A presidential doctrine is usually an ideological platform, which is used by a president in order to advance a certain policy towards a region or a country. This doctrine is for the purpose of accomplishing the established goals and policy on behalf of the United States. American interest in Greece, as well as its people, has existed for quite a long time even before the Truman Doctrine came into place (Frazier, 1999). The relationship was both in unofficial and official levels as it had been witnessed in their previous interactions. American government policies and public attitudes directed towards Greece have existed for a long time.
Washington saw a reason to ensure that Greece did not end up under the domination that the Soviet Union wanted to impose on them. Before, the Truman doctrine, the American government was not quite active in trying to support the efforts of the Greek. For a long time, American philhellenes had protected and supported the Greeks in their struggle for independence. America saw modern Greece as being a nation filled with many virtues and thus a suitable counterpart. Some of these virtues included republicanism, love of the arts and beauty, knowledge, freedom of thought, as well as human dignity. Therefore, American policymakers worked hard to ensure that they accommodated Greece in every way possible (Spalding, 2006).
The Pre-Cold War association between Greece and America was motivated by the fact that both nations would benefit from each other’s political culture. The United States was indebted, to quite some extent, to ancient Greece because of its numerous democratic institutions. The philhellenes believed that they had to ensure that Greece was impacted by blessings of liberal and free institutions. Therefore, when America became aware of the intentions that the Soviet Union had for Greece, it knew that it had to help its ally. It thus came up with the Truman Doctrine, which would ensure that military and economic aid would be provided to Greece. Truman told the American Congress that the Doctrine was meant to ensure that people who were free were supported, as they were resisting subjugation attempts from outside pressures and armed minorities (Spalding, 2006).
Many nations in Western Europe came to believe that Truman was one of the best American presidents, especially after he came up with the Truman Doctrine. Countries that were affected by communism would be supported by the United States, and in the year 1947, the Marshall plan came into existence. It ensured that struggling countries in Western Europe would be provided with an economic foundation. Furthermore, the 1949 Atlantic Treaty ensured that the western nations would be supplied with military assistance, as this would help in resolving the political and economic chaos of post Second World War. The measures would be effective in preserving Western Europe democracy and thus maintaining American freedom. Some of these western European nations were Italy, Iceland, France, Denmark and Belgium, among others (Lykogiannis, 2002).
Currently, it is evident that Greece is facing a debt crisis that has greatly affected its economy. However, it seems that the situation, as well as the relationship that existed during the Truman Doctrine era, has changed between the two countries. President Truman was apparently the only president who was interested in matters that affected Greece. After his term, none of his successors have done anything to help Greece. Now that Greece is facing a crisis, the current American government is not doing much to assist its economy. There is no enough support being given to Greece because, at the moment, the United States gains nothing by assisting Greece. This is opposed to the past when there was a Cold War and America had to ensure that it met its interests.
The Domino effect theory provided a good explanation as to why the United States wanted to help Greece so that other countries in Western Europe would embrace it as well. Turkey and Greece were the only obstacles that were preventing the Soviet Union from having control over the Mediterranean, a strategic and economic area. On the other hand, Truman saw this as an opportunity to use its military and economic strength in order to gain control over the Mediterranean region (Merrill, 2006). If they were to succeed, America would then find it easy to take over and control other countries, and especially those located in Western Europe. Therefore, the Doctrine was meant to change the behaviour of Greece so that other countries would be influenced by it and thus be receptive of the American government. The Truman Doctrine was, therefore, a means for the United States to ensure that it would have more power than the communists.
The Truman Doctrine assisted Greece when it was experiencing many problems. In turn, the United States took advantage of the situation to make its might known. However, it is unfortunate that the Truman Doctrine is now no longer relevant because Greece is facing a crisis and nothing substantial is being done to help revive its economy. Indeed, the American intervention plan to help stop spread communism in Greece succeeded because of the Truman Doctrine.
Frazier, Robert. (1999). Acheson and the Formulation of the Truman Doctrine. Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 17, 2, 229–251.
Lykogiannis, Athanasios. (2002). Britain and the Greek Economic Crisis, 1944–1947: From Liberation to the Truman Doctrine. Missouri: University of Missouri Press.
Merrill, Dennis. (2006). The Truman Doctrine: Containing Communism and Modernity. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 36, 1, 27–37.
Spalding, Elizabeth. (2006). The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism. Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky.
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