Tibet, America, and the inconsistent rhetoric of the Truman Doctrine

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In 1949, Tibet was a peaceful, independent country situated in the Himalayan Mountains. China, its neighbour to the North, however, was under a major transition as its civil war ended. Under the leadership of Mao Zhe Dong, China became a Communist country. One of the first proclamations of this new government was to announce to the world that there was only "One China", and that Tibet was lying within its borders. Without an army that could defend the country from invasion , the Tibetan government looked to the global community for help. America was the leading superpower at this time and its foreign policy, including the Truman Doctrine was focused on containing the spread of Communism creating hope for the Tibetans. Harry Truman had developed this doctrine to convince Congress to give money to prevent Greece and Turkey from being dominated by the Communists, but at the same time he also committed America to the moral role as the defender of free people worldwide who opposed Communism. Under the Truman Doctrine the United States of America was obligated to aid Tibet in its attempt to maintain independence from China and by not living up to its obligation lost credibility as a world leader committed to defending free people.

In 1945, America emerged as a victor from World War II and was interested in reorganizing the world in such a way that would ensure their security. Their main concern was to prevent the other major victor, the Soviet Union, from spreading the communist ideology. Communism was a threat to America and its economy because it denounced capitalism and its pursuit of material wealth. The demand to restrain Communism required America to shift out of the ideology of isolationism proposed in the Monroe Doctrine and into one of intervention. This shift required the support of the American public whom since the 1800rds were very opposed to imperialistic actions and intervention into the affairs of other countries. The American public needed to be convinced of a moral reason for the shift in America's policy in order for it to give its support. America had to convince the public that it was the "Good" fighting off the "Evil". The Truman Doctrine was the outcome of this need. It served as an alternative to the Monroe Doctrine and implied that America was morally justified in pursuing a more aggressive position in the world.

It was the American President Harry S. Truman who pioneered the altruistic doctrine used to justify America's interventionism. On March 12th 1947, Truman insisted that America had an obligation to help the free people of the world defend themselves from oppressive tyrannies. He insisted that the countries of the world were faced with a choice between good or bad, capitalism or communism, democracy or dictatorship and freedom or oppression. The United States had an obligation to protect the seekers of the good from the promoters of the bad. As pointed out by Morgenthau, the Truman Doctrine "went beyond the immediate occasion [the request of aid for Greece and Turkey] by committing the United States to the defense of democratic nations everywhere in the world against 'direct or indirect aggression' and against 'subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure.'" The Truman Doctrine was full of rhetoric to convince public opinion that America was out to help "free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way" but it also convinced other nations of the world that it would follow through on its altruistic pledges. It is safe to assume that Tibet believed that America would take on the moral role as the protector of independent countries and prevent the communist takeover that threatened them. Now that a brief understanding of the Truman doctrine has been established it must be shown why Tibet considered itself a free and independent country and therefore protected by the Truman doctrine.

When the Truman doctrine was created, Tibet was a country of 1.2 million square...
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