United States as a World Leader

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The United States as a World War Leader during the Cold War

The United States of America stands out as one of the most powerful counties in the world with respect to the economy, military power, and political influence among other aspects. Certainly, the country has contributed immensely to the adoption and implementation of treaties and policies at the international level. Arguably, the country can be considered as a key player in the socio-political and economic development of the world given its permanent position at the United Nations Security Council and similar positions in other regional organizations such as North Atlantic Trade Union (NATO). It is worth noting that the US has been at the center stage of world politics and regional development since World War 1. This essay aims to assess the notion that the United States is a world war leader based on its role during the cold war between the years 1946 and 1991.

The United States as the Champion of Capitalism

An individual may subscribe to the notion that the United States is a world leader on the grounds that it was the major champion for the ideology of capitalism as an ideal philosophy of governance. The assumption can be attributed to the efforts that the United States government put in order to ensure that the Soviet Union's ideology of communism system was not spread or adopted by other countries, particularly the European nations. As such, it stood out as a major champion of a socio-economic and political system that has since been adopted by many countries around the world. According to various scholars such as Belmonte (2013), the United States government was concerned about the possible effects that the widespread adoption of the communist system which was promoted by the Soviet Union. As such, they resort to waging a cold war with the latter-despite their previous alliance during World War 2- by employing various strategies such as propaganda.

The United States' Ability to Stand Against Communism

Arguably, the United States had the ability to stand against the communist ideology that the Soviet Union was trying to spread around the world because just like the latter, they had atomic bombs (Maciažek, 2010). Therefore, the Soviet Union would not have risked going to war with the country as it might have been catastrophic and probably worse than the first two world wars. In light of the countries' initiative to highlight the demerits of adopting the communist ideologies and waging a cold war in an attempt to stop its spread; one would argue that indeed the United States is a world leader.

The United States' Role in Guiding Other Countries

In addition, Avolio, Walumbwa, and Weber (2009) describe leadership as the ability to identify a goal and guide a group of people or organization towards achieving it. Based on this definition, someone can conclude that the United States should be rightfully considered as a world leader as it steered other countries around the world towards adopting the capitalist system as opposed to the communist system. However, other people may question the leadership role of the United States on the grounds that many countries still subscribed to the communist ideologies.

The United States' Integrity and Alliances

Additionally, critiques of the statement that the United States is a world leader would question the integrity of the country on the grounds that it formed alliances with some countries while marking other countries, particularly those which allied themselves with the Soviet Union, as its enemies. The fact that the United States chose to align itself with the countries that adopted capitalism during the cold war period as stated by undermines its reputation as a world leader. On the contrary, it might be considered the leader of capitalistic countries and not the entire world.

The United States' Failure to Unite the World

Critiques may also use this point to argue that the United States was only serving its interest by forming alliances with countries that subscribed to its ideologies. Selznick (2011) highlights the creation of unity among team members in order to achieve a common as a critical property of a good leader. The author implies that leaders should not discriminate members of a team, instead, they ought to accommodate the diversity and similarities in order to achieve a common objective. In line with the author's description, an individual can critique the idea that the United States is a world leader on the basis that it failed to unite all the countries to achieve the common objectives of peace and global development. The failure can be attributed to its resolution to sideline other states with conflicting ideological differences. Notably, the effects of its ability to unite the world for a common course is still evident to date. The effects are manifested in the constant threats of insecurity around the globe and the formation of alliances based on the two ideological system- capitalism and communism- which hamper critical development processes.


Conclusively, the United States is often considered as one of the most powerful country and leader in regards to the military, economic, and political aspects. The leadership can be traced back to the country's role in the historical events that shaped the current situation of the world. This essay sought to analyze the statement that the United States is a world leader with reference to its role in the cold war that lasted between 1946 and 1991. The study reveals that the US played a critical role in pointing out and averting the spread of Soviet Union's ideology of communism. Its ability to lead the world was enabled by its possession of atomic bombs. However, critics of the statement may argue that the United States failed to unite the countries around the world by forming an alliance with those that subscribed to its ideologies and isolating the rest. The country's leadership can also be questioned based on the fact that some countries chose to align themselves with the Soviet Union despite the efforts that the United States made to avert the spread of communism.


Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current theories, research, and future directions. Annual review of psychology, 60, 421-449.

Belmonte, L. A. (2013). Selling the American Way: US Propaganda and the Cold War. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Maciažek, L. (2010). Origins of the Cold War.

Selznick, P. (2011). Leadership in administration: A sociological interpretation. Quid Pro Books.

November 24, 2023
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