American armed forces and public were conditioned to think
of all-out war. Children were taught to duck under tables
or file out into shelters when the sirens sounded.
It was known - indeed obvious - after the USA made many bombs,
and the Soviet Union made a certain number, that an atomic war
would have such a high probability of unacceptable losses of life
and reduction of living conditions,
and of prolonged extensive and deadly radioactivity,
that it could only be madness to engage in it.
This would have been around the year
1955, when the Soviets had a
score or more of deliverable bombs.
But, of course, the lack of control over the fall-out
from America's bombs alone would so endanger
the civilian as well as military populations that
a mass suicide was likely.
The logic of no first strike was finally accepted.
But no-strike-in-defense was just as logical,
considering misfiring, global fall-out, and
the destruction of one's own kind along with all others.
Most logical would have been a policy backing
the realization that a hundred bombs would deter
all but the suicidally insane, whom
no number of bombs could deter.
Nevertheless, production proceeded into the thousands of
warheads, as a contest of "over-kill."
U.S. crews flew off daily from McGuire Base in
New Jersey armed with atom bombs, flew
practically to the North Pole, then returned.
Nuclear submarines, with nuclear armament, prowled
beneath the seas, readied to nuke Soviet targets.
This behavior went on for a full political generation,
at great cost.
In the USSR, opposition was squelched,
in America intimidated
by the political-military-industrial-media establishment.
In both countries, as with the smaller nuclear addicts,
England and France, psychotic deniers of realities were termed
normal while the frail opponents of nuclear arms were
denounced as kooks, if not traitors.
There occurred in 1948 a first threat of immediate war with the
Soviets' Berlin Blockade and Allied Airlift of supplies to Berliners, a
Soviet trick that might have caused war to break out and
finish off the Soviet Union in a blaze of radioactive skies.
The Soviets finally opened the gates.
Then came the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to which
there was strong opposition in Europe; but, scared sufficiently by a
Soviet explosion of a test bomb, NATO came into being. The two
Germanies, particularly, were treated to a generation
of occupation by their own and foreign troops,
knowing that any war now would fully
destroy them as well as Detroit and Washington.
Within three years, the Hydrogen Bomb was proudly announced by
both super-powers. It was exponentially more destructive than the
Hiroshima bomb. Modes of delivery were constantly improved;
missiles were so nearly accurate, relatively cheap, and manageable that
manned aircraft were finally being put aside. By 1985, every vital spot
on Earth was targeted several times over.
Meanwhile, the U.S. engaged in numerous "middle-sized" wars,
near-wars and surrogate wars. For half a century, these could suffice to
keep the media amused, the deficit mounting, anxieties aroused,
environmental destruction proceeding apace, and tears flowing. Two
terms, "the domino effect" and "containment" were batted around.
Containment" was the strategy of not permitting the Soviet Union to
take over more countries than it had already; whether or not the
country was directly supported did not matter; evidence of
communism among the elite, as in Cuba or Viet Nam,
was enough to inspire containment attempts.
The "domino effect" was supposed to occur after one country had
been lost to communism; its fall would knock over a neighboring
nation, and so on. The fall of Viet Nam was supposed to be
succeeded by the loss to communists of the adjoining states of
Cambodia and Laos, and then of the Philippines and Thailand, then
Indonesia, Malaysia, and so on, until all the world except the lucky
few of America would be communist. The same effect was to be
feared in Central and South America, not to mention Southwest
Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa.
A set of wars and near-wars related to the state of Israel. Israel
became fifty-first virtual State of the United States in real time,
from1947, before Alaska and Hawaii. It bore more of a
special relationship to the U.S. than did Great Britain, because it
was continuously and intimately related for fifty years
and asked for a lot more help that Britain.
Originally the relationship was strange: the State Department was still
in the age of ye olde anglo-saxonry when World War II ended,
but then numbers of new recruits more representative of the
population came in. Too, the enlarged White House staff, the
creation of a National Security Council, vastly enhanced intelligence
functions and various military adventures of the government shoved
the Department off to the sidelines. In May of 1975, 76 U.S.
