A Delicate Balance of Power Essay

1873 Words 8 Pages
“We have learned that the threat of massive destruction may deter an enemy only if there is a corresponding implicit promise of nondestruction in the event he complies, so that we must consider whether too great a capacity to strike him by surprise may induce him to strike first to avoid being disarmed by a first strike from us.” – Thomas Schelling

The words of Thomas Schelling were extremely relevant during the time period of intense conflict that was the Cold War. His fantastic analysis of the new manner of conflict explains why conflict happened the way it did during the Cold War. What he’s saying here is that if an enemy is threatened with being utterly destroyed, the enemy is unlikely to succumb to its fear and will likely attack.
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So paranoid, in fact that he traveled around the country accusing people of being communist with little or no evidence. He used secret informants to get his information and ruin people’s lives and careers without due process and based on little more than rumors. Congressman George Bender said “McCarthyism has become a synonym for witch-hunting” (Griffin, p. 264) McCarthyism is a vicious system of attack. It’s a system that could be better construed as an SS interrogation strategy. If you look at the SS and compare their interrogation strategies to McCarthyism, there are more similarities than one would expect. They both start with a presumption of guilt and use fear and innuendo to get a confession. The U.S. government allowed itself to become like the very thing it despised and was fighting against because of irrational fear.
Another manifestation of the fear of communism is Domino Theory, which states that if one country falls to Communism, then countries near it will necessarily fall, then countries near those countries will fall, and on and on. History has proved this theory incorrect; communism didn’t spread to countries neighboring those that had fallen, and yet the United States fought one of the longest wars in our history because of this erroneous theory, namely the Vietnam War. The fear that Communism would be the ruin of freedom, democracy, and capitalism, the core values of America, led the