How the U.S. Created the Cold War

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

There was a speech that the Harvard neoconservative Graham Allison presented at the U.S. aristocracy’s TED Talks on 20 November 2018, and which is titled on youtube as “Is war between China and the US inevitable?” It currently has 1,533,691 views. The transcript is here. His speech said that the U.S. must continue being the world’s #1 power, or else persuade China’s Government to cooperate more with what America’s billionaires demand. He said that the model for the U.S. regime’s supposed goodness in international affairs is The Marshall Plan after the end of World War II. He ended his speech with the following passage as pointing the way forward, to guide U.S. foreign policies during the present era. Here is that concluding passage:

Let me remind you of what happened right after World War II. A remarkable group of Americans and Europeans and others, not just from government, but from the world of culture and business, engaged in a collective surge of imagination. And what they imagined and what they created was a new international order, the order that’s allowed you and me to live our lives, all of our lives, without great power war and with more prosperity than was ever seen before on the planet. So, a remarkable story. Interestingly, every pillar of this project that produced these results, when first proposed, was rejected by the foreign policy establishment as naive or unrealistic.

My favorite is the Marshall Plan. After World War II, Americans felt exhausted. They had demobilized 10 million troops, they were focused on an urgent domestic agenda. But as people began to appreciate how devastated Europe was and how aggressive Soviet communism was, Americans eventually decided to tax themselves a percent and a half of GDP every year for four years and send that money to Europe to help reconstruct these countries, including Germany and Italy, whose troops had just been killing Americans. Amazing. This also created the United Nations. Amazing. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The World Bank. NATO. All of these elements of an order for peace and prosperity. So, in a word, what we need to do is do it again.

The U.S. did donate many billions of dollars to rebuild Europe. The Marshall Plan, however, excluded the Soviet Union. It excluded Belarus, which had suffered the largest losses of any land in WWII, 25% of its population. It excluded Russia, which lost 13%. But those weren’t nations, they were states within the U.S.S.R., which was the nation that lost by far the highest percentage of its population of any nation, to the war: nearly 14%.

Russia had lost, to Germany’s Nazis, 13,950,000, or exactly 12.7% of its population. Another part of the Soviet Union, Belarus, lost 2.29 million, or exactly 25.3% of its population to Hitler. Another part of the U.S.S.R., Ukraine, lost 6.85 million, or 16.3%. The entire Soviet Union lost 26.6 million, exactly 13.7% of its population to Hitler. The U.S. lost only 419,400, or 0.32% of its population. Furthermore, immediately after FDR died and Harry S. Truman became President, the U.S. CIA (then as its predecessor organization the OSS) provided protection and employment in Germany for top members of Hitler’s equivalent to the CIA, the Gehlen Organization. (America’s CIA continues flagrantly to violate the law and hide from Congress and the American people crucial details of its relationship with the Gehlen Organization.) By contrast, the Soviet Union was unremitting in killing Nazis whom it captured. So: while the U.S.S.R. was killing any ‘ex’-Nazis it could find, the U.S.A. was hiring them either in West Germany or else into the U.S. itself. It brought them to America whenever the U.S. regime needed the person’s assistance in designing weapons to use against the U.S.S.R. Right away, the U.S. was looking for ‘ex’-Nazis who could help the U.S. conquer the Soviet Union. The Cold War secretly started in the U.S. as soon as WW II was over (the OSS-CIA’s “Operation Paperclip”). (There was no equivalent to “Operation Paperclip” in the U.S.S.R.)

The Soviet Union suffered vastly the brunt of the Allies’ losses from WWII, but the U.S., which suffered the least from the war, refused to help them out, and instead the U.S. regime protected most of the ‘ex’-Nazis that were in its own area of control. Without nasty Joseph Stalin’s help, America would today be ruled by the Nazi regime instead of by America’s domestic aristocracy as it now is. And this is the way that our aristocracy thanked the Soviet people, for the immense sacrifices that they had made, really, on behalf of the entire future world. This happened right after WW II was over, and the U.S. regime was already determined, right away, not to help those people, but instead to conquer them — to treat them as being the new enemy, so as to stoke the weapons-trade after the war (and the need for more weapons) ended. How ‘good’ was this behavior by the U.S. rulers — the “Military Industrial Complex” or MIC — actually?

