exist despite differences and follow their interests without indulging in open confrontation. The antagonism between the US and USSR existed long before WWII and this ideological differences led the two countries to Cold War. This hostility directed the course of events into to intense development and deployment and stock piling of nuclear weapons in both the countries throughout the Cold War times.  After the surrender of Germany in 1945 near the close of WWII, the uneasy wartime alliance between USSR and US came to in end; instead the rivalry between USSR and US started to escalate. By 1948, the Soviets installed left wings regimes in Eastern Europe, the countries that were liberated by Red Army during WWII. As both sides viewed themselves the champions of the world, they aggressively persuaded smaller nations to join their camp. In 1946 /1947 USSR brought communist regimes in Romania and Bulgaria. US felt threatened by the USSR violent approach and adopted the Trumann doctrine, which allowed US to help its allies to contain the Soviet expansion.

The British and US feared that permanent domination of USSR in Eastern Europe was also influencing democracies in Western Europe. USSR on the other hand was not content with what it had, instead it was looking not only to maintain but also expand communism worldwide aggressively. Even though in US the liberals believed in the democratic peace theory and held the view that democracies do not create wars, but all solve problems amicably. During the early phase of Cold War the liberals in US saw optimism in three key areas:  the role of institutions, the dominion of ideas and material prosperity.  According to liberals the key institution, which can play a vital role in the international political affairs, can only be UN, which can decide the issues of inequality among the nations. If a weaker nation is invaded by a powerful nation, mediation can workout a solution. The UN could tackle the elementary causes of disparity and dissatisfaction and intercede between the parties. Thus for the liberals after WWII, there was no visible threat, democracy was spreading, so the basic concern of the nations should be the well being of the states and improving their economic condition. However US Cold War policy was a more realistic approach than idealistic.

According to the realist view, it is a government foremost responsibility to use all means at its disposal ranging from democracy, threat of force and even war in order to seek the national interest. According to the realist national security and survival does not lie in idealism but rather in power of balance. The realist believed that in real politics it is essential to pursue power at all costs, however there must be a clear comprehension of what is achievable and what is not. The realists were concerned about security rather than thinking about cheating or lying.  Thus US countered Cold War through the initiation of Marshall plan offering aid to Western European countries and bringing these countries under its influence; Soviet instead openly installed pro-communist regimes in the whole of Eastern Europe. Such policies were aggressive and the Cold War reached its peak in 1948 and 1953, where USSR unsuccessfully blocked the Western held sectors in West Berlin giving rise to NATO (1949) by US and Western Europe as a united front to face Soviet Union. The Soviet exploded their first nuclear warhead in 1949, which ended the US monopoly on atomic weapons pushing the international relations into more dangerous arena. In China the communist power arrival made USSR stronger. The Soviet supported the North Korean government, while the US supported South Korea resulting in war since 1953.

From 1953 to 1957, the Cold War tensions relaxed after the death of Stalin, but standoff remained as ever. The pro-Soviet countries in order to counter West formed Warsaw Pact (1955). The situation reached its peak during the 1962, when Soviet installed missiles in Cuba that could be used against US. This situation led to 1962 crisis brought both countries to the brink of war; however in the end both reached a peaceful resolution and USSR removed the missiles. The Cuban missiles crisis pushed the US and USSR relations into a new direction, where both relaxed their stance. Soon both superpowers signed a NTBT (Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 1963) entering Détente phase of Cold War. The French term Détente is used in the international politics applied to any situation where hostile nation do not involve in the open war. In international relation it refers to the reduction in tension between US and USSR continued from 1960s to 1980s.

As both sides were armed with massive weapons, it was not possible to provoke a war instead US and USSR adopted several flexible strategies to counter each other. This led to evolve reasons to seek relaxation in tension. During the early 1960s, Brezhnev felt that Soviet leadership was unable to share the burden of nuclear arms race and it would not be sustainable in the coming years. The American economy was draining due to Vietnam War; US government felt that it would be wise to decrease tension by relaxing rivalry. The Soviets also started to trade with Western Europe in a hope that trade and Dentate would ease the relation more and that this less aggressive policy will detach Western Europe from US influence.

