We are continuing to publish on our site the fragments from the book AMERICA’S PLANS
FOR WORLD HEGEMONY, by Romanian author Calistrat M. Atudorei which was published in English version very recently by printing house ”ePublishers” in Bucharest.
Chapter 3.American Strategy for the Cold War
After World War II, international relations were marked by fierce competition between the two great defeaters of Nazi Germany, the United States and the Soviet Union. Each of the two countries implicitly developed a particular sphere of influence, and the conflict was widespread in these territories, as indirect, undeclared war, hence its name—“Cold War.”
The growing determination of US leaders to defend a policy of great engagement against the Soviet Union was justified in particular by reference to the crimes the Communist regime committed during “peacetime” after the end of the Second World War. There were mass murders, executions, starving to death of whole populations, deportations or exploitation in labor camps. This awareness makes us better understand the American ideology that underpinned Cold War policies and why the Soviet Union was often called the “Empire of Evil” in the West (for example, in President Ronald Reagan’s speech1 of 8 March 1983).
In order to understand the current interests and motivations of US administrations, it is useful to take into account some major initiatives and directives that Washington government officials set forth during the Cold War and which are recorded in various documents. Let us examine in more detail the basic lines of American strategies at that time
Foundation of Global Institutions Network
From a military point of view, during about 45 years of the Cold War, all presidential administrations had as central preoccupation of foreign policies the more or less explicit conflict with the Soviet Union. Immediately after the Second World War, the president in office, Harry Truman, adopted the so-called “containment strategy”2 of the Soviet power to prevent it from expanding into US-dominated territories.
From an economic and social point of view, after the Second World War, many states of the world, including the Soviet Union, were in a disastrous situation. Because of their strategic position, the United States remained virtually untouched by the horrors of the war, which is why they became the state with the highest economic power, with the largest currency reserves and the largest banks in the world. America produced after the war about 50% of world’s industrial goods production. This power gave them a concrete basis for the intention to create a whole international order around them. In this sense, a fundamental development direction was the construction of a network of global institutions to instrumentalize American influence.
Along this line of thinking, an important step was the Bretton Woods agreement, signed by leaders of 44 countries just before the end of the war, on 1 June 1944. Essential decisions were then made concerning the economic and financial future of the world after the planned defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the war. The US representatives firmly proposed the US dollar as the only currency used in international economic exchanges. Virtually the other countries of the world were to convert their national currency and report their foreign trade only to the US dollar or the equivalent of gold. It was then decided to set up two international financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later become the World Bank). Through these institutions, the US provided their financial aid for reconstruction and restructuring of Western Europe and Japan after the Second World War. Instead, the countries benefiting from this aid had to unofficially give up a part of their sovereignty and serve the interests of the US. A clear example is the Marshall Plan, launched after 1945, which officially had the role to help Europe recover after the war. Yet, the plan had also the informal role to secure some levers of American influence in Europe and on this ground the European Union had actually been later established. All this greatly strengthened, as early as the Cold War, the economic position of the United States and played a decisive role in breaking the Iron Curtain and in weakening the communist countries bloc.
Moreover, the United States also massively invested in the foundation of other international institutions that are now playing a key role in the resistance structure of the current geopolitical system. Among the most known, we may list the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the World Trade Organization (WTO3) or the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT4). Thus, the power and influence of the United States decisively expanded worldwide.
The Marshall Plan and US Ascendancy over Europe
As I have shown, immediately after the war, the main line of American foreign policy was derived from the Truman Doctrine, which was aimed at a “containment” of communism, especially the expansion of Soviet influence and domination. A direct consequence of this policy was—according to the US Department of History—the implementation of the Marshall Plan for Europe. In this sense, the European countries were given financial support of $13 billion, which, in line with an estimate5 by analysts Thomas Ryland and Samuel Williamson, is equivalent to about $110 billion in the currency of 2016. Beyond the altruistic rhetoric that is officially declared, the US department of History admits it openly: The Marshall Plan was primarily designed to create an economic union meant to be “the best defense against Communism in Western Europe.”6
A study by William C. Cromwell, professor at the American University of International Services, evinces that the US administration’s aid had only formally been addressed to all European countries. In fact, the plan sought the particular support for the capitalist states, not the socialist ones. Called The Non-Marshall Plan, Congress, and the Soviet Union, Cromwell’s study points out that “Contextual revisions to the origins of the Marshall Plan suggest that America’s political decision-makers tried to exclude the Soviet Union by setting conditions they expected the Russians would reject.”7 Indeed, the Russians rejected the collaboration required by the terms of the Marshall Plan, considering the plan as an expression of “American economic imperialism.” Cromwell underlines that the US administration actually pursued an economic strategy on the basis of which “they insisted on making a European plan as a condition for further US action.”8 That condition was—as mentioned above—the creation of an economic community meant to be “the best defense against Communism in Western Europe.”