Senators out of 100 signed a letter to President Ford, calling
attention to the "special relationship between our
country and Israel."
American Jews, who were rapidly diluting into the cultural
mainstream, were caught up by the dilemma of Israel. Palestine,
home to varied Muslims, Jews, and Christian cults for many
centuries, was re-conceived as a homeland for persecuted, likely to
be persecuted, and disaffected Jews from everywhere. This was
Zionism; Zionism had brewed for a century. Its mild successes
swelled into a vigorous, militarized independence movement at the
end of World War II, which forced out the
British colonial trustees by riot, terrorism, and disgust,
and introduced the
hapless United Nations.
The burning issue was whether to take over
Palestinian territory as a unified U.N. protectorate,
or to partition it between Arabs and Jews.
On May 14, 1948, the Jews there
proclaimed themselves the nation of Israel,
which was promptly recognized by the superstates.
The U.S., in a flutter of contradictory phrases and actions,
had confused both its followers and its foes,
until President Truman, possibly moved by the pleas of his
old Jewish partner of their failed haberdashery,
routed the State Department obstructors and abruptly
and formally recognized the new country.
The Soviets followed in a matter of hours. As soon as it could
arrange a truce in the fighting between Jews and Arabs (not alone
Palestinians but from bordering Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as
well), the U.N. divided the territory between Palestinians and Jews.
Most Palestinians fled during the fighting and,
for the next half-century, with rations supplied by the U.N. and
other agencies, lived miserably in tent and barrack cities.
This was a large human cost attributable to the state of Israel,
or more precisely, the means by which it came into existence.
The Palestinians had as much right as the Jews
to dwell peaceably in Palestine.
The Jewish fundamentalist argument that justified their
possession of the "Holy Land" because of Biblical writ
was a continual embarrassment to informed gentiles
and fair-minded Jews; very few ethnic groups
around the world inhabit the same area
that they occupied two thousand years ago -
Indians, Romans, Celts, Germans, Slavs, Turks, and so on.
Not to mention the American nation of peoples,
vis-a-vis the Indian nations.
Ever after, Israel bore a grudge against the United Nations.
There was never a question but that the majority of members
looked upon the nation as an aggressive,
scarcely legitimate intrusion upon the Near East region.
Indeed, in June, 1975, the U.N. Women's
Conference in Mexico City was provoked to denounce Zionism and
then the U.N. Assembly itself rose up late in the same year
against Israel, passing a resolution declaring
"Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination."
The vote was 72 to 35 with
Notably, the American people at around the same time showed a
steep decline in feeling that the U.S. should cooperate fully with
the U.N. Ordinarily, from 1964 and probably earlier through 1975,
the polls gave two-thirds of the public holding this sentiment, with
less than a third opposing it. Now the sentiment was reversed.
This index of hostility to the U.N. of 1976 carried more than the
apparent pro-Israel feelings of the Americans.
It is one indication among many that
the enormous potential for energizing world unity,
that was inherent in world Jewry throughout modern times,
had severely diminished over a fifty-year period,
a critical time during which strong American Jewish support
of the U.N. would have forwarded international collaboration and
world government markedly.
Logically, but unexpectedly, a shift of American-Jewish and Israel
connections occurred, thrusting them toward onetime
politically distant American isolationists and social conservatives.
Many American Jewish political influentials
lent their talents to conservatism, anti-UN conduct, chauvinism,
militarism, and anti-liberalism. Meanwhile, they feigned
indifference to ethnic minorities and their troubles everywhere.
When the radically anti-Palestinian
Prime Minister "Bibbie" Netanyahu
of Israel visited the USA in 1997,
his coterie sought contact with, and he was ostentatiously welcomed
by, the fundamentalist Christian conservative movement.
The 1948 war was succeeded by wars in 1956, 1967, and 1973, not
counting an endless series of raids, fire-fights, forays, terrorist actions,
and mobilizations. In 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser, dictator of Egypt,
seized the Suez Canal. Britain, France, and Israel secretly agreed to
retake it by force. The operation took off successfully, each partner
performing its mission. However, President Eisenhower and Secretary
of State Dulles were not informed of the plan, and they reacted
furiously, possibly out of petulance in the one case and a lawyer's
pique in the other.
