History of US foreign policy since World War II

Printer-friendly version

History of US foreign policy since World War II

The world has come a long way since the collapse of the bipolar division of the world that characterized the 45-year period of the Cold War. The era of peace, prosperity and democracy that the world bourgeoisie promised with the collapse of the Russian bloc in 1989 has of course never materialized. Indeed the decomposition of capitalist society, which was a consequence of the stalemate in class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie after two decades of open economic crisis and triggered the collapse of Stalinism, has relentlessly spiraled deeper and deeper into chaos, violence, death and destruction, as humanity is brought closer and closer to a future of barbarism. At the time of the writing of this article, President George W. Bush has just announced that the United States was ready to invade Iraq, with or without international support, even in the face of a failure to get a Security Council sanction for its military action. The breach between Washington and the capitals of major European countries, and even China, on the question of this imminent war is palpable. It is particularly appropriate at this conjuncture to examine the roots of American imperialist policy since the end of World War II, so as to better understand the current situation.

The dominant position of American imperialism at the end of World War II

As the second imperialist world war drew to a close in 1945, the global imperialist terrain had been vastly altered. “Before World War II there were six great powers: Great Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States. By the end of the war, the United States stood alone, easily the most powerful nation in the world, its power greatly increased by its mobilization and war effort, its rivals defeated, and its allies exhausted” (D.S. Painter, Encyclopedia of US Foreign Policy, p.273). The imperialist war “destroyed the old balance of power, leaving Germany and Japan crushed and impotent and reducing Great Britain and France to second or even third-rate powers” (George C. Herring, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, p. 112).

During the war the US, with over 12 million men under arms, had doubled its Gross National Product, and by the end of the war it accounted for “half of the world’s manufacturing capacity, most of its food surpluses, and almost all of its financial reserves. The United States held the lead in a wide range of technologies essential to modern warfare and economic prosperity. Possession of extensive domestic oil supplies and control over access to the vast oil reserves of Latin America and the Middle East contributed to the US position of global dominance” (Painter, op. cit). America possessed the world’s most powerful military. Its Navy dominated the seas, its air forces the skies, its army occupied Japan, and part of Germany, and it enjoyed a global monopoly on atomic weapons, which it had shown at Hiroshima and Nagasaki that it would not shrink from using to advance its imperialist interests. American strength was favoured by advantages accruing from America’s relative geographic isolation. Distant from the epicentre of both world wars, the American homeland had suffered none of the massive destruction of the means of production that the European nations had experienced, and its civilian population had been spared the terror of air raids, bombardments, deportations, and concentration camps that led to the death of millions of non-combatants in Europe (more than 20 million civilians in Russia alone).

Russia, devastated by the war, suffered perhaps 27 million military and civilian deaths, and a massive destruction of its manufacturing capacity, its agriculture and mining resources, and its transport infrastructure. It had an economy only one-fourth the size of the US. However, it benefited greatly from the total destruction of Germany and Japan, both of whom had historically checked Russian expansion in the west and east respectively. Great Britain was completely drained by six years of war mobilization. It had lost a quarter of its pre-war wealth, was deeply in debt, and “was in danger of slipping from the ranks of the great powers” (ibid). France, defeated easily early in the war, damaged by German occupation, and divided by collaboration with Germany occupation forces “no longer counted as a great power” (ibid).

Even before the end of the war the American bourgeoisie was already preparing for the formation of a military bloc for the anticipated future confrontation with Stalinist Russia. For example, some bourgeois commentators (Painter, Herring) have argued that the civil war in Greece in 1944 was a precursor of the future US-Russian confrontation. This preoccupation with a future confrontation with Russian imperialism could be seen in the bickering and delays over the Allied invasion of Europe to relieve pressure on Russia by opening a second front in the west. Originally Roosevelt promised an invasion in 1942, or early 1943, but it didn’t come until June 1944. The Russians complained that the Allies were “deliberately holding back assistance to weaken the Soviet Union, thus allowing themselves to dictate the terms of the peace” (Herring, op cit, p. 112). The same preoccupation also explains the use of nuclear weapons against Japan in August 1945, even as that country sent out feelers for a negotiated surrender, which was designed a) to win the war before Russian imperialism could enter the war in the East, and stake a claim for territory and influence in the region, and b) to give a warning to the Russians as to the true scale of American military might as the post war era began to dawn.

