Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War

By Reinhold Wagnleitner; Diana M. Wolf | Go to book overview

2
The Development of United States Cultural Foreign Policy

From the Private and Informal Export of Culture to the Institutionalization of Culture as a Means of Diplomacy

cultures are especially resistant to new patterns of thought, so much so that the introduction of new ideas usually comes to resemble domestication rather than assimilation. -- Frank A. Ninkovich, The Diplomacy of Ideas ( 1981)

Americans are old hands at this sort of thing. . . . We spend half of our lives selling one another, personally or through a vast system of media outlets, to buy this, support that, believe her, forget him and accept them. These appeals are not confined to ourselves. Ideologically we have never paid attention to the twelve mile limit. We are always shipping our ideas overseas. . . . The fact is that many of us feel a little Americanization wouldn't hurt the rest of the world. . . . Our Heavens-to-Betsy protestations about not wanting to impose our ideas on the rest of the world may convince us but our foreign critics know better. -- Wilson Dizard, The Strategy of Truth ( 1965)

Every analysis of U.S. foreign policy must begin with the deep-seated conviction held by the American people that the United States, in all its dealings with other nations, has a special destiny, a particular mission. This belief distinguishes the United States from all other countries in the world.1 The assumption of the worldwide relevance of its social system and the resulting missionary zeal--as exemplified in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny--were already a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy as the nation was founded.2 Until the outbreak of the Second World War, however, U.S. diplomacy toward Europe was wrapped in a rhetorical veil of terms such as "isolationism" and "neutrality," "disinterest" and "nonintervention." These set phrases, which were already rather unconvincing in the realm of "classic" U.S. power politics (e.g., in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and East Asia), were utterly irrelevant, especially in the areas of exporting U.S. goods and direct investments at least by the late nineteenth century. This is particularly true in the field of exporting ideas, especially in the projection of the United States as the

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