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US propagandists invoke Cold War
By Bill Vann

The Bush administration and its media apologists have repeatedly compared the foreign and domestic measures that are being carried out under the mantle of a war against terrorism to the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Earlier this month, on the eve of a visit to the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sounded this theme. It undoubtedly will prove to be a lot more like a cold war than a hot war, he said.

The Cold War, he continued, did not involve major battles, it involved continuous pressure, it involved cooperation by a host of nations, it involved the willingness of populations in many countries to invest in it and to sustain it. And when it ended, it ended not with a bang, but through internal collapse, and the support for that way of life and that threat to the world just disintegrated from inside.

Asked if the present conflict might span decades, like the Cold War, which occupied most of the latter half of the twentieth century, Rumsfeld replied, I have no idea. This comparison involves a gross distortion of history, as well as a falsification of the aims and methods that underlie the current military offensive. The Bush administration is promoting a myth about the Cold War to provide a new rationalization for pursuing the geopolitical and economic interests of American capitalism. At the same time, the US ruling elite hopes to utilize the specter of global terrorism as a new external peril, supplanting the Soviet red menace, in order to forge a political consensus domestically behind its reactionary social agenda and militaristic foreign policy.

Government officials, media pundits and academics are all involved in this effort to refashion yesterdays anticommunist ideology to serve the interests of American imperialism in the post-Soviet world. A notable example was a column that appeared in the October 6 New York Times headlined The 40-Year War.

The commentary was written by Bill Keller, the newspapers former Moscow correspondent, who is now one of its senior editors. Keller cited John Lewis Gaddis, the dean of Cold-War studies:

Communism in the 1950s, Professor Gaddis points out, was seen not as a rival state but as a fearsome, state-sponsored conspiracy, one that threatened us from within as well as externally. The American response was containment, a kind of global gopher hunt aimed at countering Communist influence wherever it surfaced, using diplomacy and economic power and armed proxies more often than American military might.

Keller continued: Like the Cold War, this one, while it lasts, will assert a gravitational pull on everything. It will determine who our friends are, revise our priorities and test the elasticity of our ideals. What was the Cold War, and what is its real relationship to the war in Afghanistan?

In essence, the Cold War was a global struggle led by Washington against the threat posed by social revolution to American capitalisms international interests. It began in the aftermath of the Second World War. Its roots, however, can be traced back to 1918, when the US military comprised a major component of the imperialist expeditionary forces sent into Russia in an attempt to strangle the fledgling Soviet state. This imperialist offensive was aimed at restoring capitalism to Russia and countering the enormous attraction that the first socialist revolution held for workers and intellectuals all over the world.

While the intervention was defeated, the unrelenting pressure of imperialism on the isolated Soviet state led to the growth of a privileged bureaucracy and a sharp turn to the right in the domestic and international policy of the ruling party. Washington welcomed this rightward shift. It extended recognition to the Soviet Union in 1933 and entered into a wartime alliance against Nazi Germany with the Stalinist regime in the Kremlin, which by then had exterminated the leadership of the 1917 revolution in mass purges and frame-up trials.

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