The MIC took over as soon as FDR died and Truman replaced him. Here is how that happened:

Truman was unfortunately an extremely effective agent of America’s billionaires in advancing them first to continue their MIC (or, actually, the weapons-making firms), so that the billionaires who controlled them had no reason to fear the breakout of peace in the post-war era — America right away started its world-record-shattering number of coups and invasions, virtually as soon as Truman took over. First was the coup in Thailand in 1948 — right at the CIA’s very start — in order to grab hold of Asia’s narcotics traffic so that the needed off-the-books funding for that totalitarian and legally unconstrained new spy-agency could be instituted. The existence of this off-the-books funding-system for it didn’t become public until the great investigative journalist Gary Webb uncovered its operations in Nicaragua during President Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal, which entailed illegal funding — from cocaine-sales — of Reagan’s war against Nicaragua, a Soviet-friendly country. The heroic Gary Webb became blackballed from America’s ’news’-(actually propaganda)-media and plunged into poverty so that he (according to the government) committed suicide and “wasn’t murdered,” but (either way, via either a hit-operation or a suicide) his death was another of the CIA’s secret victories.

Hey, if this looks bad for the United States, then the truth looks bad for the United States. This is not  the propaganda. Deceits such as Graham Allison’s slick distortions are  the propaganda — and thus he and the others who do such work are enormously successful and highly honored by America’s billionaires and the rest of their retinues. People such as that, train the next generation of and for America’s aristocracy, so that they can become just as smug in their evil and self-deception as their trainers are. Their parents get vindicated by Allison and others of the billionaire-class’s propaganda-merchants (‘historians’ ‘journalists’, etc.). What’s not to like in this? It’s virtually a cult of the world’s most-powerful people and of their retinues. Lots of people would like to join it — and, “To hell with the truth.” (See how Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are treated, for examples of this attitude.)

Even the U.N. has caved to the American behemoth. It offers an article “UN/DESA POLICY BRIEF #52: THE MARSHALL PLAN, IMF AND FIRST UN DEVELOPMENT DECADE IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF CAPITALISM: LESSONS FOR OUR TIME”, eulogizing what maybe its authors didn’t know was actually the very start of the Cold War:

Three events from the Golden Age that left significant lessons relevant for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals include: the contributions of the Marshall Plan, the experience leading to the achievement of current account convertibility under the IMF Articles of Agreement and the declaration of the First UN Development Decade. The Marshall Plan marked the very beginning of successful international cooperation in the post-war period.

No mention is made, there, either, that this was the start of the Cold War. The fact that this was the start of America’s war against Russia is simply ignored. Instead, all of this is celebrated. But even the CIA-edited and written Wikipedia acknowledges, in its (heavily propagandistic pro-U.S.-regime) article “Molotov Plan:

The Molotov Plan was the system created by the Soviet Union in 1947 in order to provide aid to rebuild the countries in Eastern Europe that were politically and economically aligned to the Soviet Union. It can be seen to be the Soviet Union’s version of the Marshall Plan, which for political reasons the Eastern European countries would not be able to join without leaving the Soviet sphere of influence. Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov rejected the Marshall Plan (1947), proposing instead the Molotov Plan — the Soviet-sponsored economic grouping which was eventually expanded to become the Comecon.[1]

Just think about that, for a moment: The Soviet Union is being blamed there because it “rejected” the U.S. regime’s demand upon all nations that accepted aid from The Marshall Plan, that they be “leaving the Soviet sphere of influence.” How stupid does the writer of that particular passage have to be? Wikipedia’s description of the Molotov Plan continues:

The Molotov Plan was symbolic of the Soviet Union’s refusal to accept aid from the Marshall Plan, or allow any of their satellite states to do so because of their belief that the Marshall Plan was an attempt to weaken Soviet interest in their satellite states through the conditions imposed and by making beneficiary countries economically dependent on the United States (Officially, one of the goals of the Marshall Plan was to prevent the spread of Communism).

