An Introduction & Overview


          by Sven F. Kraemer


An Introduction & Overview
Revised November 2015

The Author. Inside the Cold War from Marx to Reagan and its associated website reflect a lifetime of direct Cold War policy experience and historical study by Sven F. Kraemer who was educated at Harvard (BA) and the University of California, Berkeley (MA) and entered the U.S. Civil Service in the Kennedy Administration in the Office Secretary of Defense (OSD). He served with six U.S. Cold War presidents during eight administrations, including an unparalled 15½ years on the National Security Council (NSC) Staff in the White House with presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Reagan and nine NSC Advisors. His OSD service totaled eight years in the Kennedy, Johnson and G.W. Bush administrations and he held senior staff positions in the Senate (with John Tower) and the House of Representatives (with Jack Kemp). As Ronald Reagan’s NSC Director of Arms Control from January 1981 to August 1987, he often briefed him and coordinated a range of presidential directives and NSC and interagency meetings on arms control, negotiation instructions, alliance policy, Congressional testimony, speeches, public diplomacy, and outreach. He has also worked at U.S. policy institutes, testified to Congress, and for over a decade taught a graduate seminar on U.S. national security strategy and arms control. 

The Long Cold War. This project of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington D.C. is an unprecedented guide to the roots, history, strategies, key documents, and turning points of the long Cold War. It uniquely documents how the conflict was rooted in the militant ideology and permanent civilizational warfare of the Communist Marxist-Leninist faith irreconcilably hostile to human freedom, democracy, and peaceful progress. This history also bears critical lessons for understanding and dealing with the toxic contemporary mix of totalitarian ideologies and forces linked to weapons of mass terror and destruction. With deep roots in Karl Marx’s 19th Century pseudo-scientific theories about “dialectical materialism,” man and history, and Vladimir Lenin’s imposition of the world’s first totalitarian state, the Cold War developed into a Third World War waged for the highest global stakes. Like the First and Second World War, the Cold War created millions of victims and influenced decades of life and thought. Until transformed by Reagan’s new strategy, it might have ended in global Communist tyranny or nuclear catastrophe. To bring new generations inside this history, the book’s chapters combine the style of academic seminars and U.S. policy briefings on Cold War roots, turning points, policy disputes, official documents, and lessons largely forgotten or unknown today.

The Chief Protagonists: America and (Soviet) Russia. The first two chapters review the roots of the Cold War in the sharply antagonistic faiths and experiences of its chief protagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union. First reviewed is America’s founding freedom faith, war of independence, constitution, civil war, and reform and progress in human rights from the founders to Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King. Next are the totalitarian myths, dogmas, and blueprints of Marx, Lenin, and their Communist successors and proxies that enforced faith in absolutist dictators; revolutionary party vanguards; class warfare; monopolistic state control of politics, economy, and culture; terror against deviation and heresy; and violent global revolution. Early turning points shaping the Cold War include Marx’s 1848 Communist Manifesto and 1872 Gotha critique and Lenin’s 1917 coup against Russia’s reformist coalition government that had replaced Czarist rule. Other points include Lenin’s First World War collaboration with Imperial Germany that betrayed the U.S., French, and British allies and Russia’s people and neighbors, followed by Lenin’s and Stalin’s creation of the Soviet Union through terror, famine, and purges.

From the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Second World War to Post-War Soviet Imperialism. Chapters 3-6 review further Cold War turning points including Roosevelt’s 1933  recognition of the totalitarian USSR; the 1939 Hitler-Stalin pact that launched the Second World War with a German-Soviet invasion of Poland followed by Hitler’s invasions of over ten democratic nations while Stalin cheered. Next, Stalin’s 1941 Soviet-Japan “neutrality” pact facilitated years of Imperial Japan’s warfare in Asia. Details follow on the massive U.S. military assistance programs to Britain, France, and other nations fighting Hitler’s National-Socialist Germany, and even larger aid programs to the Soviet Union after Hitler’s invasion of June 1941. Also reviewed are the years of decisive U.S. and Allied ground, naval and air offensives against German and Japanese forces and homelands from which Soviet forces were absent but that proved critical to Soviet survival against the Nazi invaders and in deterring a potential Japanese invasion during the “Great Patriotic War,” a war the Kremlin still views as the only decisive factor in Soviet survival and as legitimizing all Soviet actions. Such actions include Soviet violations of wartime agreements like Yalta as the Red Army and Soviet intelligence operations imposed “Socialist Camp” captive nations, Iron Curtains, gulags, fronts, and Soviet proxy warfare in Eastern Europe, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Central America, Afghanistan, Africa and other targeted areas.

