It's Always about Money
The Cold War I: Communism versus Capitalism
There is only one thing worse than one nation having an atomic bomb and that’s two nations having it.
- Harold C Urey
Money is a singular thing. It ranks with love as man's greatest source of joy. And with death as his greatest source of anxiety.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The Cold War extended from 1945 to 1991. This period included the collapse of the Russian empire in 1989 it and ended with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The cold war was between the US and the USSR, though on a broader theme it could be described as Communism versus Capitalism. The US had a superior economy (a fact not often understood in the US, which tended to take Communist propaganda at face value), had never been attacked on her own soil (apart from an odd Japanese balloon bombing attempt, Pearl Harbor, and the War of 1812), had a better military, and of course, was the sole possessor of the Atomic Bomb (at least until 1949). After World War II it was clear that the US had become a world power, replacing Europe as the centre of Western culture, whether she liked it or not.
The name "United Nations" was coined by US President Franklin D Roosevelt and first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" of 1 January 1942, during World War II, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. Roosevelt felt that he knew where Wilson had gone wrong, and had high hopes that the UN would work as the old League of Nations should have. The Dumbarton Plan (1945) set up the structure of the UN to include a General Assembly and a Security Council. The latter consisted of 15 countries, 10 of which were chosen in rotating elections, 5 of whom were permanent members. These 5 nations were the UK, the US, the USSR, France and China. (Members were chosen because they were the “winners” of WWII, not because of power. France and China in particular were there because they had backed the winning side, even if they themselves had done poorly in the war.) China was included mainly because Roosevelt had felt that China would soon become a world power. The UN was different from the old League in that the 5 permanent members had veto power, which Roosevelt felt would ensure cooperation. This, he felt, should prevent future problems such as had occurred with the Versailles Treaty (had the US been a member of the League and had veto power then the Versailles Treaty would have had to be negotiated on the US' terms.) Roosevelt also wanted to see European colonialism dismantled.
His greatest mistake was in not appreciating the conflicts to come with Stalin.
Roosevelt had felt that he could control Josef Stalin (1924 – 1953) just as he had been able to control the big city mayors. He didn't think of Stalin as a homicidal dictator but rather as more of a Tsar (though Roosevelt's advisors disagreed - but the president didn't listen) and so allowed Russia to keep Poland since Stalin had promised to hold free elections there. In April 1945 Roosevelt died; he was thought by then to have become more sceptical of Stalin but lacked sufficient time to act. No matter – his successor Harry Truman (1945 – 1953) took a much tougher line with the Soviets.
Everyone knew Russia would have troops in Eastern Europe, and nothing short of a full-on war would be able to stop that. The Soviets had been hit really hard by World War II but despite this had managed to project an image of expanding military power. Stalin had promised to hold elections in Poland but he didn’t; instead he began removing the remnants of the Polish government. And the Soviet occupation of Eastern Germany was downright brutal; Russians plundered industrial factories, sometimes even packing them up and carting them back to Russia. Was Russia indulging her expansionist tendencies? Truman was influenced to think this by a 1946 speech delivered by Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri - there Churchill coined the term “Iron Curtain.” He said:
"If Only There Were No Russia."
Political analyst, advisor and diplomat George Kennan was in charge of long-range planning for the State Department following World War II. He developed the concept of "containment" as a strategy to keep Soviet influence from expanding and maintain the status quo. Kennan believed that the Soviet Union would eventually have to relinquish its harsh grip on its citizenry and would change its foreign policies if the West could maintain a firm and consistent posture of opposition. Rollback (a term used by American foreign policy thinkers during the Cold War, defined as using military force to "roll back" communism in countries where it had taken root - after only a few years these uniformly unsuccessful efforts in Europe were abandoned), he feared, would require war. The USSR felt that they needed to project power to survive – due to this, Kennan felt that it would collapse if it were prevented from expanding.
Shortly after the doctrine had been enshrined as official US policy, Kennan increasingly became a critic of the policies that he had seemingly helped launch. Even as containment was being scorned as appeasement and timidity in the first months of 1948, a high-level staff within the State Department was devising a remarkable initiative to confront communism aggressively through clandestine action. The secret program would start with innocuous propaganda and persuasion, and then proceed directly into sabotage, subversion, and paramilitary engagement. While critics were lambasting what they considered the defensive doctrine of containment, its author was at work designing a massive offensive. When the diplomatic archives were finally unsealed, they revealed the architect and champion of American covert action against east European communism to be George Kennan.
