Imagine you are an American diplomat in 1970. You are part of a team sent to a strategic Third World country in hopes of making an alliance. Soviet diplomats have been
there before you and have suggested to the leaders of this Third World country that the United States should not be trusted as a partner because of how Americans treat
their own minority populations. You have been asked to provide a formal, written rebuttal to the Soviet claims.
After giving the matter some thought, you have decided to base your rebuttal on key changes in both foreign and domestic policy over the past 50 years to convince this
Third World country to join with the Americans as allies in the Cold War. You realize that you cannot simply “sugarcoat” things and be believable, therefore you plan
to provide a thoughtful response that does admit inequities in American society in addition to discussing ongoing changes and positive policies.
Note: This is a real-life situation, there was a fight for the hearts and minds of the world. The Cold War is an ideological (and sometimes hot) battle over two
socio-economic/political systems and 1970 is in the heart of the Cold War. Who will be the victor was not yet clear. Most of the Third World nations courted by the
United States were not European, therefore how the US treated minorities would be a cause for concern. But these nations would also have very real geopolitical
considerations beyond American domestic policy to consider. The Soviet propaganda was meant as a wedge. Also remember that no nation or society is perfect, that is not
what you are arguing here. In your persona as a diplomat from 1970, you are giving an honest assessment of the US, warts and all, in hopes of gaining an ally.
Note on Successful Papers 1: Successful responses will consider a broad range of evidence in support of arguments. Take a few moments to consider how you would respond
by making a list of both “good” and “bad” aspects of American society and policy. When looking at the “good,” ask yourself why they are good for the purposes of this
rebuttal, how would non-Americans perceive things? When looking at the “bad” (which is what the Soviets used against us in the Cold War, as well as the Nazis in WWII,
as propaganda), consider change over time. Are there groups working toward ameliorating the bad? Are public policy changes taking place, even if at a slow pace? Or is
nothing being done? Admitting injustices while discussing efforts at reform may be enough to sway someone to your side.
Note on Successful Papers 2: Remember what the propaganda is saying about how the US treats its non-white population. Therefore the topic of your paper should address
treatment of minority populations (not women’s rights). Don’t focus on only one minority population either, this is a broad question about multiple ethnic groups. You
should be looking at issues of civil rights and social justice here to counter the Soviet propaganda. This also includes how the US treats non-whites in its foreign
policy (here you have a whole host of programs to look at, as well as territories under US control (hegemonic or formal), etc. Also remember that you must look at
changes over time.
Important HINT for organizing a successful paper: One way to organize would be along the lines of first discussing domestic socio-economic issues, followed by domestic
political issues, and finally foreign policies in the era under discussion. Remember that each of these elements of the overall argument would have its own paragraph
and thesis (the rule of three)
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