The Cold War, the Watergate Scandal, PATCO Strikes: Analytical Historical Essay

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

The 1970s-2012 was an era of war, international conflict, and significant political change in which the US exercised the three different types of power in order to establish an assertive front to their international relations.

There are three types of power, soft, hard, and smart power. Soft power is a pragmatic way to achieve results that would be favorable to both parties and uses propaganda, education, attraction, and other means whilst, hard power uses weapons and coercion in order to insist upon other individuals or groups to act in certain, predetermined ways by the party exercising the coercion. Finally, smart power is the combination of both soft and hard power. The implementation of such power tactics by the US was made evident on many occasions such as The Cold War, the Watergate Scandal, PATCO strikes, and the September 11 attacks in which the US responded in hardline authoritative ways which resulted in numerous global conflicts and forever changed the socio-political landscape of international politics and global relations that we know today.

The Cold War was one of the most significant events in the world and brought about great change to society. It was an example of countries using a combination of soft, smart, and hard power to manipulate and gain authority over each other. The Cold War was a period of tension and conflict between liberal democracy in the Western World and communist countries of Eastern Europe. It was named the Cold War because the two countries never directly faced each other in combat, and the conflict lacked the ‘heat of battle’. The Western World was led by the US and Eastern Europe led by the Soviet Union. During the Second World War, the Soviets and the US fought as allies against the Axis powers. The Cold War essentially started after the defeat of Nazi Germany, in 1945. By 1948, the Soviets had implemented left wing governments in eastern Europe which resulted in the US and the British fearing the permanent Soviet domination of eastern Europe and the spread of communism. However, the US and the Soviets never declared war on each other; they fought numerous proxy wars, one being a result of the US aiding South Korea and the Soviets helping communist North Korea. They also took part in the arms race and the space race, both examples of the use of soft and hard power. Soft power was the prominent form of diplomacy between the Soviets and the US during The Cold War. For example, the US used soft power to deter belief in communism behind The Iron Curtain (Poland, Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and the Soviet Union, etc.) Both sides attempted to use soft power, through the media, culture, and propaganda. For instance, the US used movies in Hollywood to promote propaganda against communism, and Eastern Europe and to create an atmosphere of paranoia towards the Soviet Union. The US also produced several “documentaries' ' that supposedly exposed the dangers of communist countries to both the Eastern and Western worlds. Russia created a strong sense of fear and ignorance amongst its population due to the oppressive political environment. Russia used powerful speeches, culture, and propaganda to promote communism to both the West and Eastern countries.

The Soviets and the US took part in the space race, the competition to attain first spaceflight ability. The space race was an example of the use of soft power by the US and The Soviets as both countries used intense propaganda to attempt to win the space race and show the European and Western countries who had the most advanced space technology and economic system. Smart power was also used by both parties during the Cold War; a main example of the US exercising smart power was when they provided aid to Afghanistan so they get invaded by the Soviet Union. The Cold War had one of the largest arms races of all time and was between the US and the Soviets. While the Cold War did not result in The Soviets or the US declaring on one another there was always the threat in the background. The closest example of this is the Arms Race and Cuban missile crisis. The Arms Race resulted in both parties stockpiling large amounts of weapons including nuclear warheads which threatened the outbreak of war. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the Cold War came to breaking into a Nuclear war. The US used its naval forces to blockade deliveries to Berlin and Cuba, which is another example of hard power. This was due to the US discovering the Soviet’s install missiles in Cuba. The Cold War has forever shaped our world today as it resulted in countries apart of the Westren and Eastern powers to form alliances, friendships, and hostilities between countries, which has significantly changed international politics for the better

The Watergate Scandal and the PATCO strikes are both one of the most famous and well known internal conflicts scandals and both brought about great change to global politics. It was an example of US leaders exercising hard power in hopes of manipulating the American government and civilians. The Watergate Scandal occurred in 1972 when numerous burglars were caught and arrested in the Democartic National Committee in Washington DC. The burglars attempted to steal important documents and wiretapping phones. These burglaries were found to be connected to Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. Nixon took great measures to try and cover this up, but failed when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reported Nixon’s role in the scandal to the Washington post. This resulted in Nixon resigning on the 9th of August 1974. Nixon used hard and smart power to execute this scandal. Nixton’s intentions were to use smart power to manipulate the election campaign, however, his way of executing this caused him to use hard power by hiring burglars to steal from the Democartic National Committee. In the 6 years of his presidency he achieved nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, negotiated with China which set the stage for arms reduction pacts, and which ended the Cold War. His resignation changed US politics as the scandal resulted in American civilians questioning their leaders and the American political system.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Between 1970-2012, the US had several internal conflicts which resulted in two different parties exercising hard power on each other in hopes of gaining power. The PATCO strikes were an example of this. The Professional Air Traffic Controllers organization or (PATCO) was an American trade union between 1968 until it was decertified in 1981 by Ronald Reagan as a result of illegal striking. As a result of these strikes, Reagan fired 11,000 air traffic controllers who were protesting for increased wages on August 5th, 1981, for defying his orders to return to work. The strikes led to 7,000 flights being cancelled during the summer travel season across the nation. PATCO used hard power by protesting/striking against Reagan and refused to work. In return, Reagan threatened to ban them from federal service for life and fire any controllers who failed to return to their posts and branded the strikes illegal. The strikes occured when Reagan was only eight months into office, and saw the strikes as a challenge to his authority. This resulted in him trying to show American citizens the power he has over them by threatening the PATCO workers. According to Labour historian Joseph A. McCartin, the PATCO strike was “one of the most significant events in the twentieth century”. In my opinion, this internal conflict helped shape America and our world today as it showed Americans and non Americans the cost of defying their president.