However, if the US anticipated confrontation with Moscow in the post-war era, it would be wrong to imply that they understood completely, or accurately, the precise contours of that competition, or Moscow’s imperialist designs. Roosevelt in particular seemed to cling to outdated, 19th century conceptions of imperialist spheres of influence, and hoped for Russian cooperation in building a new world order in the post war period, with Moscow in a subordinate role (Painter, op. cit., p.277). In this sense, Roosevelt apparently believed that granting Stalin a buffer zone in Eastern Europe to provide safeguard against its historic German adversary would satisfy Russia’s imperialist appetites. However, even at Yalta where much of this framework was laid out there were disputes over British and American participation in the determination of the future of the Eastern European nations, including especially Poland.

In the 18 months after the end of the war, President Truman confronted a more alarming picture of Russian expansionism. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had already been reabsorbed by Russia by the end of the war; puppet regimes had been established in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria and in the part of Germany controlled by Russian forces. In 1946, Russia delayed its withdrawal from Iran, supported dissident forces there, and tried to extract oil concessions. Pressure was put on Turkey to grant increased Russian access to the Black Sea and Stalinist guerrillas resumed their civil war in Greece after disputed elections. And at the United Nations, Moscow rejected an American plan on the control of atomic weapons, which would have granted the US the right to maintain its nuclear monopoly, thus signaling its own plans to join the nuclear arms race.

In February, 1946, George Keenan, a young State Department expert stationed in Moscow, drafted his famous “long telegram” which presented a view of Russia as an “intractable” foe, bent on an expansionist policy to spread its power and influence, which became the basis of American Cold War policy. The alarm sounded by Keenan seemed to be confirmed by Moscow’s growing influence throughout the world. Stalinist parties in France, Italy, Greece and Vietnam seemed posed to take power. European nations faced immense pressure to de-colonise their pre-war empires, particularly the Near East and Asia. The Truman administration embraced a strategy of containment to block any further spread of Russian power.

The containment of “communism”

In the initial aftermath of the war, the primary strategic goal of American imperialism was the defence of Europe, to prevent any nations beyond those already ceded to Russian imperialism at Yalta from falling to Stalinism. The doctrine was called “containment,” and it was designed to resist the further spread of Russia imperialism’s tentacles in Europe and the Near East. This doctrine emerged as a counter measure to Russian imperialism’s post war offensive. Beginning in 1945/46, Russian imperialism aggressively staked imperialist claims in two theatres of traditional Russian interests in Eastern Europe, and the Near East that had alarmed Washington. In Poland, Moscow disregarded Yalta’s guarantee of “free” elections and imposed a puppet regime, the civil war in Greece was rekindled, pressures were brought to bear on Turkey, and Moscow refused to withdraw its troops from northern Iran. At the same time, Germany and Western Europe remained a shambles, with efforts to begin reconstruction and to negotiate to formally settle the war at a standstill due to big power bickering, while the Stalinist parties enjoyed tremendous influence in the devastated countries of Western Europe, especially France and Italy. Defeated Germany was another focal point for confrontation: Russian imperialism demanded reparations and guarantees that a reconstructed Germany would never again pose a threat.

In order to contain the spread of Russian “communism” the Truman administration responded in 1946 by supporting the Iranian regime against Russia, assuming previous British responsibilities in the eastern Mediterranean by providing massive military aid to Turkey and Greece in early 1947, and by initiating the Marshall Plan in June 1947 to begin the reconstruction of Western Europe. While it is beyond the scope of this article to go into detail about the nature and mechanisms involved in the economic revitalization of Western Europe, it is important to understand that economic assistance was a critical factor in combating Russian influence. Economic assistance was supplemented by a policy of fostering pro-Western (i.e. pro-Washington) institutions and organizations, creating anti-Communist trade unions and political organizations, with AFL[1] operatives working hand in glove with the CIA to make Western Europe safe for American capitalism. The Force Ouvrière trade union in France and the left-wing New Statesman review in Britain are two prominent examples of American gold being showered upon non-communists in post war Europe. “US assistance allowed moderate governments to devote massive resources to reconstruction and to expand their countries’ exports without imposing politically unacceptable and socially divisive austerity programs that would have been necessary without US aid. US assistance also helped counteract what US leaders saw as a dangerous drift away from free enterprise and toward collectivism. By favoring some policies and opposing others the United States not only influenced how European and Japanese elites defined their own interests but also altered the internal balance of power among the decision-making groups. Thus US aid policies facilitated the ascendancy of centrist parties, such as the Christian Democrats in West Germany and Italy and the more conservative Liberal Democratic Party in Japan” (Painter, op cit, p. 278)

The economic revitalization of Western Europe was followed quickly by the foundation of the NATO alliance, which in turn prompted the formation of the Warsaw Pact, and hence set the strategic confrontation that would prevail in Europe until the collapse of Stalinism at the end of the 1980s. Despite the fact that both military pacts were supposed to be mutual security alliances, each was in fact totally dominated by the bloc leader.

