1.5 - END OF THE MONOLITHIC SOVIET CHALLENGE
The Cold War between the United States and ultimately its Western allies, against the Soviet Union and ultimately the Warsaw Pact, lasted from shortly after the end of World War II (Berlin Airlift, 1947) until 1992.
During this 45-year period, the United States and its allies engaged in political and military combat, both directly and indirectly (through surrogates), with the monolithic threat of the Soviet Union for control over the Eurasian land mass. The winning strategy for the United States came first from forging a coalition of nations in the late 1940s, intervention in the Korean War and the building of NATO in the 1950s, the build-up of strategic forces in the 1960s, establishing relations with China in the 1970s, and the United States arms build-up of the 1980s. Errors were also made by the Soviets along the way. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, American policy (foreign and military) may not have been brilliant and, at times, it was overly defensive, but it was steady.²
The breakup of the Soviet Union has not ended all threats to U. S. national
security. Accordingly, "The primary task of the Armed Forces of the United
States will remain to deter conflict — but, should deterrence fail, to fight
and win our nation's wars. In addition, we should expect to participate in a
broad range of deterrent, conflict prevention, and peacetime activities."
Brzezinski, Zbigniew "The Cold War And Its Aftermath," Foreign Affairs, p. 31,
Fall 1992 .
³Joint Vision 2010,
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, John M. Shalikashvili, General, USA.