modern American strategy, George Washington, Cold War


The dawn of modern American strategy appeared during the early cold war a half century ago. Strategy is the use of power for a purpose. Washington's purposes after 1945 were to establish and then maintain an international order in which American values and institutions could prosper. American policymakers thought the same policies established to do this would also benefit the world at large. Their conscious fashioning of strategy to achieve purpose was virtually unprecedented in American history. The results, almost all successes, included the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the Truman Doctrine and Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the beginnings of European integration, and the decision to send US forces to fight in Korea. The most historic achievement was transforming the Japanese empire and most of the former Nazi German state into democratic and peacefully inclined states, restarting their powerful industrial economies, and integrating them into the West as allies. The developments in Japan and, especially, Germany are among the most significant diplomatic triumphs in modern history.