The arrival of ICBMs made it no longer possible for both sides to conqueror each other. This led to a military doctrine MAD (mutual assured destruction) and the idea behind this doctrine was that, the Western bloc will not be attacked as both superpowers had more than enough stockpile of nuclear weapons to wipe off each other from the face of earth, including all the human beings in the world. The idea of attacking each other seemed suicidal and unpractical act, thus making nuclear weapon as a deterrence to keep each other off the fence. Another issue was China, which was splitting off from Soviet influence; the Soviet felt it essential to improve relations with US due to China departure. As USSR and US were equal in nuclear weapons and it was clear that any thought of war could lead to mutual assured destruction (MAD) and it was believed that any possibility of war would over shadow its gains.

 

A new middle ground approach was adopted where Nixon and Brezhnev felt essential to secure popularity and power. The most obvious manifestation of Détente was the series of summits that held between the superpowers and led to many treaties such as Partial Test ban Treaty and later on NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Outer Space Treaty). Even though these treaties did not stop the super powers to decrease their power; but it curbed their power and limiting the perception of war on both sides. The most important treaty was signed in 1969 in Helsinki, The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks which led to SALT I treaty and eventually leading to signing SALT II, both of which were meant to limit nuclear arsenals. In later years trade improved between; West sent many shipments of grain to USSR due to the collapse of collective farming.

The Cold War created a Détente a policy, advocating an intricate system of international relations, where the world did not look like two split blocks. It allowed the smaller and less powerful nations to assert their freedom and independence and pursue their interests more openly rather than becoming a bone of contention between two super powers. However espionage and the propaganda continued even in during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It was assured that smaller wars cannot give rise to big war directly as a result the realists kept on promulgating their policy of weakening USSR by aiding the Afghan warriors by the help all European nations which ultimately led dismemberment of USSR in 1990.

 

Through out the Cold War the US and Soviet Union avoided face-to-face military confrontation in Europe; instead both tried to have allies to gather support. Thus the Soviet Union sent troops to preserve communist rule in East Germany (1953), Hungry (1956) Afghanistan (1979); while the US approved   and over threw government in many countries including Cuba and Guatemala, which did not sided US. In the course of 1960s and 1970s the bipolar struggle gave way to more complex pattern of international relationship where world was not clearly opposed into two blocs, but underneath the surface hostility continued.  After the breakup of Soviet Union no one expected Russia to come back. The first test after the fall of Iron Curtain was Gulf War, where instead of falling into competition with US, Russia appeared in agreement with US, which saved the crisis over Iraq. The reason for such approach was that Russia was dependent on West for economic aid; any opposition of US meant cutting off the aid, but in mid 1990s USSR shifted its strategy and built up its new foreign policy that carried the element of Cold War that is continuous under the Putin government to gain its status as Superpower.

The foreign policy of Russia that emerged after the collapse of Soviet Union has some parallel with the Soviet Union. Soon after the collapse Russia took over the permanent seat in Security Council that meant that despite collapse it retained the membership of world elite club. In the early 1992 the then foreign minister Andrey Kozrev announced under Boris Yelstin rule that Russian foreign policy will be different from “Gorbachev’s “new thinking”. Kozrev clearly mentioned that Russia would pursue its own interests rather than international community interests. Despite tall claims, Russian foreign policy remained clam for two years between 1992 and 1993 due its domestic problems.

Before the attack on Yugoslavia, Russia flexed its mussel and openly opposed the NATO plan of attacking. The reason was that Yugoslavia was attached to Russian ideology, and Russia fervent support was for this reason.  During the war Russia offered intelligence to Yugoslavia that resulted in the shooting of US top plan that was considered invisible. Russia also made one sudden before the arrival of NATO army when the war was over by sending its 200 soldiers to capture the country’s airport. The NATO was baffled by such move and they have to give some role to Russian in post war Yugoslavia. Such move can be seen as a reminiscent of Cold War as it was dangerous to take the risk, but perhaps Russia was bent on establishing its right, if not possible through politics than by show of force. Thus we can see that in the wake of disintegration Russia started to look for new objectives in his foreign policy.