The Marshall Plan wasn’t merely “an attempt to weaken Soviet interest in their satellite states” but was instead an actual lure, to draw into “leaving the Soviet sphere of influence,” the nations “that were politically and economically aligned to the Soviet Union.” This wasn’t really about “Soviet interest in their satellite states” but instead it was about the U.S. regime’s policy, immediately after WW II, to take over not merely the nations that the U.S. had helped in Europe to defeat Hitler, but also the nations that the Soviet Union had helped to defeat Hitler. It was, in short, a U.S. grab, to control territory within the lands that the Soviet Union had saved from Nazism. This is the reality.

Look at these tables, again, of how much the U.S. and the Soviet Union — and all other countries — had suffered losses from actually fighting against Hitler, and then consider that the nation which had lost the least was now so war-mongering as to immediately try to grab “sphere of influence” — the very border-nations which were crucial to the Soviet Union’s national security against that very same grabber — grabbing away from the one that had lost the most. Is that despicable? Is it what the U.S. regime claims to be?

Here is another piece of U.S.-regime propaganda about the Molotov Plan (which they say was the Soviet response to The Marshall Plan even though it wasn’t and the Soviet Union had been so destroyed by Hitler as to have made any such donations to their own satellites impossible, or only minuscule by comparison, but, in any case, nothing like The Marshall Plan):

The plan was a system of bilateral trade agreements that established COMECON to create an economic alliance of socialist countries. This aid allowed countries in Europe to stop relying on American aid, and therefore allowed Molotov Plan states to reorganize their trade to the USSR instead. The plan was in some ways contradictory, however, because at the same time the Soviets were giving aid to Eastern bloc countries, they were demanding that countries who were members of the Axis powers pay reparations to the USSR.

Those weren’t “socialist” countries; they were dictatorial socialist (i.e., communist) countries, as opposed to democratic socialist (i.e., progressive) countries such as in Scandinavia — the proper term for what the Soviet alliance was is “communist,” not “socialist” — and there was a very big difference between the Scandinavian countries, versus the communist countries (though the U.S. regime wants to slur one by the other so as to sucker fools against democratic socialism — progressivism).

And, by “they were demanding that countries who were members of the Axis powers pay reparations to the USSR,” we’re supposed to think that Germany, and Italy, and Japan, shouldn’t  have compensated their victims? What? And yet we’re also supposed to believe that Germany should pay it for Jews who lived in Israel? What’s that about? Why? Why ‘should’ Germany be funding Jews to grab land that for thousands of years has been populated almost entirely by Arabs and for perhaps a thousand years almost entirely by Muslims, thus subsidizing the theft of that land, the grabbing of that land, by Jews who had escaped Hitler’s Holocaust — which had itself been perpetrated not by Muslims in Palestine but entirely by Christians in Europe? Why ‘should’ Palestinians be the people who are ultimately being required to ‘restitute’ the surviving Jews that the overwhelmingly Christian Europe had persecuted and then rejected? What is all of this really about, and what is propaganda such as Graham Allison delivers, really about? America’s manufacturers of the machinery of mass-death need to “make a living,” don’t they? And isn’t that sort of propaganda the most effective way to do it? So, that’s what it seems likeliest to be about, really (though not in the propaganda).

There is the presumption by neoconservatives — American imperialists — that the U.S. Government is both democratic and well-intentioned, but at least after the death of FDR, it hasn’t been either one. (Back in his time, it was a limited democracy, very limited for Blacks.) And this is the reason why the U.S. regime double-crossed Russia and shamed The West when the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, ended communism, and ended the U.S.S.R., and even ended its Warsaw Pact, in 1991, but the U.S. side secretly continued the Cold War, and does so increasingly today.