The USA supported a resolution in the UN demanding the
intervenors pull out. It passed, 64 to 5 with 6 abstentions. The
shocked allies withdrew. British Prime Minister Anthony Eden felt
betrayed by Eisenhower and Dulles. He resigned the next year.
Meanwhile Nasser received a UN peacekeeping force, kept the
Canal and was given funds to repair damages. Dulles
had showered all with the cataclysmic rhetoric that typically
accompanied his poor judgements.
While the Suez crisis boiled, the free Hungarian Republic that had
put down its communist rulers was invaded by the Soviet Union
(which was as "shocked" as Dulles by the Suez Canal recapture). After
a strong but hopeless defense, the Hungarians were put down,
and as many as could escaped to the West, thousands of them
entering as welcome immigrants to the United States.
In the Gulf War, nonparticipating Israel was struck by Iraqi missiles
in retaliation against the U.S. The U.S. quickly set its highly touted
Patriot missiles to seeking and destroying the incoming Scud
missiles. To no avail: whatever the public was led to believe,
experts later doubted that any Patriot ever intercepted a Scud. The
Scuds were ineffective nevertheless. Lots of flak, but few casualties,
and Israel stayed out of the combat: the Americans feared to lose the
support of Arab nations against the Iraqi.
The question of U.S. national interest was in partial abeyance when it
came to Israel. It is erroneous to argue, as so many did, that the heavy
petroleum interests of the U.S. in the Near and Middle East would be
better protected; American relations with the Arab and oil-producing
nations were on the whole excellent, and were continually damaged
by events growing out of the special relationship with Israel. This was
certainly the position asserted by American oil interests in the region,
and by sections of the State Department and military establishment.
Strenuous logical exercise could arrive at three better arguments: U.S.
policies of pursuing human and civil rights around the world would be
belied and forfeited were the U.S. to abandon Israel to its several rich
and populous enemies. Secondarily, Israel over the long run was likely
to be a more faithful, bound-up ally than other nations of the Near and
Middle East. Despite its right-wing orthodox minority, or rather
reinforced by it, it would counteract the strength of Islamic
fundamentalism (as well as encouraging it to a high degree).
Most persuasive of all was the hope that,
once brought into peace with its neighboring states,
Israel would exert a dynamic, secularizing and
democratizing influence upon them.
Anyhow, richly cultured, sophisticated, freedom-loving, and modern
nations are so few in the world that a large effort to preserve any
one of them would be worthwhile. To a degree, the PLO-Israel
accord of the 1990's that set up an autonomous Palestinian
government with its own police force, although threatened by
terrorists and extremists from both sides, led in this direction of
accommodation. The U.S. budget continued to support Near East
policy by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
If its policy included full engagement in raising the levels
of human and material support of the Palestinians,
double and treble this amount would be a small price to pay.
The original U.S. mistake involving the Korean peninsular nation was
to let the Northern region be taken over by Soviet-protected
communists after the Japanese downfall. The mistake behind the
mistake was the "successful" diplomacy of Roosevelt and Truman that
got the Soviet Union to promise to go to war against Japan, already
practically defeated, but built up by the American military and media
into a mindless Godzilla. Korea was then divided
"temporarily" and quite artificially into North and South
until such time as an all-Korean election would be held:
it never happened.
The Korean War (1950-1952) began with a surprise invasion of
South Korea by North Korean forces. The U.S. Government,
determined to intervene, persuaded the U.N., that had been
patrolling the artificial frontier, to condemn North Korea, rushed
troops and aircraft in, and got various allies to send troops in
modest numbers so as to internationalize the war.
When the war turned against the North, and the U.S. crossed the border,
the Army of the Chinese People's Republic poured into the fray.
Again the U.S. forces and their allies recovered, and were
poised to cross into Chinese territory, when they were commanded
to halt by President Truman, who feared a full-scale war with China.
General Douglas MacArthur, who wanted to continue the
Allied advance, was removed from his command and retired with
great honors, culminating in a moving
oration to an adoring Congress.