On 18 June 1948, Truman and his National Security Council formally committed the US government to an unprecedented program of counterforce against communism, moving beyond propaganda and economic warfare to authorise "preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures" and then even "subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups." And all of these activities were to be carried out under such ruses and deceptions, the Truman administration directed, that the US government could "plausibly disclaim any responsibility."
Thus was drawn the first battle line of the Cold War, without the knowledge of the public and, indeed, contrary to what the public believed its government's foreign policy to be. Kennan's secret operational plan for the counterforce quickly took on a life of its own across the government, caroming wildly out of its author's control. By the 1950s right-wing ideologists, little knowing what the defeated Democratic administration had already attempted, took up the battle cry of rolling back the Iron Curtain. Years later, looking back in dismay on the whole sorry episode, Kennan portrayed himself as "one who has inadvertently loosened a large boulder from the top of a cliff and now helplessly witnesses its path of destruction in the valley below, shuddering and wincing at each successive glimpse of disaster."
The Truman Doctrine put containment into effect by offering US aid to any country threatened by communist expansion. To this end, the US gave $4,000,000 to Greece and Turkey; the communist revolution in Greece was put down and the country was saved; the Turks were more stable, and weren't really being threatened at that point, but the idea was to give them money to strengthen themselves in case they ever did have a problem. Truman received total bipartisan support for his actions.
Countries vied to see who could have a tougher containment policy, and Western Europe was no exception. George Marshall proposed the Marshall Plan (1947), which essentially was a call for economic aid to rebuild Europe from World War II’s devastation, thereby making it a fighting force against communism, should it be needed. The plan had two dimensions – it really helped those suffering food shortages but also helped politically. Since Marshall invited the USSR to participate in this rebuilding exercise, but her delegates walked out of the conference, this helped to make the USSR look to be uncaring, not heroic. It took quite a while after WWII for the Marshall Plan to be implemented. In the meantime, life in Western Europe was pretty brutal (and, of course, it was far worse in Eastern Europe) - famine, plagues, purges, terrorist groups of Nazis (called Werewolves) roaming the German countryside and picking off Allied occupiers. Good fun…
This brings us to 1947, when the next conflict with the Soviets arose, this time in Berlin. The US, British, and French had a presence in West Berlin, and refused to leave – East Berlin and the surrounding area, however, belonged to the Soviets. In an attempt to drive out the West, the Soviets sealed off the Autobahn and cut the rail lines, which they hoped would prevent supplies from reaching the troops stationed in West Germany – the Berlin Blockade (1947). Stalin did not want to declare outright war, and Truman did not want to provoke one, so Truman instated a massive airlift campaign to West Berlin, which provided all the supplies they needed. Since Stalin could not stop the aircraft short of shooting them down, after a year of the plan being unsuccessful, he lifted the blockades and allowed ground support again, though Berlin still remained divided.
After World War II, pre-war Czechoslovakia was re-established and the Germans were expelled from the country. But after 1948 free elections and other political freedoms were effectively abolished and power was formally held by a coalition in which the Communists held 2/3 of the seats while the remaining were shared among 5 other political parties. The government from that point existed primarily to implement policy decisions made within the Communist Party. A dispute broke out between government leader Gottwald and General Secretary Slánský over the extent to which Czechoslovakia should conform to the Soviet model. In 1951, Slánský and several other senior Communists were arrested, charged with participating in a "Trotskyite-Titoite-Zionist conspiracy", subjected to a show trial and executed.
Truman came up with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO Alliance – the ultimate entangling alliance. Article 5 stated that “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” George Kennan opposed the formation of NATO, claiming that developments in Korea and Vietnam sprang from nationalism rather than Marxism. Senator Joseph McCarthy denounced Kennan as "a commie lover". John Foster Dulles contacted Kennan and told him he was no longer wanted by the administration. Ironically, John's brother, Allen Dulles, offered Kennan a job with the CIA, but Kennan refused and decided to become an academic.
In response to NATO, the Soviets set up the Warsaw Pact Alliance, which was essentially the same thing only with the Communist countries.
