2008 and 1948

A friend who’s a young professor and whose degree is in American History (actually, it’s more specific than this) will be proposing a new course in his department for the fall of 2009 that has the tentative title "U.S. Diplomatic History."


He writes to tell me that he’s "compiled a formidable list of possible texts and articles but would be very interested in reading your [i.e., my] personal favorites.  If you want, I’d like your top three article or book suggestions to be included in my course."


He adds that he’ll be most interested in modern U.S. diplomatic history.  The more modern (e.g., post-WW II), the better. 

One little gem that comes to mind for me is: 

The Breakup of the Colonial Empires and Its Implications for US Security, September 3, 1948.  (As archived at the website of the U.S. National Intelligence Council: Vietnam NIEs Available on Compact Disk.)

As it’s only approx. 15 pages long, you ought to print it out and take a look at it.  The PDF contains the scanned-copy of the original typewritten "Confidential" document that Truman and his highest advisers would have received in September 1948, during which time the American regime already had committed heavily to its counterinsurgency campaign in the Greek civil war, immediately south of Tito’s new Yugoslavia (the "cradle of U.S. Cold War strategy," a military historian called it in the 1960s), and around the time that the greatly diminished imperial France was to begin its efforts at reconquering its former colonies in Indochina, a failed mission for which the American regime assumed the responsibility after France’s defeat, ca. 1953-1954.


This short 1948 document indicates very nicely the future course of the U.S. wars of recolonization in the aftermath of WW II that would receive their ideological representations through the "Cold War" system of propaganda straight through the collapse of the Soviet bloc and Soviet Union itself, ca. 1989-1991 — a system of propaganda that the militarists within the Republican and the Democratic party ranks are eager to resuscitate today.


Just as in 2008, it makes perfect contemporary sense to re-read the old Dixiecrats of 1948, so, too, it makes perfect sense to re-read the original militarists who were present at the creation of the "Cold War."

Though judging by the bulk of commentary: If you are a Good American, then in 2008, you are still supposed to vote for more of the same.

"Obama Truly Is A Democratic Expansionist," John Pilger, New Statesman, June 12, 2008
Obama Insults Half a Race," Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, June 18 – 24, 2008
Obama: The Big Let Down," Ishmael Reed, CounterPunch, June 24, 2008
"Where Obamaism Seems to be Going," Adolph Reed Jr., Black Agenda Report, July 16 

Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics, Paul Street (Paradigm Publishers, 2008)

"Jeremiah Wright in the Propaganda System," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Monthly Review, September, 2008


Leave a comment