Casualties were heavy all-around. Now Americanizing, the Koreans
would, like the American colonies to Britain, after absorbing
American aid and technology, make and ship back to the USA the
same sorts of stuff they used to buy.
In Cuba, as in Nicaragua, and elsewhere, the U.S. was supporting
dictatorial regimes. After years of guerilla fighting, and with U.S.
support for Fulgencio Battista slackened, rebels under Fidel Castro
conquered the Island. Anti-American feeling was high - plantation,
gambling, and tourist facilities were largely American, and American
racism was notorious - so that an effective continuation of this special
relationship abruptly withered. The Soviet Union stepped in with aid
and trade, was welcomed, and Castro became thenceforth a
solid ally of the communists.
Thousands of Cuban refugees fled to America, much of Cuba's owning
and managerial class. In Florida they quickly constituted a powerful
political bloc. President Kennedy endorsed a C.I.A.-backed, U.S.
Navy-assisted, invasion by a small force of Cuban exiles at the Bay of
Pigs; it was repulsed by Cuban forces, most of the invaders quickly
taken prisoner, the U.S. forces remaining passive, and the USA
discomfited. World opinion, in its disjointed expression, was
strongly anti-American regarding the events.
A year later came the missile crisis. A Soviet plan to set up missile
bases in Cuba was exposed, foiled and aborted when President
Kennedy threatened intercontinental nuclear warhead retaliation
against the Soviet Union if the missiles struck anywhere in the Western
Hemisphere. He declared an embargo (actually an act of war, so it was
called a quarantine) against arms for Cuba. The UN resounded with
debates, but Soviet boats carrying missile components turned back.
For a moment, nuclear war was close at hand. Premier
Khrushchev of the USSR backed off and saved the peace.
One remarks with regret and alarm that the worst crisis of all,
here, was resolved not by the huge diplomatic apparatus of the
USA and USSR, nor by the UN, but by an informal interchange
of two heads of state, with a reputable journalist (John Scali)
acting as a friendly broker.
The USA agreed secretly to remove its Soviet-threatening
missiles from Turkey. Little was said of this in the media.
When it was mentioned, a follow-up remark typically was,
"But you know, these were out-moded missiles, anyhow."
The Cubans did badly economically under state socialism between
1960 and 1994, a full political generation, and an American
embargo. Cuban emigrés in America generally thrived. The
collapse of the Soviet Union led some experts to proclaim an early
end to Fidel Castro. It was not to be, even while economic
conditions on the Island became for a time worse.
Then a large influx of investments from Western Europe began,
with the U.S. government standing by and American corporations
desperate to do business in Cuba. Still, not the fate of Castro, nor
American bungling, nor Cuban émigré madness, nor United Nations
or other intervention, was likely to prevent an ultimately close
relationship, more close and total than ever before, between
Cuba and the United States.
Vietnam, next in line of American failures after Cuba, appears an
incomprehensible war in retrospect. Like the Korean War it was a
"What am I doing here!?" kind of war. Let back in by the U.S., in a
primordial error following the surrender of Japan, the French were
soon at war with the Vietnamese, both communists and liberals,
North and South, who were seeking independence.
Truman decided to send military advisers to help the French.
When defeated at the critical battle of Dien Bien Phu by the Viet Minh
communist forces, the French withdrew. Under President
Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles' worldwide
policy of containment of communism, more and more aid was sent
to the South Vietnam "democratic" government. A division of the
country between a Northern communist group,
with its capital at Hanoi,
and a Southern capitalist Catholic group,
centered at Saigon, was negotiated.
Soon communist guerrillas, the Viet Cong, took up arms against the
Southern government and U.S. advisors and C.I.A. agents appeared in
numbers to help the South. Insufficient, these elements were reinforced
by American troops and aircraft. The C.I.A. grew large, and organized
a string of friendly villages and counter-revolutionary forces, from the
border of China down through Laos, Western Vietnam, and Cambodia;
it was a jungle empire of sorts.
The conflict spread and escalated, however. Years of struggle ensued.