The September 11 attacks were the most significant terrorist attacks and had a significant impact on international relations, global politics, and the global economy. The series of attacks was conducted by an Islamic terrorist group known as “Al Qaeda ''. Al Qaeda exercised hard power by hijacking four planes and driving them into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre which resulted in the death of 3000 people. Osama Bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda, conducted these attacks on the US because of its political interference in the Middle East and interventionism in international politics. These attacks came as no surprise to the US, as Bin Laden was determined to strike using hard power in the US and made several threats to Bush weeks before. After the attacks Bush announced war on terrorism, and promised he would attempt to bring Al Qaeda to justice. 2 years later, Bush invaded Iran, he also talked about the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda and told the nation they had weapons of mass destruction. The US media “beat the drums of war”, as Bush said that 1% chance can be 99% chance when it comes to foreign policy. This resulted in almost 60 countries making it onto Bush’s “hit list” and triggered protests about peace around the world as the US plans to bomb Iraq. These attacks were a great awakening for Bush and the world, and resulted in people in all countries questioning their governments ability to keep them safe. As a result of the attacks, America’s hard power was extremely damaged, as their military power was severely weakened which meant America was unable to provide American residents with adequate protection, and also resulted in significant changes in U.S and foreign policy. The U.S government began to increase economic measures, military operations, and pressure on suspects and groups of people accused of being terrorists, and was also an increased suspicion of non American citizens. For example, there were 600 incidents towards Muslims or Arabs between the 10 days after 911. 500 people robbed a mosque in Chicago, and a Pakastani grocer was brutally murdered. American citizens were furious at people of Musilm descent as a result of the attacks and attempted to exercise hard power on them. The 911 attacks also had a major impact on the global economy and resulted in stock markets to crash, the US lost around $40 billion in insurance losses. Travel and entertainment stocks fell while military and defense stocks rose, in international and domestic markets. One major impact the attacks had on the economy was the significant increase in oil prices, and distribution of international trade. The 911 attacks majorly affected the global economy and forign affairs, hard power was exercised by Al Qaeda to the US mainly due to their support of Israel. As a result of this, Bush called for the invasion of Iran which caused the collapse of the global stock market and economy, which significantly impacted international relations.

In conclusion, the Cold War, the Watergate Scandal/PATCO strikes and the September 11 attacks were all events that significantly impacted international relations and shaped our world today. The US exercised soft, smart and hard power on foriegn countries to revive national pride after World War One and Two, which led to conflict with foreign countries, and resulted in drastic change for foreign affairs and global politics.

To what extent are you comfortable with the actions of key actors and to what extent are you disappointed

The US engaged in many different foreign affairs and started many conflicts among different countries to prove to the rest of the world their strong government and economy. The actions of many important world leaders resulted in conflict and pain for people all over the world and also had a negative impact on the global economy. For example, the actions of President George Bush announcing the invasion of Iraq was based on misinformation and was essentially bordering on a lie. However, the assination of Osama Bin Laden known to be conducted by the US government, was an action to prevent the death of thousands of innocent civilians, which I agree with.

Bush announced the invasion of Iraq 2 years after 9/11 occurred and was the first stage in the Iraq war and lasted for a month. He sent 177,194 American, British and Polish troops to Iraq, to “disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and to free the people from Iraq from Saddam Hussain ''. Bush triggered the attacks on Iraq, as a way to show citizens of America that he is taking action and revenge against terrorists in the Islmaic State, and to create a diversion between them. In my opinion, he used hard power in order to gain maintain popularity among voters and the gun lobby. Leaders from France, Canada, Germany and New Zealand (allies of the US) opposed Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and said there was no evidence of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Bush’s actions against Iraq triggered worldwide peace protests against war in Iraq. The war also cost taxpayers up to $2.2 trillion and killed 190,000 people 70% being civilians. The war also caused PTSD for 25-33% troops deployed in Iraq and caused its economy to collapse with unemployment rates reaching 60%. In my opinion the actions of Bush resulted in pain and conflict, and had significant ramifications for the global economy and had several long term impacts on global politics. The actions of Bush resulted in ramifications for not only Americans but the allies such as Britain, Australia, and Poland, and in my opinion created significant instability in the region.

Osama Bin Laden was the leader of a terrorist group known as Al Qaeda, and was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In 2011, he was killed in an operation conducted by the U.S government. In my opinion, I support this decision as it brought justice to the thousands of innocent civilians who died as a result of the attacks. I believe that killing him was a fair decision made by the government as he caused the US to declare war on Iraq which led to several more issues such as a collapsing economy and conflicts between other countries.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

The Cold War, the Watergate Scandal, PATCO Strikes: Analytical Historical Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from
“The Cold War, the Watergate Scandal, PATCO Strikes: Analytical Historical Essay.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
The Cold War, the Watergate Scandal, PATCO Strikes: Analytical Historical Essay. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Apr. 2024].
The Cold War, the Watergate Scandal, PATCO Strikes: Analytical Historical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Apr 23]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.