History since 1865

| May 21, 2015

 
PROMPT:

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.

Note 1: Successful responses 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.

This is a 2-3 page essay length assignment. Your paper should begin with an Introduction which sets the prompt in the historical context, the LAST sentence of the intro paragraph is the thesis statement which lists the (minimum of) three points (X,Y,Z) that will be more fully developed in the paper. The first paragraph of the body (paragraph 2) would discuss key point X (this paragraph would have its own thesis as the first sentence, followed by three pieces of evidence/analysis in support), then a paragraph on Y, and finally one on Z. An essay ends with a conclusion paragraph – which sums up the argument you made and ties X, Y, and Z together. The conclusion is NOT the place to introduce new arguments or evidence.
So Rule of Three means three key points in a thesis, a body with three paragraphs (one for each of your key points), each paragraph has a thesis supported by three key pieces of evidence. Followed by a conclusion.

 

 

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