Deterring Democracyby Noam Chomsky
From World War II until the 1980s, the United States reigned supreme as both the economic and the military leader of the world. The major shifts in global politics that came about with the dismantling of the Eastern bloc have left the United States unchallenged as the preeminent military power, but American economic might has declined drastically in the face of… See more details below
From World War II until the 1980s, the United States reigned supreme as both the economic and the military leader of the world. The major shifts in global politics that came about with the dismantling of the Eastern bloc have left the United States unchallenged as the preeminent military power, but American economic might has declined drastically in the face of competition, first from Germany and Japan ad more recently from newly prosperous countries elsewhere. In Deterring Democracy, the impassioned dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky points to the potentially catastrophic consequences of this new imbalance. Chomsky reveals a world in which the United States exploits its advantage ruthlessly to enforce its national interests--and in the process destroys weaker nations. The new world order (in which the New World give the orders) has arrived.
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Cold War: Fact and Fancy
THE great event of the current era is commonly taken to be the end of the Cold War, and the great question before us therefore is: What comes next? To answer this question, we have to begin by clarifying what the Cold War has been. There are two ways to approach this prior question. One is simply to accept the conventional interpretation; the second is to look at the historical facts. As is often the case, the two approaches yield rather different answers.
1. The Cold War as Ideological Construct
According to the conventional understanding, the Cold War has been a confrontation between two superpowers. We then find several variants. The orthodox version, which is overwhelmingly dominant, holds that the driving factor in the Cold War has been virulent Soviet aggressiveness, which the United States sought to contain. On one side of the conflict, we have a "nightmare," on the other, the "defender of freedom," to borrow the terms of the ultra-right John Birch Society, right-wing fundamentalist preachers, and liberal American intellectuals, who responded with awe and acclaim when these words were used by Václav Havel in addressing Congress in 1990.1
A critical variant argues that the perception of a Soviet threat was exaggerated;the dangers were less extreme than we thought. US policies, while noble in intent, were based on misunderstanding and analytic error. A still sharper critique holds that the superpower confrontation resulted from an interaction in which the United States also played a role (for some analysts, a major role) and that the contrast is not simply one of nightmare versus defense of freedom, but is more complexin Central America and the Caribbean, for example.
According to all variants, the essential doctrines guiding US policy have been containment and deterrence, or, more ambitiously, "rollback." And the Cold War is now at an end, with the capitulation of one antagonistthe aggressor throughout, according to the orthodox version.
The orthodox version is sketched in stark and vivid terms in what is widely recognized to be the basic US Cold War document, NSC 68 in April 1950, shortly before the Korean War, announcing that "the cold war is in fact a real war in which the survival of the free world is at stake."2 It merits attention, both as an early expression of the conventional understanding in its orthodox variant and for insights into historical realities that lie beyond these ideological constructs.
The basic structure of the argument has the childlike simplicity of a fairy tale. There are two forces in the world, at "opposite poles." In one corner we have absolute evil; in the other, sublimity. There can be no compromise between them. The diabolical force, by its very nature, must seek total domination of the world. Therefore it must be overcome, uprooted, and eliminated so that the virtuous champion of all that is good may survive to perform his exalted works.
The "fundamental design of the Kremlin," NSC 68 author Paul Nitze explains, is "the complete subversion or forcible destruction of the machinery of government and structure of society" in every corner of the world that is not yet "subservient to and controlled from the Kremlin." "The implacable purpose of the slave state [is] to eliminate the challenge of freedom" everywhere. The "compulsion" of the Kremlin "demands total power over all men" in the slave state itself, and "absolute authority over the rest of the world." The force of evil is "inescapably militant," so that no accommodation or peaceful settlement is even thinkable.
In contrast, the "fundamental purpose of the United States" is "to assure the integrity and vitality of our free society, which is founded upon the dignity and worth of the individual," and to safeguard these values throughout the world. Our free society is marked by "marvelous diversity," "deep tolerance," "lawfulness," a commitment "to create and maintain an environmentin which every individual has the opportunity to realize his creative powers." It "does not fear, it welcomes, diversity" and "derives its strength from its hospitality even to antipathetic ideas." The "system of values which animates our society" includes "the principles of freedom, tolerance, the importance of the individual and the supremacy of reason over will." "The essential tolerance of our world outlook, our generous and constructive impulses, and the absence of covetousness in our international relations are assets of potentially enormous influence," particularly among those who who have been lucky enough to experience these qualities at first hand, as in Latin America, which has benefited so much from "our long continuing endeavors to create and now develop the Inter-American system."
The conflict between the forces of light and darkness is "momentous, involving the fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself." "The assault on free institutions is world-wide," and "imposes on us, in our own interests, the responsibility of world leadership." We must seek "to foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish." Since "a defeat of free institutions anywhere is a defeat everywhere," no corner of the world, however tiny and insignificant, can escape our ministrations. And surely "the idea that Germany or Japan or other important areas can exist as islands of neutrality in a divided world is unreal, given the Kremlin design for world domination." Five years after the USSR was virtually annihilated by the Axis powers, they must be reconstituted within a US-dominated alliance committed to the final elimination of the Soviet system that they failed to destroy.
Given that "the integrity and vitality of our system is in greater jeopardy than ever before in our history," even in the darkest days of the War of Independence or when British troops captured Washington in 1814, it is clear that serious measures are in order; in fact, military spending nearly quadrupled shortly after, on the pretext that the invasion of South Korea was the first step in the Kremlin conquest of the worlddespite the lack of compelling evidence, then or now, for Russian initiative in this phase of the complex struggle over the fate of Korea.
The memorandum calls for a huge increase in armaments, while recognizing that the slave state was far weaker than the champion of freedom by any measure. Relevant data are presented in such a way as to obscure direct comparisons and selected to exaggerate the enemy's strength, the standard pattern throughout the Cold War era.3 Nevertheless, even the data presented show the US military budget to be double that of the USSR and its economic power four times as great, while in this early stage of rebuilding their farmore powerful economies, the European allies alone already matched the Soviet Union along with its satellites.
Despite the disparity between the two opposite poles in economic level and military force, the slave state has enormous advantages. Being so backward, it "can do more with less"; its weakness is its strength, the ultimate weapon. It is both midget and superman, far behind us by every measure but with "a formidable capacity to act with the widest tactical latitude, with stealth and speed," with "extraordinary flexibility," a highly effective military machine and "great coercive power." Another problem is that the evil enemy finds a "receptive audience ... in the free world," particularly Asia. To defend Europe and protect the freedom that has traditionally reigned in Africa, Asia, and Latin America from the "Kremlin design," we must therefore vastly increase military spending and adopt a strategy aimed at the break-up and collapse of the Soviet Union.
Our military forces are "dangerously inadequate," because our responsibility is world control; in contrast, the far weaker Soviet military forces greatly exceed their limited defensive needs. Nothing that had happened in the past years suggested that the USSR might face some security problems, in contrast to us, with our vulnerability to powerful enemies everywhere. We need vast military forces "not only for protection against disaster but also to support our foreign policy," though for public relations purposes, "emphasis should be given to the essentially defensive character" of the military build-up.
Public relations aside, our actual stance must be aggressive in "the conflict which has been imposed upon us." "Given the Kremlin design for world domination," a necessary feature of the slave state, we cannot accept the existence of the enemy but must "foster the seeds of destruction within the Soviet system" and "hasten [its] decay" by all means short of war (which is too dangerous for us). We must avoid negotiations, except as a device to placate public opinion, because any agreements "would reflect present realities and would therefore be unacceptable, if not disastrous, to the United States and the rest of the free world," though after the success of a "rollback" strategy we may "negotiate a settlement with the Soviet Union (or a successor state or states)."
To achieve these essential goals, we must overcome weaknesses in our society, such as "the excesses of a permanently open mind," "the excess of tolerance," and "dissent among us." We will have to learn to "distinguish between the necessity for tolerance and the necessity for just suppression," a crucial feature of "the democratic way." It is particularly important toinsulate our "labor unions, civic enterprises, schools, churches, and all media for influencing opinion" from the "evil work" of the Kremlin, which seeks to subvert them and "make them sources of confusion in our economy, our culture and our body politic." Increased taxes are also necessary, along with "Reduction of Federal expenditures for purposes other than defense and foreign assistance, if necessary by the deferment of certain desirable programs." These military Keynesian policies, it is suggested, are likely to stimulate the domestic economy as well. Indeed, they may serve to prevent "a decline in economic activity of serious proportions." "A large measure of sacrifice and discipline will be demanded of the American people," and they also must "give up some of the benefits" they enjoy as we assume the mantle of world leadership and overcome the economic recession, already in progress, by "positive governmental programs" to subsidize advanced industry through the military system.
Notice that the noble purpose of the free society and the evil design of the slave state are innate properties, which derive from their very nature. Hence the actual historical and documentary record is not relevant to assessing the validity of these doctrines. Accordingly, it is unfair to criticize the memorandum on the grounds that no evidence is presented to support its conclusions, and to question such locutions as "it is apparent from the preceding sections," or "it has been shown above," on the same grounds. As a matter of logic, no empirical evidence is required; pure thought suffices to establish the required truths.
In public discourse the same conceptions reigned, and still do. A characteristic expression of the conventional understanding is given by William Hyland, editor of Foreign Affairs, in the lead article of the Spring 1990 issue:
For the past fifty years American foreign policy has been formed in response to the threat posed by this country's opponents and enemies. In virtually every year since Pearl Harbor, the United States has been engaged either in war or in confrontation. Now, for the first time in half a century, the United States has the opportunity to reconstruct its foreign policy free of most of the constraints and pressures of the Cold War ... . Since 1941 the United States has been fully entangled. Now as we move into a new era, a yearning for American nonentanglement may be returning in various guises ... . Can America at long last come home? ... The United States does in fact enjoy the luxury of some genuine choices for the first time since 1945. America and its allies have won the Cold War ...
Thus, we had no "genuine choices" when we invaded South Vietnam,overthrew the democratic capitalist government of Guatemala in 1954 and have maintained the rule of murderous gangsters ever since, ran by far the most extensive international terror operations in history against Cuba from the early 1960s and Nicaragua through the 1980s, sought to assassinate Lumumba and installed and maintained the brutal and corrupt Mobutu dictatorship, backed Trujillo, Somoza, Marcos, Duvalier, the generals of the southern cone, Suharto, the racist rulers of southern Africa, and a whole host of other major criminals; and on, and on. We could do nothing else, given the threat to our existence. But now the enemy has retreated, so we can perhaps satisfy our "yearning for nonentanglement" in the affairs of others; though, as others add, our "yearning for democracy"4 may yet impel us to persist in our noble endeavors in defense of freedom.
With choices available for the first time, we can turn to constructive programs for the Third World (as liberal humanists urge) or leave the undeserving poor to wallow in their misery (the conservative position). Expressing the more caring liberal view, Thomas Schoenbaum, executive director of the Dean Rusk Center of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia, calls for "more finely tuned and differentiated policies" in the "complex and heterogeneous areas" of the Third World. Constrained by the overwhelming imperative of resisting Soviet aggression throughout the world, we have been unable to develop such policies. But now, perhaps, we have reached "the end of the Cold Warand the good guys won." We may therefore hope that the Soviets will "mute their longstanding campaign to support communist revolutions and totalitarian regimes in the Third World," so that "the U.S. may be able to abandon its traditional posturethat priority should be given to stopping communist expansionand adopt more positive policies."5
In other respects too the public record conforms to the conventions of NSC 68. In particular, it is widely recognized that the very existence of the Soviet Union constitutes aggression. Diplomatic historian John Lewis Gaddis, one of the most respected figures of liberal scholarship on the Cold War, explains that the allied intervention immediately after the Bolshevik revolution was defensive in nature, and for Woodrow Wilson, was inspired "above all else" by his fervent desire "to secure self-determination in Russia"by forceful installation of the rulers we select. The invasion was defensive because it was "in response to a profound and potentially far-reaching intervention by the new Soviet government in the internal affairs, not just of the West, but of virtually every country in the world," namely, "the Revolution's challengewhich could hardly have been more categoricaltothe very survival of the capitalist order." "The security of the United States" was "in danger" already in 1917, not just in 1950, and intervention was therefore entirely warranted in defense against the change of the social order in Russia and the announcement of revolutionary intentions.6
Gaddis's contemporary evaluation recapitulates the immediate Western reaction to the Bolshevik revolution. It was articulated by DeWitt C. Poole, American counselor of the Embassy in Russia, in a memorandum for Secretary of State Lansing entitled "Concerning the Purposes of the Bolsheviki: Especially with Respect to a World Revolution." Poole wrote that the "vital problem" for the United States was to steer the world "between the Scylla of reaction on the one hand and the Charybdis of Bolshevism on the other." The Charybdis of Bolshevism, however, is the more ominous threat, because "It is the essence of the Bolshevik movement that it is international and not national in character," aimed "directly at the subversion of all Governments."7 In practice, the Scylla of reaction must be preferredwith regrets, among liberalsif the passage is too narrow.
Similarly, Oxford historian Norman Stone takes the position that elaborate debate over the origins of the Cold War is beside the point, because the very "character of the Soviet state" was "one of the greatest single causes of the Cold War in the 1940s." The test of Soviet intentions is its withdrawal from Eastern Europe and reduction of armaments to "defensive armaments, proper to its own economic level"; thus far below the West, which, furthermore, need not be limited to "defensive armaments" except in the expansive sense of "defense" that interprets every act of violence as defense of legitimate interests.8 Note that the issue is not the desirability of the break-up of the Soviet internal and foreign empires or of radical reduction of armaments, but rather the conception of the Cold War and the Western "defensive" response to the very character of the Soviet state.
Much the same perception holds at the left extreme of mainstream opinion. Senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Republic, who is at the outer limits, writes: "revisionist quibbles aside, the basic cause of the Cold War was totalitarianismmore precisely, totalitarian ambition." Internally, Soviet totalitarianism imposed "an all-powerful, all-seeing, perfectly wise state that would answer every human need and would therefore obviate and obliterate every competing human institution." Its "external manifestation" was "a belief that all other social and political systems, judged by the standard of historical inevitability, were inferior and destined to die." In short, the basic cause of the Cold War was the internal nature of the Soviet system and its faith in its ultimate success as history unfolded, anideological challenge that could not be tolerated.9
The underlying assumption is that the US system of social organization and power, and the ideology that accompanies it, must be universal. Anything short of that is unacceptable. No challenge can be tolerated, even faith in the historical inevitability of something different. That being the case, every action taken by the United States to extend its system and ideology is defensive. We may put aside revisionist quibbles about the events of history, now that their irrelevance has been demonstrated.
Journalism adopts the same stance as a matter of course. Thus, a Washington Post news story on "defense spending" observes that with the fading of the Soviet threat, the world has entered "a new era": "after 40 years of containing an aggressive and expansionist Soviet Union" we must now rethink the doctrine of containment that "organized our Western security strategy to protect the world from an expansionist and hostile Soviet Bloc."10 That we have been laboring to protect the entire world from Soviet aggression is uncontroversial, a truism that requires no evidence or even comment.
The nobility of the "defender of freedom" is also standard intellectual fare. Thus, according to Michael Howard, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford:
For 200 years the United States has preserved almost unsullied the original ideals of the Enlightenment: the belief in the God-given rights of the individual, the inherent rights of free assembly and free speech, the blessings of free enterprise, the perfectibility of man, and, above all, the universality of these values.
In this nearly ideal society, the influence of elites is "quite limited." But the world, he laments, does not appreciate this magnificence: "the United States does not enjoy the place in the world that it should have earned through its achievements, its generosity, and its goodwill since World War II"11as illustrated in such contemporary paradises as Indochina, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, El Salvador and Guatemala, to mention a few of the many candidates; just as belief in the "God-given rights of the individual" and the "universality" of this doctrine for two hundred years is illustrated by a century of literal human slavery and effective disenfranchisement of Blacks for another century, genocidal assaults on the native population, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos at the turn of the century, of millions of Indochinese, of some 200,000 Central Americans in the past decade, and a host of other examples. Again, mere fact is an irrelevance in the domain of pure thought.
