Recently by Andrew Gavin Marshall: The Rockefeller World, Council on Foreign Relations, and the TrilateralCommission
NOTE: The following is a brief six-page excerpt from a 60-page chapter on the origins of the American Empire at the end of World War II. The chapter, nearly complete, is one of several chapters in a book being funded and facilitated through The People's Book Project, which is aimed at producing a multi-volume book on a modern history of institutions and ideas of power and resistance. Included within the volumes are: the emergence of nation-states, capitalism, and central banking; the rise of the European empires and colonization; the emergence of new dynastic powers, namely the banking and industrial families of the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, et. al.; the development of the mass education system as a means of social control; the emergence and evolution of university education, the social sciences, and the formation of new concepts of social control and methods of social engineering; the development, purpose, and effects of philanthropic foundations on society; the emergence and evolution of the consumer culture, advertising, public relations, and advanced systems of propaganda; the development of the “modern institutional society”, with an examination of the different brands in Communist, Fascist, and Liberal Democratic states; the development and intent of the Welfare State, social services, and management of the poor; the effect of two world wars, and the formation of the American Empire with its political, military, intelligence, economic, financial, and cultural apparatus and institutions of expansion, including the American foundations, think tanks, World Bank, IMF, UN, NATO, CIA, Pentagon, etc.; the role of international think tanks like the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission in shaping and re-shaping world order and expanding dominance and control of the world; the formation of an apparatus of global governance and the ideology of globalism; population control and the environmental movement; and finally the emergence, evolution, and role of science, technology, psychology, and psychiatry on the development of a global scientific dictatorship… and what we can do to change all of this!
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Chapter Excerpt: The Making of the American Empire
The process of establishing an American Empire during and after World War II was not — as has been postulated (by those who even admit there is such a thing as an “American Empire”) — an “accident” of history, something America seemingly stumbled into as a result of its unhindered economic growth and military-political position as arbiter of world peace and prosperity. A vast literature has developed in the academic realm and policy circles — particularly within Political Science and the think tank community, respectively — which postulates a notion of “American empire” or “American hegemony” as accidental, incidental, benevolent, reluctant, and desirable.
Robert Kagan is a prominent American neoconservative historian. He is a Senior Fellow at the prestigious think tank, the Brookings Institution, was a founder of the neoconservative think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), formerly worked at the State Department in the Reagan administration under Secretary of State, George Shultz, and served for over a decade as a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and is, of course, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kagan has written a great deal on the notion of American hegemony. As he wrote in the journal, Foreign Policy, in 1998, u201Cthe truth about America's dominant role in the world is known to most clear-eyed international observers.u201D This truth, according to Kagan, u201Cis that the benevolent hegemony exercised by the United States is good for a vast portion of the world's population.u201D Samuel Huntington, another Council member and prominent American strategist, wrote that, u201CA world without U.S. primacy will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than a world where the United States continues to have more influence than any other country shaping global affairs.u201D This u201CBenevolent Empireu201D — as Kagan titles his article — rests on such fundamental ideas as the notion u201Cthat American freedom depends on the survival and spread of freedom elsewhere,u201D and that, u201CAmerican prosperity cannot occur in the absence of global prosperity.u201D For half a century, Kagan wrote, Americans u201Chave been guided by the kind of enlightened self-interest that, in practice, comes dangerously close to resembling generosity.u201D
Sebastian Mallaby, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, former Editorial Board Member and columnist at the Washington Post as well as correspondent and bureau chief for The Economist, wrote in the journal Foreign Affairs, that u201Cempire's are not always planned,u201D referring to America as u201CThe Reluctant Imperialist.u201D Lawrence Summers, another prominent economist, politician, and policy-maker for the Clinton and Obama administrations, referred to America as u201Chistory's only nonimperialist superpower.u201D Niall Ferguson, a prominent British liberal economic historian, has written extensively on the open acknowledgement of u201CAmerican Empire,u201D but stipulates, as he did in his book Colossus, u201Cthat the United States is an empire and that this might not be wholly bad.u201D Referring to America as an u201CUnconscious Colossus,u201D Ferguson stressed that, u201Ca self-conscious American imperialism might well be preferable to the available alternatives.u201D Ferguson in fact stresses the need for Americans to u201Crecognize the imperial characteristics of their own power today [writing in 2005] and, if possible, to learn from the achievements and failures of past empires.u201D This, Ferguson felt, would reduce the so-called u201Cperilsu201D of being an u201Cempire in denial.u201D
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., famed American liberal historian and adviser to President Kennedy, wrote that the United States enjoys u201Can informal empire — military bases, status-of-forces agreements, trade concessions, multinational corporations, cultural penetrations, and other favors,u201D yet, contends Schlesinger, u201Cthese are marginal to the subject of direct control,u201D and instead, u201Cfar from ruling an empire in the old sense,u201D America u201Chas become the virtual prisoner of its client states.u201D Some other commentators referred to America as a u201Cvirtualu201D or even u201Cinadvertentu201D imperial power.
