What does an analysis of US foreign policy with regard to the events in Guatemala, Cuba and Chile tell us about the development of US foreign policy during the Cold War up to 1975?

Cassidy, Thomas (2012) What does an analysis of US foreign policy with regard to the events in Guatemala, Cuba and Chile tell us about the development of US foreign policy during the Cold War up to 1975? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation will assess United States foreign policy in Guatemala, Cuba, and Chile during the cold war, and analyse how involvement in these countries affected the development of US foreign policy. It will look at the most significant influences, and assess the relative importance of each factor to the shaping of the policy – which in each case, resulted in an attempt to orchestrate regime change. This dissertation will look at the vested economic interests of international US corporations in the countries mentioned, and the extent to which these corporations, through the power of their lobbying, were able to influence government policy.

    Through their sheer size and international reach, these businesses controlled economic and intellectual resources that policy makers relied on to implement foreign policies, as a result, US corporations’ wielded considerable influence in Washington, where they pushed the government to adopt specific policies advantageous to themselves.

    It will discuss how the fundamental responsibility of the government to protect US national security and national interests was often a predominant issue, which were increasingly threatened by Soviet expansion during the Cold War. The US perception of its national security requirements led both population and government into anti-Communism, which at times resembled paranoia.

    As a result, the ideological importance of avoiding defeat in small countries apparently threatened by communism was paramount. Responding to these challenges necessitated a reactive foreign policy, which also had repercussions on the domestic scene as international and national corporate interests came into direct conflict. The combination and unique requirements these challenges presented caused the role of the president himself to become increasingly important. This changing dynamic also plays an important role in reassessing the factors affecting the development of US foreign policy.

    All of these factors will be assessed through the background and narrative of the Cold War, and its effect on said factors, using as focal points the CIA backed Guatemala coup of 1954, the Communist escalation in Cuba culminating with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the US engineered toppling of Allende in Chile in 1973.

    The dissertation will utilise and develop the ‘Business Conflict Model’ developed by Ronald W. Cox in ‘Power and Profits; U.S. Policy in Central America’ (Cox 1994.) Cox believed that big business in the U.S. had grown so powerful that its economic strength had given it significant influence over politics and the formation of foreign policy. Cox’s model is a development of two pre-existing schools of thought; the Society-Centered approach and State-Centered approach (Cox, 1994, p. 4). The former approach emphasises the relationship between domestic interest groups and the state, and the pressure applied on the state to implement policies favourable to their international interests (Cox, 1994, p. 4). The latter approach believes business plays a secondary role to the broader national security goals of the U.S. (Cox, 1994, p. 4). And that the state acts, by virtue of the nature of the executive office, at all times for the national interest.

    Withstanding the influence of corporations, and only occasionally seeks cooperation and the support of business. This dissertation will build on and develop this idea by incorporating evidence from the recently published Mitrokhin Archive II (2006), which allows us to consider US foreign policy during this period in a new light. The Mitrokhin Archive is a book compiled of primary sources taken from the KGB’s foreign intelligence archives by Vasili Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin spent a decade copying classified documents and when he defected from Russia, he took all his documents with him - allowing historians to see for the first time the true nature of the Communist threat to capitalism, and in the process to reassess the relative importance of the diverse influences on foreign policy.

    It will also use evidence from thousands of declassified CIA documents covering all three interventions referenced in this dissertation, made available by The US Freedom of Information Act, which was brought into legislation in 2000. These primary source documents give unprecedented insight into the views of the American government on Soviet intentions and affairs in Chile, Guatemala and Cuba. This allows a concrete assessment of American ‘paranoia’. Also many books written very close to the time of the events covered in this dissertation – such as Eric Balkanoff’s Expropitation of U.S. investments in Cuba, Mexico and Chile and Gore Vidal’s ‘United States Essays’. In particular, Gore Vidal’s essays demonstrate how as the Cold War developed, a new kind of president emerged – a development which had its own effect on the formation of policy.

    As the dissertation will argue, the reality of a Soviet conspiracy to spread communism across the globe, and the changing nature of the US presidency, allows us to reassess the driving forces behind US foreign policy in this period.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 05:13
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:03
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/8253

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