To take another example from the field of scholarship, consider the study of the "Vietnam trauma" by Paul Kattenburg, one of the few early dissenters on Vietnam within the US government and now Jacobson Professor of Public Affairs at the University of South Carolina.12 Kattenburg is concerned to identify the "salient features central to the American tradition and experience which have made the United States perform its superpower role in what we might term a particularistic way." He holds that "principles and ideals hold a cardinal place in the U.S. national ethos and crucially distinguish U.S. performance in the superpower role." These principles and ideals were "laid down by the founding fathers, those pure geniuses of detached contemplation," and were "refined by subsequent leading figures of thought and action" from John Adams to Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. The principles were
tested and retested in the process of settling the continent, healing the NorthSouth breach, developing the economy from the wilderness in the spirit of free enterprise, and fighting World Wars I and II, not so much for interests as for the survival of the very principles by which most Americans were guiding their lives.
It is this unique legacy that explains the way Americans act "in the superpower role," which they approached "devoid of artifice or deception," with "the mind set of an emancipator":
In such a mind set, one need not feel or act superior, or believe one is imposing one's ethos or values on others, since one senses naturally that others cannot doubt the emancipator's righteous cause anymore than his capacities. In this respect, the American role as superpower, particularly in the early postwar years, is very analogous to the role that can be attributed to a professor, mentor, or other type of emancipator.
Thus, "the professor is obviously capable" and
he is clearly disinterested ... . Moreover, like the American superpower, the professor does not control the lives or destinies of his students; they remain free to come or go ... . It will help us understand America's performance and psychology as a superpower, and the whys and wherefores of its Indochina involvement, if we bear in mind this analogy of the American performance in the superpower role with that of the benevolent but clearly egocentric professor, dispensing emancipation through knowledge of both righteousness and the right way to the deprived students of the world.
This is not intended as irony or caricature, but is presented seriously, taken seriously, and is not untypical of what we find in the literaturenot at the lunatic fringe, but at the respectable and moderately dissident end of the mainstream spectrum. That being the case, it is only natural that James Reston, long the leading political thinker of the New York Times, should say at his retirement: "I don't think there's anything in the history of the world to compare with the commitments this country has taken in defense of freedom." While at his post, Reston had performed yeoman service in the cause of freedom, as when he took pride in the US contribution to the huge slaughter in Indonesia in 1965, and explained in properly somber tones, as US military force was demolishing what was left of the South Vietnamese countryside in late 1967, that this was being done "on the principle that military power shall not compel South Vietnam to do what it does not want to do," out of our loyalty to "the deepest conviction of Western civilization"namely, that "the individual belongs not to the state but to his Creator," and thus has rights that "no magistrate or political force may violate."13
The official doctrine as provided by government spokesmen, the media, political commentary, and a broad range of scholarship is illustrated, for example, in the report of the National Bipartisan (Kissinger) Commission on Central America: "The international purposes of the United States in the late twentieth century are cooperation, not hegemony or domination; partnership, not confrontation; a decent life for all, not exploitation." Walter Laqueur and Charles Krauthammer write: "Unlike the Soviet Union, the U.S. does not want to convert anyone to a specific political, social, or economic system." Samuel Huntington informs us that "The overall effect of American power on other societies was to further liberty, pluralism, and democracy ... . The conflict between American power and American principles virtually disappears when it is applied to the American impact on other societies." Krauthammer, a much-respected neoliberal, assures us further that every US President from FDR to LBJ aimed at "promotion abroad of both freedom and world order," a mission revived in the Reagan Doctrine, which provided a "coherent policy" of support for those who "are risking their lives on every continent from Afghanistan to Nicaragua to defy Soviet-supported aggression" (Ronald Reagan, quoted with admiration and approval) and committed the US not only to freedom and human rights, but also to constructing American-style sociopolitical systems in the Third Worldthough without wanting "to convert anyone to a specific political, social, or economic system," consistency being as important as fact for thevocation of the commissar.14
These conventions are so widely observed that further citation is unnecessary. A notable feature throughout is the lack of any felt need to justify the flattering doctrine that in the Third World, the US has sought only to thwart the Russians and their totalitarian goals while upholding its lofty principles as best it can in these grim and trying circumstances. The reasoning is that of NSC 68: these are necessary truths, established by conceptual analysis alone. Scholars who profess a tough-minded "realistic" outlook, scorning sentimentality and emotion, are willing to concede that the facts of history hardly illustrate the commitment of the United States to, as Hans Morgenthau puts it, its "transcendent purpose""the establishment of equality in freedom in America," and indeed throughout the world, since "the arena within which the United States must defend and promote its purpose has become world-wide." But the facts are irrelevant, because, as Morgenthau hastens to explain, to adduce them is "to confound the abuse of reality with reality itself." Reality is the unachieved "national purpose" revealed by "the evidence of history as our minds reflect it," while the actual historical record is merely the abuse of reality, an insignificant artifact.15 The conventional understanding is therefore self-justifying, immune to external critique.
Though the sophistication of traditional theology is lacking, the similarity of themes and style is striking. It reveals the extent to which worship of the state has become a secular religion for which the intellectuals serve as priesthood. The more primitive sectors of Western culture go further, fostering forms of idolatry in which such sacred symbols as the flag become an object of forced veneration, and the state is called upon to punish any insult to them and to compel children to pledge their devotion daily, while God and State are almost indissolubly linked in public ceremony and discourse, as in James Reston's musings on our devotion to the will of the Creator. It is perhaps not surprising that such crude fanaticism rises to such an extreme in the United States, as an antidote to the unique freedom from state coercion that has been achieved by popular struggle.16
2. The Cold War as Historical Process
The second approach to the Cold War era is based on the idea that logic alone does not suffice: facts also matter. If so, then to understand the Cold War era we should look at the events that constitute it. Pursuing this course,which seems not entirely unreasonable, we find a more complex and interesting picture, which bears only a partial resemblance to the conventional understanding. The same method of inquiry suggests several reasons why the post-Cold War era may prove to be much like what came before, at least for its regular victims, apart from tactics and propaganda.
Needless to say, if we define the Cold War as involving nothing beyond a confrontation of two superpowers, with their allies and clients tailing along, it follows trivially that that is precisely what it was, and that with the withdrawal of the USSR from the conflict, it ended with a victory for the US side. The question, however, is how to interpret the Cold War era, and plainly that question is not answered by begging it.17 Rather, we want to look into the contours, character, driving forces and motives, and major effects of the bipolar world system that emerged from World War II. These are significant historical phenomena, worthy of study. Just how the EastWest conflict finds its place in this matrix is a matter for discovery, not stipulationat least, if our goal is understanding.
An understanding of the Cold War era requires an account not only of the actual events, but also of the factors that lie behind them. The documentary record of planning becomes relevant here. We will want to know how far policy was determined by specific features of the Cold War era, and how far it merely adapted persistent institutional demands to new conditions. To answer these questions, we will naturally ask how the typical events of the Cold War, and the underlying motives, compare with standard practice and thinking before and since. It is also necessary to account for the prevailing ideological constructions and their functions, including the conventional understanding of the Cold War, in so far as it departs from reality.
Approaching the Cold War era with these considerations in mind, we find that the superpower conflict of the conventional portrayal has been real enough, but is only a fraction of the truth. Reality protrudes when we look at the typical events and practices of the Cold War.
On Moscow's side, the Cold War is illustrated by tanks in East Berlin, Budapest and Prague, and other coercive measures in the regions liberated by the Red Army from the Nazis, then held in thrall to the Kremlin; and the invasion of Afghanistan, the one case of Soviet military intervention well outside the historic invasion route from the West. Domestically, the Cold War served to entrench the power of the militarybureaucratic elite whose rule derives from the Bolshevik coup of October 1917.
For the United States, the Cold War has been a history of worldwidesubversion, aggression and state terrorism, with examples too numerous to mention. The domestic counterpart has been the entrenchment of Eisenhower's "militaryindustrial complex"in essence, a welfare state for the rich with a national security ideology for population control (to borrow some counterinsurgency jargon), following the prescriptions of NSC 68. The major institutional mechanism is a system of state-corporate industrial management to sustain high-technology industry, relying on the taxpayer to fund research and development and provide a guaranteed market for waste production, with the private sector taking over when there are profits to be made. This crucial gift to the corporate manager has been the domestic function of the Pentagon system (including NASA and the Department of Energy, which controls nuclear weapons production); benefits extend to the computer industry, electronics generally, and other sectors of the advanced industrial economy.18 In such ways, the Cold War has provided a large part of the underpinnings for the system of public subsidy, private profit, that is proudly called Free Enterprise.
The call for vigorous action in NSC 68 resounded again as the Kennedy and Reagan administrations came into office, with the same dual thrust: militancy abroad to assert US power, and military spending to revive a flagging economy at home. The rhetoric was also duly revived: "the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy" on the march to destroy us (Kennedy); the "Evil Empire" that is "the focus of evil in our time," seeking to rule the world (Reagan). The decibel level predictably declines as policy shifts courseas in the mid 1980s, when it became necessary to face the costs of the fiscal mismanagement and military Keynesian excesses of the statist reactionaries of the Reagan Administration, including the huge budget and trade deficits.
Attention to the historical record reveals the realistic core enshrouded in the outlandish rhetoric of NSC 68. The Great Depression had put an end to any lingering beliefs that capitalism was a viable system. It was generally taken for granted that state intervention was necessary in order to maintain private poweras, indeed, had been the case throughout the development process.19 It was also understood that New Deal measures had failed, and that the Depression was overcome only by the far more massive state intervention during the war. Without the benefit of Keynes, this lesson was taught directly to the corporate managers who flocked to Washington to run the quasi-totalitarian wartime command economy. The general expectation was that without state intervention, there would be a return to the Depression after pent-up consumer demand was satisfied. It appeared tobe confirmed by the 1948 recession. State-subsidized agricultural production found markets in Japan and elsewhere, but it was feared that manufacturing would languish in the absence of marketshence the concern voiced in NSC 68 over "a decline in economic activity of serious proportions" unless military Keynesian measures were adopted. These programs, it was hoped, would also contribute to the revitalization of the allies' industrial economies, helping overcome the "dollar gap" which limited the market for US manufactured goods.
The call in NSC 68 for "sacrifice and discipline" and cutback in social programs was a natural concomitant to these perceptions. The need for "just suppression" and controls over unions, churches, schools, and other potential sources of dissidence also fell into a broader pattern. From the late 1930s, business had been deeply perturbed by the increasing politicization and organization of the general publicwhat was later called a "crisis of democracy" under the partially similar conditions of the post-Vietnam period. The same had been true immediately after World War I. In each case, the response was the same: Wilson's Red Scare, the post-World War II repression mislabeled "McCarthyism" (actually, a campaign to undermine unions, working-class culture, and independent thought launched by business and liberal Democrats well before McCarthy appeared on the scene and made the mistake, which finally destroyed him, of attacking people with power); the programs of the national political police inaugurated by the Kennedy Administration and expanded by their successors to undermine independent political parties and popular movements by subversion and violence. Wars and other crises have a way of making people think and even organize, and private power regularly calls upon the state to contain such threats to its monopoly of the political arena and cultural hegemony.20 The deeply anti-democratic thrust of NSC 68 reflects far more general commitments.
NSC 68 is also realistic, and conventional, in invoking the US "responsibility of world leadership" and the corresponding need to dominate every corner of the world, however remote, and to exorcize the curse of neutralism. In these respects, it reiterates earlier planning decisions that reflect the recognition that the US had achieved a position of military and economic power with no historical parallel, and could use it to advantage.
Sophisticated sectors of the business community have been aware of the domestic factors that have driven the Cold War system, and the same is true of the better scholarship in the mainstream. In his standard work on containment, John Lewis Gaddis observes:
To a remarkable degree, containment has been the product, not so much of what the Russians have done, or of what has happened elsewhere in the world, but of internal forces operating within the United States ... . What is surprising is the primacy that has been accorded economic considerations [namely, state economic management] in shaping strategies of containment, to the exclusion of other considerations [original emphasis].
He also agrees with George Kennan's consistent viewstandard among rational policymakers and analyststhat "it is not Russian military power which is threatening us, it is Russian political power" (October 1947).21 Despite these insights, Gaddis does not depart from the conventional framework of "deterrence" and "containment of the Soviet threat," though he does recognizeon the sidethat this is by no means the whole story; or, in fact, the central theme.
The major events and effects of the Cold War fall into the categories just reviewed. There were also more complex effects. Soviet support for targets of US subversion and attack gained it a degree of influence in much of the Third World, albeit of a tenuous nature. As for the United States, its intervention in the Third World, particularly in the early years, was in part impelled by the goal of securing a hinterland for the state capitalist economies that it hoped to reconstruct in Western Europe and Japan. At the same time, the Cold War conflict helped to maintain US influence over its industrial allies and to contain independent politics, labor, and other popular activism within these statesan interest shared by local elites. The US promoted the NATO alliance, one historian observes, "to corral its allies and to head off neutralism, as well as to deter the Russians."22
The persistence of the conventional doctrine, despite its limited relation to the actual facts of the Cold War era, is readily understandable in this light. In the West, it is commonly conceded well after the fact (the fact being some exercise of subversion or aggression in the Third World, or renewed benefits through the Pentagon system at home) that the threat of Soviet aggression was exaggerated, the problems were misconstrued, and the idealism that guided the actions was misplaced. But the requisite beliefs remained prominently displayed on the shelf. However fanciful, they could be served up to the public when neededoften with perfect sincerity, in accord with the familiar process by which useful beliefs arise from perceived interests.
Also understandable is the otherwise rather mysterious fact that security policy has been only weakly correlated with realistic security concerns.Threats have regularly been concocted on the flimsiest evidence and with marginal credibility at best. On the other hand, potential threats of some significance have been ignored. Repeatedly, the US has sponsored the development of weapons systems that could pose serious dangers to its welfare or even survival, and has dismissed opportunities to abort such developments. The US government and the media have vociferously demanded "verification" under conditions that they expected the USSR to reject. On the other hand, Washington has been reluctant (along with its allies) to permit Soviet inspection of chemical production and other military and arms production facilities, has rejected Soviet proposals for on-site inspection of submarines to monitor a ban or limitation on sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs; more a threat to the US, with its long coastlines, than to the USSR), and has opposed inspection of nuclear warheads for SLCMs on ship or shore. Still more important, the political leadership has undermined possibilities for political settlement and fostered conflict in regions where such conflict could lead to a devastating nuclear war, and has sometimes come all too closenotably the Middle East. These consistent patterns make no sense on the assumption that security policy is guided by security concerns. Case by case, they fall into place on the assumption that policy is driven by the twin goals of reinforcing the private interests that largely control the state, and maintaining an international environment in which they can prosper.23 The world is sufficiently uncertain and dangerous for alleged reasons of security to be readily devised to justify policies adopted on other grounds, then adopted as articles of faith, familiar features of statecraft and the practice of the intellectual community.
On the same grounds, we can understand why the political leadership has often failed to pursue apparent opportunities to reduce the threat of superpower confrontation, and thus to enhance national security. One early example was in 1952, when the Kremlin put forth a proposal for reunification and neutralization of Germany, with no conditions on economic policies and with guarantees for "the rights of man and basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, press, religious persuasion, political conviction, and assembly" and the free activity of democratic parties and organizations. In reply, the US and its allies objected that the West did not recognize the OderNeisse frontier between Germany and Poland, and insisted that a reunified Germany be free to join NATO, a demand that the Russians could hardly accept a few years after Germany alone had virtually destroyed the Soviet Union. The Western reply also referred, more plausibly, to lack of clarity about free elections; but instead of seeking further clarification,the proposal was rejected with quite unreasonable demands. Commenting at the time, James Warburg, one of the few to have argued that the opportunity should be pursued, notes that neither the text of the March 10 Kremlin proposal "nor even the fact of its arrival was disclosed by Washington until after the Western reply had been sent on March 25." He suggests that the delay may have been related to the Administration desire "to present its case for the Mutual Security Act of 1952 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, without having that committee's deliberations prejudiced by knowledge of the Soviet proposal"; the Act called for about $7.5 billion for Western rearmament, and was "based upon the assumption that an All-German settlement could not possibly be achieved."24
Had the Kremlin proposal been implemented, it would have eliminated whatever military threat the Soviet Union might have posed to Western Europe. There would probably have been no Soviet tanks in East Berlin in 1953, no Berlin Wall, no invasion of Hungary or Czechoslovakiabut crucially, no ready justification for US intervention and subversion worldwide, for state policies of economic management in the service of advanced industry, or for a system of world order in which US hegemony was founded in large part on military might. The basic reason for rejecting the proposal seems to have been the US interest in integrating a rearmed Western Germany in the NATO military alliance, whatever the security risks or the consequences for the Soviet satellites. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 28, Warburg observed that the Soviet proposal, offering a possible means for a peaceful negotiated resolution of European security issues, might be a bluff. But, he speculated, it seemed "that our Government is afraid to call the bluff for fear that it may not be a bluff at all" and might lead to "a free, neutral, democratic, and demilitarized Germany," which might be "subverted into the Soviet orbit"; and short of that, would bar the plans for rearming Germany within the NATO alliance. The rejection of these opportunities to end the Cold War followed directly from the principles of NSC 68, which ruled coexistence illegitimate.
