A Long Debate About the Nature
and Limits of Empire,
The Benevolent and Progressive
The Empire by the Bay
Empire As A Way Of Life
by William Appleman Williams
IG Press, 1980, paper
A Long Debate About the Nature and Limits
The psychological impact of the Great Depression deeply affected
American foreign policy, particularly because Frank Delano Roosevelt's
New Deal did not generate peacetime recovery-let alone a new burst
of growth and prosperity. Most Americans realized, privately if
not publicly, that the economy was revived only through World
War II. As a consequence, they were viscerally uneasy about a
slide back into depression after the conflict ended.
The planning of the depression years was viewed an example of
the dangerous influence of the revolution in Russia, and later,
of Nazi Germany; and so, after Hitler was defeated, the Soviet
Union was pictured as another Nazi Germany.
The New Deal's relatively disjointed efforts
to deal with the depression were not successful in ending the
crisis, but they affected the conduct of foreign relations in
four important ways. First, and from the outset, Roosevelt steadily
increased military spending as part of the effort to revive the
system. He initially concentrated on the navy (his first move
in 1933 was to build 32 ships over three years), but later extended
his largesse to the army and the air force. The emphasis was striking:
between 1932 and 1940 roughly 20 percent of government tax receipts
were fed to the military.
As part of that, and regardless of one's
judgement about the necessity or the wisdom of it, Roosevelt reinforced
the inherent power of the giant corporations. By the end of the
decade, for example, companies in four states received 39.32 percent
of all military contracts; and fifteen states accounted for 82.85
percent of the total. That was not at all unrelated to the revelation
in 1939 that 52 percent of total assets were owned by just 0.1
percent of all corporations. In the broader, structural sense,
the New Deal created an institutional link between the huge companies
and the military.
Second, and whatever the reforms and regulations
that emerged, let alone Roosevelt's campaign rhetoric about "malefactors
of great wealth," his administration was concerned to save,
and if possible revitalize, a capitalist political economy based
on the large corporations. Neither the President nor any of his
consequential associates had any interest in moving the system
toward some kind of socialism or backward into laissez-faire.
As a result, foreign policy was dealt with in the traditional
Which meant, third, that power became
ever more consolidated and centralized. All the talk, both than
and later, about whether or not Roosevelt wanted to be a dictator
in the democratic idiom was largely beside the point. He finigled
and fanagled and in the end did pretty much what he wanted to
do, losing far fewer than he won. Think only of his successful
manipulation of the budget to obtain ever-higher military expenditures.
But that does not make him a dictator. He was simply a charming
upper-class disingenuous leader who understood that marketplace
capitalism had proved incapable of functioning without being subsidized
by the taxpayer. And he could not imagine anything beyond saving
His tax programs, for example, soaked
the middle-and lower class-citizens with a ruthlessness not exhibited
by any conservative President in this history of the republic.
Lacking the elementary candor to admit that marketplace capitalism
had failed, American leaders had no recourse but to employ The
State to create markets, control raw materials, and accumulate
capital. And also to provide essential social services (from education
to social work and on to death benefits), including sustaining
the unemployed at the lowest effective level. And so the taxpayer
came to pay twice. Once by providing the profits to the corporations
and then again through his taxes, which also helped the corporations
\ avoid paying their full share of the welfare costs.
Franklin Roosevelt understood the ultimate truth about empire
as a way of life. End the empire and all hell might break loose;
the Furies would appear. Thus neither he nor his close advisers
could abide people who suggested that it was time-either morally
or pragmatically-to consider and devise an alternative to that
way of life. As a Wilsonian, Roosevelt clearly perceived America
as a benevolent and progressive policeman, and saw contradiction
between that role and being a good neighbor.
The President preferred to secure America's
objectives with a smile, a wink, a fatherly talk, a shrewd compromise,
or a nudge. And, if those proved insufficient, he liked to deploy
imperial power indirectly: say through the threat of military
and economic intervention exercised-to use an appropriate naval
idiom-hull down over the horizon. To that extent, he had matured
beyond the imperial enthusiasms he displayed while serving under
Wilson. "Sooner or later," he observed in those days,
"it seems the United States must go down there and clean
up the Mexican political mess."
Thus he dealt with the revolutionary turmoil
in Cuba during 1933-34 by surrounding the island with American
ships, refusing to recognize the moderately leftist government
that came to power, and then signing favorable political and economic
agreements with its far more conservative successor. Similar strategies
were later employed against Mexico and other Latin American countries.
