The Analysis of NSC-68 of 1950 and the Patriot Act of 2001

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TheAnalysis of NSC-68 of 1950 and the Patriot Act of 2001

Thevictory of the Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War, andsuccessful detonation of an atomic weapon by the Soviet Union caughtthe attention of the American government. Consequently, the Secretaryof state, Dean Acheson, requested the Policy Planning Staff toconduct a comprehensive review of the national security strategy(&quotMilestones: 1945–1952 – Office of the Historian&quot 1).The result of the review was the National Security Council Paper (NSC– 68) as a document for security objectives and programs aimed atstrengthening the security against possible terrorism. Similarly, thePatriotic Act of October 2001 was a strategy document on terrorismthat the U S Congress passed on October 26, 2001. Specifically, thisact aimed at enabling the Department of Justice to focus onprevention of future threats following the 9/11 attack. Afterwards,the act became a tool for broadening the powers of responsiblesecurity departments in strengthening domestic security againstterrorists. Inessence, both documents have been extremely controversial and have asignificant impact on the American History.

TheNSC-68 document

TheNSC-68 report is an important document in the American History. Afterits development, it remained a secret report until itsdeclassification in 1975 (&quotMilestones: 1945–1952 – Office ofthe Historian&quot). The authors stated that the ‘hostile design’of the Soviet Union was a major threat to the country. Therefore,they defined various possible courses of action for the Cold War. Forinstance, one of the actions was that the country could return toisolationism. However, the motion was rejected since it would lead tothe Soviet domination of Eurasia, leaving the U.S marooned and cutoff from allies and resources needed to prevent Soviet intrusions.Also, the document ruled out the strike against the Soviet Unionbecause instead of destroying its military capacities, the strikewould pre-empt retaliatory attacks.

Markedly,the NSC-68 did not reject the action of continuing diplomatic effortsto negotiate with the Soviets if it suited the objectives of the U.S.and its allies (National Security Council) (Young 3). The authorsbelieved that rapidly building up the economic, political, andmilitary power of the country would allow it to attain sufficientstrength to daunt Soviet aggression and successfully defend itsterritory and overseas interests (National Security Council).According to the document, the threat would increase with theaddition of weapons in the Soviet arsenal. Hence, the best course ofaction was to respond in kind with a massive build-up of the militaryand weaponry.

Consequently,the memorandum concluded that President Harry Truman should support amassive accumulation of conventional and nuclear arms through anaccelerated exploitation of its scientific potential (Young 9). Thereport suggested that the government increase taxes and reduce otherexpenditures. Many of the U.S. officials initially opposed therecommendations of the report (&quotMilestones: 1945–1952 – Officeof the Historian&quot 1). Reason for opposition was that SouthKorea`s invasion by Soviet in June 1950 and widespread criticismsthat the Administration was soft on Communism led to the governmentto quickly vote for the report.

ThePatriotic Act

TheUSA PATRIOT ACT stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America byProviding Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and ObstructTerrorism (Gilbert 1). The law may not be a rational response to theterrorist attacks since the Congress passed the bill too fast due tointimidation and the need to prevent another disaster. The Act givesthe law enforcement officials the authority to intercept telephoneand internet conversations of suspects and to freeze assets ofcertain organizations to interrupt their financing (Gilbert 4).Additionally, the law encourages the law enforcement agencies toshare information since it will make it easier to connect the dots toa terrorist network. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)grants law enforcement agencies secret warrants using in theinvestigation of ordinary American citizens without giving thesuspects an opportunity to challenge permits (Gilbert 5). The Actreceived negative media attention and increased public concern due toits disregard for the Fourth Amendment’s protection of unreasonablesearch and seizure.

Notably,legal experts claim that the Act erodes off the American Bill ofRights including the freedom from unreasonable search and seizurespeech and assembly and the right to due process of law. Also, iterodes the right to speedy, public, and fair trials right toconfront accusers and the right to a criminal defense and freedomfrom excessive, cruel, and unusual punishment. The secretive natureof the Justice Department concerning the law and its implementationcreated unease among the members of the public (Gilbert 6). Althoughthere is no concrete evidence that the Department offered to provewhich components of the Act are necessary to prevent terrorism, itclaims that it has neutralized alleged terrorist cells in differentparts of the country.

Tosum up, both NSC-68 and the Patriotic Act were extremelycontroversial documents that affected the American history. Theyreceived a negative opinion from the public due to the secretivenature of the materials and proposed methods of implementation.According to critics, they give the government too much power,threaten civil liberties and undermine democracy. Nevertheless, therespective administrations made them with the primary goal ofprotecting the American people from external and internal threats.


&quotMilestones:1945–1952 – Office of the Historian&quot., 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

Gilbert,Francoise. &quotDemystifying The United States Patriot Act.&quotJournalof Internet Law16.8 (2013): 3-7. Business Source Complete. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

NSC,NSC68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security.Washington: N.p., 1950. Print. National Security Council.

Young,Ken. &quotRevisiting NSC 68.&quot JournalOf Cold War Studies15.1 (2013): 3-33. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

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