For years, these matters were off the agenda; even to mention the facts was to risk being castigated as an apologist for Stalin. By 198990, however, Stalin's proposal could be cited quite freely in the press and journals. In the triumphalism of the moment, it was hoped that the USSR would be compelled to agree to incorporation of a united Germany within a US-DOMINATED military alliance. Hence Gorbachev's proposal for neutralization of a reunified Germany must be dismissed as more "Old Thinking," the rehashing of discarded ideas, not to be taken seriously. In this context itbecomes permissible, even useful, to refer to facts that were suppressed when they would serve only as a reminder of inconvenient realities.
Other Soviet proposals were also left unexplored. Raymond Garthoff, formerly a senior analyst of the CIA and an outstanding specialist on security affairs and foreign policy, observes that Gorbachev's announcement of unilateral force reduction "had an interesting precedent some thirty years ago," when, "in January 1960, Nikita Khrushchev disclosed for the first time since World War II the manpower strength of the Soviet armed forces, and dramatically announced a planned reduction by one-third over the next two years." A few months later, US intelligence verified huge cuts in active Soviet military forces. The tactical air force was cut in half, "mainly through a wholesale two-thirds reduction in light-bomber units"; and naval air fighter-interceptors, about 1500 aircraft, were removed from the navy, half of them scrapped and the rest turned over to air defense to replace dismantled planes. By 1961, nearly half the announced reduction of manpower had taken place. In 1963, Khrushchev again called for new reductions. According to military correspondent Fred Kaplan, he also withdrew more than 15,000 troops from East Germany, calling on the US to undertake similar reductions of the military budget and of military forces in Europe and generally, and to move towards further reciprocal cuts. Declassified documents reveal that President Kennedy privately discussed such possibilities with high Soviet officials, but abandoned them as the US intervention in Vietnam expanded in scale. William Kaufmann, a former top Pentagon aide and leading analyst of security issues, describes the US failure to respond to Khrushchev's initiatives as, in career terms, "the one regret I have."25
In the mid 1970s Soviet military spending began to level off, as later conceded, while the US lead in strategic bombs and warheads widened through the decade. President Carter proposed a substantial increase in military spending and a cutback on social programs. These proposals were implemented by the Reagan Administration, along with the standard concomitant, increased militancy abroad, and on the standard pretext: the Soviet threat in this case a "window of vulnerability" and Soviet triumphs in the Third World. The latter were even more fraudulent than the awesome Soviet military build-up. In so far as the relics of the Portuguese and French empires fell under Russian influence in the mid 1970s, it was largely because the US refused to enter into amicable relations with them on thealways unacceptablecondition of neutralism and independence; the same was true in Latin America and elsewhere. Furthermore, these Soviet triumphs were laughable in scale, more a burden than a gain in global powerfacts thatwere obvious at the time and conceded within a few years when the pretexts were no longer appropriate for current plans. Gorbachev's proposals in 19856 for a unilateral ban on nuclear weapons tests, the abolition of the Warsaw Pact and NATO, removal of the US and Soviet fleets from the Mediterranean, and other steps to reduce confrontation and tension were ignored or dismissed as an embarrassment. The virtual or sometimes complete international isolation of the United States on disarmament issues has also been regularly suppressed, even at moments of great celebration over alleged US triumphs in this cause.26
Turning to the superpower conflict itself, it is true enough that by its very nature, the USSR constituted an unacceptable challenge. Specifically, its autarkic command economy interfered with US plans to construct a global system based on (relatively) free trade and investment, which, under the conditions of mid century, was expected to be dominated by US corporations and highly beneficial to their interests, as indeed it was. The challenge became still more intolerable as the Soviet empire barred free Western access to other areas. The Iron Curtain deprived the capitalist industrial powers of a region that was expected to provide raw materials, investment opportunities, markets and cheap labor. These facts alone laid the basis for superpower conflict, as serious analysts were quite well aware. In an important 1955 document on the political economy of US foreign policy, a prestigious study group observed that the primary threat of Communism is the economic transformation of the Communist powers "in ways that reduce their willingness and ability to complement the industrial economies of the West," a factor that regularly motivated Third World interventions as well as hostility to the Soviet Union and its imperial system.27
It is, furthermore, quite true that the Soviet Union sought targets of opportunity where it could find them, entering into friendly and supportive relations with the most miserable tyrants and gangstersMengistu in Ethiopia and the neo-Nazi Argentine generals, to name only two examples. In this regard, the Kremlin satisfied the norms of the guardians of civilization and order. But in a criminal departure from these norms, the Soviet Union regularly offered support to targets of US subversion and attack, thus impeding the designs of the one truly global power. Material support helped these enemies to survive, and relations with the Soviet Union imposed limits on US actions, for fear of a superpower conflict from which the United States might not emerge unscathed. Such Soviet involvement is regularly condemned as intolerable interference and expansionism, even aggressionas, for example, when the Contra forces attacking Nicaraguaare lauded for "risking their lives to defy ... [the] ... Soviet-supported aggression" of the Sandinistas,28 whose incumbency is in itself an act of aggression, being counter to US demands.
Lacking an internal record from the Soviet Union, we can only speculate as to whether ominous "Kremlin designs" were indeed deterred by Western military power; the available evidence is hardly compelling. The deterrent effect of Soviet power on US designs is also largely a matter of speculation.29 The clearest example of the success of deterrence is provided by Cuba, where the US was restricted to large-scale international terrorism instead of outright invasion after the missile crisis brought the world perilously close to nuclear war, in the judgement of the participants; understandably, this is not an example that figures prominently in the Western literature on deterrence. In both the internal and public record, new US weapons systems were justified by the need to overcome the Soviet deterrent, which might "impose greater caution in our cold war policies" because of fear of nuclear war (Paul Nitze, NSC 141, 1953). As a global power, the US often intervenes in regions in which it lacks a conventional force advantage. An intimidating military posture has therefore been necessary to protect such operations. Just before he became director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Reagan Administration, Eugene Rostow observed that strategic nuclear forces provide a "shield" for pursuit of US "global interests" by "conventional means or theater forces"; these thereby "become meaningful instruments of military and political power," Carter Secretary of Defense Harold Brown added.30
Putting second-order complexities to the side, for the USSR the Cold War has been primarily a war against its satellites, and for the US a war against the Third World. For each, it has served to entrench a particular system of domestic privilege and coercion. The policies pursued within the Cold War framework have been unattractive to the general population, which accepts them only under duress. Throughout history, the standard device to mobilize a reluctant population has been the fear of an evil enemy, dedicated to its destruction. The superpower conflict served the purpose admirablyboth for internal needs, as we see in the fevered rhetoric of top planning documents such as NSC 68, and in public propaganda. The Cold War had a functional utility for the superpowers: one reason why it persisted.
Now, one side has called off the game. If we have in mind the historical Cold War, not the ideological construct, then it is not true that the Cold War has ended. Rather, it has perhaps half-ended; Washington remains aplayer as before.
This point is not concealed. Describing the new Pentagon budget in January 1990, the press reports that "In [Defense Secretary Dick] Cheney's view, which is shared by President Bush, the United States will continue to need a large Navy [and intervention forces generally] to deal with brushfire conflicts and threats to American interests in places like Latin America and Asia." The National Security Strategy report sent to Congress two months later described the Third World as a probable locus of conflict:
In a new era, we foresee that our military power will remain an essential underpinning of the global balance, but less prominently and in different ways. We see that the more likely demands for the use of our military forces may not involve the Soviet Union and may be in the Third World, where new capabilities and approaches may be required
as "when President Reagan directed American naval and air forces to return to [Libya] in 1986" to bombard civilian urban targets, guided by the goal of "contributing to an international environment of peace, freedom and progress within which our democracyand other free nationscan flourish." 31
Furthermore, "The growing technological sophistication of Third World conflicts will place serious demands on our forces," and may "continue to threaten U.S. interests" even without "the backdrop of superpower competition." For such reasons, we must ensure the means to move forces based in the United States "to reinforce our units forward deployed or to project power into areas where we have no permanent presence," particularly in the Middle East, because of "the free world's reliance on energy supplies from this pivotal region," where the "threats to our interests" that have required direct military engagement "could not be laid at the Kremlin's door ... . In the future, we expect that non-Soviet threats to these interests will command even greater attention." In reality, the "threat to our interests" had always been indigenous nationalism, a fact sometimes acknowledgedas when the architect of President Carter's Rapid Deployment Force (later Central Command), aimed primarily at the Middle East, testified before Congress in 1980 that its most probable use was not to resist a (highly implausible) Soviet attack, but to deal with indigenous and regional unrest, in particular the "radical nationalism" that has always been a primary concern. 32 Notice that the Bush Administration plans were presented well before Iraq's conquest of Kuwait and the ensuing crisis in August 1990in fact, at a time when Iraq was still a favored friend.
The National Security Strategy report goes on to emphasize that the US must be prepared for Low-Intensity Conflict, involving "lower-order threats like terrorism, subversion, insurgency, and drug trafficking [which] are menacing the United States, its citizenry, and its interests in new ways ... . Low-intensity conflict involves the struggle of competing principles and ideologies below the level of conventional war," and our military forces
must be capable of dealing effectively with the full range of threats, including insurgency and terrorism ... . Forces will have to accommodate to the austere environment, immature basing structure, and significant ranges often encountered in the Third World ... . Training and research and development will be better attuned to the needs of low-intensity conflict
crucially, counterinsurgency in the Third World.
It will also be necessary to strengthen "the defense industrial base," creating incentives "to invest in new facilities and equipment as well as in research and development," a matter that "will be especially important in an era when overall procurements are likely to decline ... . Our goal is to move beyond containment, to seek the integration of the Soviet Union into the international system as a constructive partner" in such areas as Central America, which "remains a disruptive factor in the U.S.Soviet relationship" and where "We hold the Soviet Union accountable for the behavior of its clients" in Cuba and Nicaragua, who continue to disturb peace and orderthat is, to disobey US commands.
Military college curricula are changing accordingly. Thus the Naval War College has announced that its curriculum and war gaming will stress urban warfare, terrorism, and "low-intensity" crises, using such models as the invasion of Panama. A new genre of "mid-intensity" conflicts with powerful Third World enemies also demands special attention, given the continuing vital need to "project power into other regions and maintain access to distant markets and resources" (Senator William Cohen, of the Armed Services Committee).33
The same questions are addressed by Marine Corps Commandant General A.M. Gray. The end of the Cold War will only reorient our security policies, he advises, but not change them significantly. "In fact, the majority of the crises we have responded to since the end of World War II have not directly involved the Soviet Union," a fact that can now not only be concededthe Soviet threat having lost its efficacy for domestic population controlbut must be stressed, to ensure that we may act as before when there are "threats to our interest." The North-South conflict is the major fault line:
The underdeveloped world's growing dissatisfaction over the gap between rich and poor nations will create a fertile breeding ground for insurgencies. These insurgencies have the potential to jeopardize regional stability and our access to vital economic and military resources. This situation will become more critical as our Nation and allies, as well as potential adversaries, become more and more dependent on these strategic resources. If we are to have stability in these regions, maintain access to their resources, protect our citizens abroad, defend our vital installations, and deter conflict, we must maintain within our active force structure a credible military power projection capability with the flexibility to respond to conflict across the spectrum of violence throughout the globe.
Crucially, we must maintain our "unimpeded access" to "developing economic markets throughout the world" and "to the resources needed to support our manufacturing requirements." We therefore need "a credible forcible entry capability," forces that "must truly be expeditionary" and capable of executing a wide variety of missions from counterinsurgency and psychological warfare to the deployment of "multidivision forces." We must also bear in mind the rapidly increasing technological advances in weaponry and their availability to the new regional powers that will be springing up throughout the Third World, so that we must develop military capacities exploiting the far reaches of electronics, genetic engineering and other biotechnologies, and so on, "if our Nation is to maintain military credibility in the next century."34
The themes are familiar. Reviewing President Eisenhower's strategic thinking, diplomatic historian Richard Immerman observes that he "took it as an article of faith that America's strength and security depended on its maintaining access toindeed control ofglobal markets and resources, particularly in the Third World." Like other rational planners, he assumed that the West was safe from any Soviet attack, and that such fears were "the product of paranoid imagination." But the periphery "was vulnerable to subversion," and the Russians, Eisenhower wrote, "are getting far closer to the [Third World] masses than we are" and are skilled at propaganda and other methods "to appeal directly to the masses."35 These are common features of the planning record, even more clearly visible than before now that the image of the expansionist and aggressive Soviet Union has lost its credibility.
More simply, the war against the Third World will continue, and the Soviet Union will continue to be branded an aggressor if it gets in the way. Gorbachev is to be induced to proceed with his "New Thinking," which will turn the USSR into a collaborator with US plans for worldorder, but Washington is to persist in its "Old Thinking." There can, furthermore, be no substantial "peace dividend." And since the Third World is reaching such heights of technological sophistication, we will need a high-tech military to deter and contain it. Thankfully, there will still be plenty of business for the electronics industry.
Budget changes must be geared to a capital-intensive military if it is to serve its function for advanced industry. Alternatives to military spending are theoretically possible, butas has been understood by business from the origins of the Cold Warthey tend to have undesirable effects: to interfere with managerial prerogatives, mobilize popular constituencies and thus extend the "crisis of democracy," redistribute income, and so on. The problem is not one of pure economic theory but of power and privilege, and their specific institutional structures. Advocates of conversion will be tilting at windmills unless they confront these fundamental problems.
The same is true of opponents of intervention if they keep to the framework of conventional understanding. Thus, it is child's play to demolish the standard justifications: promoting democracy and national security. Some of those who undertake the exercise therefore conclude that Third World intervention "never made sense, even at the height of the Cold War," and surely not now, so that we can call off the murderous wars we are sponsoring in Cambodia, Angola, Afghanistan, and El Salvador, and radically reduce our intervention forces.36 Carrying the argument a step further, we observe that virtually the entire political class has supported intervention, except when it proves too costly to us. It follows, then, either that stupidity and incompetence have been an entry requirement for political leadership, recognized "expertise," media respectability, and the like; or that the alleged reasons are not the actual ones. Since the former conclusion is hardly credible, we move to the second, thus recognizing that the analysis is not to the point, serving to entrench illusions that we should discard. The actual reasons for intervention, whether persuasive or not in particular cases, have been far from senseless.
Current arguments for intervention forces, as in the National Security Strategy report, reveal that the ideological system is running out of pretexts for the resort to subversion and overt force in international affairs, and military Keynesian measures at home. Defense against the Stalinist hordes no longer sells. The problem of the disappearing pretext was recognized years ago, but the efforts of the 1980s to overcome itinvoking lunatic Arab terrorists or Hispanic narcotraffickers, for examplehave too short a half-life to be truly effective. It therefore becomes necessary to acknowledgethat the Third World itself is the real enemy. If the primary threat of Communism has been the economic transformation of the Communist powers "in ways that reduce their willingness and ability to complement the industrial economies of the West" (see p. 27), the same is true of "radical nationalism" generallya fact that has not escaped planners and strategic analysts. The severity of the problem varies from region to region, with the Middle East remaining the primary Third World concern because of its incomparable energy reserves. But, in accord with the thinking of NSC 68, no corner of the world is so small and insignificant that it may be safely overlooked.