NATO versus Warsaw Pact Nations
In 1949, mainland China underwent a communist uprising. Chiang Kai-shek, the head of Nationalist China, was pitted against the Communist leader, Mao Tse-Tung (Zedong). Truman did not like Chiang, who had problems with corruption, but Truman did not like communism either, and so decided to simply not send any aid to either side. Before the year was out, the Nationalist Party was pushed off mainland China, and retreated to the island of Formosa (native name Taiwan). Once there, Chiang stated that he was still the leader of China, and that the mainland was temporarily held by revolutionaries. Truman decided that communism should not under any circumstances be recognised as legitimate so he stated that the Nationalist exiles on Taiwan still represented China.
Korea had been split into a Communist North and Democratic South. In 1950, when Stalin told North Korea that it was okay to invade South Korea, his decision was based on the idea that Western powers would not wish to get involved – this was partly because Truman’s Secretary of State had given a speech wherein he said that Korea was outside the US’ “sphere of influence”. However Truman decided that this was a good place to demonstrate containment, so he went to the UN and convinced the Security Council to pass a resolution to send in troops. This was possible because Stalin was boycotting the UN after Chiang had been given the Security Council seat.
Note – the USSR had a permanent seat, and hence a veto. Soviet boycotts let the US get resolutions through the Security Council which would otherwise have been impossible, although how useful doing so actually proved to be to the US was debatable.
The invasion of Korea (Korean War 1950 - 1953) was successful in pushing the North Korean invaders out of South Korea - but unfortunately Truman decided to try Rollback. Just as the UN had sent in troops to repel the attack on South Korea, the Chinese Communists sent in troops to repel the invasion of North Korea, which resulted in a bloody stalemate for the next two years. During this time, McArthur got fired for opposing Truman’s decisions regarding Korea. (Some would say, fired for insanity. He seemed inclined to start a full-on war with China, which wasn’t exactly US policy at the time…)
By now, the Soviets had successfully tested an atomic bomb of their own. The image of the nuclear mushroom cloud hovered above the thoughts of American citizens throughout the 1950s, and on into early 1960s. Propagandists capitalised on this, creating an immediate need in the consumer mind for a bomb shelter. The idea was planted that a bomb shelter would protect you from the horrible effects of a nuclear attack, assuming you were able to construct such a shelter. The idea seems ridiculous today since the effects of a nuclear attack are now more-fully known. By 1960, The Office of Civil and Defense Mobilisation, estimated that a million families had constructed their own private bomb shelters. Shelters ranged in price from $1,795 - $3,895, and many came in kits that made assembly easier. Advertisements were found in magazines throughout the country. Life magazine in 1955 included a feature ad for an H-Bomb Hideaway - the sale price was only $3000. A Michigan sheriff was heard to remark, "To build a home today without a shelter, would be like leaving out a bathroom 20 years ago." The number of shelters built showed how thoroughly propaganda penetrated the American mind.
The Korean War ended when Dwight D Eisenhower (1953 – 1961) became president and the two sides decided to stop fighting and simply maintain the status quo. (Stopping the war was informal as there had never been an American congressional vote in favour of sending troops to Korea to start with - the two sides are technically still at war today.)
Not long after the Korean War ended, Stalin became even more paranoid, and began a new round of purges in the last months of his life - the "Doctor's Plot" was rumoured to be the prelude to public hangings on Red Square and a country-wide anti-Semitic pogrom, to be followed by the exile of more than 2 million Soviet Jews to the Far East. The cause of Stalin’s death was said to be cerebral hæmorrhage, though it was rumoured that he was poisoned (more about that on the page following this one). Thousands of people across the USSR flocked to Moscow to view his body as it lay in state, culminating in a stampede that killed hundreds.
