"A New Kind of War" by Howard Jones gives its readers a look into the Truman Doctrine. The author's work is well researched and thorough. Jones offers readers a look at the importance of the Truman Doctrine in America's foreign policy. Although the main emphasis that Jones adhered to was how the Truman Doctrine impacted Greece and the metamorphosis of American foreign policy as it aimed to contain Soviet expansionism, Jones also makes a point to discuss how policymakers may not have considered involvement in Vietnam as carefully as they should have in light of the intervention in Greece.
Jones begins by giving readers important background regarding the struggle between Greece and the KKE, the Greek Communist Party. The Greek civil war occurred just after German occupation during World War II. The occupation by Germany left Greece very unstable. The author tells how the Soviets began to pressure Greece; and how Communist Russia was poised to take Greece and neighboring Turkey into its possession. Jones explains how Britain's economy was lagging and that the nation could not continue to assist Greece in fighting off the KKE. Because Britain withdrew its assistance so quickly, America was left to determine the course of action regarding the war in Greece. Jones explains that America's position after World War II was one of power in the eyes of other nations, and that America was expected to respond to Greece's need for aid. America felt that by giving aid to Greece, they could prevent Greece from falling under communist rule. Jones describes how the administration felt that should Greece fall to the KKE, that the results would be a sort of chain reaction-"domino effect"-throughout Western Europe.
Jones titles his book "A New Kind of War" because of the changing dynamic of conflicts at the global scale. Basically, the author expresses the idea that the war that was being faced was not simply a combat war, but also a war with policy decisions that would allow the rest of the world to judge between the Communist Soviets and democratic America. Jones states, "The United states had to develop a policy that would at once be flexible enough to handle contingencies and yet be sufficiently restrained to prevent local conflict from erupting into full-scale war" (page 16). This is where the Truman Doctrine enters into American foreign policy.
In his analysis of the Truman Doctrine as a global strategy, Jones explains that the doctrine is known as"the first shot of the Cold War" by critics (page 36). He goes on to note that some feel that the doctrine was an arrogant use of power that helped to lead America into the conflict in Vietnam. Jones also expresses the opinion that the doctrine showed America's fortitude in containing communism. Jones not only addresses the benefits and negative aspects of the Truman Doctrine, but he also addresses the fact that the doctrine was designed to combat the fight against communism in social, political, and economic ways.
Covering the specific provisions of the Truman Doctrine in detail, Jones gives readers a sense of the ideas behind the policy. On March 12, 1947, President Truman introduced his economic and military aid program to Congress. Truman asked for $400 million in aid for Greece and Turkey; and although he never stated that the money would be going towards aiding the struggle against communism, it was obvious though his referral to the "two ways of life" and the struggle between them (page 43).
Jones cites the military itinerary of the Truman Doctrine to be the most controversial aspect of the doctrine. In his discussion of American military intervention, the author highlights the careful consideration on the part of the American government as to whether or not to send American forces to fight in Greece. America ultimately acknowledged, "only the Greek army could win (or lose) the war" (page 94). Jones discusses how America did, however, decide to send American officers to Greece to offer "operational advice" in the field.
Jones includes little known facts about the struggle in Greece. This information-such as the reports in early 1948 that guerrillas were abducting children and taking them to Yugoslavia, a Communist nation-helps readers to see why the American government was so adamant about helping Greece and Turkey ward off the Communists. The author is also careful to emphasize the extensive considerations that went on behind each of the decisions made in regard to the situation in Greece.
In his evaluation of American strategy, Jones is concise. "The administration's strategy worked," explains the author, "because the advisers maintained the distinction between the ideal and the reality" (page 226). Jones expounds on this by stating that America's goals were consistent and that the main goal was to simply help Greece fight its own battle. In contrast, Jones explains that the goals of intervention in Vietnam were less cohesive and did not call for the South Vietnamese to fight for themselves, rather that Americans would come in and fight for them.
Jones expresses the wisdom of the Truman Doctrine in regards to Greece. The utilization of the flexible and restrained policy allowed America to answer Soviets in a way that would prove to be wise. The government realized that America would not be able to impose the same policy on each nation or situation, and therefore the policy was solid with respect to meeting a variety of challenges (page 236). "The Greek experience constituted a victory for America's foreign policy," states Jones (page 226).
Although the main focus of "A New Kind of War" was on the Truman Doctrine and the results of good foreign policy regarding Greece, Jones still manages to point out how sometimes foreign policy decisions are not as carefully evaluated as they should be. Jones uses a plethora of sources to research his work and he provides the reader with a complete view of the Truman Doctrine and the circumstances surrounding it. Overall, the book was of stellar quality.