None of this fits the U.S. regime’s propaganda-narrative, such as Graham Allison, and many thousands of other regime-shills, present. Theirs is called ‘history’. The reality is called “history.” In the U.S. and its vassal-nations, there is vastly more of a market for ‘history’ than for “history,” because the billionaires not only control the government — they also control the alleged news-media, history-publishers, and other means of ‘informing’ and ‘educating’ the public. So, it’s a self-selecting circle of deceivers that are at the top.

Dr. Allison addresses only audiences of suckers; or, if not, then how, for example, can one explain his assertions such as “My favorite is the Marshall Plan. After World War II, Americans felt exhausted. They had demobilized 10 million troops”? 10,700,000 was the number of Soviet soldiers that were killed by Hitler’s forces. They weren’t “demobilized.” They all were dead, barbarically slaughtered by the invader. Ditto for the 10,000,000 Soviet civilians, whom Nazis likewise murdered. The Soviet Union didn’t “feel exhausted”; it had actually been brutally raped. How callous can such a speaker as this be, to ignore all of that heroism, and all of that imposed suffering — from which victory by the Soviet forces against Hitler’s forces, Allison’s own freedom has derived — while that speaker serves basically as a carnival-barker for  today’s rabidly anti-Russian American regime? He even was saying there, in 2018, after decades of U.S.-imposed coups and invasions, that that was instead “All of these elements of an order for peace and prosperity.” Would the residents in the Russia-friendly countries — such as Iraq and Syria and Libya and Ukraine and Venezuela — where the U.S. has been perpetrating those successful or failed bloody regime-change operations, see the U.S. as being more like the Hitlerite regime in our own time: today’s Nazi Germany, but not yet defeated?

First, the U.S. regime used The Marshall Plan basically as a lure to bribe Western European leaders to join America’s anti-‘communist’ but really more like anti-Soviet military alliance NATO, and then it trumpets itself for running “All of these elements of an order for peace and prosperity.” Did Graham Allison copy his style from that of George Orwell’s fictional but apparently prophetic villains in 1984?   

However, the country that spent the largest amount of money on WW II was, indeed, the U.S., according to a website whose sources and calculation-methods are not readily apparent. According to those estimates, the number of billions of dollars of military expenses in that war were (and this group consists of all of the nations that were estimated to have spent more than $15 billion on this war): U.S. 341B, Germany 270B, U.S.S.R. 192B, China $190B, UK $120B, Italy $94B, and Japan $56B. Those figures might indicate that the weapons-manufacturing firms in the U.S. were receiving from their government even more money than did Germany’s, which received even more money than did the Soviet Union’s or any other country’s. On the other hand, the U.S. Congressional Research Service estimated in 2010 that the U.S. spent $296B on WW II. Unfortunately, no comparable number was offered there for the expenses by other countries.

In any case, basically: Stalin defeated Hitler; Churchill and FDR together defeated Mussolini; and Stalin and FDR together defeated Hirohito.  (Even the anti-Russia Foreign Policy magazine acknowledges that basically Stalin defeated Japan.) Germany was by far the top threat to the world; and, if the Axis had been the winning side, then Germany would likely have subsequently defeated both Mussolini and Hirohito and become like today’s America, but even worse, and even more racist. Stalin was, by far, the main person who prevented that outcome for the world. But, then, he found himself facing the new Axis powers — the U.S. and its allied regimes. And today’s Russia (though post-communist and without the Warsaw Pact) especially does.

