What was the New Look foreign policy and why was it adopted?

Quick answer:

The New Look foreign policy was an attempt by the Eisenhower administration to prosecute its goals in relation to the Cold War while at the same time maintaining the vitality of the American economy. Overall, the New Look was successful, as the Eisenhower Administration largely achieved its goals both on the domestic and the international fronts.

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There were four main objectives of the New Look foreign policy of the Eisenhower Administration. The first was to build strength to prosecute the Cold War—which by that time was in full swing—without causing damage to the American economy. The second was to rely on nuclear weapons to deter communist aggression. The third was to use the CIA to carry out clandestine operations against those foreign leaders deemed susceptible to Soviet influence. And the fourth was to build strategic alliances and win the friendship of non-aligned nations—that is to say, those that had not publicly taken sides in the Cold War.

All of these objectives would cost money, and lots of it. It was with this mind that Eisenhower cut spending on conventional forces while at the same time increasing the amounts spent on the Air Force and on nuclear weapons. Although military spending as a whole remained high during Eisenhower's presidency, he was able to balance the budget in three of the eight years he was in office.

For the most part, the New Look was successful in that it broadly achieved its aims. However, the clandestine activities of the CIA undermined the attempts of the United States to forge alliances with non-aligned countries. Opinion in developing nations was generally hostile toward the policy of undermining and in some cases removing governments simply because they were perceived as being sympathetic to communism.

What was arguably the least successful aspect of the New Look was that it gave free rein to communist propaganda, allowing the Soviet Union to accuse Americans of hypocrisy. They talked a lot about freedom and democracy, so the argument went, but at the same time, they were engaged in getting rid of foreign governments they didn't like. The Soviets exploited this double standard for all it was worth and forged strategic alliances with a number of countries in the developing world.

In years to come, the activities of the CIA would generate considerable animosity toward the United States, especially in Latin America, where unsavory right-wing regimes and military juntas were installed with the active connivance of US intelligence.

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