The notion of America as a u201Creluctant imperialistu201D or a u201Cbenevolent empireu201D is not a new one. This has been the mainstay within the academic literature and policy-planning circles to both advocate for and justify the existence of American domination of the world. The concept of the reluctant, yet benevolent great power presents an image of a dutiful personage coming to the aid of those in need, following the responsibility which is derived from great power; that America's rise to economic prominence — also seen as the product of free and democratic initiative and ideals (thus negating America's long history of being a slave state and subsequently a brutal industrial society) — was the precursor to America being thrown the title of “global power,” and with that title bestowed upon it — like a child-king still unsure of his own abilities to rule — took up the activities of a global power with a desire to bring the rest of the world the same altruistic truths and enlightened ideals which made America flourish so; that America's gift to the world was to spread freedom and democracy, in the economic, political, and social spheres. This myth has been a constant foundation for the advocacy and justification of empire. Its importance rests most especially on the ideals and global public opinion which prevailed as the great European empires waned and ultimately collapsed through two World Wars.
The colonized peoples of the world had had enough of empire, had suffered so immeasurably and consistently under its tutelage, that the concept of empire was so discredited in the eyes of the world's majority as to be incapable of justifying in the formal imperial-colonial sense. At home, America's domestic political situation and public opinion had been largely isolationist, seeking to refrain from an expansive foreign policy, leading many American presidents and strategists to bemoan the struggle for empire beyond the continent on the reluctance of the American people and Congress to pursue aggressive expansionism (save for the expansion across the continent, wiping out Native American populations for American Lebensraum and the slow, increasing expression of trans-sovereign rights in Latin America, long considered u201CAmerica's backyardu201D).
World War II, then, presented a new opportunity, and a new challenge for America in the world. The opportunity was to become the worlds most powerful empire history had ever witnessed; the challenge, then, was to justify it in explicitly anti-imperial rhetoric. America, thus, was not a reluctant or accidental empire, nor, for that matter, a benevolent one. America was chosen to be an empire; it was strategised, discussed, debated, planned and implemented. The key architects of this empire were the bankers and corporations which arose out of America's Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, the philanthropic foundations they established in the early 20th century, the prominent think tanks created throughout the first half of the 20th century, and the major academics, strategists and policy-makers who emerged from the foundation-funded universities, institutes, think tanks, and the business community, and who dominated the corridors of power in the planning circles that made policy.