A recent study, published by Oxford University, shows that if it were to establish the beginning of the Cold War, then it would be the Truman Doctrine and the implementation of the Marshall Plan. The author of the study is Benn Steil, senior fellow and director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. In his words, over previously accepted positions, the research “places Marshall Plan more directly at the core of the Cold war.” Steil also emphasizes that “the institutions that became the outcome of Marshall Plan, especially the European Union and NATO, remain important elements of the post-war international US-led liberal order.”9
This conclusion is also confirmed by PhD John Provan in an analysis posted on George Marshall’s Society website, site dedicated to commemorating General Marshall and to debating consequences of the plan that bears his name.
Without question, the Marshall Plan laid the foundation of European integration, easing trade between member nations, setting up the institutions that coordinated the economies of Europe into a single efficient unit. It served as a prelude to the creation of the United Europe that we have today.10
Another study, published in 2017 by the Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development, highlighted that historian René Girauld, former chairman of the International Committee on International Relations history, asserted that Marshall Plan was also “an economic weapon” designed to support the American political objectives. The study evinces that the main objective was to stop the expansion of Communism towards the West, but, as George Marshall insistently suggested, it was “desirable” for the beneficiary states to be united in a “European economic federation” (in fact, a customs union). Why was it “desirable”? Because, as detailed in the study, by implementing measures and actions accepted by the states that signed the Marshall Plan, “the Western European consumer market was put under US control.”11
The Marshall Plan imposed several types of economic and fiscal restrictions on beneficiary countries. The United States had the right to control the way funds were spent, thus giving Washington substantial power over internal plans and programs of European states. A clear direction demanded by Washington was to denationalize the industry in order to create European integration. In several historians’ opinion, who pointed out that the Marshall Plan had an important political role, the greatest threat perceived by the United States during the Cold War was the economic transformation of Communist states. Historian William Yandell Elliot, for example, wrote in 1955 that the socialist states developed “a philosophy of new nationalism (…) in ways that reduce their willingness and availability to complement Western industrial economies.”12
In 1948, the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) was set up to administer US financial support through Marshall Plan. Several sources—including Tim Weiner and Daniel J. Leab—show that the Marshall Plan also had “a secret codicil that gave the CIA the capability to conduct political warfare. It let the agency skim millions of dollars from the plan.” Thus, an important ECA director explained that for every dollar received by European countries as aid, “the recipient had to contribute with an equal amount in the national currency, of which 95% for Marshall Plan programs, and 5% (the equivalent of the dollars received) for the US government.”13 That 5% was estimated at approximately $ 200 million a year, at the value of the dollars in the 1950s, which means about 1.7 billion dollars converted in the values from 2016.
In his work Understanding Power, Noam Chomsky notes in a realistic way that “Marshall Plan was largely conceived as an export promotion operation required by American business, not as the most noble effort in history.”14 Chomsky explains that after the war for the United States it was a fundamental necessity to expand the markets, as there was a large surplus of industrial production. The problem was that the rest of the world’s states did not have the ability to buy. As a result, the Marshall Plan’s main investments were made in the area of European production lines setting up under US coordination, which constituted a forceful start for future multinational corporations based in America. Indeed, after Europe’s economic reconfiguration through Marshall Plan, it can be noticed that American corporations expanded and became world-renowned economic forces. Car manufacturers such as Anderson, Clayton & Co., General Motors or Ford Motor Company had then taken a special momentum.