And at least tried in dealings with various major nations.
The Benevolent and Progressive Policeman
All that followed flowed from [Franklin] Roosevelt's decision
about how to define and fight the war, and from the reality and
related psychological scars of the Great Depression. The President
was determined to destroy German and Japanese power. His policy
reaffirmed the commitment, born of the Civil War, to a strategy
of annihilation unto unconditional surrender. He likewise proposed
to wage that war as cheaply as possible and with the least possible
disruption of domestic life and society. And he undertook to attain
those objectives in the name of preserving and extending America's
traditional values, thus realizing its global dream of an open
world marketplace dominated by American power.
It was a grand illusion predicated upon
a failure to comprehend the full meaning of the Great Depression,
and grounded in the charming belief that the United States could
reap the rewards of empire without paying the costs of empire
and without admitting that it was an empire. As a result, the
benevolent, progressive policeman became ever less benevolent
and progressive-and ever more baffled and frustrated when other
nations increasingly challenged his legitimacy and authority.
Winning [WWII] completely, for example, meant honoring the strategy
and tactics of unconditional surrender that Lincoln and Grant
had distilled from much blood. It required concentrating vast
force on the vitals of the enemy at the price of heavy losses.
Many people though that the deployment of overwhelming air power
would achieve the objective at a relatively low body count. And
planes and bombs did contribute to complete victory. But not quite
in the way the prophets promised. Air power proved effective only
as it enabled the infantry to kill enemy soldiers and occupy their
Dynamite, napalm, and other deadly items
dropped from the sky did kill an enormous number of human beings.
One night, for example, the United States burned at least 83,000
people in Tokyo by scattering firebombs across that city. An earlier
raid in Europe, orchestrated by Sir Arthur Harris, scorched and
otherwise killed 42,000 in Hamburg. And at Dresden-Ah! Dresden!-some
2,372 bombers managed in one night to destroy approximately fifty
people apiece. But the infantry was nevertheless necessary to
defeat both the Japanese and the Germans. And in that so-called
clean air war, Britain alone lost 72,530 men, most of them brave
and skilled: more than all the officers killed in World War I.
Much later, the bishops of air power would
claim that their acolytes won the war against Japan. Their massive
fire raids, culminating in the two atomic bombs, converted many
of the heathen. Forgotten in the worshiping of the fireball are
the infantrymen who acquired the real estate for the runways close
enough for the airplanes to reach Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.
Whatever the rhetoric of the New Deal, the President had never
done anything of consequence to help American blacks (or any other
people with colored skins). And so in January 1941, their most
militant and impressive leader, A. Philip Randolph, began to organize
a massive march on Washington "to exact their rights"
as part of a war that he knew would be presented as a war in the
name of freedom.
Roosevelt ignored the early news about
the project. Then he backed and filled. He was a master of the
dilly daily that distracted and enervated many critics or opponents.
He fiddled and faddled for six months. Finally, in the summer
of 1941, he finessed the crisis by issuing an Executive Order
(No. 8802) that ostensibly ended discrimination-if not racism-against
blacks in war industries and the federal bureaucracy (including
the military). The President did not, however, impose or execute
any penalties for failure to comply. He did not say that there
would no contracts for corporations which failed forthwith to
wire a consequential number of blacks and treat them equitably.
He did not announce that labor unions which refused to enroll
a meaningful number of blacks would be denied certifications as
legitimate bargaining agents. No matter, the blacks backed off.
The master had won again. But in time it would become apparent
that he and his successors were too clever by half. The out-foxed
The Russians were not American blacks.
They wanted American troops hunkered down in French hedgerows.
Now. And if they were not there the Red Army would move westward
beyond its own borders in the process of destroying the German
army. Roosevelt defused a march in Washington at little or no
cost to his corporate coalition, but he undermined his relationship
with the Soviets. And he trapped himself. Victory by the Red Army
was the key to avoiding any structural changes at home.
There is no mystery about any of it. The
strategy was to use the Soviets to sustain a capitalist political
economy. And it worked, at least for a time. It finessed the Russians
in the short run, but it benumbed the American citizen. Of course
some people died. But one of the most revealing bits of information
about the history of America's part in World War II is that it
is surprisingly difficult to find a simple statement of how many
Americans died in the conflict. We seem to prefer to slide away,
drop off, from that truth. But, if you persist, you can find it
tucked away under the heading of "Selected Characteristics
of the Armed Forces by War" near the back of the Historical
Statistics of the United States. The number is 405,399.
