Since 1947, the United States has been adhering to a defensive strategy to counter expanding Communism. As world conditions have changed, the United States has modified its response. In some cases the adaptations have been fairly limited; in others, quite extensive; but the over-all strategy has remained the same. It is the central thesis of this book that the various piecemeal and segmental adjustments that have already been made now point to a new over-all approach. Only when the new approach, implicit in these measures, is faced squarely and explicitly will the full value of past innovations be realized, and the need for complementary ones be clear.
Americans correctly pride themselves on their pragmatic, common-sense approach, on avoiding all-embracing master plans. They tend to see new measures as improvements of old policy. But this orientation exacts an ever higher price as history moves farther away from the general pattern that prevailed in 1947. To face the 1960s and '70s effectively requires a new look--not only at the new trees, but at the new forest which has sprung up around them.
The working out of a Western strategy has been a prolonged endeavor. A defensive posture gradually evolved, in 1946 and 1947, after many rounds of reappraisal and long deliberations in the White House and State Department. It then had to be approved by Congress, explained to the American people, and accepted by the United States' allies. Then followed years of trial and error in working out details, producing the necessary hardware, and generally implementing the strategy. The Russians could not have been less cooperative; they tossed out challenges that kept the West in con