THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE USA US-Russian Relationship / by Elena Chobanian

 

 

Fragments from the Master’s Thesis written by Elena Chobanian, MA in International Relations (UAM).

Faculty of Political Science and Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. Master Paper (149 pages) Supervised by Prof. UAM dr hab Łukasz Donaj, 2017.

*As it is impossible to place the whole scientific paper in the magazine, we present only edited fragments of it.

 

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the study is focused on two major political actors: the US and Russia. As the mass media of the world, politicians and the two states blame each other, they look forward to continue their political goals in a world when broadly “the ends justify the means.” The author will concentrate on US and Russia’s concerns not only towards the nuclear weapons that do play an important role in the US-Russian relationship in foreign affairs, but also NATO’s past and present role, its continues presence within and -out other countries, especially European states (as NATO successfully kept “peace” in Europe in the twentieth century, but we can question about its involvement in Afghanistan conflict), and recently Russia’s military developments, official announcement of possible response to NATO’s buildup in Eastern Europe.

In spite of the US weapon power some political scientists argue that U.S. military has not succeeded in terms of targeting, for instance, mobile missile systems both against Iraq and Serbia, or displayed missile defenses difficulties in attacks by Iran, North Korea, etc[1]. On one hand, we perceive Russia as having the most advanced air defenses, nuclear strike arsenals, even cyber weapons, on the other hand the U.S. regains more and more power in this respect. Some might argue that the United States does not want to destroy Russia totally, instead it would desire to decollate the Russian leaders, ceasing the control operation, making it weaker. Thus, many specialists see the U.S-Russia near future relationship in fog, where the arms control and military raise remain on the first place for both sides, as business behind the political scene.

The U.S. and the “Red Hysteria.” A War of Mind Contest (from the CHAPTER II)

 

The World War One was already over when the World War Two were to begin, as a continuation of unfulfilled missions of the previous devastating warfare, boiling to begin in 1918 in order to carry out the ambitious political and financial plans. However, due to some obstacles and treaties, the Great World War officially took place on 1 September 1939 1[2], stealing millions of people lives in Germany, the Soviet Union, France, Britain, Poland, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere, with estimation of over 60 million  deaths 2[3], injuries, imprisonment, deportation and asylum cases (according to many witnesses’ stories of the attack on Pearl-Harbor in Hawaii).

The Second World War majorly is correlated with the most diabolic dictator of all times named Adolf Hitler, often painting him as a perpetrator and the main black hero in this bloody historical pages, or more often the World War Second outbreak many relate to the invasion of Poland by Germans on September 1, 1939 mostly due to the territorial and food issues filled with the desire to divide Poland together with the USSR comrade Joseph Stalin. Hitler, elected during so-called democratic system, had converted it into a totalitarian regime becoming the head of the Nazi Party (Germany’s allies Japan and Italy were called “The Axis powers”3 with the aim of keeping their Commonwealth). Through extreme racist-nationalistic speeches and cruelty, Hitler wanted to expand Germany by attacking not only Poland, but also the USSR, France, Denmark, Norway, etc. But, were Hitler and Germany the main actors to blame for the outbreak of the war? Or had the Great Britain, Soviet Union and the US processed behind the scenes watching calmly at Germany’s expansion steps? The real motivations and the reasons can be revealed by trying to find out the main interests of the states throughout the WW II.

The Renewed American Isolationism

After the hard loss during the World War One (after the American intervention on 6 April, 1917), in the ‘30s the U.S. felt the necessity to declare itself once again as a neutral state, as if it did not have the desire to fight another war along with Europe. Isolationism or neutrality also meant that America will stop selling arms and weapons to others. However, the isolationist policy did not resist to long and, this time, instead of Woodrow Wilson, the US 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt elected for four times (1933-1945), was on mission to take the political decisions of the USA. If the president accepts the British favor to help in the fight against Germany and other states, that would mean to give up on his political career and break the neutrality policy, if he protects the neutrality act that would mean to let Nazi Germany get on the winning stage. if Germany and Italy succeed becoming hegemony in Europe, Africa, and Japan over East Asia, that would mean the Western Hemisphere will be in danger4[4]. So, with the help of the American Congress, F. Roosevelt decided that the US will definitely fight beside Britain in the second global war, but only through one condition: “Cash and Carry” provision in the neutrality act of 1939, which meant to provide with American aid and ships to Britain without crossing the Oceans/war zone5[5]. In this way Roosevelt risked in terms of breaking the neutrality policy carrying out the “Crash and Carry” plan only in exchange of the British colonies and bases, a fact which saved the Great Britain from falling down in the battle. But the US had its own interests.

After the invasion of Poland by Germans the U.K. declares war on Germany on September 3, 1939 during which President Roosevelt announces about it on the radio reminding people that American neutrality still exists6[6]. Nevertheless, while Europe was already driven into the war fire, US froze isolationism starting to provide aids to European allies more actively, thus taking a winning position among them thanks to its inner resources. In a few months, on December 11, 1941 Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, just like in a war game one after another, in their turn declare war on America8[7]. In another words, American isolationism seems more like an established policy prone to be adjusted to various foreign political situations, by changing its shape and structure, as it happened throughout history at least twice. That means if leaders or a powerful government decide on something, will certainly accomplish it by changing certain rules/laws and pursue their political goals. All depend on time, wise strategy and resources.