... We did win the war cheaply. The Soviets,
for example, lost at least 20 million human beings. Nobody knows
how many Chinese died. Measured against our 405,399, we emerge
as the most efficient war machine of all time. All of which is
to say that the atom bomb was not a moral turning point, simply
a pragmatic breakthrough. We refined the cost efficiency of killing
beyond the imagination of anyone anywhere-in geography or in time.
But the problem was that Americans had
become accustomed to winning without paying any significant costs.
It was like the game of Truth and Consequences without any Consequences.
The Russians and the Chinese supplied the capital, and we busted
the bank. While the Russians lost 20 million lives, for example,
the United States created 17 million new jobs safe from bombs
Those workers, including large numbers
of women and teenagers-even some blacks and browns-sometimes had
trouble finding places to live or other substantial ways to invest
their money. As a result, the entertainment industry boomed. It
was more than a bit like prohibition in the 1920s: save the lives
to waste the lives. As one bureaucratic wit remarked, "Americans
are finding fun-and liking
At the moment of the ostensibly greatest
sacrifice, in 1944, the total of goods and services available
to American citizens outside the armed forces was greater than
it had been in 1936.
Roosevelt could not suppress a smile.
Surely, he remarked, 'sacrifice' is not exactly the proper word
to describe this program of self-denial." Face it: the vast
majority of Americans fought the war in perfect safety and comfort,
though perhaps not in luxury. They had never in their immediate
memory had it so good. Let there be no doubt. hen it is going
well, empire as a way of life is a smashing success.
The citizenry was sent off to Limbo, that marvelous country of
( the powerless. Domestic breakdown followed by international
crises left them at the mercy of their ostensible leaders. They
were offered what appeared to be a choice, but it was so distorted
as to be no more than a cruelly sophisticated version of that
old tease about have you stopped beating your wife. Do you favor
empire as a way of life and the continuation of your present freedom
and prosperity, or do you prefer to honor your avowed ideas and
risk a depression? It was not an honest question, but it was highly
... an extremely long cable sent early in 1946 by a bureaucrat
named George Frost Keenan in Moscow to his superiors in Washington.
However much it has been analyzed and explained, even by Kennan
himself (particularly by Kennan), it remains the hinge of policy.
Kennan later claimed that his analysis
of Soviet behavior and his policy recommendations had been misunderstood
and misapplied. There is some justification for that complaint,
but it does not speak to the principal issue. Kennan chose to
fight his battles inside the government, and his early public
statement of his views can hardly be called subtle. He described
the Soviet Union in crude mechanical metaphors (wind-up toys that
stop only when they run into walls), and promised that such containment
would subvert and replace the existing government and system.
One hardly needs to speculate about how
the Russians responded to Kennan's views, or to his prompt and
extensive influence among American leaders After all, Stalin and
his advisers were subtle enough to understand the imperial nature
of the Open Door Policy. Stalin viewed it as being "as dangerous
to a nation as foreign military invasion." So to be told
publicly, in Foreign Affairs, that he was an evil wind-up toy
today was hardly calculated to promote a relaxation of tensions.
Kennan did approve the article as published. And by then, 1947,
he was quite aware that his hyperventilated rhetoric had been
embraced by his superiors as the first and only commandment.
In a broader sense, Kennan typified the
fundamentally nondemocratic attitude and outlook of the inner
circle of American policy-makers. He and his peers were wholly
persuaded that the public lacked either the intelligence or experience
required to formulate or conduct foreign policy. That is why he
never took his case to the public. He was an elitist who stuck
with the elite.
Truman, Acheson, and others took from Kennan was the stark reformulation
of Lincoln's strategy of containment. 'What Kennan said between
1945 and 1948 was what Lincoln had said between 1848 and 1861:
put a wall around the Russians (the South) and that evil society
The world looked relatively manageable in late summer 1949. The
United States had won in Iran, the Soviets in Czechoslovakia.
America controlled the Middle East, most particularly the oil
in Saudi Arabia, and enjoyed as its allies the reinvigorated and
modernized workshops in Germany and Japan. In addition the Russians
had been held at bay in Yugoslavia and Berlin. A thoughtful and
responsible imperial elite would not have been particularly upset
by the overall meaning of various events that occurred during
American leaders behaved differently.
