The "New Look" was based on three concepts: rollback, brinkmanship,and massive retaliation.
Rollback stated the goal the US was to pursue: reject merely containing the spread of communist influence and instead "roll back" the iron curtain.
Brinkmanship was a strategy for dealing with the Soviets by backing them into the corner with the threat of nuclear amihilation.
Massive retaliation was a countervalue nuclear weapons strategy that sought to achieve American foreign policy objectives by threatening mass destruction of the Soviet population and industrial centers.
All this was called compellence strategy, which lasted until1961.
In the early 1960s the American superiority declined. This pushed towards deterrence strategy. Deterrence means discouraging an adversary from taking military action by convincing him that the cost and risk of such action would outweight the potential gain. The concept of flexible response was formulated. It means the increase of conventional war capabilities. In 1962 the capacity to wage "two-and-one-half " wars was embraced as the official strategy.
The formation of the global alliance system continued. The US signed bilateral agreements with South Korea (1953), the Republic of China (Taiwan) (1954), Iran (1959), Pakistan (1959), and Turkey (1959). In 1954 South East Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) was created. In 1959 the US became a member of Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO).
Also the Middle East became the area of concern, especially after the Suez crizis (1956). Fear of Communist incursions in this area led to the formulation of Eisenhower Doctrine.
Of course, the most important event during this period was the Cuban crisis (1962). It was the most dangerous event of the Cold War, and a good lesson for the officials of both superpowers. A nuclear exchange was so close that both White House and Kremlin officials frankly expected the bombs to fall. They recognized that the superpowers must change their policies.
3. Competetive Coexistence, 1963-1968. Because of growing parity of American and Soviet military capabilities the fact was that the alternatives were coexistence or noncoexistence. The powers began to look for the ways to coexistence. One of the first signs was the instaliation of the "hot line" linking the White House and the Kremlin With a direct communication system in 1963. Also a number of agreements were negotiated: The Antarctic Treaty (1959), The Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963), The Outer Space Treaty (1967), The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1968). All this paved the way towards detente.
4. Detente, 1969-1978. Detente - a policy and a process designed to relax tensions between the superpowers. Nixon and Kissinger viewed detente as yet another in a long series of attempts to contain the power and the influence of the SU.
In July 1969, the Nixon Doctrine was declared. There were three major points: (1) that the US will keep all of its treaty commitments; (2) that the US will provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a allied nation; and (3) that the US will furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with treaty commitments.
The first real step in implementation of the Nixon Doctrine was the gradual withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam. Nixon also reduced the "two-and-one-half" war strategy to a "one-and-one-half" war strategy.
There were two requirements for implementing detente: (1) to engage the SU in serious negotiations; (2) the concept of linkage .
Detente led to a series of negotiations and signing of treaties. The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) was signed in 1972, the Vladivostok Accords - in 1974, the Helsinki Agreement - in 1975, and SALT II - in 1979 (SALT II was never ratified by the Congress).
At the same time the more serious doubts about mutual assured destruction strategy (MAD) arose. Early in 1974, President Nixon signed National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM)-242. This was the shift of emphasis away from the MAD strike options in the strategic war plans toward more limited and flexible options designed to control escalation and neutralize any Soviet advantage.
Another important issue was China. During the late 1960s, both Nixon and Kissinger had reached the conclusion that it would not be wise to leave China permanently isolated. Also it became clear that the split between the SU and the China was real. Recognition of the People's Republic of China and full diplomatic relations with the Beijing goverment took effect on January 1, 1979.
Carter came into office in January 1977. In general, the Carter administration continued the same strategy as Nixon. But some changes were introduced. The Carter administration emphasized a more global agenda, concentrating on regional issues, the North-South relationship, the economic interdependence of the industrial democracies, and human rights. Another important departure was a renewed emphasis on moralism in US policy.
The end of detente was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Ronald Sullivan pointed out: "The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan finally closed the door on the policy experiment known as detente."
5. Confrontation, 1979-1986. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan opened the new period of the US-Soviet relations. Confrontation rather than accomodation had once again become the dominant mode of interaction between the superpowers.
Even before that the first signs of confrontation appeared. Carter Doctrine (1979) declared: "an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the USA." So, the invasion was regarded as an assault. Carter Doctrine also underlined the importance of Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), which was created in December 1979.
In 1981 Ronald Reagan assumed office. His administration began to pursue much more anti-Communist policy. The keys to the Reagan foreign policy were to be: military and economic revitalization, revival of alliances, stable progress in the Third World, and a firm Sovietpolicy based on Russian reciprocity and restraint.
In March 1983 President Reagan announced Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as "Star Wars". The US shifted the focus from offense to defense. The new strategy suggested a profound shift in US nuclear strategy away from reliance on offensive missiles to deter an attack - that is, from dependence on MAD, which Reagan deemed "morally unacceptable."
The new strategy led to a major increase in defense spending. Real spending in fiscal year 1985 was over 50 per cent greater than in fiscal year 1980. Reagan administration also focused its atention on regional problems. In 1983, a new joint service command - CENTCOM - was established to deal specifically with contingents in Southwest Asia. By early 1986, a new element of strategy informally known as the "Reagan Doctrine" had appeared. This policy sought to roll back Soviet and Cuban gains in the Third World by active support of liberation movements in areas such as Nicaragua, Angola, and Afghanistan.
During this period the relations between the superpowers were highly escalated. But situation changed when Gorbachev came to power in the SU in 1985.
Ending the Cold War,