This new foreign policy concept provided a new meaning to consider a Russia a new great power where its national security should be achieved through diplomacy and protecting its interests by establishing not only Russian market, but also assisting the newly independent markets including in the central Europe. This concept even though did not ask for open opposition to the West, but paid less emphasis on the pro-Western policies which started at the time of Gorbachov. Even there was debate inside Russia between the liberals and conservatives against such move, as liberals believed that Russia should not pursue aggressive policy, but conservative and liberal agreed that Russia need to play more proactive role in gaining its rightful place among other powers.

This new foreign policy was a new move meant to unify the Russian motherland under a new military strategic space to protect Russia interests. This concept advocated the concept of protecting former CIS states in Russia sphere from any kind of political, economic and religious influence. For the conservatives Russian dominance is essential to secure its southern borders ensuring continuous access to waterways and natural resources in the former Russian states. In the early days 1990s some of extreme conservative advocated even Russian line of defense some thing of German Wall to secure its boundaries from growing influence of Turkey and Iran; however it did materialized, but the truth is that till to date Russia do not welcome any one in its sphere

It was under this situation that even when Chechnya was given freedom in President Yelstin time, the new president who is more aggressive in pursuing Russian interest by all means. One immediate step President Putin took was to attack Chechnya; a reminiscence of the Cold War Soviet Union. In the wake of 9-11 as soon as US announced pre-emptive attack, Russian announced similar policy.  In 2004/2005 during the election Russia also openly supported pro-Russian government even when they were failing. Democracy was restored but Georgia had to suffer the consequences as Russia cut off its gas supply to break the new leadership under economic sanctions.

Russia in recent geo-political moves has made him distinguished as it exercised to regain control of its former states and in the world politics in the larger context. The growing pressure for reforms and the popular rising in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan   propelled these sates for democratic changes, but it must be remembered that all of them are dependent on Russian. In the current state, Moscow’s economic role in Ukraine and in central Asia has given governments in these two states to retreat from popular rising demands. The current situation in Russia is quite similar to former Soviet Union as Russia still has enormous influence over many of its key states, even though many states overthrew Russian imposed system, but being economic dependent on Russia, it is not possible for these states to get rid of Russia influence that easily. In the former states there are millions of Russians who are working in key areas of these states as they themselves lack the skill to take care of the Soviet era infrastructure. Russia is also closely observing American presence in Afghanistan and this presence has given Russia also an excuse to launch an aggressive war in Caucasus on the pretext of terrorism, the same term which US is using. Such excuse is far from true, but Russia is finding the situation ripe to curb Chechnya as much as possible and control all the key territories and get strong hold of its parameters. With Putin Russia has increased its power and status more than the early 1990s, even though some of its former states openly became pro-European, but being built on Russian economies and dependent on Russian resources, it would be hard for these state to survive without Russia. The Russian foreign policy pundits consider such moves natural for a state that had once the status of a super power, however the West look at such moves with suspicions.  The reason for such moves is that Russia sees it self as a great power in a multi-polar world and considers it best to advance its interest through slow and calculated diplomatic moves. Moscow policy is contrast to US who sees itself as the world dominant power pursuing its agenda, an emerging Russia means diminishing that position and create a multi-polar political environment. Such views can be clearly noticed in current international affairs such as the present Iran crisis, where President Putin had asked for diplomatic solution rather than war.

Russia has the potential to become major global player for two reasons; the first is its natural resources that are of great importance to the world where energy prices are going up. It would be hard for countries depend on oil and gas to ignore her presence. The second is her militarily might even Russia army at present is not as developed as US, but in past few years Russia has hugely invested in modernizing its army, and is also exporting military hardware to needed markets.  The reasons for investing in army as that since the times of Cold War, Russian foreign policy has been dominated by the military strength. The recent US war on terror has given again another excuse to increase significantly its army hardware; a lot of which has been exported to India, Iran and Syria. Such moves have brought Russia not only hard cash, but it is also winning support from the Muslim countries (Iran and Syria) that has ideological differences with US. The support of Palestine Hamas has also increased Russia acceptance as state and enhanced its image of the “Evil Empire”.  Russia is also building relationship with rising power India, which buys huge amount of Russian military hardware and trying to become world power due to its rising economic progress.

