Both the United States and the Soviet Union were consumed with the idea of encirclement.
The Americans focused on “a global battle against communism.” They saw Russia’s goal as the control of the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. This control was part of a communist plan to encircle and capture Germany and Europe. America’s fight against encirclement was seen as a struggle between liberty and dictatorship.
The Soviets, on the other hand, feared capitalist encirclement. They viewed almost everything through the lens of their disastrous experience in World War II. That conflict had destroyed 1,700 Russian towns and 70,000 villages, leaving 25 million homeless. Over 20 million Russians died, 600,000 starving to death at Leningrad alone.
The Soviets were determined to protect their borders, and they were determined to make sure that nations surrounding their borders were ensconced in the Soviet camp.