Still, even with a great fleet offshore, complete command of the air,
the latest weapons in abundance, a large friendly population, a large
Vietnamese army of the South, and an army of hundreds of thousands
of their own, the Americans could not defeat the Viet Cong and
North Vietnamese army, now drawn in fully. There simply was
no winning of the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people,
even those fighting alongside the Americans.
The communists received critical aid from China and the Soviet Union
by land and sea. The U.S. dared not ban outright any
shipment by sea. However, seizing the pretext of an attack by the
communists on a small U.S. Navy vessel that was observing a South
Vietnamese operation in North Vietnamese waters, President
Johnson asked and received a Resolution from Congress authorizing
the protection by all means necessary of American interests in the
region. The immediate result was a continuing series of air
bombardments on Haiphong and elsewhere, which
had no vital effect.
The U.S. armed forces were marvelously supplied and cared for, but
their morale was consistently low, and proved no match for the
determined enemy; they had an unreliable ally in the South
Vietnamese, and faced hostile or uncaring Vietnamese people;
they had to meet endless reinforcements from the North, supplied by
China and the USSR; and they contended with stretches of
Furthermore, back home, crowds of protesters against the War
pushed a great many politicians against the wall; the power elite was
itself divided, and no larger mobilization or intensification of the
war could be ordered.
Finally in 1973, the U.S. pulled out its combat forces, in ignominy,
declaring as a kind of bad joke that the South Vietnamese
government, with U.S. aid, was well able to take care of the situation.
Less than two years later it collapsed utterly.
Some 58,000 Americans died from enemy and other causes;
300,000 suffered wounds; drug addiction captured 150,000 men.
Allied South Vietnamese, North Vietnam and Viet Cong losses,
military and civilian, may have come to two million persons.
Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after the North Vietnam
communist champion. But the new united Vietnamese regime showed
little promise as a prosperous communist economy. It quarreled and
even fought with its great friend China. Along with
all other communist states, following the Soviet breakdown, Viet
Nam began to liberalize and turn to the West. America had already
obtained a hundred thousand refugees, immigrants who, with some
economic aid from the federal government, established themselves
here and there in diligent productive communities.
In Central America all the while, dictatorships and rebellions
flourished, with occasional free elections and temporary democracies.
Now U.S. policy was to use the Central Intelligence
Agency as liaison or covert-action forces
to do the job once undertaken by Marines, so that
nasty imbroglios occurred in Guatemala, the Dominican
Republic, San Salvador, Nicaragua - and going far South to
Columbia, for a war against drugs and guerilla, and even down to
Chile, where bloody riots and thousands of offhand executions
entered the scene with America's favored candidate, who was finally,
after prolonged repressive murderous rule, removed by the
Chileans themselves. The CIA role in these tragic events
was the largest of any secret security agency
since the Gestapo and Soviet KGV.
Incidentally, the tiny Caribbean island-nation of
Grenada went socialist and was put to rights by a
vast U.S. naval and marine armada.
The box-score in all of these places came out badly for the U.S.
In every instance, U.S. diplomats and C.I.A. forces
gave support and large sums of money,
supplies, and training to unreliable, vindictive,
ideologically crazy elements, whose affections for
Americans bordered upon hostility.
The C.I.A. developed until the end of the century
as a hybrid corps of negotiators-enforcers,
operating in the interstices between
State and Defense Departments.
Not to be put off by failure, American diplomats and intelligence
forces, and the military on occasion intervened in Iran, Afghanistan,
Angola, Libya, Somalia, and Haiti. All of these, save Haiti, were also
failures. Nothing that had initially justified and prompted intervention
ceased to be a critical problem, and the local population hardly
benefitted when the balance sheet of relief supplies and
human losses was tallied.
The enemy everywhere was real enough,
but difficult to target. It was stalinism, maoism,
violent anarchism, or fanatic Muslims, rooted
into a mass basis of the poor and disinherited,
of the morally disgusted. The enemy, once victorious,
as in Iran, Chile, China, Viet Nam, and Cuba,
showed itself no better at affording liberty and welfare,
than the old regime. Perhaps the problem at bottom
was the Americans' insistence that their intervention
should not be misinterpreted as totally committed
or a substitute for the old regime or a step toward
world law and order, world government.