Thus we can say that Russia is finding new allies and see itself a power broker in wake of US growing power. Thus we can conclude that even though Russia is growing in power and its foreign policy does carry the reminiscent of the Cold War.

 

 

he phrase 9/11 has become more than a date. It has become a reminder of a fatal day where many mistakes and errors especially the lack of coordinated efforts among agencies and negligence of duty led to this catastrophe. The Associated Press has released Surveillance Video that shows four of the five hijackers at Washington Dulles International Airport. A close observation of the video forced the think tanks to conjure up that the inhuman incident might have been checked in time if there had not been at least five major security lapses.

The first major lapse can be termed as negligence of duty for a check on Al-Qaeda. Even though FBI counter-terrorism group were supposed to focus more terrorism related activities since 1998. A report of 9-11 after math mentions that, “ FBI in San Diego focused little to no investigative activity on Al-Qaeda”, and instead FBI in San Diego gave extraordinary attention to drug trafficking (in 2001). The video shows that the five hijackers were fallen out among the passengers; because all of them had certain metal instruments  (small knife, paper cutters etc) except Hani Hanjour who is believed to be the hijacker who piloted the flight 77, however later on they were given the clearance without thorough investigation. Even though it at that time knives were legally allowed to carry on board; however in light of being under threat from Al- Al-Qaeda, such an act should have not taken place and it shows that FBI in San Diego ignored the unvarying threat of Al-Qaeda. This negligence of duty is only from the FBI in San Diego. Some of the FBI officials have mentioned that it such allegation does not point a particular individual; however the issue is not about one individual; but such mistake identifies institutional failings that have grown up over the years in the nation most prestigious institution.  Even though President Bush and Clinton took threats seriously; however there were instances when serious threats were ignored despite the clear and visible danger.

The second major lapse in the security system lies in the fact that the hijackers found enough opportunity to judge the security lapses inside and outside the plane. They had made test flight on September 5 2001 to see when cockpit doors were open. This test flight shows clearly that their bold attempt took place not only due to the their resolution to commit the act; but  the security lapses which paved the way for them to succeed. The two brothers Khalid al-Mihdar and Majid Moqed were known to the intelligence when they were making their early flight. To ignore such a coincidence of flying the same pair again within a week is nothing more than a clear slackness of security. No doubt people can travel in pairs at any time and keeping any interval. But if the objects are known as threats and there is already a constant threat then the said attitude cannot be termed as a regular attitude. Had FBI kept Al-Qaeda in their mind, the traveling of these brothers might have been interrogated and the catastrophe might have been averted.

 

The failure of security screeners in detecting the expected weapons in the baggage of hijackers is the third major fault in the security system. Ironically even after setting off the security alarms, the airlines and security screeners failed to examine the hijacking’s baggage, as required by federal regulations and industry mandated standards to discover the weapons they would use in their attack. It shows that not only human errors but machine errors ( if alarm do not set off) also contribute to the issue of security check up. And it points to the fact that mechanical failure in detecting the weapons is weak despite the claims of having the a modern and sophisticated scanning system

If the problem is security lapses, machines are also part of that system. Trusting a system that is not reliable does not sound safe in an age, where one mistake can cost so much havoc. There should have been some alternative for double-checking bags and luggage at nation’s airports. Had there been more scrutiny at the airport; hijackers would not be carrying those items (knife, paper cutters). And they would have nothing to threat pilot or people in the plane.

