Culture Behind the Curtain Essay

2940 Words12 Pages
Francis Fukuyama, in The Origins of Political Order, suggested that nation-states are mountain ranges. No sooner do they begin to rise, does erosion begin to immediately tear them down. It is a tragic paradox: as nation-states become more powerful they become more fragile, as beneath the formal structures of state bureaucracy there exist populations connected by informal relations and cultural constructions. If at any point these relations or constructions shift political order is lost. In the late 1980s the USSR was eroding: slow economic growth, broken living standards, corrupt political systems, lagging innovation, and shortages of consumer goods were a prominent reality. Communism was being quashed by the reality of costs associated…show more content…
It was an essential feature of US strategy to advance understanding and appreciation of American cultural and political life. Accordingly, both the US Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 and the US-Soviet Cultural Exchange Agreement of 1958 encouraged the use of all prevailing communication media (radio broadcasts, print publications, educational exhibitions, film and cinematic productions, and cross-cultural exchange programs) to strengthen US-USSR relations through cultural infiltration. The aim was to allow both countries to learn about one another, and it was thought that allowing each nation to tell their own story, promote their achievements, and encourage study of their language would be mutually beneficial. For the US, such exchanges would produce an erudite pool of scholars specializing in matters of the USSR, and the Soviets, if all went as planned, would accumulate “a growing number of scholars who had seen the West, and who had recognized how far behind the Soviet Union was, that communism had failed them, and that the Soviet media were not telling them the truth.” The ultimate goal would be to convince the Soviet population to embrace and embody Western values. Between 1958 and 1988 more than 50,000 students,
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