3. Before and After
In this context, we may turn to another question raised at the outset: In what ways do the typical events and practices of the Cold War differ from what came before? The bipolar system was new, and gave a different flavor to traditional practices as well as extending their scope. But the similarities undermine still further the credibility of the conventional picture.
On the Soviet side, for half a millennium, the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Moscow had extended their sway over "all the Russias," creating a huge imperial state, though one far more backward than Western Europe and not closing the gap, and by 1914 "becoming a semi-colonial possession of European capital."37 Hardliners are quick to remind the victims of Gorby-mania that "as a great power, Russia frequently deployed its armies into Europe and repeatedly crushed popular uprisings in central Europe," suppressing the Hungarian revolution in 1956 and Czech democracy in 1968 just as "Russian troops bloodily suppressed the Hungarian revolution of 184849 and violently put down uprisings in Poland in 1831 and again in 186364 ... . Soviet troops occupied Berlin in 1945; Russian troops occupied and burnt Berlin in 1760." And indeed, "in pursuit of Russia's interests as a great power, Russian troops appeared many places where as yet Soviet troops have not," including Italy and Switzerland, writes Samuel Huntington.38 One "cannot assume," he continues, that the Soviets will not "revert to the bad old ways of the past"; inclusion of the Soviet occupation of Berlin in 1945 among these "bad old ways" perhaps reflects the current tendency to lend credence to the Nazi claim to have been defending Western civilization from the Bolshevik menace.
As for the United States, scale aside, changes induced by the Cold War were in large part rhetorical. Since 1917, intervention has been in self-defenseagainst the Soviet threatincluding intervention in Russia itself immediately after the Bolshevik revolution and the clandestine support for armies established by Hitler in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe into the 1950s.39 Before the Bolshevik revolution similar actions were taken, but in fear of other menaces. When Woodrow Wilson invaded Mexico and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic)where his warriors murdered and destroyed, reestablished virtual slavery, demolished the political system, and placed the countries firmly in the hands of US investorsthese actions were in self-defense against the Huns. In earlier years, conquests and interventions were undertaken in defense against Britain, Spain, the "merciless Indian savages" of the Declaration of Independencein fact, anyone who was in the way.
Leading thinkers have never found it difficult to identify the culprits. In the early years of the Republic, Reverend Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College and a respected author and exponent of Puritan values, devoted a poem to the savage slaughter of the Pequot Indians. The colonists viewed the Pequot Indians "with generous eye," he wrote, and strove to gain their friendship, but were thwarted by "base Canadian fiends" and thus had no choice but to massacre them, men, women and children. Thomas Jefferson attributed the failure of "the benevolent plan we were pursuing here for the happiness of the aboriginal inhabitants of our vicinities" to the English enemy; "the interested and unprincipled policy of England has defeated all our labors for the salvation of these unfortunate peoples," and "seduced" them "to take up the hatchet against us." It is the English, then, who "oblige us now to pursue them to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach." The English, not we, were thus responsible for "the confirmed brutalization, if not the extermination of this race in our America ..." On the same grounds, he urged the conquest of Canada in a letter to John Adams, who agreed, writing: "Another Conquest of Canada will quiet the Indians forever and be as great a Blessing to them as to Us."40
The same theory was adopted when General Andrew Jackson rampaged through Florida, virtually annihilating much of its native population and leaving the Spanish province under US control. His murderous Seminole War campaign was defended by John Quincy Adams in a letter to Minister to Spain George Erving that "has long been recognized as one of the most important state papers in the history of American foreign relations" (William Earl Weeks). The document impressed Thomas Jefferson as being "among the ablest I have ever seen, both as to logic and style," a judgement in which modern historians have concurred. So taken was Jefferson with thisracist diatribe justifying Jackson's aggression and brutality that he urged wide distribution "to maintain in Europe a correct opinion of our political morality."41
The actual motive for the war was expansionism and the "use of Florida as a haven by Indians and American slaves," "outrageous, from the American perspective," Weeks observes. But in this early defense of Manifest Destiny, Indian removal, slavery, violation of treaties, and the use of military force without congressional approval, Adams justified the aggression in the usual terms of self-defense. The fault lay in the machinations of England in Florida, he wrote, first during the war of 1812 when British agents encouraged "all the runaway negroes, all the savage Indians, all the pirates, and all the traitors to their country ... to join their standards, and wage an exterminating war" against the United States; and later, when "this negro-Indian war against our borders had been rekindled" by these British criminals (two of whom were executed), so that the "peaceful inhabitants" of the United States were "visited with all the horrors of savage war" by "mingled hordes of lawless Indians and negroes." Furthermore, "from the period of our established independence to this day, all the Indian wars with which we have been afflicted have been distinctly traceable to the instigation of English traders or agents." Adams appealed to international law to justify such acts against "an inhuman enemy" as execution of prisoners. Quoting eighteenth-century sources, he observed: "The justification of these principles is found in their salutary efficacy for terror and example."42
Like Dean Acheson many years later, Adams recognized that in such enterprises it is a good idea to speak in a manner "clearer than truth"; in Adams's version, "it was better to err on the side of vigor than on the side of weakness." In so doing, he "articulated many of the myths which have been essential to salving the conscience of a righteous-minded nation that expanded first across a continent and then throughout the world," Weeks comments.43
When base foreign fiends could not readily be found, the inferiority of those in our path could be invoked. In his annual message of 1851, California Governor Peter Burnett observed "that a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct." While we can only anticipate this result with "painful regret, the inevitable destiny of the race is beyond the power and wisdom of man to avert." Mexican lands should be taken over for the good of mankind, Walt Whitman wrote: "What has miserable, inefficient Mexico ... to do with the great mission of peopling the New World with a noblerace?" Our conquests may "take off the shackles that prevent men the even chance of being happy and good." The Mexicans were described by travellers as "an imbecile, pusillanimous, race of men, and unfit to control the destinies of that beautiful country" of California, which by rights belonged to the Anglo-Saxons in the racist fantasies of the nineteenth centuryshared, among others, by Charles Darwin, who felt that "There is apparently much truth in the belief that the wonderful progress of the United States, as well as the character of the people, are the results of natural selection." 44
The truth of the matter, throughout, was that the real enemy has been the indigenous population of the territories from which they were driven or where they were to remain as subjects; and other powers that interfered with our right to treat these undeserving souls in accord with our wishes. The facts have sometimes been recognized, as when Wilson's Secretary of State Robert Lansing explained, with the President's acquiescence that
In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests. The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration.
The central problem, Lansing went on, is to exclude European control over "American territory and its institutions through financial as well as other means." Wilson's practice conformed to this principle, for example, by excluding Britain from Central American oil concessions; from the early years of the century, control over oil has been recognized as a lever of great power in world affairs, not to speak of the rich profits that flow. Furthermore, the great apostle of self-determination broke no new ground.45
The major change after World War II was that the United States was in a position to apply these principles over a far broader range; and, of course, the Evil Empire from which it had to defend itself was no longer the Huns or the British.
To the people of the Third World, the threat posed to US security by the agents of dread foreign enemies seems difficult to appreciate. When the Kennedy Administration sought to organize collective action against Cuba in 1961, a Mexican diplomat commented: "If we publicly declare that Cuba is a threat to our security, forty million Mexicans will die laughing." 46 Sophisticated Westerners, however, respond with appropriate sobriety and concern.
With the Cold War officially ended, its practices continue as before, but in self-defense against other enemies. When the Bush Administration invaded Panama in December 1989, it was quite impossible to conjure up the Evil Empire. "Operation Just Cause" was therefore launched to defend us from narcotraffickers seeking to destroy us, among other pretexts.47
These continuities again reveal that the conventional understanding is more a rhetorical guise than a serious thesis.
4. Bolsheviks and Moderates
Despite the continuities, 1917 marked a critical break for policy. Earlier intervention had a somewhat ad hoc and opportunistic character, designed for territorial expansion or commercial advantage, or for deflecting and displacing European rivals. But the World War brought about entirely new conditions and, with them, a systematic and coherent ideological framework for intervention worldwide.
As Europe proceeded to self-destruct, the United States became for the first time a global power with decisive influence. And the Bolshevik revolution provided it with a global enemynot because of Russian power, which was insignificant, but because of the ideological challenge "to the very survival of the capitalist order" (Gaddis). The response to a challenge of this scale and import was not in doubt. It was clearly formulated by Senator Warren Harding, soon to be elected President: "Bolshevism is a menace that must be destroyed ... the Bolshevist beast [must be] slain."48
With the very survival of the existing system of privilege and domination at stake, any challenge to it, anywhere, must be regarded with utmost seriousness. Anyone who threatens the reigning order should preferably be depicted as an appendage of the beast, a Communist in disguise or a dupe of Bolshevism. And those who confront the beast or its spreading tentacles become "moderates," a label that extends to a wide range of tyrants and mass murderers, as long as they do their job. These moderates vary in their tactical choices. Some prefer to experiment with reforms to drive the beast away, turning to harsher measures if these fail. Others disdain the reformist detour and choose to aim for the heart at once. At home, the response to the challenge has ranged from harsh repression of dissidence and labor (Wilson's Red Scare and its regular successors) to a variety of more subtle means. Abroad, tactics are adapted to the specific character of the challenge, but on the principle that the beast must be slain. This general ideological framework,and the sociopolitical realities that it reflects, gave intervention a very different cast from earlier years.
The new framework was elaborated first in reaction to postwar developments in Italy, at the periphery of the Western industrial order. The pattern then established was reapplied regularly elsewhere until today. It thus deserves some scrutiny.
With rising labor militancy, Italy posed "the obvious danger of social revolution and disorganization," a high-level inquiry of the Wilson Administration determined in December 1917. "If we are not careful we will have a second Russia on our hands," a State Department official noted privately, adding: "The Italians are like children" and "must be [led] and assisted more than almost any other nation." Mussolini's Blackshirts solved the problem by violence. They carried out "a fine young revolution," the American Ambassador observed approvingly, referring to Mussolini's March on Rome in October 1922, which brought Italian democracy to an end. Fascist goons effectively ended labor agitation with government help, and the democratic deviation was terminated. The United States watched with approval. The Fascists are "perhaps the most potent factor in the suppression of Bolshevism in Italy" and have much improved the situation generally, the Embassy reported to Washington, while voicing some residual anxiety about the "enthusiastic and violent young men" who have brought about these salutary developments. The Embassy continued to report the appeal of Fascism to "all patriotic Italians," simple-minded folk who "hunger for strong leadership and enjoy ... being dramatically governed."49
As Fascist darkness settled over Italy, financial support from the US government and business climbed rapidly. Italy was offered by far the best postwar debt settlement of any country, and US investment there grew far faster than in any other country as the Fascist regime established itself, eliminating labor unrest and other democratic disorders.50
US labor leaders viewed these developments with a generally favorable eye. The American Federationist, edited by AFL president Samuel Gompers, welcomed Fascism as a bulwark against Communism and a movement "capable of decisive action on a national scale," which was "rapidly reconstructing a nation of collaborating units of usefulness," Mussolini's Fascist corporations, which subordinated labor to capital and the state. The AFL journal found these corporations "a welcome replacement for the old, Bolshevik-infected industrial unions," Ronald Filippelli comments. Mussolini's activism was also attractive. "However repugnant ... the idea of dictatorship and the man on horseback," the journal continued, "American trade unionists willat least find it possible to have some sympathy with the policies of a man whose dominating purpose is to get something done; to do rather than theorize; to build a working, producing civilization instead of a disorganized, theorizing aggregation of conflicting groups" in a society riven by class conflict.51 Mussolini got the trains to run on time, as the standard cliché had it. The suppression of labor and democratic institutions was not too great a price to pay for this achievement, from the AFL perspective.
Mussolini was portrayed as a "moderate" with enormous popular appeal who had brought efficient administration and prosperity, slaying the beast and opening the doors to profitable investment and trade. Reflecting common attitudes in the business community, J.P. Morgan partner Thomas Lamont described himself as "something like a missionary" for Italian Fascism, expressing his admiration for II Duce, "a very upstanding chap" who had "done a great job in Italy," and for the "sound ideas" that guided him in governing the country. Otto Kahn of Kuhn, Loeb, and Co. praised the Fascists further for ending "parliamentary wrangling and wasteful impotent bureaucracy" and bringing "a spirit of order, discipline, hard work, patriotic devotion and faith" under "the clear sighted and masterful guidance of that remarkable man, Benito Mussolini." Judge Elbert Gary of United Steel asked whether "we, too, need a man like Mussolini." The US Embassy was particularly impressed that "there has not been a single strike in the whole of Italy" since the Fascist takeover.52
The Embassy was well aware of Mussolini's totalitarian measures. Fascism had "effectively stifled hostile elements in restricting the right of free assembly, in abolishing freedom of the press and in having at its command a large military organization," the Embassy reported in a message of February 1925, after a major Fascist crackdown. But Mussolini remained a "moderate," manfully confronting the fearsome Bolsheviks while fending off the extremist fringe on the right. His qualifications as a moderate were implicit in the judgement expressed by Ambassador Henry Fletcher: the choice in Italy is "between Mussolini and Fascism and Giolitti and Socialism"Giolitti being the liberal Prime Minister who had collaborated with Mussolini in the repression of labor but now found himself a target as well. The population preferred "peace and prosperity" under Fascism to "free speech, loose administration ... [and] the danger and disorganization of Bolshevism," Fletcher reported. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg joined him in labelling all opposition groups "communists, socialists, and anarchists." The chief of the State Department Western European Division, William Castle, recognized in 1926 that "the methods of the Duce are not by any means American methods,"but "methods which would certainly not appeal to this country might easily appeal to a people so differently constituted as are the Italians." Il Duce and his effective methods won wide respect in the political and intellectual communities, including progressive opinion.53
As a Senator in 1919, Kellogg had bitterly condemned the domestic "nihilists" and "anarchists" who "try to incite the dissatisfied elements of this country to a class warfare." As Secretary of State he barred Communists from entry to the country because "this is the only way to treat these revolutionists," and lumped LaFollette's progressivism together with Socialism, Communism, and the IWW. Kellogg demanded further that the Russians "must cease their propaganda in the United States" as a condition for recognition.54 This was an entirely natural doctrine, given the ideological nature of the threat "to the very survival of the capitalist order," and a demand that was to be reiterated regularly in one or another form in later years.
