The term competitive grand strategy refers to the rivalry between the individual grand strategies of the two superpowers as they competed for power and influence in the less developed world.
American grand strategy can be defined as an integration of military and economic objectives in the war against communism.
The military component of grand strategy was concerned with repelling the Soviet threat through a policy of containment. (For more on containment, see Letter C.)
The economic component was concentrated on protecting America’s desire for open markets.
At first these two prongs could be separated. By the end of the Eisenhower administration, though, the two were intertwined.
American grand strategy evolved into liberal grand strategy as the US became more explicit in its drive to foster democracy and capitalism abroad.
Soviet grand strategy focused on combating the threat of capitalist encirclement and on acquiring the resources necessary to develop economic and industrial prowess as a preparation for the ‘hot war’ that the Russians thought was inevitable as long as capitalism existed. (For more on encirclement, see Letter E.)
To summarize, after World War ll, the United States was obsessed with the war against communism and the idea of containment which scholars say “has truly been America’s grand strategy since the late 1940s.”
The overarching US objective was to prevent Soviet penetration of emerging nations.
As previously mentioned, the USSR was determined to prevent ‘capitalist encirclement’ of its territories and was eager to prove its economic and industrial prowess.
By the mid-1950s, each superpower believed that the success of its grand strategy depended on “winning” the Third World. The competition to supply military and economic assistance, weapons, technology, and expert advice to the less developed world accelerated.