 

The next missed opportunity of estimating the hijackers’ plan lies in the fact that the FBI in San Diego ignored the association of hijackers with two known persons of FBI. The hijackers took help from Omar al-Bayoumi in finding their first residence in San Diego. They also consulted Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI “asset”, to rent a room there. Omar al-Bayoumi introduced them to the Muslim community. These two known people to FBI were supposed to be under constant check and surveillance. Their whereabouts and daily activities should have been looked after; but FBI’s lack of interest and insufficient check on these two individuals provide ample chance to offer help the remaining hijackers. The FBI’s instead came with an excuse that at the time they believed there was no significant al-Qaeda activity in San Diego (based on information from their sources); such assumption proved wrong. The persons known to FBI were treated like the normal citizens; even when their background was doubtful. It was natural to have been monitored such suspicious individual activities; which did not happen. Had FBI been more vigilant about the people know to it, the plot may have been discovered in its early days.

Last but not the least lapse of security can be found in the fact that a Phoenix FBI agent’s memo two months before 9/11 was not taken seriously. The memo pointed out the possibility of Osama bin Laden to send students in flight schools to be trained for attack on civil aviation targets. The negligence of information gave Osama bin Laden a free hand in the completion of the plot. In the light of above discussion it can be seen that there were series of mistakes and errors by FBI and security officials that can be considered negligence of duty. At no point the warnings were not taken seriously, even if they were provocative.

 

Essay Four: strengths and weaknesses of the Department of Homeland Security.

The world scenario is changing the war-strategy. There was a time when armies would assemble and fight in pairs and then the blind raid that would shatter one to pieces and the winning army would enter the conquered area. With the passage of time the trend and techniques of war have changed drastically. Today it’s not the army only that fights and suffers, the civilian also suffer equally. This creates a need to strengthen the civil defense along with multiplying and equipping the armed forces according to the modern warfare. The US is also going through a period where the up gradation of security measures are essential due to changing times. Ironically countries are normally worried from external threats; US does not have any external threat; instead the enemy is fostering within. The Department of Homeland Security is responsible to carry possible measures to ensure the security of the people; however it is not humanly possible to have a foolproof system; this article will look at the strength and weakness of the Homeland and Security Department, which may have not removed all its weakness but has improved a lot overcoming the weaknesses in last 3 years.

There have been certain measures taken to tighten the security and recognize the intruders. The recent changes related to the immigration rules and registrations of the settled immigrants are some of the steps taken by this department to initialize the process of security. However this is just the beginning and much more is have to be done to change the situation. The most important issue is to ensure an effective coordination and cooperation among all the agencies related to the security process.  For example one main weakness is the lack of coordination between CIA and FBI, which provided an easy chance to the 9/11 hijackers to plan their attack with ease. For instance CIA had information about the meeting of al-Qaeda in Malaysia, but it did not deliver it to FBI and then the world saw its consequences on 9/11. In the age of information technology, access to information is vital for survival of intelligence agencies. The importance of which has been mentioned in the 1998 Presidential directive mentioned that, “ The United States will take all necessary measures to swiftly eliminate any significant vulnerability to both physical and cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure, including especially our cyber systems”. However despite this directive the security agencies suffered because of leaking out information and numerous cyber attacks by hackers that cost millions of loss. One of the major impediments the information technology infrastructure is its lack of modernity. It is not because that the IT community has done anything wrong. It is because there is no money being put in it to modernize it and there is no money to keep it up to date. The Department of Homeland Security needs to work not only on the effectiveness of coordination among the agencies; the department needs to spend more money to make the security network stronger and more secure.

Another example of failure of Homeland Security was revealed when New York 911 emergency system failed and the computer aided dispatch system crashed. During the blackout of 2003, the New Yorkers were clam and no thing serious happened but there lack of confidence from homeland department as no things seems uncertain despite many calls being made to the department. No one knew for sure what exactly happened and how it happened. The incident also mentioned a loophole in US power supply system, by showing, how easy is it to create black out in many states at once. Ironically even after five days, the then FBI director Ridge mentioned that they were investigating the matter. It is these kind of delays, which makes the Homeland Security weak and unprepared in the wake of growing threats.