No sooner had World War II begun than American strategists began calling for a new global American empire. Henry R. Luce, a Yale graduate and founder of Time Magazine, Life, and Fortune, was among America's most influential publishers in the first half of the 20th century. A strong supporter of the Republican Party and virulent anti-Communist, Luce was also a staunch advocate of fascism in Europe — notably Mussolini's Italy and Nazi Germany — as a means of preventing the spread of Communism. In 1941, Luce wrote a famous article in Life entitled, u201CThe American Century,u201D in which he stated that, u201Cthe 20th Century must be to a significant degree an American Century.u201D Luce wrote that America has u201Cthat indefinable, unmistakable sign of leadership: prestige.u201D As such, unlike past empires like Rome, Genghis Khan, or Imperial Britain, u201CAmerican prestige throughout the world is faith in the good intentions as well as the ultimate intelligence and ultimate strength of the whole American people.u201D Luce felt that the u201Cabundant lifeu201D of America should be made available u201Cfor all mankind,u201D as soon as mankind embraces u201CAmerica's vision.u201D Luce wrote:
It must be a sharing with all peoples of our Bill of Rights, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our magnificent industrial products, our technical skills. It must be an internationalism of the people, by the people and for the people… We must undertake now to be the Good Samaritan of the entire world.
While Luce was perhaps the first theorist to posit the specific concept of u201Cthe American Century,u201D the actual work done to create this century (or at least the latter half of it) for America was chiefly initiated by the Council on Foreign Relations, and the prominent strategist Dean Acheson, among others. As Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Dean Acheson delivered a speech at Yale entitled, u201CAn American Attitude Toward Foreign Affairs,u201D in which he articulated a vision of America in the near future, and as he later recalled, it was at the time of delivering this speech that Acheson began u201Cwork on a new postwar world system.u201D Acheson declared in his speech that, u201COur vital interests… do not permit us to be indifferent to the outcomeu201D of the wars erupting in Europe and Asia. The causes of the war, according to Acheson, were in u201Cthe failure of some mechanisms of the Nineteenth Century world economy,u201D which resulted in u201Cthis break-up of the world into exclusive areas for armed exploitation administered along oriental lines.u201D Recreating a world peace, posited Acheson, would require u201Ca broader market for goods made under decent standards,u201D as well as u201Ca stable international monetary systemu201D and the removal of u201Cexclusive preferential trade agreements.u201D Essentially, it was an advocacy for a global liberal economic order as the means to world peace, and without a hint of irony, Acheson then called for the immediate establishment of u201Ca navy and air force adequate to secure us in both oceans simultaneously and with striking power sufficient to reach to the other side of each of them.u201D Dean Acheson was also closely involved in the Council on Foreign Relations' plans for the shaping of the post-War world order.
The Council on Foreign Relations and the “Grand Area”
Before America had even entered the war in late 1941, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was planning for America's assumed entry into the war. The CFR effectively undertook a policy coup d'tat over American foreign policy with the Second World War. When war broke out, the Council began a u201Cstrictly confidentialu201D project called the War and Peace Studies, in which top CFR members collaborated with the US State Department in determining US policy, and the project was entirely financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. The War and Peace Studies project had come up with a number of initiatives for the post-War world. One of the most important objectives it laid out was the identification of what areas of the world America would need to control in order to facilitate strong economic growth. This came to be known as the u201CGrand Area,u201D and it included:
Latin America, Europe, the colonies of the British Empire, and all of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia was necessary as a source of raw materials for Great Britain and Japan and as a consumer of Japanese products. The American national interest was then defined in terms of the integration and defense of the Grand Area, which led to plans for the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank and eventually to the decision to defend Vietnam from a Communist takeover at all costs.
