One of the most well known and oĞen challenging periods of American history from a foreign policy perspective was the era driven by the division of the globe into proverbial spheres of influence presided over by the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Central to the system was the division of Europe in the aĞermath of World War II, with the United States leading the liberal democratic West and the Soviet Union heading the autocratic communist East and the geographic and ideological split locked into place institutionally via the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Warsaw Pact, respectively. However, both superpowers had global, as well as European, interests, and each side formulated and implemented its foreign policies accordingly throughout the Cold War, which progressed through its formative stage from 1945-50 and did not come to a conclusion until the collapse of communist governments across Central and Eastern Europe in 1989-90 and the implosion of the Soviet Union itself in December 1991.1

Unlike traditional conflicts, particularly violent global confrontations such as World War I and World War II, the struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies and surrogates was described as a “cold” war precisely because it did not involve direct military conflict between the two sides. Although the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies suffered significant casualties as a result of “hot” conflicts such as the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s for the Americans and the baĴle against the mujahideen resistance of the 1980s in Afghanistan for the Soviets, the superpowers themselves did not wage wars directly against their counterparts. Consequently, the cost in terms of loss of life on the baĴlefield was markedly lower than either of the aforementioned

global wars. And that was certainly by design from the perspectives of leaders in both Washington and Moscow.