"America Won the Cold War!": An Introduction
We are predisposed to regard any conflict as a clash between good and evil rather than as simply a clash between conflicting interests. We are inclined to confuse freedom and democracy, which we regard as moral principles, with the way in which they are practiced in America -- with capitalism, federalism, and the two-party system, which are not moral principles but simply the preferred and accepted practices of the American people. There is much cant in American moralism and not a little inconsistency.
-- J. William Fulbright ( 1964, pp. 6-7)
I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy -- but that could change.
-- J. Danforth Quayle ( Anderson, 1989)
The cold war ended in Garry Trudeau's comic world in mid-June 1988, when the White House decided to interpret change in Eastern Europe and Asia as an American cold war victory. Within hours, "a tumultuous cold war victory parade" erupted in Times Square. Euphoric crowds chanted "We're number one!" and "USA!" and the Daily News headline proclaimed, "Cold War Over: We Won!" (The Seattle Times, June 13 and 14, 1988, p. F3).
Trudeau Doonesbury strip parodied the readiness among the public and the press to embrace uncritically their government's presumptuous and selfserving interpretations of world affairs. 1 His portrayal of simplistic official interpretations, immediate mass celebration, and enthusiastic press coverage was