And the American deceits continue to this day. For yet another example: On 7 July 2017, “Brain Bar,” the European version of TED Talks, posted to youtube their 35:44 video, “Is There a Global War Coming? | George Friedman at Brain Bar”, in which Friedman, the founder of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor, portrayed World War II as having been won by Dwight Eisenhower and U.S. forces, and he ignored the vastly more important contribution to the Allied victory that was made by the Soviet Union and Stalin — and he also didn’t so much as mention either Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill. Friedman said (10:40-): “World War Two was won by the biggest technocrat of all, Dwight Eisenhower. … He knew how to organize fifteen million men, to wage war. And out of that came a culture of experts, the belief that experts can guide our society, and make it effective and healthy. … This also led to the love of technology, because WW II was won by technology; by radar, by radios, by B-29 bombers, by nuclear weapons.”

By the time the two A-bombs were dropped on Japan, WW II had already been won by the Allies, and mainly by Stalin and FDR — and certainly not  by Ike. 

PS: To dig down here to find the very beginning of the Cold War (the period when the hostility between those two former allies actually started), Truman’s complete diary needs to be published. The excerpts that have been published do include some information that contradicts and overrides his published statements, and his diary thereby helps researchers penetrate to what was really going on inside his head at the time. What the published excerpts show is a tragically unintelligent but well-intentioned person, who had a number of guiding prejudices and therefore thought in labels instead of trying actually to understand the other person’s real problems (such as FDR did). For example, at the Potsdam Conference during 17 July to 2 August 1945, Stalin tried to explain why the Soviet Union needed to be surrounded by friendly countries just as much as the U.S. and Britain did, but neither Truman nor Churchill would accept any such concern by Stalin. (Subsequently, in the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis, both Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed that both countries must respect that right, which every country has.) As the BBC summarized it, “Stalin wanted a buffer zone of friendly Communist countries to protect the USSR from further attack in the future.” Truman got his views on such matters from his top generals and other advisors. His diary on 16 July 1945 said “Talked to Mc Caffery about France. He is scared stiff of Communism, the Russian society which isn’t communism at all but just police government pure and simple. A few top hands just take clubs, pistols and concentration camps and rule the people on the lower levels.” But Stalin actually had lots of sound reason to distrust both Truman and Churchill — just as they had lots of sound reason to distrust him. And Stalin had by-far the most reason, because his nation had been vastly more weakened and devastated by Hitler than either of theirs, and especially than Truman’s, was. But Truman simply ignored that — and so did Churchill. FDR hadn’t been so totally in thrall of his generals, nor as naive — nor as manipulable, as Truman. Just a day after that diary-entry on July 16th, came this on July 17th (after his first-ever meeting with Stalin): “I can deal with Stalin. He is honest, but smart as hell.”

The problem isn’t merely that Truman often misunderstood, but that he surrounded himself with people that his Party’s top donors liked. Truman wanted to be a progressive but ended up being only a liberal — which his Party’s wealthiest found to be acceptable. (No billionaire finds progressivism acceptable, which is why none of them make any substantial donations to progressive politicians, but only to liberal and conservative ones.)

Truman’s main achievements were in foreign policy and amounted to leading Churchill’s Cold War, pretty much as Stalin had expected he would. For example, at Potsdam, as Steve Neal’s 2002 Harry and Ike says (p. 40), “Truman was elated that Stalin was preparing to join the Allies in the war against Japan. [Stalin had made that intention clear to Truman on July 17th.] [But, on July 26th] Eisenhower advised [Truman against that, because, said Ike] ‘no power on earth could keep the Red Army out of that war unless victory came before they could get in.’” So, Truman rejected the overwhelming opposition he had received from the scientists, who favored doing only a public test-demonstration of the A-bomb for Japan’s leaders to view, and he simply nuked both Hiroshima and Nagasaki — in order to keep the Soviets out of Japan, not in order to win the war against Japan. (Then, of course, the very tactful Ike became Truman’s successor, and led, for what at the end of his Presidency he famously named the “military industrial complex,” which he warned against only after he had already served as the President and already given the generals whatever they had asked for.)