First in China, where a corrupt and disreputable government gave
over in disgrace to quasi-puritanical communist revolutionaries
led by Mao Tse-tung. Mao immediately asked to open serious discussions
with the United States. Truman and Acheson would have none of
it, denying American officials permission even to talk with Mao
and refused to recognize his government. Mao was indicating, with
the approval of his party's Executive Committee, that he wanted
to explore the possibility of becoming a Tito, of developing a
socialist but independent China. In their wisdom, Truman and Acheson
defined Mao as a puppet of Stalin.
Almost simultaneously, the Russians tested
a nuclear device. That meant that sometime in the future they
could make and deliver such a bomb. Very shortly after the successful
test explosion, with Stalin firmly in residence in the Kremlin,
two of his most interesting subalterns-Georgi Malenkow and Nikita
Khrushchev-began to speculate in public about using the stand-off
to prove that socialism could create a better society than capitalism
under conditions of peaceful competition. They were in effect
saying that we now feel relatively secure. You have your empire,
we have ours. Let us see who does the most effective and impressive
job of creating the good imperial society.
Instead, Truman and Acheson ordered a
crash program to produce an even more monstrous bomb, and set
a task force to work to project the containment strategy to its
ultimate conclusion as the basis for American policy. The result
was the most impressive statement of the assumptions, ethos, and
pragmatics of empire as a way of life ever generated and approved
by the government of the United States. By comparison, for example,
Henry Luce's sermon about The American Century seems like a grandfatherly
talk by Billy Graham to Sunday schoolers on a picnic. There are
many imperial documents tucked away in the archives, but National
Security Council Document No. 68, dated April 14, 1950, is one
of the most awesome.
The context of the document involves far
more than the nuclear device tested by the Soviets.* Let us begin
with the military base line as defined by two factors. First,
as several times noted in NSC-68, the United States enjoyed the
capacity "to deliver a serious [nuclear] blow against the
war-making capacity of the U.S.S.R." That power was considered
adequate "to deter the Kremlin from a deliberate direct military
attack against ourselves or other free peoples." Second,
the Soviet lack of any comparable stock of bombs or an effective
delivery system meant that American leaders were dealing with
the possibility of a future change in that situation, not with
an existing condition of parity.
American leaders were well aware, moreover,
that Winston Churchill had been arguing since 1947 that the United
States and its allies should use that monopoly of nuclear weapons
to enter into serious negotiations with the Russians to "bring
matters to a head and make a final settlement." The signals
from Malenkov and
*I am indebted here, and in the following
chapter, to suggestions by Sheldon Meyer; and to several discussions
with Edward Crapol. Khrushchev underscored that advice, as did
recommendations from various people within the United States,
West Germany and France. Perhaps George Kennan was the most significant
in that group, if only because he had become ever more concerned
about the militarization of his policy of containment.
But the policy review group, established
on Truman's order as a "matter of urgency," began its
deliberations on precisely that basis. Their key reference document
was National Security Council Document 20/4 of November 24, 1948
... called for a build-up of power to create divisions among the
peoples of the Soviet Union and "bring about a basic change
in the conduct" of the Kremlin. Hence in 1950, the kind of
negotiations that Churchill was recommending were ruled out save
as "only a tactic" until a massive increase in military
spending made it possible to apply the pressure required "to
compel the acceptance of terms consistent with our objectives."
Here it is crucial to understand what
American leaders meant by that phrase "our objectives."
As stated by them several times, it was to build an international
order "harmonious with our fundamental national purposes,"
a "world environment in which the American system can survive
and flourish." That almost palpable concern for global order
and security is apparent throughout the long document, and is
expressed most dramatically in two striking passages.
First, the analysis and policy recommendations
are presented in the context of the breakdown of the 19th century
imperial systems. Wars and revolutions, noted NSC-68 on the first
page, led to the collapse of five empires-the Ottoman, the German,
the AustroHungarian, the Italian, and the Japanese-and the "drastic
decline" of the French and British empires; as well as to
unrest and turmoil in the areas formerly controlled by those powers.
The United States must establish a new order to replace the old.
Second, that general imperial responsibility was dramatized by
this remarkable comment: "Even f there was no Soviet Union
we would face the great problem.. . [that] the absence of order
among nations is becoming less and less tolerable."