Besides, Howard Wachtel, an American expert in finance and global economy, underlines in a study titled The Money Mandarins that in line with an internal document of Reagan’s Department of Commerce, “Marshall Plan set the framework to implement in Europe large US private investment.”15Wachtel shows that the vast majority of the funds invested in the Marshall Plan returned to the United States through sums of money collected from the sale of US assets, US corporations’ business expanding heavily. Correlated with these industrial branches, special emphasis was placed on coal and steel production, which led to the founding of the Economic Community of Steel and Coal (ECSC) in 1951 under the Treaty of Paris.
Based on the United States’ interest in counteracting communism, American influence was then maintained vigorously in Europe during the Cold War, both through NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC), set up in Rome in 1957. American leaders argued that as the US participated in the reconstruction of European states after war, America cannot be indifferent to what is happening in Europe and as a result they get involved in key issues. Among the analysts who documented this discrete influence of the United States in the evolution of the European Union over time I mention Richard Aldrich16 (member of the Royal History Society of Great Britain), Ambrose Evans-Pritchard17 (editor of The Telegraph), Riley Waggaman18 (editor at Huffington Post) or Justin Raimondo19 (member of the Randolph Bourne Institute and editor of The American Conservative and Chronicles).
Regarding military strategies developed by the United States during the Cold War, it is remarkable that Truman Doctrine, implemented after 1945 on the basis of the “containment” strategy of the Soviet expansion, was continued by all administrations from Washington up to the 80’s. Since 1981, with Ronald Reagan’s coming to the White House, the strategy was changed. Reagan’s approach became much more vehement. In compliance with the US State Department’s online public archive, Ronald Reagan asked the Congress and the American people to stand up against the Soviet Union, which he previously called the “Empire of Evil,” in the 1985 speech, when he presented the State of the Nation. Through the doctrine that bears his name, Reagan announced a more active policy of undermining the USSR. He shifted from Truman’s policy of the Soviet Union “containment” to assuming more incisive strategy of regime overthrow in other states, developed by former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles as early as 1950. Under the new strategy, Reagan administration “focused much of its energy on supporting proxy armies to curtail Soviet influence.”20 Thus, the United States helped—both officially and secretly—anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in order to overthrow Soviet-backed Communist governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The official archives of the US record, for example, that
In Nicaragua, the United States sponsored the contra movement in an effort to force the leftist Sandinista government from power. And in Afghanistan, the United States provided material support to Afghan rebels—known as the mujahedeen—helping them end Soviet occupation of their country.21
According to Rollback: right-wing power in U.S. foreign policy published by Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould, there was a think tank that converted political theory into practical directions of action. The two American analysts point out that “the Heritage Foundation translated the theory into concrete policy. The strategy targeted nine nations for the rollback: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua and Vietnam.”22 These states were allies of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of their governments definitely contributed to USSR isolation and weakening.
The Reagan doctrine was very eloquently expressed in the internal Directive on National Security Decision number 75 (recently declassified state document). This 1983 directive stated that the first foreign policy objective of the United States was “to block and in time to reverse Soviet expansionism” on all international arenas, especially in developing countries. Secondly, it was established that “internal pressure on the USSR” should be considered “to weaken the sources of Soviet imperialism.” It aimed at “promoting a process of change in the Soviet Union towards a more pluralistic political and economic system, where the power of the privileged, ruling elite would be gradually reduced.” From the point of view of economic measures, the directive stipulated that no “delivery of Soviet gas over the amounts set out in the first part of the Siberian contract” would be allowed. As a strategy of ideological direction, it was decided that US policies should indicate ”the superiority of U.S. and Western values of individual dignity and freedom, a free press, free trade unions, free enterprise, and political democracy over the repressive features of Soviet Communism.”23
The results of Reagan’s doctrine, whose office in the White House ended in 1988, did not delay. That is why the line of action was followed by his successor to the presidency of America, George H.W. Bush, until the complete collapse of the USSR.
The so-called “Domino Theory” was developed by Henry Alfred Kissinger, former Secretary of State and national security adviser during Richard Nixon’s and Gerald Ford’s presidency. Kissinger played a key role in world diplomacy between 1969 and 1977. The Domino Theory, and especially its application, was very detailed described by John Dower – History professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies– in his work The Super Domino In and Out of the Pentagon Papers, based on Pentagon documents. In line with these documents, when a state tended to “escape” politically or economically from US control, it started to be viewed by the US administration as a kind of “virus” that would tend to spread and “infect” other areas (states) with the “virus of independence.”24 The solution that the US administration deemed absolutely necessary was simple and clear: “destruction of the virus” and implement dictatorships obedient to America.
