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The least shocking thing you'll read today

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This is not too bad a piece on the origins of the Cold War:

Another cause of the cold war revolved around a relatively new development in United States-Soviet relations. At the beginning of 1946, Truman decided that he was "tired of babysitting the Soviets who understand only an iron fist and strong language." Stalin responded in February with a speech stressing the basic incompatibility between Soviet communism and western democracy, thus inaugurating a new hard line policy. Frustrated, Washington found meaning in a crucial document known as the "Long Telegram." In 1946, the Soviet expert George Kennan, sent an 8000 word telegram to Washington from Moscow. Kennan was a foreign service officer who new Russia well. He understood their history, their culture and their language. Kennan explained the communist mentality in the following way. The Soviet's hostility to the west is rooted in the need to legitimize their bloody dictatorship -- they must therefore believe in the inevitable triumph of communism over the beast capitalism. The Soviets, Kennan continued, would exploit every opportunity to extend their system and therefore could not and would not be converted to a policy of harmony and cooperation. According to Kennan, Russia's policy was:

to undermine the general and strategic potential of major western powers by a host of subversive measures to destroy individual governments that might stand in the Soviet path, to do everything possible to set the major Western powers against each other.

But since the Soviets believed that they had history on their side -- history as understood by Marx's materialist conception of history -- the communists were in no hurry and would not risk major war. Met with firmness, Kennan went on, the Soviets will back off. Eventually published as "THE SOURCES OF SOVIET CONDUCT," in the journal Foreign Affairs and signed by "X," Kennan's observations quickly gave Washington its own hard line and for the next three decades or so American foreign policy could be expressed by one word: containment. In order to quiet Soviet ambitions, the United States now had to embark on a path of intervention, under the guise of containment.

There were two other administrative policies that also helped to shape the future of US-Soviet relations during the early stages of the cold war. Most western European Communist parties were at a peak in the years immediately following World War Two. The French Communist Party, for instance, won almost 30% of the vote in November 1946 elections. In Greece, Communist led guerrillas supplied from Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, posed a threat to the uninspired government of Greece. The Greek communists attempted to seize power in late 1944, when their tactics of mass slaughter turned off a majority of Greeks. But the communists fought back, aided by Tito, not Stalin. Civil war eventually broke out in Greece in 1946 amid economic crisis. By January 1947, the British informed the United States that they could no longer supply economic aid to Greece or Turkey. Believing that the Soviet Union was responsible for Britain's pullout, the United States decided that they had to assume the role of supplying aid. The TRUMAN DOCTRINE of March 12, 1947 announced aid to Greece and Turkey in the stated context of a general war against communism. Aid in the amount of $400 million was approved by the House and Senate by a margin of three to one. In many ways, the Truman Doctrine marked the formal declaration of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union -- it also solidified the United States' position regarding containment.

So far as I know George Kennan was not an arms merchant.

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Guest Stephen Turner
I agree that Stalin was a monster. However, the Cold War was not an attempt to overthrow Stalin. If you remember, Churchill and Truman agreed at the end of the war that the Soviet Union should continue to rule Poland and Czechoslovakia, even though, it was claimed in 1939 that the main objective was to free these two countries from tyranny.

At the Conference of Yalta, if memory serves, Churchill and Stalin scetched out the future of Eastern Europe on the back of a brown envelope. Churchill agreed to let Stalin expand his Empire into Poland, Czechoslovakia and Rumania without hinderence so long as Britain was allowed to deal with the Greek Communists as we saw fit, neither proposal was a problem for the thre leaders. A year later, in New York, Churchill made his famous speech about "An Iron curtain desending across Europe" Hypocracy and brutallity were not just Russian characteristics.

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Huh? There was a Cold War, if you recall, pitting on one side the West and democratic liberty and on the other side the totalitarian communists. During the Cold War tens of thousands of individuals lost their lives trying to get to freedom in the West. The Communists had to build walls to prevent people from escaping their workers' paradise.

There were no good guys in the Cold War. The Cold War was a trick played on the American people by the arms manufacturers who were afraid of losing the profits made during the Second World War. John McCone, who was the head of the CIA under JFK played an important role in this strategy.


The War on Terror has replaced the Cold War as a justification for the obscene military budgets of countries like the US and the UK. Since 9/11 BAE Systems, the UK's largest arms company, has announced that it is no longer interested in its civil aviation program (it has sold off its interests to Airbus). In future it will concentrate on military hardware. It says that this market is much more predictable and profitable.


To paraphrase:

"“Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

--- Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall, to a reporter during the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.

To paraphrase again:

Scare the people with a boogeyman: commies, terrorists, whatever.

So convenient for the corporate fascists that they could associate commies with labor unions, their real enemy.

So convenient for the corporate fascists that terrorists reside in countries with oil and poppy plants so the planes delivering arms for the war profiteers don't come back empty.

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John Simkin:

"There were no good guys in the Cold War. . . The Cold War was a trick. . ."

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief.

Were there good guys in World War II, John?

There are always good guys in war. The problem is that corrupt politicians take advantage of the good will of citizens who desire to protect their country from tyranny.


So true. Pat Tillman was a very good guy.

He was persuaded by the 911/Reichstag episode to give up a lucrative NFL contract to enlist in the supposed effort to smoke bin Laden out of an Afghan cave.

Next thing Tillman knew he was in Iraq fighting a whole 'nother war that he quickly realized was "so f***ing illegal" and counseling fellow soldiers to vote against Bush in the election. He was keeping a journal and reading anti-war authors and even had an appointment to meet with Noam Chomsky. (In fact, given what I believe about Noam, I have to wonder if Noam ratted him out to the establishment.)

Turns out that Tillman wasn't the superficial GI Joe doll the gov't wanted for propaganda purposes. He was a thoughtful, critical, independent-minded, highly moral man. And he was seeing the big bad truth. And he was famous and willing to speak out and people would listen...

Lucky for the gov't that he was killed before he could speak out against them. Even when it turned out that he was killed by "friendly fire" the gov't continued to use him for propaganda purposes. When it was revealed to the public that the friendly fire death was covered up things started to seem really sinister. And now, in the Friday weekly news dump, we find out (only because of the courage and outspokenness and persistence of his mother Mary and brother Kevin) that Pat was executed at very close range with three bullet holes in a neat clean line right into his forehead. So, at best, he was probably fragged. At worst, and most likely IMO, he was assassinated by orders from the gov't he was serving, to prevent him from speaking out against them.

The gov't continues to cover up the hit. According to General Wesley Clark, not a loose cannon by any means, the cover-up goes "all the way to the top." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpGK6WidRyo

I guess that's why the White House declared executive privilege on the Tillman case. A most unusual step.

Then immediately after his murder his journal was burned, along with his clothes and body armor. Also unusual steps.

That's how the regime treats good guys.

But there are always good guys in war.

An endless supply in fact.

Edited by Myra Bronstein
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