Magazine article The Nation

A New History

Magazine article The Nation

A New History

Article excerpt

A New History

The spectacle of what a Soviet Foreign Ministry official appearing on U.S. television called "the death throes of bureaucratic administrative socialism" has for a time obscured the less dramatic but far wider crisis of the world order in which East and West--and North and South--participate. The convulsions of Eastern Europe cannot be contained in one region, no more than they can be understood as pertinent to one political or economic system. A transformative moment has exploded on the world historical stage, and after it has passed the players still standing will have vastly different roles.

Successive Americanj administrations have based their policies on the rigidity of the cold war blocs. Since World War II the U.S. imperial mission has been rationalized by the Communist threat, and to a large extent American prosperity has been the result. In each decade except the 1970s the economy has been driven by military expenditures promoted as necessary counters to Communist thrusts in Western and Southern Europe, China, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and outer space. Vast chunks of the world have been secured as markets, labor pools and resource depots for American corporations and consumers. No covert op, secret war, dispatch of troops, political assassination or sleazy deal with a corrupt government has been too disgusting to abjure for the anti-Communist crusade.

President Bush must soon see that this comfortable and profitable arrangement has lost both its ideological and its political base. …

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