Social Scientist. v 4, no. 42 (Jan 1976) p. 41.


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WTES

U S Foreign Policy of Inter ventionism

THE VARIOUS analyses of the US debacle in Vietnam have produced a number of theories aimed at explaining the causes of US intervention. For some, the US involvement was "accidental",1 the result of a "mistake" or "wrong advice". To some others, it was due to a "series of misper-ceptions".2 People like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr come out with the "Quagmire" theory of "one more step" which got the United States deeply involved, as if the process of "incremental change" precludes the knowledge of the course followed. Others like Daniel Ellsberg say that the intervention was the offshoot of a "deliberate and rationally calculated process." Whether the US war in Vietnam was a "policy aberration", or the result of the pursuit of "imperial" (domination) role, or the logic of imperialism (economic) in the sense of systemic imperative, depends on how Vietnam fits into the US "world view".

The emergence of the United States from the Second World War as an unchallenged power occurred amidst the emergence (or re-emergence) of the Cold War which was formally inaugurated by Churchill in a speech at Fulton, Missouri, on 5 March 1946 with President Truman in the chair. The globalization of US power was justified as a necesssary sequel to alleged Soviet aggressiveness. For well over a decade, the proposition of the Soviet Union having initiated the Cold War was projected as a self-evident truth by the establishment through efficient "news management", manipulation of mass media, and through its academic surrogates. Mostly this thesis went on unchallenged for quite some time8 before a serious reappraisal of the historical evidence set the record straight through the efforts of what have come to be known as the '^revisionist" Cold War historians.4

As for the bogey of Soviet "threat^ as the centrepiece of Cold War is concerned, Moscow just did not have the capacity to dominate the international scene as was sought to be made out by the United1 States. Having borne the main brunt of the Nazi assault, the Soviet Union had suffered most: fifteen to twenty million citizens dead, twenty five million rendered homeless, and a fourth of its pre-war wealth destroyed.6

The cost of victory was staggering.. .Soviet casualties were ten times



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