As referred to in an analysis made by the renowned professor and writer Noam Chomsky, this logic of maintaining a prevalent influence, required that communist (or simply nationalist!) countries had to be kept under control. Chomsky evinced that a great “loss” for the US was when “in 1949 China declared its independence,” because for US leaders “the silent assumption was that the United States have the right to own China and much of the world, as they set up plans for the post-war period.” In the case of the war for Vietnam—another country led by a communist regime—“the concern was that the virus of independence would infect Indonesia, which has very rich resources.” Indeed, as early as the 1960s, US administrations undermined the communist regime in Indochina, which was the third largest after USSR and China. Thus, “in 1965 the US supported a military coup in Indonesia that brought to power the dictator Muhammad Suharto.”25 General Suharto immediately started the massacre of members of the communist party, of which—according to recent documents declassified by George Washington University—“the US government was aware.” However, until recently the US administration “kept silence” about the fact that at that time nothing was done to prevent the slaughter, although “they had detailed information” that “up to 15,000 people were killed in a single massacre,”26 and these terrible events were repeated periodically. As reported by the Asian Correspondent, “for the period 1965–1966, between 500,000 to one million people were killed in Indonesia.” Suharto was supported by America to continue in government for 32 years. It is significant that the United States refused to participate in November 2015 at the Indonesian criminals’ trial that took place in Hague. The final report of the International Tribunal states that “the US supported the Indonesian army definitely aware that it got engaged in a mass execution program and other criminal activities, which justifies the accusation of complicity in crimes against humanity.”27
Referring to such policies related to “The Domino Theory,” Noam Chomsky writes in his book ”Who Rules the World?”that “similar procedures were usually followed elsewhere too.” Another “virus” annihilated by a coup with US support was the nationalist regime in Chile. The coup suppressed a democratically elected government of socialist orientation and had the purpose of “imposing the vicious dictator Augusto Pinochet in the country.”28 Pinochet remained in charge as president from 1974–1990. The data provided by the Chilean government later showed that “over 3,000 people were killed as long as Pinochet was in power” and other “thousands of people were tortured, arrested or forced to flee into exile.”29
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Strategies
Although less openly discussed, there are studies that claim that the United States had during the Cold War a secret agenda too, whereby it intended, by more direct methods, to destabilize the USSR. One of the main ideologists behind this kind of strategy was Zbigniew Brzezinski. Among the most important official positions he held was that of advisor for President Lyndon Johnson and President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, respectively.
In his autobiographical memoir entitled Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote that “I always believed that it is important to try to increase the impact of America’s ideological influence in the world.”30
An article published by Foreign Affairs in 1961 reflects Brzezinski’s preoccupation to militate for a more offensive policy of America towards Eastern Europe, making it obvious that he was one of the artisans of the US strategy of “peaceful engagement to undermine the Soviet bloc.”31
Also, in conformity with a study by Christopher I. Xenakis—political science professor at Tidewater Community College (Norfolk, Virginia)—as a White House strategist, Brzezinski sought to implement “US economic and political pressure on the USSR to hurry its disintegration.” Xenakis mentions that Brzezinski was very marked by the conviction that “fascist and communist totalitarian dictatorships are fundamentally alike.”32
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s position towards communism and fascism is easy to understand given that he was of Polish origin and was directly affected by the invasion of his country both by the Soviet Union and Germany in 1939. And aversion towards USSR was certainly increased by the odious Katyn massacre whereby the Soviet secret police (NKVD) assassinated about 22,500 Polish officers in April 1940.
Brzezinski himself admitted in an interview that at his suggestion “delegitimization of the Soviet Union” was initiated in the 1970s33. Available in the NSA’s archives, the interview highlights that since then the United States offered masked support to nationalist movements that militated for independence in the Soviet Union.