After all, it was the American commitment,
after a withdrawal from Europe after World War II,
to return to Europe and to stay there,
in full military force and with economic aid, that
brought about a progressively prosperous Europe,
and, in the end, European Union.
There was farther to go in this post-war history of the Superpower,
1945 to 1995. In the Middle East,
the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein,
rendered confident of American neutrality by receipts of large
assistance in his devastating war with Iran and by friendly intimations
of U.S. diplomats, invaded the small desert collection
of oil-wells called the nation of Kuwait, whose multitude of foreign
workers and servants were at the beck and call of a tiny group of the
wealthiest men in the world.
The American giant rose to full height, gathered the Allies such as
it could find, and launched its military might against Iraq.
The Iraqi forces were one of the world's largest and best-equipped
armies, but they were wiped out, save for a remnant
that was permitted to escape and preserve the autocracy of
Saddam Hussein. The Gulf War of 1991 cost the Iraqi, the U.S. and
its allies, and the world a fantastic price and hundreds of thousands
of lives, very few of them American, to be sure, and this is why the
War was termed a victory. The ugly Kuwait social system and oil wells
(set afire by the Iraqi) were saved from Iraqi control.
The Dictator of Iraq could now return to bossing his devastated and
crazed populace, to harassing the Kurdish and Shiite minorities on
its territory, to building another military machine,
complete with poison gas, and to supporting
anti-American terrorism. Why the whole Iraqi army was not
destroyed or captured, why Saddam Hussein was not disposed of, why
the country was not let fall apart into its several separatist
components, are not a mystery; they were misjudgements on the part of
President George Bush - ensconced among the loud-mouthed
but hesitant milieu of the American conservative elite.
Iraq had to submit to Allied surveillance and could not resume its
nuclear and biological warfare programs, but continued to try to do
so. The Middle East was still isolated from the world and decaying
into fundamentalism; the people of Iraq, cheering dutifully their
dictator, suffered poignantly into the new millennium,
from economic sanctions and American missiles.
The U.S. Department of Defense was ruefully reviewing a report of
the General Accounting Office, not readied for release until 1996,
and agreeing with its findings: that its best airplanes were no more
effective than its next best, that its missiles had not achieved their
vaunted accuracy, that the Patriot and Tomahawk missiles that were
ecstatically described during the combat were no better
than not-so-smart weaponry, and that its claims had been excessive,
and it assured a skeptical world that it would of course remedy its
problems immediately in all of these regards. From the President
down, and with the eager cooperation of the press - both during and
after the conflict - the American public had been subjected to
In Europe, NATO and the U.S. proved their inflexibility and
irresponsibility when the Yugoslav Communist Republic fell apart.
Croats, Muslims, Serbs, Macedonians, and Albanians grabbed for
homelands and fought one another. Ethnic rivalries - just the kind
of problem that the United Nations should be charged to solve -
reached back into their bloody hateful histories and began battle.
Once more millions of civilians were uprooted, bombed, and hurt by
their fanatic brethren minorities. Artistic and architectural treasures
were destroyed, villages wiped out.
The U.N. was in the middle of the rampant ethnic criminality,
seeking to control with a few soldiers - the "Casques
Bleus," the Blue Helmets - the savage forces who were engaged.
The single world Superpower was undecided. So was the U.N.,
NATO, and the individual governments. NATO finally got after the
Bosnian Serb Army that was by far the most obnoxious element in
the disorder, and bombed it to the conference table. A shaky truce
ensued, enforced by numerous national contingents of NATO,
including some 40,000 U.S. combat troops.
The reluctance of the USA to intervene and collaborate to
squelch disastrous intenecine wars around the world
comes from timid, ignorant politicians and leaders who submit
to ethnic pressure groups. Invariably, just as in the
country where the bloodshed is occurring, these politically intense and
armed factions are a minority of the ethnic element.