Pre-Reagan U.S. Strategies. The history documented above is presented in the first six chapters in the context of faltering U.S. strategies that failed to understand, moderate, reform or roll back the Soviet ideology and empire. Such strategies include 1917-1920s U.S. assistance, 1930s U.S. diplomatic recognition, 1940s wartime alliance, 1950s NSC-68 “containment,” 1960s-1970s “massive retaliation,” and 1970s “détente” accommodations, defeats, and mounting confusion.

The Reagan Revolution and his Winning Cold War Strategy of “Peace and Freedom” and “Peace through Strength” are the focus of the book’s final fourteen chapters. Developed by Reagan and his team on a bipartisan basis and first outlined in his 1980 presidential platform, the strategy was expanded throughout his two terms through major directives (including NSDD 75), programs, speeches, reports and actions detailed in the book. Despite strong opposition from Congressional, media, and academic establishments, Reagan transformed core Cold War assumptions, analyses, and dynamics and gained increasing public support at home and abroad.

Reagan’s Leadership and Revolution. Inside the Cold War provides unprecedented official documentation on context, programs, policy disputes, and presidential decisions as Reagan and his team integrated new U.S. and Allied instruments of strategy and statecraft for defense, arms control, diplomacy, economics, and intelligence the Soviets could not deter or defeat. Reagan modernized U.S. nuclear and conventional defense and deterrence programs like MX, SDI, and naval, air, and army capabilities and readiness. This built new strengths and incentivized innovative arms control initiatives like ”zero-option” INF, “deep-cuts” START. He replaced ineffective arms control caps, nuclear freezes, and limited monitoring with new criteria for militarily meaningful reductions to equal levels with high-confidence on-site verification and JCS-certified programmatic safeguards. New U.S. counter actions targeted Soviet ideology, abuses in human rights and captive nations controls, “first-strike” military buildups, arms treaty violations (including SALT and CBW), pro-Soviet proxy “liberation wars,” direct  invasions, and Soviet “active measures” intelligence deceptions and fronts. Proactive U.S. programs, tough negotiations, and vigorous public diplomacy were backed through overt and covert support to anti-Communist resistance forces in Afghanistan, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Reagan’s Historic Impact. Though often denigrated even today, Reagan’s morally and strategically grounded new Cold War policies were increasingly shared by anti-Communist leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and Pope John Paul II and quickly halted U.S. and Western confusion and retreat. As U.S. and Allied strength and confidence were rebuilt, Reagan further intensified U.S. pressures after his 1984 reelection mandate – pressures the Kremlin’s leaders had not expected and could not contain. By the start of Reagan’s second term, Soviet imperial momentum had slowed and the Soviet economy and imperial system were so stressed that in January 1985 Konstantin Chernenko restarted negotiations the Soviets had broken off for over a year. The new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was soon forced to attempt risky Communist Party reform experiments in perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). As foreseen by Reagan and his team, the U.S. strategy broke the totalitarian authority of the Soviet ideology, regime, and empire. Long-closed Communist minds, bureaucracies, and walls were forced open as pressure rose for deeper, more democratic reforms, and even regime change.

Post-Cold War Lessons and Implications in Today’s World. In the post-Communist, post-Soviet period, the accommodations, agreements, and reset strategies attempted by Reagan’s successors failed to overcome decades of destructive Soviet rule. Boris Yeltsin’s obstacles and limitations and Vladimir Putin’s cynical actions refuted U.S. and Allied hopes for Russian democratization and peaceful international behavior. The lessons of Reagan’s winning Cold War strategy against militant totalitarian Soviet ideology and power have become more relevant every day not only in understanding the roots and course of the Cold War, but also in overcoming current U.S. and allied failure to build the moral and strategic understanding and strengths required to press for moderation, change, and roll back of Russian militance and extremist forces like Iran, ISIS, and potential other anti-democratic threats to peace and freedom like China. America, its allies, and moderate faiths and forces must make it a priority to defend and expand the sphere of human freedom and peaceful progress with new international strategies to provide for the common defense” and “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Book Cover Endorsement Excerpts: “Scholarly history…, strategic turning points…, pioneering analysis…, ground-breaking encyclopedic work…, authoritative documentation…, faith in freedom…; indispensable.”

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