Among its other initiatives in undermining the communist regime one can mention the policies of encouraging dissidents in Eastern Europe, for example by intensifying the work of the Free Europe radio post. A thoroughly documented study on this subject, “Free Europe Radio, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Jimmy Carter’s Polish Politicianism”34 was published under Brian Trenor’s signature. Also, according to the study published by Tim Weiner35 titled “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA,” within the same strategy for Eastern Europe, Brzezinski also dealt with the development of policies to emphasize the importance of human rights in order to precisely weaken the influence of the Soviet Union.
It is also known that under President Carter, Brzezinski played a key role in the strategy of providing hidden support to rebel groups, hostile to USSR, in Afghanistan. He admits it himself in the interview with the French weekly Le NouvelObservateur, issued in the January 15, 1998 edition, which published the article “Brzezinski: ‘Yes, the CIA entered Afghanistan before the Russians.’”36 The article reveals that, on Brzezinski’s instructions, who explained to the president that “this aid will induce a military intervention of the USSR,” Carter approved on July 3, 1979 the support of Afghan rebels. Brzezinski explained very directly in the interview that the secret operation “had the effect of luring Russia into the Afghan trap.”
The day the Soviets crossed the border and invaded Afghanistan, I wrote to President Carter, essentially, ‘We now have the opportunity to give the USSR their own war in Vietnam.’ Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to continue an unsustainable war for the regime, conflict that led to the demoralization and ultimately to the abolition of the Soviet empire.37
The information is confirmed by the CIA chief at that time, Robert M. Gates, in his book The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War38. It is to be noted that Gates had access to classified information for a very long time and was involved in a high level of political decisions. In his book, the former director of the CIA offers a series of revealing details about Reagan’s operations to arm the Mujahedeen, in the undercover warfare by Americans against the Soviets in Afghanistan, or about the secret actions of the CIA in an effort to undermine the political and economic Soviet regime. Describing President Carter’s secret program to encourage the dissidents’ movement and to cause ethnic unrest in the USSR, Robert Gates also makes some revelations about Zbigniew Brzezinski’s work. Gates writes that “Zbig did not waste any time (…) following his ambitious anti-Soviet agenda. At the beginning of March 1977 Carter approved a series of Brzezinski’s proposals for undercover propaganda actions within the USSR.” In line with these actions, “the CIA worked aggressively to supply Russian dissidents with Russian-language works to be widely distributed in the Soviet Union.” It was also sought to “strengthen CIA undercover programs supporting Radio Liberty, Free Europe Radio and America’s Voice.”39
Further details on CIA actions in Afghanistan are provided by Jan Goldman, international security expert and professor at the Global Education Institute at Georgetown University. In a study on CIA activity, Goldman said that the financing of Afghan rebels began in April 1978, six months before the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR, and continued after 1989. In 1987, the funding provided secretly to the Mujahedeen by Operation Cyclone already reached “nearly $ 630 million a year. It was estimated that between 1979 and 1992 the United States provided nearly three billion dollars to the Mujahedeen.” Goldman asserts that “between 1979 and 1993, 80,000 Afghan rebels were trained with US funding.”40
Another measure implemented through strategies developed by Zbigniew Brzezinski was to build a US alliance with several states against the USSR. In accordance with the historian Dino Knudsen, Brzezinski was, together with David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Committee, an important secret decision-maker for international politics. In “Trilateral Committee and global governance: informal elite diplomacy,”41 Knudsen points out that in the 1970s and 1980s, Brzezinski, as first director of the Trilateral Committee, set up a collaboration strategy between the US, Japan and Western Europe. The goal was that through this alliance, the three most developed economic sectors of the world to act united against the communist power.
The September 1997 issue of Foreign Affairs presents in the article A geostrategy for Eurasia, signed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, details of the policy that the US adopted after 1990. “Eurasia is the axial supercontinent of the world,”42 Brzezinski wrote, underlining that in this area Ukraine represents a special interest for the American leaders. That is why Brzezinski argues in favor of America’s support for Ukraine’s independence status, as a means to prevent the rebirth of the Russian Empire. In addition, it was intended to promote the doctrine of “geopolitical pluralism” in the space of the former Soviet Union, in order to amplify the currents of dissidence. In fact, in 2014 Brzezinski raised to publicly assert that “The West should arm Ukraine”43 in order to militarily support the actions against Russian Federation.
(To be continued)