Cold War, International Relationship With War According to Gaddis

Cold War versus American defeat on 11th September 2001

The cold war of the 1990s contributed significantly to the defeat of America in early 2001. According to Gaddis, Clinton’s administration greatly disregarded the outcomes of the end of the Cold War. After winning many competitive wars, Clinton’s administration relaxed and failed to instill measures that could aid in controlling future attacks. Additionally, America’s success in the Cold War made Americans think that everything was obliged to go their way. For instance, Clinton’s administration failed to divert its attention towards democratization and economic integration because it considered itself superior to any other nation in the world. It also paid very little attention to foreign policy and national security. Clinton’s administration also regarded history very much, it emphasized observance of the old strategies that could enable America to win the Cold War. According to Gaddis, Clinton’s administration had seen the coming of the 2001 war, but because of lack of involvement in spreading democracy, it failed to control it. Clinton’s administration also preferred sticking to democracy, a step that contributed to its miss of the effects of a revolution. According to Gaddis, it was the revolution in a global transportation system that crippled America’s most strategic assets which were used in controlling wars (Gaddis 69).

It is also evident that strategies used to the win Cold War could not aid in containing abrupt attacks. According to Gaddis, America could not manage to contain invisible people. Additionally, America’s government could not succeed in controlling people who were well prepared to commit suicide. According to Gaddis, terrorists were very different from states; they had the ability of doing anything at any time. They also had deadly weapons in possession (Gaddis 81). Thus, different strategies needed to be inoculated in order to deter the incident of 2001.

Reasons as to why America invaded Iraq in 2003

According to Gaddis, the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003 to advance its strength beyond challenge. It wanted to inform the whole world that it had power over all nations. It also wanted to picture itself worldwide as a nation that does not appreciate terrorism. America had also a unique doctrine known as pre-emption. It believed in occupying areas that seemed to have power vacuums so as to bar other European countries from annexing them. Most nations also perceived terrorism as a unilateral incident but, America perceived it differently. America went into Iraq not only after terrorist attack, but also to solve the terrorist problem on a multilateral basis. It is also evident that different reasons were raised by American administration for invading Iraq. For instance, Bush’s administration claimed to invade into Iraq to enforce U.N. resolutions, promote democracy, and stop terrorism. However, these reasons slightly differ with the reasons provided by Gaddis. According to Gaddis, America had one key reason beside the ones provided by the Bush’s administration; America wanted to repeat what it had done in Afghanistan so as to scare off people like Saddam Hussein.

Impacts of Saddam activities to Washington’ empire policy

America believed in itself as being the only state in the world that took part in shaping the behavior of others. However, occasional attacks by Saddam made it lose its Washington’s traditional policy. It made it reconsider the term ‘liberty’. America started taking part in massive killings of people in Afghanistan. Thus, Saddam’s actions led to America being perceived as a nation that does not appreciate human liberty. It also made some nations learn of its weaknesses; it was perceived as a nation that would not succeed in advocating democracy in future. The actions of Saddam Hussein also made America rethink on how to secure and advance its empire.

Gaddis Prescription of the U.S foreign policy success in the future

The success of the United States lies upon the international relationship; the United State opts for winning international support for it to prosper economically. It opts also for coming up with measures that will aid it to curb new and nontraditional threats for it to have a promising foreign policy. According to Gaddis, it is crucial for America to return to its initial principles of federalism. Gaddis believed that the principles of federalism will aid America to win the support of other nations. With the spirit of federalism, America will manage to balance the Cold War alliances. Additionally, it will enable the USA to provide a flexible leadership that will be adored worldwide. “Federalism will also enable America pursue its interests within a set of fixed rules thus, enabling it not to collide with other states” (Gaddis 112).

Tension between federalism and liberalism and how to solve it

Liberalism and democracy have close relationship. It is through them that a state is considered to be democratic. However, Gaddis predicts emergence of a problem between the two. According to him, it is impossible for the one to spread democracy and at the same time constrain liberty. For instance, he argues that America is fond of portraying its authoritative power to other countries, an act that leads to demolishment of liberalism (Gaddis 113). He further expounds on how America practices illiberal democracy by hampering people from carrying out their activities freely. In most occasions, democracy leads to security. Unfortunately, the supervision and control of what others do hampers with it. This is because it affects individuals’ liberty, an element that defines democracy. According to Gaddis, it is crucial for states that are harboring terrorists to avoid spreading threats all over the world. In doing so, they will manage to not only allow free movement of people, but also enhance spread of democracy (Gaddis 110).


Gaddis, John. Surprise, Security, and the American Experience. New York: Harvard University Press, 2004. Print.

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DemoEssays. "Cold War, International Relationship With War According to Gaddis." December 28, 2022.