Friday, March 18, 2005

They Make The Mess; You Have To Keep Cleaning It Up 

So George Kennan has died.
For those who may not know who he was, or remember him, he was (among many other things) one-time ambassador to the Soviet Union and creator of the CIA, who almost single-handedly engineered the policies that became known as the "Cold War"; that combination of fear-propagandizing, military-industrial build-up, and black ops that sent a generation scrambling around their backyards digging bomb shelters and helped make Boeing and Lockheed Martin what they are today.
When all the neo-cons and wingnuts were beatifying Reagan during the long, putrid week of boo-hooing after his death, you heard over and over how it was Reagan's hard-nosed dealings with the Soviets that brought down their empire. But Howard Zinn writes in his People's History of the United States that it was these policies, and the entire conduct of the Cold War, that actually delayed the breakup of the USSR, and he cites Kennan's own words:
"...the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union by the end of the 1980s."
The entire period of time from the end of World War II until 1989 was a grand shadow play made possible by the collusion of both political parties and the corporate profiteers who kept the Pentagon's bottomless maw filled with ever more outre weaponry and the paranoia to motivate taxpayers to permit themselves to be robbed for the purpose of funding it. George Kennan was a major player in all of it. You can read more about it here.

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