As the effects of the Great Depression hit Europe, leading to social and political unrest, Fascist Italy received mounting praise as a bastion of order and stability, free of class struggle and challenges from labor and the left. "The wops are unwopping themselves," Fortune magazine wrote with awe in a special issue devoted to Fascist Italy in 1934. Others agreed. State Department roving Ambassador Norman Davis praised Italy's successes in remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations in 1933, speaking after the Italian Ambassador had drawn applause from his distinguished audience for his description of how Italy had put its "own house in order ... . A class war was put down"by means that were apparently regarded as appropriate. Roosevelt's Ambassador to Italy, Breckenridge Long, was also full of enthusiasm for the "new experiment in government" under Fascism, which "works most successfully in Italy." After World War II, Henry Stimson (Secretary of State under Hoover, Secretary of War under Roosevelt) recalled that he and Hoover had found Mussolini to be "a sound and useful leader." When Marine General Smedley Butler made some critical comments about Mussolini in 1931, Stimson had brought court-martial proceedings against him, making no effort to ascertain the facts. When Fascists won 99 percent of the vote in the March 1934 election, the State Department concluded that the results "demonstrate incontestably the popularity of the Fascist regime." Roosevelt shared many of these positive views of "that admirable Italian gentleman," as he termed Mussolini in 1933.55
Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia was condemned, but did not seriously harm US relations with Fascist Italy. The essential reason was given byAmbassador Long: if Mussolini fell and the country was left "without guidance, ... the violent manifestations of Bolshevism would be apparent in the industrial centers and in the agricultural regions where private ownership still pertains." A 1937 State Department report concluded that "Fascism is becoming the soul of Italy," having "brought order out of chaos, discipline out of license, and solvency out of bankruptcy." To "accomplish so much in a short time severe measures have been necessary," the report continued. Furthermore, like Germany under Hitler, Italy was standing in the way of Russian influence in Spain during the Civil War. Washington had adopted a form of "neutrality" that amounted to a tilt towards Spanish Fascism against the liberal democratic republic, while joining in the uniform hostility of the West and Stalin to the popular libertarian revolution.56
In the major academic study of the topic, David Schmitz points out that the model developed for Italy, with "moderate" Fascists holding the middle ground between the dreaded left- and right-wing extremists, was applied to Nazism as well. Here, Hitler was chosen as the representative of the moderates who promised "social order, anti-Bolshevik laws, and protection for foreign capital," Schmitz observes. The American charge d'affaires in Berlin wrote to Washington in 1933 that the hope for Germany lay in "the more moderate section of the [Nazi] party, headed by Hitler himself ... which appeal[s] to all civilized and reasonable people," and seems to have "the upper hand" over the violent fringe. In 1937, the State Department saw fascism as compatible with US economic interests. A report of the European Division explained its rise as the natural reaction of "the rich and middle classes, in self-defense" when the "dissatisfied masses, with the example of the Russian revolution before them, swing to the left." Fascism therefore "must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle classes, will again turn to the left." Not until European Fascism attacked US interests directly did it become an avowed enemy. The reaction to Japanese Fascism was much the same.57
Though the Axis powers became enemies during World War II, the general framework of thinking never really changed. As the United States liberated southern Italy in 1943, it followed Churchill's advice that the primary consideration must be to prevent "chaos, bolshevization or civil war ... . There is nothing between the King and the patriots who have rallied round him and rampant Bolshevism," Churchill warned. The US supported the King, who had collaborated fully with the Fascist regime, and the right-wing dictatorship of Field-Marshal Badoglio, a Fascist war hero, just as Roosevelt had installed the French Fascist Admiral Darlan inNorth Africa in 1942, in the first area liberated from Nazi control. Henry Stimson and the State Department sought to bring the Fascist leader Dino Grandi to power, describing this high official of the Mussolini dictatorship from its first years as a "moderate" among the Blackshirts who was "driven into [Fascism] by the excesses of the Communists"; a reconstruction of history along similar lines is familiar in contemporary right-wing and neo-Nazi circles. In Italy, as throughout the world, Fascists and collaborators were restored to power and influence by the Allied liberators. The general goal was to destroy the anti-Fascist resistance, undermine the popular forces on which it was based, and reconstruct the traditional conservative order, now under US domination.58
The distinction between the "moderates" led by Mussolini and the "extremists" he sought to control came "to dominate all State Department thinking on Fascism and helped to provide the ideological grounds for the continuous support of Mussolini throughout the interwar years," Schmitz comments. It was taken as the model for support of Hitler as the moderate leader of the Nazis, and "was to become a familiar and almost automatic pattern of behavior by American foreign policymakers in the name of anticommunism in the twentieth century."59
The pattern is particularly evident in Latin America, the traditional domain of US intervention, which took a new form, adopting the new analytical framework, immediately after World War I. Until that time, US intervention had been portrayed as a defensive reaction against European enemies: primarily Britain, France, and Germany. But with US power in the ascendant, these were less plausible antagonists, and as guardian of the capitalist order, the United States turned to the ideological challenge posed to its "very survival" by the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. The Mexican revolution, with its steps towards economic nationalism, raised the specter in a sharp form. Particularly ominous was Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which became a major bone of contention in 1917 because of its call for state participation in and direction of the economy (particularly development of natural resources) and for subordination of private property to the general welfare. The analogy to Bolshevism was quickly drawn in the standard dual way: these moves were a direct threat to US investors and might also encourage others, including domestic elements, to think along similar lines (the domino effect, in its realistic variant). US Ambassador to Mexico Henry Fletcher warned in 1918 that Mexico's goal was "to replace the Monroe Doctrine" so that "the hegemony of the United States on this Continent is to pass away"; Fletcher was soon to move to Italy where, as we haveseen, he became a spokesman for Mussolini's Fascism as a barrier to "Bolshevism" (including Socialism and liberalism). Article 27, Fletcher wrote to President Wilson in 1919, would practically terminate foreign investment in Mexico.60
A few years later, Secretary of State Frank Kellogg declared that its programs of economic nationalism had placed Mexico "on trial before the world" and "created a serious situation" for US interests. The State Department by then regarded Mexico as hardly more than an outpost of Bolshe-vism. 61
Fletcher's warning to Wilson reflected the contempt for "miserable, inefficient Mexico" expressed by Walt Whitman and others. The Mexicans would not be "able to keep themselves going" without foreign investment, he believed, because "they have not the genius of industrial development, nor have they had the training required." A few years later, Ambassador James Sheffield wrote of "the futility of attempting to treat with a Latin-Indian mind, filled with hatred of the United States and thirsty for vengeance, on the same basis that our government would treat with a civilized and orderly government in Europe." The Mexicans have "an Indian, not Latin, hatred of all peoples not on the reservation. There is very little white blood in the cabinetthat is it is very thin." Other officials spoke of the "low mental capacity" which renders the Mexicanslike the Italians"utterly unfitted for self-government" and "easily dominated" by the "half-breeds" who control the government. Venezuelans too were regarded as "indolent" and suffering from "political immaturity" and "racial inferiority," along with other Latin Americans. In 1927 Elihu Root, whose long career as a statesman and peace movement leader had earned him the Nobel Prize, questioned US recognition of the independence of Latin American countries because Latin Americans are "admittedly like children and unable to maintain the obligations which go with independence." The Mexican attempt at democracy was as futile as the granting of voting rights to Blacks after the Civil War, Root commented: "a dismal step, a terrible mistake, with most serious evils following." Forty years later, his distinguished successor Dean Acheson expressed similar thoughts to the White racists of southern Africa. Root proposed to Mexico the example of Fascist Italy, enjoying a "revival of prosperity, contentment and happiness under a dictator." A US diplomat in Venezuela argued that "the Indian peon" should be given "a simple and paternalistic form of government," not formal democracy. He praised the Venezuelan dictator Juan Vicente Gómez, who, with the example of Mexico before him, had "wisely decided that a benevolent despotism waspreferable to an anarchical democracy."62
Some found the natives less hopeless. Banker Thomas Lamont felt that "ignorant as [the Mexicans] are, unwise as they are, untrusty as they are, nevertheless, if you once take time and patience, one can handle them." Similar sentiments were privately expressed in later years as well. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles advised President Eisenhower that it should be possible to bring Latin Americans to accept US plans for their future as a source of raw materials and profits for US corporations: "you have to pat them a little bit and make them think that you are fond of them." Following the same reasoning, Ambassador to Costa Rica Robert Woodward recommended to Washington that the United Fruit Company be induced to introduce "a few relatively simple and superficial human-interest frills for the workers that may have a large psychological effect," thus eliminating problems with the peons.63
Given the human material with which he has to work, one can easily appreciate the trials of "the benevolent but clearly egocentric professor, dispensing emancipation through knowledge of both righteousness and the right way to the deprived students of the world" (see p. 17).
Impressed by the successful fascist model, the United States turned to dictators and tyrants to fend off the threat of social change and economic nationalism, now interpreted in the context of the worldwide Bolshevik challenge to the survival of the capitalist order. Venezuela was a striking example. The brutal despot General Gómez enjoyed reasonably good relations with the United States until the Wilson Administration, which opposed his tyranny, terror and corruption and his "preference for Germany in the present War for the Rights of Humanity," as the American Minister to Venezuela put it in 1917. But a few years later, attitudes changed (though Gómez's practices did not). Untainted by the economic nationalism and radicalism that were threatening US interests elsewhere in Latin America, the despot offered his country freely for foreign exploitation. The usual mix of racist contempt and antagonism to independent nationalism sufficed for him to be depicted as a moderate. He had saved the country from "a conflict between the privileged classes and the common people" and kept it free from "communism, or some other form of extreme radicalism," the US charge informed the State Department in 1929. "Until the Venezuelan people could be trusted to make the right decisions concerning their political and economic direction," Michael Krenn writes, "and that time was deemed to be in the very distant futureit was best for all concerned that they be kept safe from democracy."64
As example after example attests, economic nationalism elicits US hostility. Where possible, the culprit is assigned to the Bolshevik conspiracy to destroy Western civilization. In any event, he must be slain. It is as close to a historical law as a complex world allows.
The essential point was captured in John F. Kennedy's celebrated remark that while we would prefer decent democratic regimes, if the choice is between a Trujillo and a Castro, we will choose the Trujillo. It is necessary only to add three points: (1) the concept of "a Castro" is very broad, extending to anyone who raises problems for the "rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations," who are to rule the world according to Churchill's aphorism, while enjoying the benefits of its human and material resources; (2) the chosen "Trujillo," however monstrous, will be a "moderate" as long as he fulfills his function; (3) the "Trujillo" will make a quick transition from favored friend to another beast to be destroyed if he shows the bad judgement of stepping on our toes. This story has been reenacted time and time again, until today. Saddam Hussein is only the most recent example.
The post-World War I pattern does constitute a departure from US intervention in an earlier period of less self-consciousness and global power. There is every reason to expect that pattern to persist, with whatever adjustments are required, after the Bolshevik challenge has lost its last shreds of credibility.
5. The Foundations of Policy
The basis for US policy in the Cold War era is outlined with considerable clarity in the internal record of planning.65 With unprecedented economic and military preeminence, the US prepared to become the first truly global power. Not surprisingly, corporate and state managers hoped to use this power to design a world order that would serve the interests they represented.
During the war, US planners developed the concept of a "Grand Area," a region understood to be "strategically necessary for world control," subordinated to the needs of the American economy. In its early stages, the Grand Area was conceived as a US-led non-German bloc. It was to incorporate the Western hemisphere, the Far East, and the former British empire, which was to be dismantled along with other regional systems and incorporated under US control. Meanwhile the US extended its own regional systems in Latin America and the Pacific on the principle, expressed by Abe Fortas in internal discussion, that these steps were justified "as part of our obligationto the security of the world ... what was good for us was good for the world." British officials were unimpressed, denouncing "the economic imperialism of American business interests, which is quite active under the cloak of a benevolent and avuncular internationalism," and is "attempting to elbow us out." As it became clear that Germany would be defeated, the Grand Area concept was extended to include the Eurasian landmass as well, as far as possible. These general plans were applied to particular regions with much consistency.
With regard to the Soviet Union, the doves were reconciled to a form of "containment" in which it would control most of the areas occupied by the Red Army in the war against Hitler. The hawks had broader aspirations, as expressed in the rollback strategy of NSC 68. US policy towards the Soviet Union has fluctuated between these positions over the years, reflecting in part the problem of controlling the far-flung domains "defended" by US power, in part the need for a credible enemy to ensure that the public remains willing to support intervention and provide a subsidy to advanced industry through the military system.
The Grand Area was to have a definite structure. The industrial societies were to be reconstituted with much of the traditional order restored, but within the overarching framework of US power. They were to be organized under their "natural leaders," Germany and Japan. Early moves towards democratization under the military occupation caused deep concern in Washington and the business community. They were reversed by the late 1940s, with firm steps to weaken the labor movement and ensure the dominance of the traditional business sectors, linked to US capital. Britain was later to undergo a similar process, as did the United States itself.66
Moves towards a European economic community, it was assumed, would improve economic performance, reconcile all social sectors to business dominance, and create markets and investment opportunities for US corporations. Japan was to become a regional leader within a US-dominated global system. The thought that Japan might become a serious competitor was then too exotic to be considered: as late as the 1960s, the Kennedy Administration was still concerned with finding means to ensure Japan's viability. This was finally established by the Vietnam War, which was costly to the United States but highly beneficial to the Japanese economy, as the Korean War had been.
There are some surprising illusions about these matters. Thus, Alan Tonelson, then editor of Foreign Policy, refers to the US effort to build up "industrial centers in Western Europe and Japan in the stated hope that they wouldsoon rival the United States." There was neither such a hope nor such an expectation. With regard to Japan, for example, Army Undersecretary William Draper, the former vice-president of Dillon, Read & Co. who played a major role in efforts to revive the German and Japanese economies in such a way as to ensure the dominance of the business classes, "considered it doubtful that Japan would ever sell enough to the United States to earn the dollars needed to pay for American raw materials." The illusions about US hopes are on a par with the belief that the United States (or anyone else) has gone to war for "the defense of freedom," disseminated by James Reston and other ideologues.67
By 1947, it was perceived that European recovery was foundering and that large-scale US initiatives were required for it to proceed along the desired lines. The first major policy initiative to this end was the Marshall Plan. In his comprehensive study of this program, Michael Hogan outlines its primary motivation as the encouragement of a European economic federation much like the United States, with over $2 billion annually in US aid in the early years "to avert 'economic, social and political' chaos in Europe, contain Communism (meaning not Soviet intervention but the success of the indigenous Communist parties), prevent the collapse of America's export trade, and achieve the goal of multilateralism." Such an economic stimulus was required "to protect individual initiative and private enterprise both on the Continent and in the United States." The alternative would be "experiments with socialist enterprise and government controls," which would "jeopardize private enterprise" in the United States as well. A major concern was the "dollar gap," which prevented Europe from purchasing US manufactured goods, with grave implications for the domestic econ-68 omy.68
The understanding that reconstruction of European (and Japanese) capitalism was essential to the health of the US economic order recapitulated the thinking of the Harding Administration after World War I. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, and other influential planners took it for granted that European economic recovery was essential for the expansion of American exports. "The prosperity of the United States," Hughes declared in 1921, "largely depends upon economic settlements which may be made in Europe"which required, of course, that the Bolshevist beast be slain, as the President had proclaimed.69
"From a strategic and geopolitical viewpoint," diplomatic historian Melvyn Leffler observes, "the impact of the Marshall Plan stretched beyond Europe." Overcoming the dollar gap, "which had originally prompted theMarshall Plan," required a restoration of the triangular trade patterns whereby Europe earned dollars through US purchase of raw materials from its colonies. Hence European (and Japanese) access to Third World markets and raw materials was an essential component of the general strategic planning, and a necessary condition for fulfillment of the general purposes of the Marshall Plan: to "benefit the American economy," to "redress the European balance of power" in favor of US allies (state and class), and to "enhance American national security," where "national security" is understood as "control of raw materials, industrial infrastructure, skilled manpower, and military bases." The "strategic dimensions of the Marshall Plan," Leffler continues, thus required that "revolutionary nationalism had to be thwarted outside Europe, just as the fight against indigenous communism had to be sustained inside Europe." This was a difficult problem because of the prestige of the anti-Fascist resistance, often with a strong Communist element, and the discrediting of the traditional US allies in the business classes because of their association with fascism. Despite the "rhetorical commitment to self-determination," US policy demanded that the former colonies retain their dependent role; the same might be said about the commitment to democracy, which, if more than rhetoric, would have meant that popular forces to which the US was opposedCommunists, radical democrats, labor, and so onbe permitted to play more than a token role in political and social life. Marshall Plan aid was used to coerce political choices, notably in Italy in 1948, and "to force Europe to soft-pedal welfare programs, limit wages, control inflation, and create an environment conducive for capital investmentpart of it financed out of labor's pocket" (Thomas McCormick).70
From an early stage in the Cold War, and for deep-seated reasons, the United States was set on a course against self-determination and democracy, rhetorical commitments aside. That these commitments were indeed rhetorical was acknowledged by the more cynical and intelligent planners. Dean Acheson, for example, noted that "if our present policy is to have any hope of success in Formosa [Taiwan], we must carefully conceal our wish to separate the island from mainland control," and if we intervene militarily, we should do so under a UN guise "and with the proclaimed intention of satisfying the legitimate demands of the indigenous Formosans for self-determination." 71
William Borden observes in an important study that "few dollars changed hands internationally under the aid programs; the dollars went to American producers, and the goods were sold to the European public" in local currencies. He argues further that the failure of the aid program to overcomethe dollar gap and the unwillingness of Congress to provide additional funds "led Secretary of State Acheson and his aide, Paul Nitze, to replace 'international Keynesian stimulation' of the world economy with 'international military Keynesian stimulation of the world economy'": the basic thinking behind NSC 68. Segments of the business community considered it "obvious that foreign economies as well as our own are now mainly dependent on the scope of continued arms spending in this country" (Magazine of Wall Street, 1951). US military expenditures provided a substantial stimulus to European industrial production, and purchase of strategic raw materials from European colonies so reduced the dollar gap that Marshall Plan aid to Britain was suspended in 1950, though longer-term effects were mixed, Hogan argues.72 In the case of Japan, US military expenditures, particularly for the Korean War, were the primary factor in its postwar industrial recovery. South Korea benefited in a similar way from the Vietnam War, as did other US allies.