So: those bomb-drops by Truman were part of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, spurred by Eisenhower’s advice, and not really part of the hot WW II to beat Japan. However, Truman could also have deceived himself about what his motives actually were, because his diary on 25 July 1945 said: “This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old Capitol or the new.” The two bombings occurred on 6 and 9 August — right after Potsdam. Obviously, it wasn’t just “soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children.” And, never, after he perpetrated that, did he express regret about all those “women and children.” He had no difficulty ignoring embarrassing realities. When he received that advice from Ike the very next day, perhaps that advice eliminated, in Truman’s mind, all other concerns than defeating the Soviet Union. But, in any case, the Cold War seems to have started on July 26th, when Truman switched away from WW II being his top concern, to America’s dominance over the Soviet Union — what we now call the Cold War from the U.S. perspective — as being his top goal (and, so, just hang those “women and children,” collateral damage in a new war, this “Cold War”). This interpretation fits perfectly with Truman’s having subsequently established the CIA as a totally psychopathic, entirely legally unaccountable, organization, set up for a new and permanent war, to end only when total victory has been achieved, total control of the world — of every country — by the U.S. Government.   

Truman’s intentions were progressive — for example, his diary-entry on 16 July 1945 said (in the context of damning the Soviet Government) “It seems that Sweden, Norway, Denmark and perhaps Switzerland have the only real peoples government on the Continent of Europe. But the rest are as bad lot from the standpoint of the people who do not believe in tyrany.” (He routinely misspelled like that.) Unlike Republicans, who love to equate “socialism” with communism and simply to ignore the Scandinavian examples disproving that equation, he wasn’t quite stupid enough to fall for the billionaires’ line on it. He didn’t need to be: he was a Democrat. Even the billionaires in his Party don’t spout that far-right a line — it’s strictly Republicans who equate “socialism” with “communism” (in order to encourage privatizations and weapons-making, and discourage increased taxes on the wealthy and increased government-regulation of their firms). But nowadays both Parties are overwhelmingly neoconservative-imperialistic — both are almost totally dominated by the weapons-manufacturers.

FDR was a leader. Truman didn’t know how to lead, because he didn’t even know himself. Himself was a puppet, and he didn’t even know it, much less know the strings (from Ike etc. — the billionaires’ knowing agents) (which were pulling Truman’s own brain).

And that’s how the road to today started.

And 200 years from now, is, by now, virtually certain to be vastly worse. If persons of FDR’s calibre had been America’s Presidents after his death, then none of this would likely have happened (at least not nearly as much); but none of them were even nearly of his calibre. Leadership matters. It really does. It really did. It largely made today what it is. Unfortunately (with the exception of JFK who got murdered for trying to lead), America’s leadership after FDR has been atrocious.

PPS: All of this history contradicts the standard view of what created the Cold War. There is an article by Henry R. Nau, of the Elliott School of International Affairs at GWU, in the July 2011 International Politics, titled “Ideas have consequences: The Cold War and today”, and it represents the scholarly mainstream on this historical question, of what caused the Cold War. He argues that “the Cold War had its roots in ideological divergence between free capitalist societies and totalitarian communist ones.” If that were true, then why did the U.S. Government secretly continue the Cold War after communism ended in Russia in 1991, and why has the U.S. been continuing this war increasingly hot, right up to the present time? Does the ideological ‘explanation’ for the Cold War make any sense in the actual light of history — real history, as opposed to the billionaire-backed fake ‘history’? That neoconservative (or American pro-imperialist) Nau article even praises “unipolar power” — the goal of American control over every other nation — because “Democracy reigns in the world’s only superpower and in more than half of the states in the world,” though, actually, there is only one nation that has been scientifically analyzed in order to determine whether or not it can reasonably be called a “democracy,” and the answer in that case was definitely no, it is not — the United States definitely is not a democracy. So: that allegation was clearly mythological. But the billionaires’ ‘history’ needs to be full of such lies, in order to control the domestic population.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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