The U.S. Foreign Politics, Atomic Bombs in WWI

Franklin D. Roosevelt in his third term of presidency together with the state’s leaders tried to defend American neutrality, whereas Germany attacked Poland bringing Britain and France into it, in spite of the signed non-aggression pact between the Second Polish Republic and Nazi Germany in 193458[8]. Many historians see the basic reason of the war declaration of US on Nazi Germany in the bombing of the Pearl Harbor in December 1941, as Germany and Japan were deemed as America’s enemies, where Japan subsequently after the defeat of Germany became a two bombs’ laboratory launched by the U.S. under H. Truman presidency.  As to the USSR implication and role, in 1936-1938 the Soviet Union had the desire to form anti-Nazi alliance, since J. Stalin knew that he could not trust Hitler, and he should get prepared for the attack. Through the non-aggression treaty between Hitler and Stalin, and not alliance called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pactin 193959 [9] (some specialists claim that Stalin was not the leader of the Soviet Russia when he signed the paper, meaning that he had not the right or power to sign it) in order to prolong the possible attack by them. The President, in his turn, tried to persuade Stalin to declare war on Japan in exchange of the Soviet Union’s influence in Asia, since each leader had his own agenda. And so, during the Yalta/Crimea wartime conference – very similar to the Postdam45 conference that took place twice, – gathering the three leaders Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, were had been discussed several important issues, such as the question of what to do with Japan, how and when to divide Germany and Berlin in four zones reserved for the Soviet Union, France, Britain and America, when to punish the Nazi criminals and perpetrators after Germany’s defeat, as well as to bring free elections in liberated countries such as Poland, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Greece, to establish the USSR sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, and finally to create a peace organization, the Unites Nations, which should prevent any kind of war, especially the possible third world war. Nonetheless, there were many disagreements during the conference expressed by those leaders. Stalin wanted more from Germany in the form of 20 billion dollars for war reparations60[10], wanting to see Germany as a destroyed country. Others perceived Poland’s issue as Stalin had plans to expand communism.

There are speculations that the “democratic” imperialist states wanted to make Germany fight against the USSR61[11]. Stalin discussed with Churchill on a defense strategy against the Germany’s attack, but Churchill remained silent as Britain had another plan. The picture gets more complicated when all those countries, especially the U.S., start to negotiate secretly with each other creating a dangerous puzzle.

So, before the Soviet Union was proposing to the capitalist states an anti-fascist front, the British government secretly negotiated with Hitler on the spheres of influence in Europe. By attacking Norway and Denmark in April 1940 Hitler wanted to get to the Soviet zones, therefore in 1941 Germany attacked the Soviet/Russia. In this regard there are talks that J. Stalin planed in secret with Hitler in Moscow by signing a pact according which the Soviet will join Germany’s attack against Poland that they will divide it and reach to Romania. Here the main interest for Stalin was Ploiești, a city where the oil was hidden. Instead, Germany should receive food, oil from Stalin, since Russia also had a huge oil reserve and other necessary materials which Germany needed so much, otherwise Hitler would not accept Stalin’s proposition. Hence, if one accepts the classical historical narrative, it means that the Second World War broke out from Germany’s attack on Poland that Stalin waited and got prepared for another attack by Germany till 1941, also by taking Russian army and severe winter into account. The US as always joined the war late, waiting for the right moment, while the allies would fight and weaken their armies and thus the U.S. could do a convenient war business by selling weapons to the belligerent countries. The attack of the Pearl Harbor was a convenient pretext for declaring war on Germany, because first US had problems with Japan for many years, after which it blocked oil provision to Japanese, and secondly US had its own domestic problems and unfinished economic agenda after the First World War and should fulfill it recovering its economy depression. One might ask then why had not US recovered its economy without participating in the war? Of course, it could, but the war was outside own country, and thus was safer for Americans, even if it lost millions of own soldiers on the battle, secondly US had another plans connected with China, for instance, reaching it through Japan by defeating Germany as corridor, thirdly the US felt the threat of communism and the USSR expansion which seemed more dangerous than the expansion of Nazi Germany. Therefore, after the attack by the Axis, the USA together with the Soviet Union, despite of odds and ideological differences, joined the conflict.

