Patriot Acts



Thedocuments significantly shifted the American foreign policy. For bothNSC-68and Patriotic Act, there was a need for a comprehensive containmentstrategy that would confine the threats. For the case of the NSC-68,the threat was the USSR and the communist nations while for thePatriotic Act, the threat was terrorism and related activities(Sinnar, 2003). The change in the foreign policy led to the end ofthe isolation strategy and marked the beginning of strategicalliances.

HistoricalSignificance of the two Documents

Boththe documents are significant historically as they marked a change intact in the American foreign policy. The shift was a comprehensivecontainment strategy that would confine the Soviet Union andcommunist nations at large for the NSC-68 and containment ofterrorism and related activities as captured in Patriotic Act.Through the two documents, individuals are in a position tounderstand the security threats and their effects on nationalsecurity critically. From this, the U.S. foreign policy and securitystrategies are clearly explained.

Fromboth the documents, it was clear that the U.S. could not use the tactof isolation to confront the threats that it was facing. This is achange in tact and strategy that is worth noting for any historian asthe documents ensured U.S. brought to an end world involvement. TheU.S. in Patriotic Act has its strategy premised on working withlike-minded nations to ensure proper execution of strategy anddefeating terrorism (Sinnar, 2003). The two strategies markedstrategic collaboration between the U.S. and its allies in defeatingthreats and enemies to its progress and citizens.

Throughthe documents, the threats facing the U.S. were brought out, and thesubsequent legacies of the two papers on national security documentshave been evident. Such example that the two have been critical intheir formation is the National Security Strategy of 2005.

Natureof Cold War in the 1950s

Inthe 1950s, there were numerous developments in Cold War with severalmajor crises occurring (Nitze et al., 1993). Upon the death of Stalinin 1953, there was an improvement in relations between the East andthe West even though some problems could still be witnessed. Afterthe Second World War, Western leaders started to get worried aboutthe USSR given that they were seen to harbor the expansivetendencies. Additionally, there was a belief that communism in eachplace was a threat to democracy and capitalism. In the 1950s, thecall for containing communism began. Containing communism was to bedone through diplomacy, threats or by force. The idea that was beingmooted at this time would then shape the foreign policy of Americafor several decades.

TheCold War that occurred in the 1950s was a continuation of the stateof political conflict as well as military tension (Nitze et al.,1993). The War also was a form of competition between the SovietUnion and the different satellite states and the Western powers ledby the United States. The forces did not fight formally in fact,they showed their open conflict through military coalitions,strategic force deployments. The wars that were fought at this timewerethroughpropaganda. The wars were proxy in nature. The wars were marked withan era of technology competition through nuclear arms race.

Similaritiesand Differences between NSC-68 and Patriotic Act


Theretwo documents bear similarities. First, in both cases, the documentsensured that there is an increased spending and expanded budget onthe security organs. In the Patriotic Act, the security organs haveadded the technology through which they would detect terrorism andrelated activities. Similarly, the NSC-68 also had amplified budgetof the military. With amplified budget, the military would easilydevelop hydrogen bombs and ensure that more aids are given to theallies.

Boththe NSC-68 and Patriotic Act were made in response to threats thatthe United States was facing. The threats are security related. Forboth the NSC-68 and the Patriotic Act, the response that was made byU.S. was due to the threat of peace to its citizens and the countryparticularly (Sinnar, 2003). In both cases, the U.S. had tore-evaluate the objectives in peace and war and the overall effectson the strategic plan for the country.


Thedifference between the two is that even though the documents weremade in response to the threats to U.S., the imminent threats forboth cases are different. For the NSC-68, the threat that was beingmitigated was that of the militarization from Cold War from the 1950and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s (Nitze et al.,1993). For the Patriotic Act, it was a response to the September 11terrorist attacks.

Eventhough the NSC-68 was finally adopted, it was met by some frictionand resistance in the beginning. President Truman did not easilyacknowledge it with one of the reasons being that it would be beyondthe budget set for the military. However, this is a different casefor Patriotic Act that was passed by the Congress overwhelming andallowing the law enforcement to be armed with new tools that wouldhelp in detecting and prevent terrorism. The support was immense forthe Patriotic Act (Sinnar, 2003). For the Patriot Act, theinfringement of the law has been on the freedom of individuals whilefor the NSC-68, there has been no show of any infringement of the lawon the individual`s rights. In fact, it was put in place to promotecivilization.


Nitze,P., Davis, J. P., Tufts, R., Hooker, R., Acheson, D., Bohlen, C., …&amp Butano, S. S. (1993). NSC 68. AmericanCold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC,68,23-82.

Sinnar,S. (2003). Patriotic or unconstitutional? The mandatory detention ofaliens under the USA Patriot Act. StanfordLaw Review,1419-1456.