The role of the Third World within the Grand Area structure was to serve the needs of the industrial societies. In Latin America, as elsewhere, "the protection of our resources" must be a major concern, George Kennan explained. Since the main threat to our interests is indigenous, we must realize, he continued, that "the final answer might be an unpleasant one"namely, "police repression by the local government." "Harsh government measures of repression" should cause us no qualms as long as "the results are on balance favorable to our purposes." In general, "it is better to have a strong regime in power than a liberal government if it is indulgent and relaxed and penetrated by Communists."73 The term "Communist" is used in US discourse in a technical sense, referring to labor leaders, peasant organizers, priests organizing self-help groups, and others with the wrong priorities.
The right priorities are outlined in the highest-level Top Secret planning documents.74 The major threat to US interests is posed by "nationalistic regimes" that are responsive to popular pressures for "immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses" and diversification of the economies. This tendency conflicts not only with the need to "protect our resources," but also with our concern to encourage "a climate conducive to private investment" and "in the case of foreign capital to repatriate a reasonable return." The Kennedy Administration identified the roots of US interests in Latin America as in part military (the Panama Canal, strategic raw materials, and so on), but perhaps still more "the economic root whose central fiber is the $9 billion of private U.S. investment in the area" and extensive trade relations. The need "to protect and promote Americaninvestment and trade" is threatened by nationalismthat is, efforts to follow an independent course. The preference is for agroexport models serving the interests of US-based corporations (agribusiness, pesticide and fertilizer producers, and so on) and in later years, a range of such useful services as cheap labor for assembly plants.
The threat of nationalism is recognized in the public record as well. Thus, after the successful CIA-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary regime of the conservative nationalist Mossadegh in Iran, restoring the Shah and leaving US oil companies with 40 percent of the formerly British concession, the New York Times commented editorially that all of this was "good news indeed"; however costly "to all concerned" (primarily Iranians), "the affair may yet be proved worthwhile if lessons are learned from it." The primary lesson is then spelled out, mincing no words:
Underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism. It is perhaps too much to hope that Iran's experience will prevent the rise of Mossadeghs in other countries, but that experience may at least strengthen the hands of more reasonable and more far-seeing leaders,
who will have a clear-eyed understanding of our overriding priorities.75
It was also recognized that the plans for the targeted countries would be unpopular there, but for their populations, no subtle measures of control are necessary. Under the cover of US government aid programs (USAID), "public safety missions" trained local police forces. The reasoning, as outlined by the State Department, is that the police "first detect discontent among people" and "should serve as one of the major means by which the government assures itself of acceptance by the majority." An effective police force can often abort unwanted developments that might otherwise require "major surgery" to "redress these threats." But police operations may not suffice. Accordingly, US planners stressed the need to gain control over the Latin American military, described as "the least anti-American of any political group." Their task, the Kennedy "action intellectuals" explained, was "to remove government leaders from office whenever, in the judgment of the military, the conduct of these leaders was injurious to the welfare of the nation"an obligation that they should be equipped to carry out once US training has afforded them "the understanding of, and orientation toward, U.S. objectives."
Converting the mission of the military from "hemispheric defense" to "internal security," the Kennedy Administration and its successors wereable to overcome the problem of nationalism (or "ultranationalism," as it is sometimes termed in the internal planning record) by establishing and backing National Security States on a neo-Nazi model, with consequences that are well known. The purposeas explained by Lars Schoultz, the foremost US academic specialist on human rights in Latin Americawas "to destroy permanently a perceived threat to the existing structure of socio-economic privilege by eliminating the political participation of the numerical majority ...," the "popular classes."76 US support for these regimes follows essentially the model of the 1920s and European fascism, already discussed.
Note that this is a harsher variant of the policies designed for the industrial societies, motivated by the same world-view and social and political ideals. The harsher measures deemed appropriate for the Third World also helped to overcome the concerns expressed in the internal record over the excessive liberalism of Latin American governments, the protection of rights afforded by their legal systems, and the free flow of ideas, which undercut US efforts at indoctrination and ideological control. These stand alongside other recurrent problems, such as the "low level of intellectualism" in Guatemala deplored by the CIA in 1965, illustrated by the fact that "liberal groups ... are overresponsive to 'Yankee imperialist' themes," perhaps because of "the long-term political and economic influence of US fruit companies in the country as well as by the US role in the Castillo Armas liberation"the "liberation" by a CIA-backed coup that overthrew the popular democratic government and reinstated the traditional murderous rule of the military and oligarchy. Where the police and military cannot be controlled directly, as in post-Somoza Nicaragua or Panama, it is necessary to overthrow the government, install a more compliant regime, and restore a "worthy army" in the style of Somoza's National Guard, long a US favorite.77
These policies are givens; their basic thrust is subject to no challenge and no debate. It would be misleading to say that there is near unanimity on these matters in Congress, the media, and the intellectual community. More accurately, the basic doctrines are out of sight, out of mind, like the air we breathe, beyond the possibility of discussion.
The general framework was adapted for particular regions. Thus, Southeast Asia was to "fulfill its major function as a source of raw materials and a market for Japan and Western Europe," in the words of George Kennan's State Department Policy Planning Staff in 1949.78 This reasoning led directly to US intervention in Indochina, at first in support of French colonialism, later alone. An independent Vietnam, it was feared, might spread the "virus" of nationalism throughout Southeast Asia, leading Japan to accommodateto a mainland Communist bloc and thus to become the industrial heartland of a "New Order" from which the US might be excluded; the Pacific War had been fought in large measure to prevent such an outcome. Japan was regarded as the "superdomino," in the appropriate phrase of Asia historian John Dower. To overcome the threat posed by Vietnamese nationalism, it was necessary to destroy the virus and inoculate the region against the disease. This result was achieved. Indochina was successfully destroyed, while the US supported killers, torturers, and tyrants in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea, providing the crucial support when needed for slaughter on a massive scale, while the media, and respectable people generally, nodded in approval or chose to look the other way.
In Latin America, similar principles were applied with fair success. This region too was to fulfill its function as a source of raw materials and a market. During and after World War II, the traditional rivals of the United States in Latin America, Britain and France were largely displaced, on Henry Stimson's principle that Latin America is "our little region over here which never has bothered anybody."79 While "stability" of the sort conducive to US elite interests has not been completely attained, nevertheless the threat of independent development was largely abortedperhaps for ever in the Central America-Caribbean region, where US influence has been overwhelming.
Africa was to be "exploited" for the reconstruction of Europe, Kennan explained in a major State Department study on the international order. He added that the opportunity to exploit Africa should provide a psychological lift for the European powers, affording them "that tangible objective for which everyone has been rather unsuccessfully groping ... ."80 History might have suggested a different project: that Africa should "exploit" Europe to enable it to reconstruct from centuries of devastation at the hands of European conquerors, perhaps also improving its psychological state through this process. Needless to say, nothing of the sort was remotely thinkable, and the actual proposals have received little if any notice, apparently being regarded as uncontroversial.
In discussion of African policy particularly, the element of racism cannot be discounted. Dean Acheson warned the former Prime Minister of the White government of Rhodesia in 1971 to beware of the "American public," who "decide that the only correct decision of any issue must be one which favors the colored point of view." Echoing Nobel laureate Elihu Root, he urged that Rhodesia not "get led down the garden path by any of our constitutional clichesequal protection of the laws, etc.which havecaused us so much trouble ..." He was particularly disturbed by the Supreme Court's use of "vague constitutional provisions" which "hastened racial equality and have invaded the political field by the one-man-one-vote doctrine," which made "Negroes ... impatient for still more rapid progress and led to the newly popular techniques of demonstration and violence" (September 1968). The "pall of racism ... hovering over" African affairs under the Nixon Administration, "and over the most basic public issues foreign and domestic," has been discussed by State Department official Roger Morris, including Nixon's request to Kissinger to ensure that his first presidential message to Congress on foreign policy have "something in it for the jigs" (eliciting "the usual respectful 'Yes'"); Kissinger's disbelief that the Ibos, "more gifted and accomplished" than other Nigerians, could also be "more Negroid"; and Alexander Haig's "quietly pretend[ing] to beat drums on the table as African affairs were brought up at NSC staff meetings." 81
In the Middle East, the major concern was (and remains) the incomparable energy reserves of the region, primarily in the Arabian peninsula. These were to be incorporated within the US-dominated system. As in Latin America, it was necessary to displace traditional French and British interests and to establish US control over what the State Department described as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history, ... probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment." Later, President Eisenhower described the Middle East as the most "strategically important area in the world."82
After the war, US corporations gained the leading role in Middle East oil production while dominating the Western hemisphere, which remained the major producer until 1968. The United States did not then need Middle East oil for itself. Rather, the goal was to dominate the world system, ensuring that others would not strike an independent course. Despite the general contempt for the Japanese and disparagement of their prospects, some foresaw problems even here. George Kennan proposed in 1949 that US control over Japanese oil imports would help to provide "veto power" over Japan's military and industrial policies. This advice was followed. Japan was helped to industrialize, but the US maintained control over its energy supplies and oil-refining facilities. As late as 1973, "only 10 per cent of Japan's oil supply was developed by Japanese companies," Shigeko Fukai observes. By now, Japan's diversification of energy sources and conservation measures have reduced the power of the "veto" considerably, but it is still a factor not without weight.83
It is, furthermore, misleading simply to assert that the US has sought to keep oil cheap, though that has generally been true. Oil prices declined (relative to other commodities) from the 1940s until the sharp rise of the early 1970s brought them back into line. This was a major boon to the Western industrial powers, though extremely harmful to the long-term interests of the Arab world; and reduction in the real cost of oil was also of critical importance for the Reaganite veneer of prosperity. But cheap oil is a policy instrument, not an end in itself. There is good reason to believe that in the early 1970s the US was by no means averse to the increase in the price of oil, harmful to its industrial rivals but beneficial to its own energy corporations and exporters. Control over energy is a lever for global dominance; the actual price and production levels gain significance within this context, and the economic effects of fluctuations are not a straightforward matter.84
US interest in the Philippines derives in part from similar concerns. US bases there form part of the military system surrounding the Middle East region from the Indian Ocean to Israel, Turkey, Portugal and beyond, designed to ensure that there will be no threat to control over its resources by the United States and dependable local elites. The United States is a global power, and plans accordingly.
Subsequent developments in the Middle East keep to the pattern just outlined, including the deepening relations with Israel as a "strategic asset" and mercenary state; the US rejection of a broad international consensus on a political settlement of the ArabIsrael conflict for many years;85 and Israel's sale of US arms to Iran in the 1980s, which, as high-level Israeli sources reported in the early 1980s (long before there were any hostages), was carried out in coordination with the US government to encourage a military coup, which would restore the IsraelIranSaudi Arabia alliance on which US policy had been based under the Nixon Doctrineone of many features of the Iran-Contra affair suppressed in the congressional-media damage-control operation. The same model of overthrowing an unwanted civilian government had been pursued successfully in Indonesia, Chile, and other cases.86
The major policy imperative is to block indigenous nationalist forces that might try to use their own resources in conflict with US interests. A large-scale counterinsurgency operation in Greece from 1947 was partially motivated by the concern that the "rot" of independent nationalism there might "infect" the Middle East, Acheson warned. Greece was regarded as an outpost of US power, protecting Middle East oil for the United Statesand its allies. A CIA study held that if the rebels were victorious, the US would face "the possible loss of the petroleum resources of the Middle East." A Soviet threat was concocted in the usual manner. The real threat was indigenous nationalism, with its feared demonstration effects elsewhere.
Similar factors led to the CIA coup restoring the Shah in Iran in 1953. Nasser became an enemy for similar reasons. Later, Khomeini was perceived as posing another such threat, leading the US to support Iraq in the Gulf War. The Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein then took over the mantle, shifting status overnight from favored friend to new Hitler when he invaded Kuwait in an effort to displace USBritish clients. The primary fear throughout has been that nationalist forces not under US influence and control might come to have substantial influence over the oil-producing regions of the Arabian peninsula. Saudi Arabian elites, in contrast, are considered appropriate partners, managing their resources in conformity to basic US interests, and assisting US terror and subversion throughout the Third World.
More serious analysts have been quite clear about these matters, both in Congress and in the strategic analysis literature. In May 1973, before the oil crisis erupted, the Senate's ranking oil expert, Senator Henry Jackson, emphasized "the strength and Western orientation of Israel on the Mediterranean and Iran [under the Shah] on the Persian Gulf," two "reliable friends of the United States," who, along with Saudi Arabia, "have served to inhibit and contain those irresponsible and radical elements in certain Arab States ... who, were they free to do so, would pose a grave threat indeed to our principal sources of petroleum in the Persian Gulf"sources that the US scarcely used at the time, but sources that were needed as a reserve and as a lever for world domination. The Nixon Doctrine had established Iran under the Shah and Israel as the "cops on the beat" in the region, in the words of Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, ensuring that no "radical nationalists" would pose a danger to order. Reviewing this system in 1974, Robert Reppa, a former Middle East analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, wrote that Israeli power protected the regimes of Jordan and Saudi Arabia from "a militarily strong Egypt" in the 1960s, and that "the Israeli-Iranian interrelationship" continued to contribute to the stability of the region, securing US interests. As early as autumn 1958, the National Security Council concluded that a "logical corollary" of opposition to radical Arab nationalism "would be to support Israel as the only strong pro-Western power left in the Middle East." Ten years earlier, Israel's military successes had led the Joint Chiefs of Staff to describe Israel as the major regional military power after Turkey, offering the US means to "gain strategicadvantage in the Middle East that would offset the effects of the decline of British power in that area." As for the Palestinians, US planners had no reason to doubt the assessment of Israeli government specialists in 1948 that the Palestinian refugees would either assimilate elsewhere or "would be crushed": "some of them would die and most of them would turn into human dust and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries." Accordingly, there was no need to trouble oneself about them.87
Few issues in world affairs are so important as control of the world's energy systemor so threatening to world peace, even survival. It continues to be "Axiom One of international affairs" that any effort to tamper with the dominant role of the United States and its clients will be strenuously resisted. As long as it was possible, the "Soviet threat" was brandished to justify US actions to ensure its dominance over Middle East oil. The pretext was never credible and by 1990 had to be entirely abandoned, while policy persisted much as before. The rational conclusion about the past was not drawn, but with the propaganda veil in tatters, reality could no longer be completely concealed. When the US sent forces to Saudi Arabia in August 1990 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman wrote:
In the past, when the United States was confronting the Soviet Union and competing for influence with Moscow in the Middle East, the stake in whose allies controlled what oil reserves had a military and strategic dimension. But today, with the Soviet Union cooperating in the crisis, that argument has lost much of its urgency
or, more accurately, the argument had lost its capacity to efface the realities, which therefore had to be stated frankly, for once: "The United States is not sending troops to the gulf simply to help Saudi Arabia resist aggression. It is sending troops to support the OPEC country that is more likely to cater to Washington's interests." In the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne observed that there is "something thoroughly old-fashioned" about the proceedings, quoting Tom Mann, director of governmental affairs at the Brookings Institution, who says: "This is bald self-interest we're talking about here. And in some ways, Bush's way of dealing with these Middle Eastern countries is almost colonial in character." All hasten to add that there is no hint of criticism in such characterizations.88
In brief, the world's major energy reserves must be in the proper handsourswhich can be counted on to use them for the benefit of the rightpeople, Churchill's "satisfied nations, who wished nothing more for themselves than what they had."