The US has almost never had trouble with ethnic elements
in its armed forces. Therefore this reason for isolation is
invalid, also. Truly international troops,
just like American troops, can be educated to fight
for principles and larger causes - educated indeed to
detest their troublsome ethnic
The lesson of a half-century of American diplomacy and war-faring
seemed to be clear enough: the Superpower was periodically
immobilized, a tension between isolationists and internationalists. It
reached out to improve the world
but had to pull back - yin-yang policy.
Its efforts at internal compromise resulted in external compromise
and failure. The compromise took the form of uncontrolled, secret,
devious, foolish, costly, uncoordinated activity - spastic policy -
bringing forward the C.I.A. as the face of the greatest democracy on
Earth, while putting on a solo masquerade, even delaying payments
to and cutting back programs at the best world arena for advancing
American policy, the United Nations.
But there was plenty of money for the C.I.A., regularly more than
the total of all expenditures of the United Nations around the world.
As if American paranoia vis-a-vis the Soviet Union were not enough
to build up overkill, and impair the possibilities of peace and union
through worldwide institutions, the intelligence function of the U.S.
went awry on occasion.
Not until the end of 1995 was it made known that for nine years the
C.I.A. had been duped and deluded by one of its top officers,
Aldrich Ames, a counterintelligence branch chief for Soviet affairs,
who had sold to Soviet spy chiefs the identities of all Soviet agents
working for the U.S. in the Soviet Union - all were soon killed or
reversed to become double agents against the U.S.- and then Ames
also helped direct a campaign that fed false information to the
C.I.A., hence the U.S. government, persuading them that the Soviet
military forces were far stronger than in reality they were.
Consequently billions of dollars were wasted on unnecessary and
hardly perfect (cf. infra)weapons systems.
The same kinds of people who were deeply suspicious of and hostile
to the UN were more than ready to spend endlessly for the less
reliable spy operations of the Cold War. The astonishing successes of
traitor Ames reminds one of the highly successful Soviet efforts
to steal the secrets of building the atomic bomb, during and after
World War II. Klaus Fuchs, a German communist refugee physicist
turned British, worked with the American Manhattan Project during the
years 1943-6. Before then, secrets of the project were channeled
to the Soviet Union through England, beginning in the Fall of
1941 with the start-up of the American program.
Angered at the refusal to supply the Soviets as an Ally
with information of the project, Fuchs did so himself. Although
the Soviets had made considerable progress on the A-bomb, Fuchs'
help, possibly that of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, another yet
undisclosed spy named "Perseus" and an American now known
to be Theodor Hall, furnished corroborative and
additional information that permitted the Soviets to explode an
A-bomb in August 1949.
For lack of plutonium, the Russians could not explode another bomb
until 1951, which means that from 1945 to 1949 and from 1949 to
1951, the Soviet Union was at the mercy of the United States. The
Soviets built the hydrogen bomb without help from American data
and designs, and beat the Americans to do so, exploding the first
true H-bomb in October of 1953.
The centuries-old tradition of American counter-espionage is not
without its failures - perhaps more failures than achievements, if
anyone could and would make the tally through time.
Thus, the U.S. confronted half-way - by the same weak means -
both its grave internal and external problems. A wrong reading of
history, and a consequent suppression of the grand potential of the
Republic for world leadership, piled failures abroad upon domestic
failures in a neat coherent misfit. Where is this sneaky debilitating
microbe lodged in the American system?
It seems that nothing was done right. Yet the ragged triumphs of
American policy were large, in Italy, Germany, and throughout
Western Europe, in Japan, in Greece, Taiwan, Korea. Ultimately, too,
and just as raggedly, the USA had something to do with the
reconstruction on a bi-racial level of the governments of
Zimbabwe and South Africa.
If the "Cold War" armaments costs were instrumental in breaking
down the monolithic and totalitarian Union of Socialist Soviet
Republics, and were the sole method of doing so, and making
democracy possible in Russia and actual in a dozen East European
nations, then this was indeed a grand triumph and the horrendous
effort and spending might well be recompensed from one year to the
next in the 300 million souls freed. Unless chauvinist and
fundamentalist forces got control of them.