Fracturing of the Collaborative US–Soviet “Double Containment”
This Chapter discusses the major reasons why the Cold War did not become a hot war. Despite the evident US–Soviet rivalry, this chapter examines the fragile collaborative factors of the US–Soviet “double containment” that helped to prevent major power or nuclear conflict during the Cold War and that likewise worked to prevent the rise of numerous state and anti- or alt-state socio-political movements that could potentially challenge Soviet and/or US interests. These aspects of collaboration included: the division of Germany/Europe; China divided between the mainland and Taiwan; a divided North and South Korea; and a truncated Japan restrained by the US alliance. These overtly or tacitly collaborative elements would, however, begin to fracture at the time of Vietnamese unification in 1975 and the US diplomatic opening to China in the 1970s, US support for the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union in 1979, and US policies of roll back and horizontal escalation. The chapter concludes with a discussion of US support for the Afghan mujahedin, and NATO’s Able Archer exercises in 1983 and perceived US/NATO, Japanese, Saudi, and Chinese efforts to “encircle” the Soviet Union.