From 1946 to 1950, President Harry S. Truman guided a hesitant country, triumphant in war and prepared to return to peace, onto a new path of global involvement. In Iran, Greece, and Korea, Truman and his advisors forged a policy of interventionism—both military and economic—in areas outside the traditional sphere of influence of the United States.This expansion of U.S. commitments on a massive scale ran the dual risk of entrapment in “wasting wars” in the periphery or escalation and direct conventional (and later atomic) conflict with the Soviet Union. Truman embarked on this new policy despite congressional opposition, public indifference, and military reluctance. The specter of these areas falling to Communist subversion/aggression loomed larger than the very real political, economic, and military risks of engagement. Why would an American president expose the country to such peril to defend states whose loss would result in only minimal shifts in the balance of power between the United States and Soviet Union?
KeywordsDecision Maker Risk Behavior Foreign Policy Prospect Theory Aspiration Level
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