It took more than two years for a new Soviet leader to emerge: Nikita Khrushchev (1955 – 1964). This new leader acted in a bombastic and crude manner but had political skills. He appeared to be of peasant stock which at that time was considered a good thing from the Soviet perspective – it made him appear closer to the Worker - in some circles anyhow. His enemies saw it as a downside. He pounded on tables, interrupted people to shout insults, and was thoroughly obnoxious. How much was an act was unclear. After he interrupted a speech by Macmillan by pounding on his desk, Macmillan said "I should like that to be translated if he wants to say anything." After a Filipino delegate politely queried the contrast between Russian criticism of US foreign policy, and the USSR’s policy in Europe, Khrushchev called the delegate "a jerk, a stooge and a lackey of imperialism.” He was eventually removed by the Politburo, primarily because he and his mannerisms had come to be seen as an embarrassment. The Politburo also disproved of his handling and provoking of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Senator Joe McCarthy, a Right-Wing Republican,
In February 1956, Khrushchev appeared before the Communist Party, and denounced Stalin as having a “personality cult” and as having led Russia off the path. He claimed that Stalin had betrayed Lenin, which led to the phenomenon now called De-Stalinization, whereby portraits and literature pertaining to Stalin were destroyed, his body was removed from its position of display next to Lenin, Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd (after the river it was built on) and all public statues of Stalin were removed. Unfortunately though, this did not represent a huge change in policy – dissidents were no longer sent to Siberia, true - they were merely sent to jail. The Secret Police were less active, but the regular police were kept busy.
Khrushchev tried to help the economy by instituting Reform Communism, a shift away from central control, but it was not as successful as Lenin’s NEP. In addition, he attempted to get more land into farming to bolster supplies of meat, butter, and milk, though he was not successful, both due to Russia’s undergoing a prolonged bout of bad weather and also due to his erratic rule.
Though the economic reforms were unsuccessful, Russia got much further in the realm of science, which lead to the launch of the first orbital satellite, Sputnik (the Goose), in 1957. The final break with Stalin came when the USSR sought better relations with the US, which Khrushchev thought would reduce direct tensions, thereby making war less likely. Because of this thaw under Eisenhower, the two countries began to have Summit meetings, which lead to Khrushchev becoming the first Communist leader to visit the US.
Despite Khrushchev's attempts to humanise Communism, the country still lacked free speech and free expression. In late 1956, Hungary announced that she wanted out of the Warsaw pact, and in addition wanted to hold elections. Khrushchev responded to this by proving that he was not unwilling to use Stalin’s methods - he sent in troops and 20,000 were killed because he wanted to make a statement that once you were communist, you were always communist. (note the Brezhnev Doctrine on the page following this one.)
Khrushchev’s relationship with Fidel Castro in Cuba, however, caused the world to enter a new phase in the Cold War. The US had not really been that opposed to Castro’s military coup in Cuba when it was thought he would institute a democracy. However, Castro was evicted from upscale accommodations because of his race. He went to stay in Harlem. Khrushchev personally visited him at his hotel to offer support. Shortly after this, Castro came down on the side of the Communists. This disturbed the US greatly, though by then it was too late to stop the process. Castro was also influenced by one of his more prominent (not to mention, brutal, bloodthirsty, and psychotic) advisors – the hardline Stalinist Che Guevara. A sample quote:
Charming! He also criticised the USSR’s failure to use nuclear weapons on the US during the crisis. He said that had he been in charge, he would have done so. Few doubt him. How much Guevara’s rise to power in Cuba was caused by Castro’s sympathy to Communism, and how much of Castro’s communist sympathy was shaped by Guevara is unclear.
When John F Kennedy (1961 – 1963) became US president, he inherited a covert-operations plan that the CIA had come up with to try and depose Castro. However, the plan proved fatally flawed, which was a blow to the Kennedy administration. Khrushchev had thought that Kennedy was an easier president to push around than Eisenhower, but he discovered otherwise.
In 1961, a new crisis arose in Berlin. Due to the rebuilding efforts, the public transportation system was back up and running, which allowed refugees from the USSR to essentially catch a bus or train out of the communist area and over to the safety of the West. This went against the party position “once a communist, always a communist” and had to be stopped. After some tension between the two sides, the Berlin Wall was built. Kennedy did not protest the construction of the wall because it implied that attempts to remove the Western presence from West Berlin would abate. A stalemate standoff resulted.
Next, in 1962, came the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cuba had become communist under Castro, allied with Khrushchev and the USSR. There had been an abortive attempt by the US the previous year to remove Castro. For his protection, the USSR started constructing nuclear missile silos on the beach nearest the US; this worried the US greatly as missiles launched from somewhere as close as Cuba could reach their target before retaliation could be launched or protective action taken. Full nuclear war was seen as a very real possibility. In an attempt to combat this, Kennedy ordered a full blockade of Cuba and demanded that the nukes already there be removed. This led to extreme paranoia and the construction of bomb shelters along the eastern and southern portions of the US. There was a 13-day standoff, but Khrushchev replied that he would remove the missiles if the US promised to leave Cuba alone (he immediately sent a more belligerent letter demanding the removal of missiles from Turkey but Kennedy ignored that and Khrushchev accepted it). The US agreed and the nuclear threat abated.
