Just as Americans were breathing a sigh of relief that the Soviet Union no longer posed a threat to national security, other trouble spots ignited drawing the United States into new military conflicts. Suddenly American troops were going to places that many Americans knew very little about: Iraq/Kuwait (1990-1991), Somalia, the Balkans, Iraq (2003), and Afghanistan. The clarity of a Cold War struggle with a tangible enemy was replaced by the confusion of conflicts shaped by obscure grievances and goals, and enemies that seemed driven by factors little understood by Americans.

Before you begin this discussion, be sure to read the Module Notes and Chapter 30 “The Recent Past” in The American Yawp and review the previous discussions. You may wish to consult an outside source for this discussion. If you do so, please be sure to cite it.

Using the secondary sources above (as well as any others you choose) as evidence, consider the following in a post of at least 350 words:

  • Compare and contrast the United States’ involvement in recent post-Cold War conflicts to another conflict in the twentieth century: World War One, World War Two, Korea, or the Vietnam War.
    • What were the motivations for US entry into the conflict you chose, and what goals did the presidents and other policy makers intend for the conclusions of those conflicts?
    • Consider the motivation for US military intervention in a conflict since the end of the Cold War. You may select from the list provided in the introduction to this activity, or choose another one. How was this intervention designed to serve US foreign policy interests? Did it accomplish its mission? Why or why not?

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