Rhetoric aside, the perceived danger throughout, in the Middle East and elsewhere, is independent nationalism, described as a "virus" that might "infect" other countries, a "rotten apple" that might contaminate the region and beyond, a "domino" that might topple others. The cover story is that the dominoes will fall through conquest; Ho Chi Minh will take off to Jakarta in a canoe and conquer the Archipelago, a launching pad for the march to Hawaii, if not beyond; or the Russians will use their base in Grenada for their devilish design of world conquest; and so on. Again, we need not accept the conclusion that a form of madness is a condition of respectability and power. The core assumption of the domino theory, scarcely concealed, has been that the virus might spread through the demonstration effect of successful independent development. Sometimes the enemies are truly the monsters they are depicted to be. Sometimes they compare rather favorably to the preferred "moderates." These characteristics are essentially beside the point; what counts is their accommodation to the needs of "the rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations." Such reasoning holds throughout the postwar period, including the extraordinary efforts to devastate Nicaragua by terror and economic warfare, even sadistic refusal of aid for natural catastrophe and pressure on allies to do the same. The elite consensus on these matters reveals how deeply these imperatives are felt, and provides no little insight into Western moral and cultural values.
The general framework of world order was to be a form of liberal internationalism guaranteeing the needs of US investors. Several factors combined to require that the Third World specialize in export of primary products: the needs of European and Japanese industrial recovery; the triangular trade patterns that helped to maintain US exports at a high level in the manner already mentioned; and ready access to resources, including raw materials for military production, with its central role in economic management and population control. The conflict between US policy and independent Third World development was deeply rooted in the structure of the world system. The persistent resort to violence to bar nationalist threats is a natural concomitant of these commitments.89
Though the principled opposition to independent Third World nationalism is spelled out emphatically in the internal planning record and illustrated in practice with much consistency, it does not satisfy doctrinal requirements and is therefore unfit to enter public discourse. One would be hard put to find a discussion of these central features of the contemporary worldorder in the popular or intellectual journals. In mainstream scholarship, the crucial facts are commonly ignored, marginalized, or flatly denied. Thus, in Gaddis's important study of the origins and evolution of the "containment" policy, we read that "all postwar chief executives" believed "that nationalism, so long as it reflected the principle of self-determination, posed no threat to American institutions" and therefore did not call forth a hostile American responseas illustrated by the "fact" that "certainly Kennedy had no objections to the Cuban revolution itself" but only to "the danger of Soviet control," and by our efforts at "deterring aggression" in South Vietnam and in "the defense of Greece" (in both cases defense against "internal aggression," as Adlai Stevenson explained at the United Nations in 1964). All of this is presented without evidence or argument (except that political figures and propagandists have claimed it to be so) and with the blithe disregard for historical fact, or even relevant documentation, typical of the genre.90
As noted, the basic thrust of policy is beyond challenge or even awareness. These doctrines have certain consequences. One is the striking correlation between US aid and human rights abuses that has been noted in several studies. The reason is not that US policymakers like torture. Rather, it is an irrelevance. What matters is to bar independent development and the wrong priorities. For this purpose it is often necessary (regrettably) to murder priests, torture union leaders, "disappear" peasants, and otherwise intimidate the general population. Governments with the right priorities will therefore be led to adopt such measures. Since the right priorities are associated with US aid, we find the secondary correlation between US aid and human rights violations. And since the conclusions are doctrinally unappealing, they pass into oblivion.
A second consequence is the general US opposition to social reform, unless it can be carried out in conformity to overriding US interests. While this is occasionally possible in the Third World, such circumstances are rare, and even where social reform could be pursued along with subordination to US interests (Costa Rica is a noteworthy example), Washington reacted with considerable ambivalence.91 A third consequence is the extreme elite hostility to democracy. The reason is plain: a functioning democracy will be responsive to appeals from the masses of the population, and likely to succumb to excessive nationalism.
6. The Next Stage
As the foregoing analysis suggests, it is plausible to suppose that US policy will be "more of the same" after the Cold War has ended. One reason is that the crucial event hasn't really taken place. Viewed realistically, the Cold War has (at most) half-ended. Its apparent termination is an ideological construction more than a historical fact, based on an interpretation that masks some of its essential functions. For the United States, much of the basic framework of the Cold War remains intact, apart from the modalities for controlling the domestic population. That problema central one facing any state or other system of powerstill remains, and will have to be addressed in new and more imaginative ways as traditional Cold War doctrine loses its efficacy.92
There is also a deeper reason why US policy towards the Third World is likely to pursue much the same course as before. Within a narrow range, policies express institutional needs. US policies have been consistent over a long period because the dominant institutions are stable, subject to very little internal challenge, andin the pastrelatively immune to external pressures because of the unique wealth and power of the United States. Politics and ideology are largely bounded by the consensus of the business community. On critical issues there is tactical debate within the mainstream, but questions of principle rarely arise. The changes in the global system are, indeed, momentous, but have only a limited impact upon the fundamental bases for US policies towards the Third World, though they do modify the conditions under which these policies must be executed. In particular, new pretexts must now be devised, as was illustrated in Panama and the Gulf. But this is unlikely to be more of a problem than it was for Woodrow Wilson and his predecessors before the Bolshevik revolution.
Whatever problems may be posed by the need to modify the propaganda framework, and other tactical adjustments, there is a compensating gain. The removal of the limited Soviet deterrent frees the United States in the exercise of violence. Recognition of these welcome effects has been explicit in public discourse since the early stages of the Soviet withdrawal from the international arena, and was endorsed by Elliott Abrams, expressing his pleasure over the invasion of Panama. Abrams observed that "Bush probably is going to be increasingly willing to use force." The use of force is more feasible than before, he explained, now that "developments in Moscow have lessened the prospect for a small operation to escalate into a superpower conflict."93 Similarly, the test of Gorbachev's "New Thinking"is regularly taken to be his willingness to withdraw support from those whom the United States aims to destroy; only if he allows us to proceed without interference in whatever we choose to do will we know that he is serious about ending the Cold War.
The Russian moves have helped to dispel some conventional mystification. The official story has always been that we contain the Russians, deterring them and thwarting their malicious designs. But the reality, as has long been evident, is that the fear of potential superpower conflict has served to contain and deter the United States and its far more ambitious global designs. The frightening "Soviet intervention" in the Third World has, commonly, consisted of moves by the Kremlin to protect and sustain targets of US attack. Now that the Soviets are limitingperhaps terminatingthese efforts, the US is more free to pursue its designs by force and violence, and the rhetorical clouds begin to lift. Perhaps it will some day be possible to use the terminology of the containment doctrine in accord with its meaning and the historical facts.
Two new factors in USThird World relations, then, are the need for tactical and doctrinal adjustments, and the greater freedom to resort to force with impunity, with the decline of the Soviet deterrent. A third factor is that forceful intervention and military dictatorships are not as necessary as before. One reason is the success of violence in devastating popular organizations. Another is the economic catastrophe in much of the Third World (see Chapter 7). In these circumstances, it becomes possible to tolerate civilian governments, sometimes even social democrats, now that hopes for a better life have been destroyed.
Yet another factor is that the US is weaker than before relative to its real rivals, Europe and Japan, This long-term tendency was enhanced by the economic mismanagement of the Reaganites, who threw a party for the rich at the expense of the poor and future generations, and severely damaged the economy in the process. In this respect, the capacity for intervention will decline. A related development is the increasing penetration of Latin America by our rivals, who do not recognize the area as "our little region over here." Japan, in particular, is expanding investment and aid in the region, primarily in the richer countries, Mexico and Brazil. An editorial in the Japan Economic Journal observes: "If the US is being downgraded from a leader of the Western alliance to an 'ordinary power,' Japan needs to recognize that fact and act accordingly." Japanese investment in Latin America and the Caribbean has risen to over half that of the United Statesclose to 20 percent of Japan's total worldwide. Japanese banks alsohold about 10-15 percent of Latin American debt, compared with one-third by US banks (debt holdings are now one means to finance new investment, by trading debt for productive assets).94
The US views such developments with some ambivalence. On the one hand, it does not want its interests to be challenged; on the other, it would like others to pay the costs of its depredations in the region and to help maintain the viability of the sectors useful for the "satisfied nations," also underwriting at least enough development to serve as the carrot alongside the stick that blocks unwelcome popular moves towards independence, democracy, and social justice.
Still another factor is the project of Latin-Americanizing Eastern Europe. "Most American companies view the Soviet Union and the newly opening nations in Eastern Europe as potential markets for their products or as sources of low-cost manufacturing labor," a front-page New York Times story observes, adding that they are even looking forward to a version of the standard "brain drain," in which the cost of educating professionals is borne by the Third World while the benefits accrue to the industrial societies. In the present case, there is "plentiful and underused brainpower" in the "East Bloc," which offers "intellectual reserves" that are not only extremely cheap but also of high quality because "their education system is fine," a senior scientist at a major corporation observes.95
The goals are clear enough when we turn to practice and policy, and even its ideological cover. Consider, for example, the "Z document," which aroused much excitement in early 1990, having displaced ruminations on "the end of history" and the Hegelian Spirit, which were the previous year's fad. This document, which appears in the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences under the pseudonym "Z," with excerpts pre-published in the New York Times, advises the West on the proper response to "communism's terminal crisis."96
We may put aside the framework, with its brooding over the immutable "essence" of Sovietism and its many insights: that Stalin was "the hero of the left," while "the liberal-to-radical mainstream of Anglo-American Sovietology" regarded Stalinism as having "a democratic cast"; that scholarship indulged in "blatant fantasies ... about democratic Stalinism," and "puerile fetishization of Lenin" and the "democratic transformation" that follows from Leninism, while simultaneously regarding Stalin as "an aberration from the Leninist main line of Sovietism" (Z sees no inconsistency in these attributions, though he is derisive about the "conceptual confusions" of the leftists who dominate academic scholarship); that Lenin "produced theworld's first version of noncapitalism"; that Lenin and Trotsky regarded October 1917 as "the ultimate revolution, the revolution to end all further need of revolutions"; that "Brezhnev intervened at will throughout the Third World" and "Russia bestrode the world." And others that may help to explain why the author preferred anonymity.97
Stripping all this away, the document contains one general thesis and an accompanying policy recommendation. The thesis is that "there is no third way between Leninism and the market, between bolshevism and constitutional government." The recommendation is that Western aid should be limited to "the piecemeal development of parallel structures in a private sector operating on market principles ...," with "free economic zones operating under International Monetary Fund conditions" spreading from the periphery to the interior of the USSR.
The thesis has a minor defect: its first dichotomy rules out of existence the industrial democracies (not to speak of South Korea, Taiwan, and the other "economic miracles"), all of which depart sharply from market principles; its second dichotomy also denies the existence of most of the world, neither Bolshevist nor constitutional. The recommendation, however, is straightforward enough: the Soviet empire should be converted into another region of the Third World. The rest can be dismissed as an effort to endow this basic concept with an aura of seriousness (and to lash out at hated academic enemies).
There is much concern in the United States over the fact that its rivals, particularly German-led Europe, are well ahead in the enterprise of converting the vast "East Bloc" into a new Third World, which can provide resources, markets, investment opportunities and cheap labor, and perform other useful chores. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan describes the "huge investment requirement" and "potential for significant rates of return" in Eastern Europe as "the most important financial issue of the [coming] decade," with "no historical precedent." But the relative decline of US economic power during the Reagan years has reduced the United States' capacity to compete for this rich prize, and the increasing dependence on foreign lenders leaves the economy vulnerable as rival powers turn to the opportunities for enrichment in the new regions opening up for exploitation. "We have lost a lot of our authority as a leader in the world," US Trust Company economic consultant James O'Leary says, echoing the sentiments of many Wall Street economists: "Ten or 15 years ago we didn't have to pay much attention to what happened elsewhere. Now we are just one of the boys."98
Liberal Democrats urge that aid be diverted from Central America to Eastern Europe to advance the US cause in the race to exploit these newly accessible domains; the term "aid" is a euphemism for methods by which the taxpayer funds business efforts to enhance market penetration and investment opportunities. The matter is too serious to be disguised in the usual cloak of noble intent. Thus Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, criticizing a New York Times editorial calling for aid for the promising new "democracies" in Panama and Nicaragua, writes:
The United States is left at the starting gate in Eastern Europe. You almost sound consoling in your observation that "Western Europe and Japan are already addressing Eastern Europe's needs." You can bet they areand that is the problem. The vast trade and investment potential of Eastern Europe is rapidly being oriented toward our main trade competitors. We debate how to clean up two foreign policy debacles in Central America while the markets of 120 million people in Eastern Europe are being opened by Japan and the European community.99
In congressional debate, Leahy stressed that "foreign aid must do much more to strengthen American economic competitiveness abroad." Contrary to public oratory, aid is "not some international charity or welfare program ... . Properly designed, it can be an investment in new trading partners, growing export markets, and more jobs in our export industries here at home," the guiding ideas since the Marshall Plan. In the current circumstances, "our foreign assistance program must be aimed at strengthening U.S. economic involvement in the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe. We are being left behind by Western European and Japanese firms who get direct support from their governments," and our "Eastern European initiative" should be "aimed at strengthening the ability of American business to participate in the opening of this enormous new market as we enter the 21st century." Our competitors are government-backed, and the Export-Import Bank as well as our aid program should "help American businesses compete against these subsidized nations that are taking these markets away from us in Africa, Asia, and Latin America" as well. "The foreign aid bill can give American business more tools to combat predatory financing, tied aid and mixed credits ... . To compete with Japan and Western European interests, we have to back our commercial interests as effectively as the countries that are in competition for these markets"and whose commitment to the "free market" is, in fact, on a par with ours: fine for those who expect to come out ahead in the competition; not to be taken seriously by others.100
Such factors as these will shape the new methods for continuing thewar against the Third World, now under a different guise and with a more varied array of competing actors. Popular forces in the United States and Europe have placed certain barriers in the path of state terror, and have offered some help to those targeted for repression, but unless they gain considerably in scale and commitment, the future for the traditional victims looks grim.
Grim, but not hopeless. With amazing courage and persistence, the wretched of the earth continue to struggle for their rights. And in the industrial world, with Bolshevism disintegrating and capitalism long abandoned, there are prospects for the revival of libertarian socialist and radical democratic ideals that had languished, including popular control of the workplace and investment decisions and, correspondingly, the establishment of more meaningful political democracy as constraints imposed by private power are reduced. These and other emerging possibilities are still remote, but no more so than the possibility of parliamentary democracy and elementary rights of citizenship 250 years ago. No one knows enough to predict what human will can achieve.
We are faced with a kind of Pascal's wager: assume the worst, and it will surely arrive; commit oneself to the struggle for freedom and justice, and its cause may be advanced.
See Chapter 10, section 4, below.
Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1950, vol. I, pp. 234-92, made public in 1975. National Security Council (NSC) memoranda are the highest-level government planning documents.
Thus, Canada is excluded and data for the USSR are targets for 1950, which are "believed to exceed in many cases the production actually achieved," while the figures for Europe are "actual data from 1948," which had already been surpassed. US data are selected to reflect the sharp decline of industrial production from 1948. Soviet figures represent the limits of what is possible; the West, it is conceded, has vast unused capacity.
See Chapter 8, section 7.
"Rethinking the Third World," Washington Post Book World, October 23, 1988, a dismissive review of Gabriel Kolko's Confronting the Third World (Pantheon, 1988), which, Schoenbaum alleges, is flawed by failure to propose better policies and by omission of facts that do not support the author's thesis (one example is given: that "American lives were in danger" when the US invaded the Dominican Republicno justification for aggression had it been true, and long discredited).
Gaddis, The long Peace (Oxford, 1987), p. 43. See Necessary Illusions, Appendix II, for further discussion.
Cited by Michael Krenn, US Policy toward Economic Nationalism in Latin America, 19171929 (Scholarly Resources, 1990), pp. 13 f., 52 (emphasis in original). Also David Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy (University of North Carolina, 1988), p. 10.
Stone, "Is the Cold War Really Over?," Sunday Telegraph (London), November 27, 1988.
Hertzberg, contribution to symposium on "The 'End' of the Cold War?, The Coming Challenge for Journalism," Deadline, Center for War, Peace, and the News Media, Summer 1989.