As this paper concentrates more on the US policy, and leaders’ psychological impact on wars, will be mentioned a little bit about the differences between Stalin and Hitler which influenced the course of history62[12]. Hitler and Stalin had different ideology and political agendas, Stalin was more calculated and realistic compared to Hitler, who instead of details concentrated on global nationalistic ideas and colorful imagination (he even called his brain a “calculating machine”), if Stalin was “cannibal” it does not mean that Hitler was “vegetarian”, thus the scale of their crimes, was different, and finally they were different by the shape of moustache. Stalin wanted to attack Germany first63[13], but it does not mean that Hitler did not want to attack Germany. As to President F. D. Roosevelt, he was quiet, thoughtful and more diplomatic, charmed by Stalin on the human level in spite of political interests (Truman, in spite of anti-communistic feelings, once expressed about Stalin: “I liked the little son of a bitch” 64[14]). President Roosevelt even met secretly with Stalin in the Embassy of Moscow to discuss on drags, terrorism provocation, arms and other subtle issues that could not have been touched upon officially. On the other hand, H. Truman who replaced F. Roosevelt, saw more differences between himself and Stalin than the previous president, because he was more anti-communist and prone to inoculate democracy, something that could be understood during the Postdam45 conference.

After the war and defeat of Germany the winners, this time without F.D. Roosevelt since he passed away on 12 April, 194565[15], President Harry Truman,   Joseph Stalin, – who arrived Germany by train and late, because he had plane phobia, – and Winston Churchill met smiling but worried at the Berlin Potsdam Conference for a peace talk, during which Truman expressed that “America wants peace for the whole world, but not conquest66[16].” Unfortunately for the leaders, the Postdam45 conference in ruined Germany was quite unsuccessful, due to differences of interests between Stalin and Truman, also because during the conference, in June 1945, President Truman was informed that the atomic bomb developed by the U.S. was successfully tested. Hence, through the atomic bomb US wanted to leave the message to Stalin that he cannot continue to expand communism since the following bomb could be dropped on the Soviet Union, but also on Japan to revenge and impress with unique power of the USA. J.

Analyzing the question of who and why was the reason of the break out of the World War Two, the most probable answers may point to the food issue, as in case of Germany and Japan, the fear running out of food especially for soldiers, or territorial expansion and fear, paranoia of leaders, the desire to have oil and masqueraded desire of domination, the lack of deterrence, incorrect political calculation especially in case of Germany which could attack Britain instead of the USSR and win, the underestimation of the U.S. military which kept growing year by year, and technologies of mass-production, weapons, the atomic bomb of the U.S. which strengthened the “Cold War” between US-Soviet Union. As to the USSR, there are interpretations that the Soviet Union actually was the only state that hadn’t aggressive, expansionist policy, and the imperialist powers were to blame which planned in detail to eliminate the Soviet Union. Once the former Ambassador to the USSR under the President Roosevelt said: “It’s always easy to blame the Soviet Union. I am convinced that the Soviet leaders desire serious negotiations which will not be easy, since they will involve, as they always have, a hardheaded struggle to improve the national security of both countries” 67[17].

The US was afraid of Germany for its domination in Africa, as it was a proper place for the international transportation system of arms and weapons, and wanted to defeat Nazi Germany in order to protect the Western hemisphere 68[18]. Britain used this as a tool pushing America in the conflict with the West of Africa. W. Churchill always betrayed the weaker side, as J. Stalin once expressed. On the other hand, Germany wanted to use Turkey and Iran as a corridor to attack the Soviet Union. For the West, Nazi Germany was an obstacle on the path to the USSR in central Europe. Hitler, in his turn, wanted to get oil of Baku via USSR. That is why Germany invaded the Soviet Union, then Japan attacked the U.S. in order to push them into the bloodshed war. After the U.S. bombing Japan (twice, Hiroshima and Nagasaki) it surrendered, therefore the Second Great War stopped, and the UN was created. In his turn, Stalin saw Poland as a corridor through which the enemy could and had passed into Soviet Russia. In another words, it was a brainstorm.

The Soviet Union’s interests were: 1. Stalin at the Tehran conference during World War II wanted to open the second front in Europe by dealing in the Northern of France (a meeting between F. D. RooseveltBritish Prime Minister W. Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.  In 1946 Iran, USSR and Britain signed a treaty with the goal to protect Iran’s sovereignty and from possible attack by Germany. To avoid actions that could cause the U.S. commitment to the military offensive against Germany. To determine the international influence assuring own national security after the war. US was mainly interested in limiting the Soviet Union’s post war influence in Asia; by attacking Japan to impress and threat the USSR with the power of America’s bomb; giving massive aid to others to position itself on a superior level and make profit69[19].

Thus, to recap all must be mentioned that the USSR could have won alone the Second World War, without US intervention, thanks to own capacity and resources. But it dealt with the US, and most of casualties were on the USSR side. USA was the main supplier to the Soviet Union70[20], and Stalin was the most powerful figure of the twentieth century71[21]. After the Postdam45 conference the Cold War was already settled, which in fact Stalin did not want to, but Truman and the West leaders were too reluctant in this regard, because of the threat of communism that often times they tried to contain. The world could not find peace even after creation of the UN since many member-states which represent their countries in the UN’s General Assembly are socialist, communist, which in fact are almost the same thing, or fascist. Therefore, peace can be achieved only through a common sense, decision and common interests.

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2 “What was World War 2: World at war.” Primary History, archived content on BBC 2014. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5PTeDe4jTQ, 12.02.2017.

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1 Comment for “THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE USA US-Russian Relationship / by Elena Chobanian”

  1. Simon

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