Only then is the problem discussed in
terms of the Soviet Union. 'While its capabilities "are inferior
to those of our Allies and to our own," and its society riddled
with "rot," it must nevertheless become the focus of
the effort to create "a successfully functioning political
and economic system." Hence it was "not an adequate
objective merely to check the Kremlin" because that would
not be enough to establish and guarantee the new global order.
(So much for Churchill.)
The only solution was to "foster
a fundamental change in the nature of the Soviet system";
"foster the seeds of destruction within the Soviet system";
force it to "change its policies drastically." The basic
strategy was thus developed "with a view to fomenting and
supporting unrest and revolution in selected strategic satellite
countries," and "to reduce the power and influence of
the Kremlin inside the Soviet Union." That would create a
situation "in which the Russian peoples will have a new chance
to work out their own destiny."
The tactics involved "any means,
covert or overt, violent or non-violent." Those included
"overt psychological warfare," covert "economic
warfare," superficial negotiations as part of presenting
the policy as "essentially defensive" in character,
and major increases in all categories of military spending. The
latter would of necessity require increasing taxes while reducing
appropriations for domestic programs. But, pointing to the experience
of World War II, the authors of NSC-68 confidently predicted that
the increase in military spending would prevent the possibility
of any socially and politically explosive "real decrease
in the standard of living." Once again, guns and butter.
Unquestionably, NSC-68 is one of the truly
impressive imperial documents in the long tradition of the Western
European expansion around the world. Its creation and adoption
by the leaders of a society that was founded on the Declaration
of Independence is mysterious or paradoxical only if one forgets
John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. Remember, for example, that Locke's
essays on liberty and freedom were integrated with his definition
of wealth as "having more than the rest of the world."
And recall that Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration, owned slaves
and was ambivalent about whether or not the First Americans were
truly human. And that his strategy for dealing with neighbors
he considered troublesome-"the only way of preventing"
such difficulties-was to conquer Florida and Canada.
No one has commented more succinctly than
Professor Weinberg. "Again and again... one experiences the
same difficulty in understanding why particular actions and policies
were subsumed under the doctrine of self-defense." And why
Americans considered themselves, in a state of "hysterical
apprehensiveness," as having a "preordained right to
ideal security"-now and on into the future. Yet that is precisely
what NSC-68 sought in a wholly imperial framework. It provides
the benchmark for understanding American /foreign policy from
April 1950 down to our own time.
The Empire by the Bay
Henry J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times, to Secretary of
State William Seward, 1864
We are the most ambitious people the world has ever seen:-- &
I greatly fear we shall sacrifice our liberties to our imperial
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1960
Our frontiers today are on every continent.
In a rare moment of candor, Acheson admitted in 1953 that he and
Truman might not have been able to sustain their grandiose imperial
policy if the North Koreans had not "come along and L saved
us." Actually, Acheson did not even say "North Koreans."
He said "Korea." Given his reputation for sometimes
shading the truth so finely as to render it indistinguishable
from an ordinary j lie, that remark prompted some observers to
reopen the question of whether or not South Korea with the overt
or tacit approval of the United States, provoked the North Korean
attack of June 1950.
On balance, however, it was simply one
of those wars that anybody could have counted on to erupt some
time. Both halves of that divided country were dying to start
dying to unite themselves. That old nationalism raised to fever
pitch by very strong shots of mutually exclusive theologies. In
any event, the debate about who bears ultimate responsibility
obscures the fundamental issue of the response by Truman and Acheson.
Clearly, when the Secretary acknowledged
that Korea "saved us," he did not mean in the sense
of preventing the defeat or the destruction of the United States.
He meant only that it allowed the government to implement the
apocalyptic imperial strategy of NSC-68. Primed and ready, armed
(or driven) psychologically as well as with the heady rhetoric
of that document, they simply went to war. They bypassed the Congress
and the public and confronted both with an accomplished fact.
A few phone calls, and it was done. Go to bed at peace and wake
up at war.
It was even more dramatic than the subsequent
intervention in Vietnam as a demonstration of the centralization
of power inherent in empire as a way of life. The State had literally
been compressed or consolidated into the President and his like-minded
appointees. In a marvelously revealing description, underscoring
Truman's earlier lecture to the cabinet, the war without a declaration
of war was called a "police action." Ironically, the
most succinct commentary on Truman's remark was provided by the
editor of the New York Times. "We are the most ambitious
people the world has ever seen," noted Henry J. Raymond on
May 30, 1864, "-& I greatly fear we shall sacrifice our
liberties to our imperial dreams."
