by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.: The
farewell speech was a long and nearly hysterical argument for
the Cold War. He presented it as more than a military policy against
Russia, but rather as a grand metaphysical struggle that should
take over our minds and souls, as bizarre as that must sound to
the current generation.
were Wilsonian, even messianic. The job of U.S. military policy
is to “foster progress in human achievement” and enhance
“dignity and integrity” the world over. That’s
a rather expansive role for government by any standard. But he
went further. An enemy stands in the way of achieving this dream,
and this enemy is “global in scope, atheistic in character,
ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method.” This great
struggle “commands our whole attention, absorbs our very
crusty apparatchiks are imposing every manner of economic control
over Russia and a few satellites, U.S. foreign policy must absorb
the whole of our beings? So much for limited government.
had to be hysterical to overcome a few obvious problems. Russia
is a faraway country and the notion of an invasion was about as
likely as one from Mars. Russia, an authoritarian state operating
under the ideological cover of Communism, had only a few years
earlier been declared our valiant ally in the struggle against
Japan and Germany.
woke up one day to find that the line had suddenly changed: now
Russia was the enemy to be defeated. In fact, the Russian government
– already in deep economic trouble as a socialist regime
– was bankrupted by World War II and dealing with incredible
internal problems. The Soviets couldn’t begin to manage the
world of Eastern Europe that had been given as a prize for being
the ally of the United States during the war. It was for this
reason that Nikita Khrushchev began the first great period of
liberalization that would end in the eventual unraveling of this
nonviable state. The U.S. not only failed to encourage this liberalization,
but pretended it wasn’t happening so as to build up a new
form of socialism at home.
the entire Cold War ideology was invented by Harry Truman and
his advisers in 1948 as: 1.) a political trick to keep from losing
more congressional backing, 2.) a way to circumvent political
pressure for postwar disarmament, and 3.) a method to maintain
U.S. industrial dependence on government spending, particularly
with regard to American corporations operating overseas.
It was an
unprecedented form of peacetime socialism, designed to appeal
to big business, and Eisenhower became its spokesman. Savvy libertarians
knew exactly what was going on and supported Cold War opponent
Robert Taft for the Republican nomination in 1952. But the nomination
was effectively stolen by Eisenhower, with massive establishment
backing. He repaid his backers with his support and expansion
of Truman’s program.
H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him
mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional
chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises
Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and
editor of LewRockwell.com.