Patrick Tyler, WP Weekly, August 13, 1990.
"The Bewildered American Raj; Reflections on a democracy's foreign policy," Harper's, March 1985.
Paul M. Kattenburg, The Vietnam Trauma in American Foreign Policy, 194575 (Transaction Books, 1982), pp. 69 ff.
R.W. Apple, NYT, November 5, 1989; Reston, NYT, November 24, 1967. On Reston (and elite opinion generally) with regard to the Indonesian massacres, see my article in Z Magazine, September 1990. For further samples of his commentary, see Towards a New Cold War, Turning the Tide.
Report of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, Henry Kissinger, chairman, January 10, 1984; Laqueur and Krauthammer, New Republic, March 31, 1982; Huntington, Political Science Quarterly, Spring 1982 (see Turning the Tide, pp. 153 f., 161, for a review of the interesting reasoning that leads to this conclusion); Krauthammer, New Republic, February 17, 1986.
Morgenthau, The Purpose of American Politics (Vintage, 1964). See Towards a New Cold War for further discussion of this and similar examples from the record of scholarship, intellectual commentary, and journalism; and the references of the introduction for many more.
For some further comment, see Necessary Illusions, particularly Appendix II, sec. 2; Appendix V, sec. 8.
For an example of this fallacy, see Fred Halliday, "The Ends of Cold War," New Left Review 180/ 1990. Halliday's work on these topics, while often valuable, is marred by persistent inability to comprehend alternative conceptions and curious errors of reasoning, as in this case. See, e.g., his Making of the Second Cold War (Verso, 1983), p. 27, where he interprets my observation that "the real rivals" of the United States are Japan and Europe, not the USSR (obvious at the time, and by now the merest truism) as implying that the conflict with the USSR was "but a pretext used by the USA for waging conflict" with the EEC and Japanwhich of course it does not.
On the crucial role of the Department of Defense in the computer industry, see Kenneth Flamm, Targeting the Computer (Brookings, 1987).
It is commonly recognized by economic historians that state intervention is a crucial feature of "late development," but the conclusion holds generally of successful industrial societies, including Britain, the United States, Germany, and Japan. A classic account of the state role in "delayed development" in continental Europe is Alexander Gerschenkron, Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective (Harvard, 1962). On Japan, a standard work on the postwar period is Chalmers Johnson, MITI and the Japanese Miracle (Stanford, 1982). On Korea, see Alice Amsden's important study Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization (Oxford University Press, 1989); and for an overview, Amsden, "East Asia's Challengeto Standard Economics," American Prospect, Summer 1990. Also several articles in "Showa: the Japan of Hirohito," Daedalus, Summer 1990, particularly those by John Dower and Chalmers Johnson. On illusions about the effects of openness of the economy and the state role, comparing Latin America and Asia in the past several decades, see Tariq Banuri, ed., No Panacea: the Limits of Economic Liberalization (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) (see Chapter 7, section 7). On the crucial role of state-led economic development and social expenditures for the famed "Costa Rican exception," see Anthony Winson, Coffee & Modern Costa Rican Democracy (St Martin's Press, 1989). For more general discussion, including "early development," see Frederick Clairmonte, Economic Liberalism and Underdevelopment (Asia Publishing House, LondonBombay 1960). For a perceptive early account of the general drift towards fascist-style state capitalist systems through the 1930s, adapted to particular cultural and institutional factors, see Robert Brady, Business as a System of Power (Columbia, 1943). See also the classic study of the abandonment of laissez-faire by Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (Beacon Press, 1957).
See Necessary Illusions, pp. 29 f. and Appendix II, sec. 2, for some discussion and references, also Chapter 12 below. See Crozier, Huntington, and Watanuki, The Crisis of Democracy.
Strategies of Containment (Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 356-7. Kennan quote from speech to the National War College, ibid., p. 40.
Frank Costigliola, in Thomas Paterson, ed., Kennedy's Quest for Victory (Oxford University Press, 1989).
For discussion, see Turning the Tide, Chapter 4; On Power and Ideology, Lecture 4; Schwartz and Derber, Nuclear Seduction. On the Middle East particularly, see Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle, Necessary Illusions. Remarks on verification taken from Raymond L. Garthoff,"Estimating Soviet Military Force Levels," International Security 14:4, Spring 1990. Garthoff suggests that the "main problems with verification" in the "new era" may come not from the USSR "but from our own reticence and that of some of our allies."
James P. Warburg, Germany: Key to Peace (Harvard, 1953), pp. 188 ff.
Garthoff; Kaplan, BG November 29, 1989.
See references Note 23, and Towards a New Cold War, Introduction, ch. 7. Strategic weapons during the 1970s discussed in Raymond L. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation (Brookings Institution, 1985), p. 793. On US isolation at the United Nations on disarmament and other matters, and the media treatment (i.e. evasion) of these issues, see Necessary Illusions, pp. 82 ff. and Chapter 3, section 4, below.
William Yandell Elliot, ed., The Political Economy of American Foreign Policy (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1955), p. 42. For further discussion of this important and generally ignored study, see my At War with Asia (Pantheon, 1970), Introduction.
See p. 18, above.
For a skeptical assessment, see Schwartz and Derber, Nuclear Delusion.
See On Power and Ideology, p. 105. Nitze's specific proposal was for a civil defense system, which would reduce the concern over Soviet retaliation. This being completely unfeasible, the only alternative is more lethal weaponry. The "strategic" case for SDI was similar.
Michael Gordon, NYT, January 31; National Security Strategy of the United States, The White House, March 1990. On the attack against Libya and the media cover-up, see Pirates and Emperors, ch. 3; Necessary Illusions, pp. 2723; William Schaap, Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1988. Note that the question at issue is how the media dealt with the information at hand in the context of the demands of the state, and is thus quite independent of whatever the facts turn out to be, if they are ever credibly established. For relevant background, see Stephen Shalom, Z Magazine, April, June 1990.
Testimony of Robert Korner to the Senate Armed Services Committee, cited by Melvyn Leffler, "From the Truman Doctrine to the Carter Doctrine," Diplomatic History, vol. 7, 1983, pp. 245 f. See Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle, for further discussion.
AP, April 3; Michael Klare, "The U.S. Military Faces South," Nation, June 18, 1990.
Gray, Marine Corps Gazette, May 1990.
Immerman, "Confessions of an Eisenhower Revisionist," Diplomatic History, Summer 1990.
Stephen Van Evera, Atlantic Monthly, July 1990; also CCS Policy Report No. 3, Institute for Peace and International Security, Cambridge, MA, June 1990.
See Teodor Shanin, Russia as a 'Developing Society' (Yale, 1985), vol. 1, pp. 103 f., 123 f., 134 f., 187 f. Quote is from D. Mirsky, Russia, A Social History (London 1952), p. 269, cited by Shanin.
National Interest, Fall 1989.
See Turning the Tide, p. 198, and sources cited.
Richard Drinnon, Facing West: the Metaphysics of Indian-hating and Empire Building (University of Minnesota, 1980), pp. 68, 96 f. Jefferson letters of 1812, 1813; John Adams, 1812.
Adams, Dispatch to Ambassador Erving, 1818. William Earl Weeks, "John Quincy Adams's 'Great Gun' and the Rhetoric of American Empire," Diplomatic History, Spring 1990.
Ibid.; Drinnon, pp. 109 ff.
Weeks, Drinnon. Acheson, see Chapter 3 below.
Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny (Harvard, 1981), p. 279, 235, 210-11. Darwin, Descent of Man (Princeton, 1981), Part I, p. 179; I am indebted to Jan Koster for this reference.
For references and discussion, see Turning the Tide, pp. 59, 61, 146 f.
Quoted in Ruth Leacock, Requiem for Revolution (Kent State University Press, 1990), p. 33.
See Chapters 4 and 5 for further discussion.
Cited by Schmitz, United States and Fascist Italy, p. 40. Gaddis, see Note 6.
Schmitz, pp. 14, 36, 44, 52, citing Colonel House's Inquiry advising President Wilson on the Versailles negotiations; Gordon Auchincloss of the State Department, wartime diaries; Ambassador Richard Washburn Child; Embassy to Washington, 1921.
Schmitz, chapters 3, 4, for details.
Filippelli, American Labor and Postwar Italy, 19431953 (Stanford, 1989), p. 15.
Schmitz, pp. 67 f.
Ibid., pp. 77 f. Kellogg, Krenn, U.S. Policy toward Economic Nationalism, pp. 534. On the favorable general response to Mussolini's Fascism in the United States, see John Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism (Princeton, 1972).
Krenn, p. 53.
Schmitz, ch. 6.
Ibid., ch. 7. On Spain, see my American Power and the New Mandarins (Pantheon, 1969), ch. 1, parts relevant here reprinted in James Peck, ed., The Chomsky Reader (Pantheon, 1987).
Schmitz, pp. 133, 140, 174 and ch. 9. On Japan, see my American Power and the New Mandarins, ch. 2.
Schmitz, Epilogue. See Chapter 11 below for more extensive discussion. For a review of the project, see Turning the Tide, ch. 4, sec. 4.4, and sources cited, particularly the groundbreaking work of Gabriel and Joyce Kolko.
Schmitz, pp. 60-61.
Krenn, pp. 40, 51 ff.
Ibid., p. 44. See also Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions (Norton, 1983).
Krenn, U.S. Policy, pp. 58 ff., 106-7. Acheson, see pp. 52-3 above.
Krenn, p. 62. Dulles cited by Stephen G. Rabe, Eisenhower and Latin America (University of North Carolina, 1988), p. 33. Woodward, see Necessary Illusions, Appendix V, sec. 1.
Krenn, ch. 6.
For further details, and references where not specifically cited, see sources cited in the Introduction. Also Gabriel Kolko, Confronting the Third World (see Note 5).
See Chapter 11 below.
Tonelson, NYT, April 13, 1986, reviewing Turning the Tide, where he finds a "theoretical problem" in my account of US foreign policy because of this alleged US effort. For similarly fallacious argument, see economic historian Charles Kindelberger, who cites Japan as a "difficult counterexample" to the theory that US foreign policy is motivated by self-interest on the grounds that Japan is not "a puppet of the United States"; by the same logic, one could prove that China and Romania disprove the theory that Soviet policy was motivated by self-interest. The argument holds only if one adds the assumption that the US and the USSR are omnipotent. In the real world, they were motivated by self-interest, but faced limits to their power. Kindelberger, Public Policy, Summer 1971. For further discussion, see my For Reasons of State (Pantheon, 1973), pp. 456. Draper, cited by Michael Schaller, American Occupation of Japan (Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 127. Reston, see above, p. 18.
Hogan, The Marshall Plan (Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 42-3, 45, citing a May 1947 memorandum by William Clayton; 91-2.
Schmitz, United States and Fascist Italy, pp. 37 f.
Leffler, "The United States and the Strategic Dimensions of the Marshall Plan," Diplomatic History, Summer 1988; McCormick, "'Every System Needs a Center Sometimes'," in Lloyd Gardner, ed., Redefining the Past: Essays in Diplomatic History in Honor of William Appleman Williams (Oregon State, 1986). We return to these matters in Chapter 11.
Cited by Bruce Cumings, "Power and Plenty in Northeast Asia," World Policy Journal, Winter 1987-8.
Borden, The Pacific Alliance (Wisconsin, 1984), pp. 27, 12, 245; Hogan, pp. 337, 393.
For references, see LaFeber, Kolko; and Turning the Tide.
See On Power and Ideology, pp. 1923, for some particularly clear examples, drawn from NSC 5432, "U.S. Policy Toward Latin America," August 18, 1954, immediately after the successful destruction of Guatemalan democracy. These principles are reiterated elsewhere, often verbatim (e.g., NSC 5613/1, September 25, 1956).
Editorial, NYT, August 6, 1954. On media treatment of the Iranian "affair" and its aftermath, see Necessary Illusions, Appendix V, sec. 3, and sources cited.
Schoultz, Human Rights and United States Policy toward Latin America (Princeton, 1981), p. 7.
CIA, Office of Current Intelligence, "The Role of Public Opinion in Latin American Political Stability," May 13, 1965, OCI No. 1803/65. On the support for Somoza and the National Guard under the Carter Administration, see Chapter 10 below. For more on the "low level of intellectualism" in Guatemala, see Chapter 12, pp. 393-4; Chapter 8, pp. 262-3 f.
Minutes summarizing PPS 51, April 1949, cited by Michael Schaller, "Securing the GreatCrescent: Occupied Japan and the Origins of Containment in Southeast Asia," Journal of American History, September 1982. See also Schaller, American Occupation of Japan, p. 160. On planning for Southeast Asia, see also For Reasons of State, pp. 31 ff., and several essays in Chomsky and Howard Zinn, eds, Critical Essays, The Pentagon Papers, Senator Gravel Edition, vol. 5 (Beacon, 1972), particularly those by John Dower and Richard Du Boff. See also Chapter 11, section 3, below.
Stimson, explaining in May 1945 why all regional systems must be dismantled in the interests of liberal internationalism, apart from our own, which are to be extended. See Turning the Tide, pp. 63 f. See On Power and Ideology, pp. 21 f., on the plans to displace the influence of our traditional European enemies over the military.
PPS 23, February 24, 1948; see FRUS, vol. I, 1948, p. 511.
Douglas Brinkley and G. E. Thomas, "Dean Acheson's Opposition to African Liberation," Transafrica Forum (Summer 1988); Morris, 'Uncertain Greatness' (Harper & Row, 1977).
The specific reference is to Saudi Arabian oil. For references and further discussion, see Towards a New Cold War. Also Aaron David Miller, Search for Security (University of North Carolina, 1980); Irvine Anderson, Aramco, the United States and Saudi Arabia (Princeton, 1981); Michael Stoff, Oil, War and American Security (Yale, 1980); David Painter, Oil and the American Century (Johns Hopkins University, 1986). Eisenhower cited in Steven Spiegel, The Other ArabIsraeli Conflict (University of Chicago, 1985), p. 51.
Cumings; Fukai, "Japan's Energy Policy," Current History, April 1988. See also Towards a New Cold War, pp. 97-8.
See Towards a New Cold War, ch. 11.
On the diplomacy of the ArabIsrael conflict as it evolved in the post-1967 period, see Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle; and on the current phase of US efforts to block a comprehensive settlement, see Necessary Illusions and my article in Z Magazine, January 1990.
For details, see Fateful Triangle, pp. 457 f.; Culture of Terrorism, ch. 8. Also John Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, The Iran Contra Connection (South End, 1987), chs 7, 8; Samuel Segev, The Iranian Triangle (Free Press, 1988).
Avi Shlaim, Collusion Across the Jordan (Columbia, 1988), p. 388, paraphrasing 1948 JCS records; 491, citing the Israeli state archives. For references and further details, see Towards a New Cold War (ch. 7) and Fateful Triangle (ch. 2).
Friedman, "U.S. Gulf Policy: Vague 'Vital Interests'," NYT, August 12; Dionne, "Drawing Lessons From History," WP Weekly, August 13, 1990. On the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, see Chapter 6 below.
For an informative examination of these topics, see Borden, Pacific Alliance.
Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, pp. 201, 231, 240, 286.
See Necessary Illusions, pp. 111 f. and Appendix V, sec. 1, for a review of the declassified record and other relevant material.
See Chapter 4 below for further discussion.
Stephen Kurkjian and Adam Pertman, BG, January 5, 1990; latter quote is the reporter's paraphrase. See Chapter 3 below for earlier expression of the same perception, and Chapter 5 for the Panama context.
Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer, May 15, 1989.
John Holusha, "Business Taps the East Bloc's Intellectual Reserves," NYT, February 20, 1990.
Daedalus, Winter 1990; NYT, January 4, 1990.
The author was later identified as University of California professor Martin Malia, who then alleged that anonymity was necessary to protect his friends in Moscow (NYT, August 31, 1990).
David Francis, "US Edgy as Money Flows to Europe," CSM, February 26, 1990.
Letter, NYT, April 10, 1990.
Senator Patrick Leahy, "New Directions in U.S. Foreign Aid Policy," Congressional Record, S 7672, June 11, 1990.
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