21 April 2021 — Internationalist 360°
Part I: When Did the “Cold War” End?
I have said on other occasions that our humanity, and not exclusively its youngest members, tends to live not only in the world of images, but also in the world of the immediate, and that its inclination to read is increasingly reduced. The current world power, its deceitful media, its websites and its networks are also determined, through confusion and the trivialization of everything, to ensure that the information we seek therein leaves us with little, everything muddled, and that our already disorganized memory becomes increasingly reduced, volatile and insecure. Therefore, as we continue the critical review of the Cold War begun in the previous article, it would not be superfluous to provide, not a useless summary, but a simple enunciation of its main facts, which today are confused or forgotten.
In 1947 the United States created the CIA and in 1949 brought almost all of Europe under its command and created NATO to confront Russia. Between 1950 and 1953, the Korean War took place, and from 1962 to 1975, the Vietnam War. The crimes of the United States in both wars exceeded all limits. Meanwhile, in 1965, with CIA support, Indonesian right-wing military officers, after a confused coup, massacred a million “communists”. Yes, a million.
This happened to us in Latin America, as the Empire’s backyard: the United States carried out coups d’état, imposed military bases and new dictatorships, created the School of the Americas in 1946, the TIAR in 1947 and the servile OAS in 1948. After the surprise in Cuba, where the revolution triumphed in 1959, it tightened the screws even more. The Cubans defeated their invasion of Cuba in 1961 and asked Russia to install missile bases on the island for protection. The serious threat of a nuclear clash between the United States and Russia, which kept the world paralyzed, was resolved with an agreement: Russia removed its missiles and the United States committed itself not to invade Cuba, although it continued to wage war against it with the support of the OAS, its ministry of colonies. In 1964 it promoted the coup d’état of the Brazilian right-wing military. In 1965 it invaded the Dominican Republic. In 1973 it led the bloody coup d’état in Chile that overthrew the Allende government and set up the fascist dictatorship of Pinochet. In 1976 it promoted the coup d’état and the murderous dictatorship of the Argentine military. And in the 1970s it organized the Condor Plan in the Southern Cone, to kill and disappear in any country anyone suspected of being a leftist. And that was only Cold War, not hot.
In the decades that followed there were advances and setbacks. The War cooled and heated. Nixon recognized China. Carter announced that any change in the oil-rich Middle East, which the U.S. dominated, would provoke a nuclear response from him. And in the 1980s, a probable end to the war finally began to emerge. Reagan served two terms as president. In the first, his furious anti-communism dominated and he declared that the mere existence of the Soviet Union (i.e. Russia) was a provocation for the United States. But in the second he claimed to be a friend of Soviet Russia and declared that the Cold War must end. Reagan had not changed. The key to this shift was in Russia.
With Mikhail Gorbachev as the new leader, Russia belatedly attempted to emerge from its aging bureaucratic lethargy. But Gorbachev’s reformist plan, which, in search of world peace made all kinds of concessions to the Empire, ended up striking at the foundations of the Russian socialist system and unleashing uncontrollable forces that soon aimed at the liberation of its dependent countries, the internal reestablishment of the most savage capitalism, and the very dissolution of the Soviet Union. Reagan duped the naive Gorbachev, of whom he claimed to be a friend. Meanwhile, the United States and the West helped to accentuate this process until Gorbachev, no longer supported internally, had to leave power in the midst of an unstoppable crisis, and absolute chaos became Russia’s master.
Key moments : 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed. 1990, the so-called “satellite” countries became independent from Russia and passed under US control. 1991, the USSR collapsed and disintegrated. The former Soviet republics declare themselves capitalist and independent. Gorbachev dissolved the Warsaw Pact but the United States, which declared the Cold War over, not only maintained NATO but strengthens it, expanding towards the East, and began to encircle Russia, incorporating the former Russian “satellites” which were now its satellites, although they were called free and sovereign countries. And the Cold War, was it over or is it still going on?
The right wing celebrated, the left wing was bewildered, it seemed the final defeat of socialism, and in Europe the Communist Parties began to change their names. A climber called Boris Yelsin, drunkard, thief, surrendered to the United States, and the owner of Russia with the support of the “free world” imposed its rule, changed the constitution and laws, tore the country to pieces and gave away its companies to its thieving friends. Russia was sinking. Unemployment reappeared in the demoralized country and alcohol, drugs and misery spread. The United States celebrated its triumph. It was at last the only superpower, the sole owner of the planet. The USSR collapsed. Mission accomplished. Dream fulfilled. For greater security, they penetrated China with their big companies and believed that it would soon become their docile protectorate, as all of Europe already was.
Several things are clear from what we have seen.
The name and the very concept of the Cold War were simplistic, manipulating reality by presenting it as a necessary U.S. defensive response to the serious threat posed by Russia, and thus favoring the United States, which was its creator and the one who unleashed it. The name Cold War was popularized by the well-known American journalist Walter Lippman, who imposed it in 1947. But in reality he took it from Bernard Baruch, advisor to President Truman, who created it shortly before, although he later acknowledged that it was not his. The Russians questioned the name, but to no avail. In addition to manipulating reality, the name concealed the true objective of that war, which was the imperialist war that the United States needed to impose its world domination by liquidating Russia and with it communism. It went through ups and downs, and the United States only declared it finished in 1991 when it finally saw the collapse of Russia and communism.
Nevertheless, the war continued almost immediately, without being called a war or even having a name for the time being. Because it still had to be finished off. It was not enough for the Empire to weaken Russia. It had to annul it completely, and that was the process it was initiating to impose its victory on the world. Because this Empire, a sort of Fourth Reich, allegedly not the Empire of Evil but of Good, was to last a whole millennium. A dream to be realized, which its most arrogant leaders were quick to proclaim.
Dreams are problematic, especially if they concern power. If Russia proved incapable of opening democratic paths to its own survival in time and therefore failed, the United States, a worn-out empire that was already incubating a hidden crisis, came late to this triumph, intoxicated by arrogance, neoliberalism, globalization and the Washington consensus. And although initially it exercised its domination by talking about the end of history and maintaining a permanent threat of war with growing military spending and control of countries through new treaties and military bases, within a decade its domination began to slowly and inexorably crumble, prompting it to reformulate the war it must wage against any new power that hinders it, based on new arguments and new imperial objectives.
I will discuss this in the next article.
Translation by Internationalist 360°