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Kennedy’s Doctrine and US Diplomacy Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 6th, 2021

An ideological platform used by a political leader as a president to advance foreign policies is referred to as a doctrine. There are several foreign policy goals that a given country may wish to accomplish within a given timeframe. Such policy goals may bear either positive or negative outcomes depending on the rationale. A typical example of such a foreign policy was Kennedy’s doctrine of guerrilla warfare that was employed against Cuba. President Kennedy made use of the local rebel troops in Cuba to fight government forces in Cuba (Lisiero, 2009). There was a need to stop any form of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba, especially in the wake of communism. Since President Castro was fully supporting communism and the ideals of the Soviet Union, the United States was not pleased with all. Deploying local rebel troops from Cuba was the best approach to tear down Castro’s government. Nonetheless, Kennedy’s doctrine failed to meet the desired goals since the rebel troops were incidentally thrashed by the well-armed Cuban army.

The sour relationship that existed between the USSR and the US immediately after the end of the Second World War was referred to as the Cold War. The bad relations between the two countries only ended shortly after the fall of the communist regime (Soviet Union) during the 1980s). During the cold war era, there were no actual physical fights between the two countries. However, most of the conflicts and wars fought were largely ideological in nature. For instance, it can be recalled that the United States supplied the Afghan rebels with tools of war in 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded the country. Nonetheless, it is crucial to investigate the nature of the cold war that existed between the two nations before the Cuban attack.

To begin with, the United States fought hard to defend and exalt its economic practice ideology of capitalism. On the other hand, the Soviet Union felt that communism was the best way to go. These two economic systems inherently clashed against each other to the extent that regional blocks and divisions were created across the globe based on the two economic systems. For instance, a country like China remained adamant about embracing and adopting communism. Whenever the Soviet Union or United states managed to convince a country to support the preferred economic system, it could be counted as a major victory against the perceived opponent (McMahon, 2003). It is also vital to mention that a major international struggle was created by the two opposing economic systems. Both the United States and the Soviet Union sought every available opportunity to expand their economic ideologies across the globe.

The military might be yet another ideological war that permeated the Cold War era between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both of these major economies relentlessly struggled to outdo each other when it came to the production of military equipment and other tools of launching wars. As already mentioned, they never confronted each other directly in physical attacks. In any case, the two regional nations fought as friendly nations during the Second World War. Nevertheless, their friendship was short-lived since they shortly began to seek international recognition on who was a superpower more than the other (Gibson, 2012). Hence, this was the nature of the Cold War that dominated the US and the Soviet Union before the proclamation of Kennedy’s doctrine. It is also crucial to note that Kennedy’s doctrine was mainly directed towards Cuba and not the Soviet Union.

The Bay of Pigs invasion was one of the major effects of Kennedy’s doctrine on Cuba. Due to the failed attempt to outer Castro’s government from power, the international community came to the realization that the United States was fully behind political instability that marred Cuba. As a consequence, the United States lost ground in a number of international supports, especially from Latin America. This was witnessed by the warm and cordial relationship that existed between Cuba and the rest of Latin American countries even after the Cuban war. After the defeat, the United States felt the need to regain its control in international affairs. As a result, it intensified its engagement in the Vietnam War, leading to thousands of casualties. This did not auger well with nations that were backing Vietnam during that time. It only increased hostility between the United States and friendly Asian nations that were fully behind Vietnam.

In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis was largely occasioned by the worsening relationship between the US and the Soviet Union. The two regional blocks were caught up in a 13-day confrontation that almost transcended into a full-scale war. Ballistic missiles had been deployed in Cuba by the Soviet Union even though the United States was fully opposed to it. This led to the delicate creation of temporary alliances between countries supporting the eastern and western political blocks. About one year later (1963), Kennedy’s doctrine, the treaty on nuclear test ban was ratified. Regional governments in Western Europe, Latin America, among other western nations, agreed to minimize excessive use and detonation of nuclear weapons (McMahon, 2003).

The current US-Cuba relationship is still in a state of limbo even after President Fidel Castro transferred the leadership of that country to Raul Castro (his own brother). As it stands now, the US foreign policies against Cuba are gradually softening. Nevertheless, most experts argue that the full normalization of ties between the two nations is still a dream pipe and may not be realized anytime soon. For instance, there are still a number of US citizens who are still in jail, having been accused by Cuba of being spies to the nation. On the other hand, travel restrictions have been lifted by Raul in addition to the fact he has undertaken major economic reforms in order to facelift the international reputation of the country.

It is also prudent to highlight that there are no diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States (Stone, 2010). As much as contacts between the two countries are gradually increasing, tough sanctions are still in place. Since 2009, migration talks have been intensified between Presidents Obama and Raul. In a nutshell, there are still pertinent obstacles that inhibit a cordial relationship between Cuba and the US. The absence of direct conflicts and confrontations does not imply that Cuba and the United States are at peace with each other.

To recap it all, Kennedy’s doctrine was specifically aimed at altering the close ties between the Soviet Union and Cuba. The United States was keen to make sure that communism does not find support across the world. Since Cuba had demonstrated every intention to support the ideals of communism. The US had the desire to alter the behavior of Cuba (Gibson, 2012).


Gibson, D. R. (2012). Talk at the Brink: Deliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Lisiero, D. (2009). American Doctrine. New York: Sage Publishers.

McMahon, R. (2003). The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stone, N. (2010). The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War. New York: Basic Books Press.

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