In 1940, the Council on Foreign Relations also began a wide-ranging study of the war-time economic needs of the United States (prior to U.S. entry into the war), called the Financial and Economic Experts, which divided the world into four main blocs: continental Europe (which was dominated by Germany at the time), the U.S. –Western hemisphere, the United Kingdom and its colonial and commonwealth nations, and the Far-East-Pacific Area, including Japan, China, and the Dutch East Indies. The study compiled a list of each region's main imports and exports. Upon completion of the study in the fall of 1940, the Council sent its conclusions and policy recommendations to President Roosevelt and the State Department. The conclusions stated that the United States needed larger export markets for its products, and specifically that the U.S. needed u201Cliving spaceu201D (or as the Nazi German state referred to it, Lebensraum) throughout the Western hemisphere and beyond, as well as trade and u201Ceconomic integrationu201D with the Far East and the British Empire/Commonwealth blocs. The report stated bluntly, u201Cas a minimum, the American u2018national interests' involved the free access to markets and raw materials in the British Empire, the Far East, and the entire Western hemisphere.u201D
This was the foundation for the Grand Area designs of the Council in the post-War world. The Grand Area project emphasized that for America to manage the u201CGrand Areasu201D of the world, multilateral organizations would be needed to help facilitate u201Cappropriate measures in the fields of trade, investment, and monetary arrangements.u201D The study further emphasized the need to maintain u201Cmilitary supremacyu201D in order to help facilitate control of these areas. As the Council's 1940 report to the U.S. State Department stated: u201CThe foremost requirement of the United States in a world in which it proposes to hold unquestioned power is the rapid fulfillment of a program of complete re-armament,u201D which would u201Cinvolve increased military expenditures and other risks.u201D
While the Grand Area project was made and designed for the United States during World War II, it included plans for the post-War world, and included continental Europe in its designs following the assumed defeat of Germany. Thus, as economist Ismael Hossein-Zadeh wrote, u201Cmaking the Grand Area global.u201D The idea behind the u201CGrand Areau201D was u201Ceven more grandiose — one world economy dominated by the United States,u201D and the study itself suggested that the Grand Area u201Cwould then be an organized nucleus for building an integrated world economy after the war.u201D As Shoup and Minter wrote in their study of the Council, Imperial Brain Trust, u201Cthe United States had to enter the war and organize a new world order satisfactory to the United States.u201D Benevolent, indeed.
Following Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the War, the Council concluded as early as 1941 that the defeat of the Axis powers was simply a matter of time. As such, they were advancing their plans for the post-War world, expanding the Grand Area to:
include the entire globe. A new world order with international political and economic institutions was projected, which would join and integrate all of the earth's nations under the leadership of the United States. The Unification of the whole world was now the aim of the Council [on Foreign Relations] and government planners.
As a part of this planning process, the U.S. Department of State formed the Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy in late December of 1941, of which the first document that was produced, u201Cstressed the danger of another world depression and the need to provide confidence in world economic stability.u201D Thus, u201Cthe United States had to be involved with the internal affairs of the key industrial and raw materials-producing countries.u201D A key question in this was, as one postwar planner articulated, u201Chow to create purchasing power outside of our country which would be converted into domestic purchasing power through exportation.u201D The idea was about u201Cdevising appropriate institutionsu201D which would fulfill this role, ultimately resting with the formation of the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later known as the World Bank). The postwar planners had to continually construct an idea of an international order, directed by the United States, which would not so easily resemble the formal colonial period or its methods of exerting hegemony.
Recommendations of the Council suggested that such new international financial institutions were necessary in terms of u201Cstabilizing currencies and facilitating programs of capital investment for constructive undertakings in backward and underdeveloped regions.u201D These plans included for the establishment of an International Reconstruction Finance Corporations and an u201Cinternational investment agency which would stimulate world trade and prosperity by facilitating investment in development programs the world over.u201D These plans were drafted in recommendations and given to President Roosevelt and the Department of State.
One Council member suggested that, u201CIt might be wise to set up two financial institutions: one an international exchange stabilization board and one an international bank to handle short-term transactions not directly concerned with stabilization.u201D Thus, the Council drafted in 1941 and 1942 plans that would result in the formation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which formally emerged from the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, an event that is commonly acknowledged as the u201Cbirthplaceu201D of the World Bank and IMF, thus ignoring their ideological origins at the Council on Foreign Relations two-to-three years prior. The internal department committees established in the Department of State and Treasury were well represented by Council members who drew up the final plans for the creation of these two major institutions.
Whereas the League of Nations had been a major objective of the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation-funded Council on Foreign Relations following World War I, so too was the United Nations near the end of World War II. A steering committee consisting of U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and five Council on Foreign Relations members was formed in 1943. One of the Council members, Isaiah Bowman,
suggested a way to solve the problem of maintaining effective control over weaker territories while avoiding overt imperial conquest. At a Council [on Foreign Relations] meeting in May 1942, he stated that the United States had to exercise the strength needed to assure u201Csecurity,u201D and at the same time u201Cavoid conventional forms of imperialism.u201D The way to do this, he argued, was to make the exercise of that power international in character through a United Nations body.