Within two years, Khrushchev was deposed and disappeared from public view. Communication between the US and USSR was improved after the Cuban Missile Crisis by the installation of a Hotline – communication had been so bad and roundabout (spies meeting with news reporters) then that it left both sides worried that a war could start by accident. Further, a test-ban treaty was agreed on which stated that there would be no more above-ground testing of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.
During all this, relationships with the Chinese were deteriorating. China was seen as more irrational than the Soviets, especially since Mao had instated communism in the Stalinist model, leading to Khrushchev’s De-Stalinization being seen as an insult to Mao. The only time that Eisenhower ever mentioned nukes was when he suggested using them against the North Koreans. Mao’s Great Leap Forward was essentially what Stalin had done in the Ukraine and it worked about as well (or rather as badly) for China as it had for the Ukraine.
On 22 November 1963, Kennedy was assassinated. Communism was being contained, the Vietnam War was looming, and the Chinese were starving. There were no normal relations with China at this point.
In the 1970s the US stepped back from containment, and in the 1980s, reinstituted it again. Then, the USSR collapsed…
Two Arguments against the Formation of an Independent Palestinian State
by Cody Hatch
If a new Palestinian state were to be formed from Gaza and the West Bank it would face many difficulties. Two which would likely prove insurmountable are the fact that a Palestinian state would have available to it only resources of very poor quality and that Palestinian leadership would be corrupt and incompetent. Few states have been able to overcome either of these deficiencies. To expect a newly formed Palestine to succeed despite both stretches the bounds of credibility.
A state exists to serve its people. It should educate them, protect them from crime, defend them from foreign enemies, attempt to keep them healthy and long-lived, and guarantee them rights. This takes money, however, and money is something a newly formed Palestinian state would find in short supply. The West Bank has virtually no natural resources and Gaza possesses nothing beyond a bit of arable land. After a century of continual strife and warfare, few factories or industries remain. Further, given the history (and likely future) of violence and instability in these areas. Palestine will have difficulty finding investors. This leaves few options. A service-based economy, such as tourism or call centres, could be viable, but would be difficult to implement. For years hence, tourists will be leery of the area. Moreover, most Palestinians are ill-educated; thus, the route other countries (notably India) are taking, that of emphasising information technology, is closed to them.
Still, it is possible for countries to overcome multiple disadvantages. Japan is the most prominent example. It, too, has almost no natural resources. Only a few decades ago, its industries were largely destroyed by war. Yet today, it is one of the most successful countries in the world. After the war Japan applied all resources and foreign aid toward building the infrastructure needed for a strong independent economy. But a Palestinian state would be different; it would have a more serious problem to deal with than mere lack of resources: it would have a corrupt and incompetent leadership. Given that the bulk of current aid to Palestine is stolen or misdirected by Palestine’s leaders, it is implausible that future aid would be put to use building infrastructure.
But if the formation of a new state cannot work, what will? Perhaps there are two different answers, one for Gaza and another for the West Bank. Gaza has the smaller population and fewer sites of religious significance; therefore, it is possible for it to be successfully absorbed into Israel. On the other hand, the West Bank is too weak to exist independently, but is too populous for a hostile annexation to work. That leaves Jordan as the only viable candidate to merge with the West Bank. Since Palestinians are already in the majority in Jordan, that would limit ethnic conflict there. Two countries would then have a claim on Jerusalem; one solution for this problem would be to split Jerusalem into two equal parts with Israel and Jordan each getting half. With no infrastructure, virtually no resources, and no chance of a positive change coming from an external source, how could an independent Palestinian state better serve the interests of the Palestinian people? Neither the Palestinians nor their neighbors would be better off with a failed Palestinian state.
"Save the Holy Places"
During the 1948 Middle Eastern war, precipitated by a UN resolution to partition the British protectorate of Palestine into separate Arab and Israeli states, Herb Block took the view that American diplomatic interests were focused on preserving the region's rich oilfields and not its religious sites or antiquities.
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