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.
What are the key three points you want to get across in your rebuttal?
Note 1: Successful initial posts 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.
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)
Note 2: 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.
Click here for interesting article on how the Soviet’s used our civil rights conflicts against us.
Be sure to address issues of ethics and civics in your analytical initial post. Make comments on three other initial posts, offering meaningful debate/analysis on their key points.
1. DO NOT QUOTE any primary or secondary sources. Paraphrase in your own words and then cite instead.
2. You must properly cite using the Turabian/Chicago style.
3. Primary sources – You may only use primary sources posted in the Blackboard course module OR found under the primary source section of each chapter in American Yawp (always the second to last section of a chapter); you may not utilize sources linked to in the reference section of American Yawp.
4. To cite a primary source posted in Blackboard: Author of Document, Name of Document in Lesson #.#
5. To cite a primary source found in the primary sources section of Yawp: Author Document, Name of Document in American Yawp, Chapter #, Section #
Initial Post Requirements and Grading Guidelines
1. 250-500 words (the equivalent of 1/2 to 1 full page single spaced or 2-3 paragraphs)
2. Must contain strong thesis statement
3. Must utilize at least one assigned primary source and one secondary source- no outside sources allowed
4. Must utilize specific and detailed historical facts/examples in support of your main thesis
5. Must use Turabian/Chicago FOOTNOTEs
6. Graded upon historical accuracy, clarity, weight of evidence, historical context, logic of argument, and following instructions.
7. Graded upon grammar and mechanics
8. While you will NOT be able to attach a file, you can write up your initial post in Word and the copy and paste it into the comment box of the discussion