The proposed cyber-security plan have three bodies, the defense information infrastructure, the federal information infrastructure and the private information infrastructure is a good attempt to ensure security provided it works according to the its theory and aspirations. The authorities have to upgrade themselves in the modern technology related to security measures, which is a long process and might cast billions of dollars or they have to depend on skilled people from the private sector, which is also not very safe especially in the matters of secrecy. The American government has asked private sector to have enough resources backup and ensure the security. However the entire process of security measures needs a huge budget to deal with such mammoth task, which is not easy to achieve. It is such kind of delays and loopholes that makes the Homeland Department weak and vulnerable to attacks.

The agencies work under American constitution that has certain limitations. There are situations when these agencies step out of their area of jurisdiction under impelling circumstances and face public anger and criticism with constant bashing from media, yet Homeland department has its strengths. For example the recent formation of domestic counter-terrorism teams in the armed forces has greatly been criticized because it is considered against American tradition but it has strengthened the department. Similarly the Patriot Act has been criticized but it has also empowered the agencies to enforce law and surveillance powers and breaking down walls among various agency, enabling them to share information for the first time. Even though the Act is controversial, but it has helped in preventing any repeat of 9-11 incidents and there has been no serious blow to at US soil.

There have been various achievements since 9-11, which shows strength in the Homeland Security Department. In post 9-11 air travel has to be safe, which seems to safer as DHS has taken some concrete steps to counter the hijacking attacks; such as putting hardened cockpit doors, and extreme checkup of travelers baggage through out the nation major airports to curb any emerging terror threat. Additionally, the newly installation of the screening system in all international flights is a good move to curb terrorism; where all passengers names are checked against the terror watch list. US ports are now more secure, as there has been extensive measure taken by screening all the cargos entering into US soil. In order to achieve it every port in US has submitted a security plan that includes security measures such as surveillance cameras and background check to make the ports environment safer and stop any potential threat.

The Homeland Security Department in order to secure the US soil launched a US-VISIT system that links the database and provides important information to officials at all ports and overseas offices. The database has pictures and fingerprints scans of all the people entering US soil, which means now US has a better tool to have an idea who is entering the country and who is leaving. In the case of any terrorist enter the country, the database can match and alert the officials before he can disappear. Such system has turned away the terrorist from US soil.

 

Prior to 9-11, information was scattered, the Homeland Department has created a separate Homeland Security Information Network which is available in all 50 states to all law enforcement and intelligence agencies through internet, which enables all the forces to be on alert regardless of their location. The Homeland Department has created a centralized operation center that synthesizes all the incoming information and updates the information in real time and this information is sent to all the security agencies all over the country to alert them of any new threat. The Biowatch system monitors samples on daily basis and provides an early warning system and in the case of any threat can also provide treatment to affected individuals.

Today US has about 700,000 thousands law enforcement officers, along with 12,000 thousand officer to protect and fight for America. There is also increased checking at border by the border forces at about 160 check points; which leaves the absolute guarantee of success humanly impossible. In the globloized world where nations are falling apart and our country is waging war on many fronts simultaneously, it would be wrong to assume to make Home Land Department responsible for every thing.

Thus we can say that Homeland Security Department despite weakness has its strengths. The Department has been able to create different systems to cop with any domestic and international terrorism. Even though it has its weakness, government is working to improve it; however humanly it is not possible to have a foolproof system in country that is the size of a continent. The security of US soil is not solely dependent on internal factors alone; it also depends on the US foreign policy in handling of international affairs.

Reference:

Martin J. Medhurst. Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology.

Michigan State University Press. 1997.

Yevgeny Bendersky. EURASIA INSIGHT: RUSSIA’S FUTURE FOREIGN POLICY: PRAGMATISM IN MOTION. 2005 April; 5.

Country Studies. Russian Foreign Policy

Available <http://countrystudies.us/russia/> Accessed May 24, 2006.

Kelly Thornton. FBI Faulted for Pre-9/11 Error. June, 2005.

Available <http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n929/a06.html?397> Accessed May 25,2006.

Interview with Steven Cooper. Journal of Homeland Security. September 2002.

Available < http://www.homelandsecurity.org/newjournal/Interviews/displayInterview2> Accessed 26 May, 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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