The u201Csecret steering committee,u201D later called the Informal Agenda Group, undertook a series of consultations and meetings with foreign governments which would be essential in creating the new institution, including the Soviet Union, Canada, and Britain, and the Charter of the United Nations was subsequently decided upon with the consent of President Roosevelt in June 1944. The Informal Agenda Group was made up of six individuals, including Secretary of State Cordell Hull. All of them, with the exception of Hull, were Council members. President Roosevelt had referred to them as u201Cmy postwar advisers,u201D and aside from formal policy recommendations, they u201Cserved as advisers to the Secretary of State and the President on the final decisions.u201D By December 1943, a new member was added to the Group, Under Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., who was not only a Council member, but was also a former top executive at United States Steel and was the son of a partner in the J.P. Morgan Bank. After the Group had drafted the recommendations for a United Nations body, Secretary Hull had asked three lawyers to rule on its constitutionality. The three lawyers he chose were Charles Evan Hughes, John W. Davis, and Nathan L. Miller. Both Hughes and Davis were Council members, and John Davis was even a former President of the Council and remained as a Director. John D. Rockefeller Jr. subsequently gifted the United Nations with $8.5 million in order to buy the land for its headquarters in New York City.
NOTE: This was but a small sample from the chapter on the origins of the American Empire in the post-World War II world. The very same chapter includes the internal policy discussions relating to the formation of the Cold War, the establishment of the National Security State, and the advancement of policy programs aimed at securing the u201CGrand Areasu201D for American dominance around the world. The chapter also studies the emergence of the Marshall Plan, NATO, European integration, the Bilderberg Group, and a number of other institutions and ideas related to establishing and expanding a “New World Order.”
 Robert Kagan, u201CThe Benevolent Empire,u201D Foreign Policy (No. 111, Summer 1998), page 26.
 Ibid, page 28.
 Sebastian Mallaby, u201CThe Reluctant Imperialist: Terrorism, Failed States, and the Case for American Empire,u201D Foreign Affairs (Vol. 81, No. 2, March-April 2002), page 6.
 Ibid, page 2.
 Niall Ferguson, u201CThe Unconscious Colossus: Limits of (& Alternatives to) American Empire,u201D Daedalus (Vol. 134, No. 2, On Imperialism, Spring 2005), page 21.
 Ibid, pages 21-22.
 Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., u201CThe American Empire? Not so Fast,u201D World Policy Journal (Vol. 22, No. 1, Spring 2005), page 45.
 Michael Cox, u201CEmpire by Denial: The Strange Case of the United States,u201D International Affairs (Vol. 81, No. 1, January 2005), page 18.
 Geir Lundestad, u201C‘Empire by Invitation' in the American Century,u201D Diplomatic History (Vol. 23, No. 2, Spring 1999), page 189.
 Bruce Cumings, u201CThe American Century and the Third World,u201D Diplomatic History (Vol. 23, No. 2, Spring 1999), page 356.
 Ibid, pages 358-359.
 CFR, War and Peace. CFR History: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/war_peace.html
 Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (New York: State University of New York Press, 2003), page 74.
 Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), pages 43-45.
 Ibid, page 45.
 Ibid, page 46.
 Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (Authors Choice Press, New York: 2004), page 118.
 Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), page 48.
 Ibid, pages 49-51.
 Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (Authors Choice Press, New York: 2004), pages 166-167.
 Ibid, pages 168-169.
 Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (New York: State University of New York Press, 2003), page 159.
 Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), page 51.
 Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (Authors Choice Press, New York: 2004), pages 169-171.
 Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (New York: State University of New York Press, 2003), page 160.
Reprinted with permission from Andrew Gavin Marshall’s website.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of The People's Book Project. Visit his website.