The cold war pertains to the tension and rivalry the existed between America and the Soviet Union approximately after the end of the Second World War until the late 1970’s. Neither side confronted each other directly in a full blown war but they channel their competition and rivalry through wars in other nations who fought for their ideals on their behalf.
The Vietnam War where America is set against combating communism illustrated that cold war conflict. Despite the oppressive and corrupt government of Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, his anti communist stance won him the support of the American government to fight against the pro communist North Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh, who was backed up by Russia and China.
Following the Domino theory, the American government along with their Western Allies feared that communism will spread like a disease from one country to another and the power and influence of the Soviet Union will further expand. (Kissinger, p15)
The Vietnam War as a dummy war between the US and the Soviet Union was an effort to contain the spread of communism which threatened and impeded the objective of the US government to achieve political, economic and military hegemony in the world.
Politically, communism is directly in contrast to the political ideologies and principles that served as the pillars for the foundation of a political governance of the America, to wit, free election, capitalism, individual freedom and democracy, among others.
Economically, the political dominance of communism is detrimental to the capitalistic endeavors of the US and its western allies in enhancing their access to global market for their expanding capitalistic economy. Democracy is necessary to open nations to engage in free trade and restrict the economic intervention of governments in facilitating the same.
Militarily, the maintenance of a state of war permitted and justified the perpetual endeavor and investment for the creation and proliferation of modern military arsenal, which will help ensure the military dominance of the US.
And indeed, the cold war bear witnessed to the unprecedented advancement of military weaponry, the nuclear arms race (e.g. Hydrogen Bomb) as well as equipment and agencies for global espionage (CIA and KGB).
In the late 1960s’, the threat of communism in the US is starting to gain attention in the midst of the civil rights movement and the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, among others which engendered civil unrests at the home front.
Driven by anti communism anxieties, the Cold War thus served to further justify the increased government control over the American citizens which was manifested with the expansion of executive power. In 1950 for instance, US President Truman contended that spending appropriations (especially for military operations) is the discretionary power of the president. (Fausold and Shank, p113).
Also, the House of Un-American Activities Committee was created for the Investigation, early detection and curtailment of communism especially directed against labor union leaders, suspected government officials and other political personalities.
Under these premises, the cold war benefits and served the US best in order to withstand the threat of communism and eventually thrived to become the most powerful nation in the world.
The military intervention and US foreign policy during the cold war for purposed of achieving political power and maintaining corporate profit were essential components for establishing the imperialistic dominion that the US currently enjoys today. “Russia walked out of the cold war game leaving the US alone in front of the chess board.” (Zinn and Arnove, p548)
Fausold, M and Shank, A. (1991). The Constitution and the American presidency
Kissinger, H. (2003). Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America’s Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War. Touchstone Books
Zinn, H. and Arnove, A. (2004). Voices of a people’s history of the United States. Seven Stories Press