The military containment and subsequent
rout of North Korean forces (by the end of September 1950) created
a moment of imperial euphoria. American leaders were high on NSC-68.
The United States undertook to liberate North Korea by conquest
and integrate it into the American Empire. It was assumed in Washington
that such action would accelerate the process of disintegration
within and between Russia and China and so finally create an open
door world. Then came the moment of truth, and the empire suddenly
found itself at bay. The Chinese entered the war with massive
force on October 26 and drove the Americans southward to the line
that originally divided Korea.
The empire had been brought to bay. Dwight David Eisenhower understood
that essential truth, and further realized that the future character
of American society depended upon how the culture responded. His
first objective after he became President in 1952 was to end the
Korean police action before it spiraled into World War III. That
accomplished, he set about to calm Americans, cool them of, and
refocus their attention and energies on domestic development.
He was a far more perceptive and cagey leader than many people
realized at the time-or later.
The image of a rather absent-minded, sometimes
bumbling if not incoherent Uncle Ike, was largely his own shrewd
cover for his serious efforts to get control of the military (and
other militant cold warriors), to decrease tension with Russia,
and somehow begin to deal with the fundamental distortions of
American society. He clearly understood that crusading imperial
police actions were extremely dangerous, and he was determined
to avoid World War III. When Britain, France, and Israel attacked
Egypt in 1956 over the nationalization of the Suez Canal, the
President called British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and scolded
him sharply: "Anthony, you must have gone out of your mind."
When the moment came, Eisenhower could
be just as blunt with Americans. A good many of them were probably
shocked when, in his farewell address of 1961, he spoke candidly
and forcefully about the military-industrial complex that since
1939 had become the axis of the American political economy.
The militant advocates of the global imperial way of life quickly
reasserted their power and policy. They, too, recognized that
the Chinese counter-intervention in Korea had brought the empire
to a critical juncture. Their response was to reassert American
power and on with policing the world in the name of benevolent
progress. Lead by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and calling themselves
the New Frontiersmen, they perfectly expressed the psychopathology
of the empire at bay and its consequences. Onward and outward
in the spirit of NSC-68. "Ask not what your country can do
for you," intoned Kennedy in his 1961 inaugural address,
"ask what you can do for your country." By country,
of course, they meant their government.
Kennedy and his advisers had the brilliant perception to talk
about the empire in the classic idiom of the frontier.
... "Our frontiers today," cried
Kennedy, "are on every continent." America has "obligations,"
he explained, "which stretch ten thousand miles across the
Pacific, and three and four thousand miles across the Atlantic,
and thousands of miles to the south. Only the United States-and
we are only six percent of the world's population-bears this kind
of burden." He understandably neglected to mention that the
burden on the metropolis was somewhat eased by the benefits of
controlling a grossly disproportionate percentage of the world's
resources. He was more concerned to create the psychological mood
of impending doom: "The tide of events has been running out
and time has not been our friend."
The failure of the effort early in 1961
to overthrow Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba intensified that
trauma. Not only did the rhetoric become ever more apocalyptic
("this time of maximum danger"), but Kennedy immediately
began a massive military build-up in the spirit of NSC-68 (three
special requests for extra funds during 1961). Then he indulged
himself in a truly arrogant and irresponsible act. Knowing that
the United States enjoyed a massive superiority in strategic weapons,
Kennedy publicly goaded, even insulted, the Soviet Union by gloating
about its gross inferiority.
He scared the Russians viscerally, and
in the process not only prompted them to launch a desperate effort
to correct the vast imbalance, but very probably touched-off the
internal Soviet dialogue that led to the confrontation in 1962
over Russian missiles in Cuba.
[Kennedy] also embarked upon an obsessive campaign to murder Castro,
and he deployed between 15,000 and 20,000 American troops (many
of them in the field as advisers) to intervene in the revolutionary
civil war in Vietnam. Those frontiers on every continent were
going to remain frontiers in the traditional meaning of a frontier-a
region to penetrate and control and police and civilize.
It simply will not do for Zionists to define themselves as the
benevolent, progressive policemen of the Middle East. No more
than it will do for us to present ourselves in that idiom on the
And so to oil. The truth of it is that
nobody believes us when we talk about oil as if we were socialists
committed to internal equity. The world knows that we are imperialists
dedicated to controlling all the oil we can funnel into our bellies.
Empire As A Way Of Life