Why Communism — not Bananas or Big Oil — was the main factor

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A mural of Jacobo Arbenz, Guatemala’s democratically elected president from 1951–1954

On March 12th, 1947, President Harry Truman declared that “it must be the policy of the United States to assist free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities and by outside pressures.”

The “Truman Doctrine” was a bold commitment to contain Soviet expansionism and uphold the new liberal world order American officials had sought to establish after World War II. However, despite lofty rhetoric about protecting freedom, Washington’s promotion of democracy was far from consistent throughout the Cold War. While American officials advanced liberal values in Europe (for the most part) and Japan, they backed anti-communist tyrants in the third world as a part of a containment strategy. …

Idealism, not greed, has shaped US Foreign Policy in the Middle East since 9/11

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US Ground Forces in Syria in October, 2019

America’s blundering into Iraq, failure to achieve decisive victory in Afghanistan, and role in the destabilization of Libya have understandably left many throughout the world, including in the United States, feeling disillusioned with the use of American power abroad. And these are only a handful of numerous engagements in the Greater Middle East (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) that have either ended in stalemates or severely backfired.

It is only natural to ponder why the US continues to be mired in a myriad of endless conflicts in the region. For historian Andrew Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East, other considerations may play a role, but “oil has always defined the raison d’etre of the War for the Greater Middle East.” Social critics such as Glenn Greenwald and Noam Chomsky are at pains to rationalize every intervention in the region as part of an “imperial grand strategy.” More comically, in the Key and Peele sketch “Foreign Intervention,” an American ambassador to a war-torn African initially refuses to send military aid — but when he is informed that the country possesses vast oil reserves, he immediately changes his mind and initiates “Operation Golden Eagle.” …

Niranjan Shankar

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