The creation of a bipolar world order

Despite the confrontations described above, the creation of the bipolar imperialist world order that characterized the Cold War did not emerge instantaneously with the end of World War II. While the US was clearly the dominant leader, France, Great Britain, and other European powers still had illusions of independence and power. While American policy makers talked privately of creating a new empire under their control, in public they maintained the fiction of mutual co-operation and partnership with Western Europe. For example, four power summits, with the heads of state of the US, Russia, Britain and France in attendance continued throughout the 1950s, eventually shriveling into nothingness as American imperialism consolidated its dominance. From the 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the summits were limited just to the US and Russia, with the European “partners” often totally excluded even from consultation in advance of the meetings.

After the war Great Britain was the world’s third greatest power – a distant third at that – but in the early days of the Cold War, there was a tendency to substantially overestimate British capabilities. There was still a remnant of US imperialist rivalry with Britain, and even perhaps a tendency to want to use Russia to counter balance the British, while at the same time a belief that Britain could be counted upon to hold the line in Europe against Russian expansionism. In this sense responsibility for blocking Russia in Greece was handed over to the British as the predominant European power in the eastern Mediterranean. However, this led to a rude awakening in 1947, when the British had to call the US to come to the rescue. Thus it took some time for the US to see more clearly the precise role they would have to play in Europe, and for the bipolar division of the world to occur.

Despite their enormous military and economic importance, the European countries were dragged kicking and screaming into submission to the will of their imperialist master. Pressure was put on reluctant European powers to give up their colonies in Africa and Asia, in part to strip them of the vestiges of their past imperialist glories, in part to counter Russian inroads in Africa and Asia, and in part to give American imperialism more opportunity to exert influence in the former colonies. This of course did not stop the Europeans from trying to convince the Americans to pursue mutually agreeable policy orientations, as for example when the British tried to get the Americans to support their policy towards Egypt’s Nasser in 1956. French and British imperialism, acting in concert with the Israelis, attempted the last overt act of independent imperialist initiative by playing their own card in the Suez Crisis of 1956, but the US showed the British that they would not allow themselves to be used. Britain was given a lesson that it could not presume to negotiate from a position of American strength, and incurred a swift disciplinary intervention by the US. France, however, stubbornly tried to maintain the illusion of its independence of American domination by withdrawing its forces from NATO command in 1966, and insisting that any NATO offices be removed from French territory by 1967.

The unity and continuity in American imperialist policy during the Cold War

Isolationism as a serious political current within the American ruling class was completely neutralized by the events at Pearl Harbor in 1941, which were used by Roosevelt to force isolationists, as well as pro-German elements within the American bourgeoisie, to abandon their positions. Since World War II isolationist viewpoints within the bourgeoisie have essentially been confined to elements of the fringe right and are not a serious factor in foreign policy formulation. The Cold War against Russian imperialism was clearly a unified policy of the bourgeoisie. Whatever divergences that appeared to surface were largely window dressing for the democratic charade, with the exception of the divergences over the Vietnam War after 1968, which will be discussed in the next article in this series. The Cold War began under Truman, the Democrat who came to power with the death of Roosevelt in 1945. It was Truman who dropped the atomic bomb, undertook efforts to block Russian imperialism in Europe and the Near East, introduced the Marshall Plan, initiated the Berlin airlift, formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and committed American troops to war in Korea.

In the 1952 election campaign, conservative Republicans, it is true, criticized Truman’s policy of containment, as a concession to “communism,” a form of appeasement that tacitly or explicitly accepted Russian domination of countries already under their influence or control and only opposed the spread of Russian imperialism to new countries. Instead these conservative elements called for “rollback,” an active policy of pushing back Russian imperialism towards its own borders. But despite the fact that the Republican Eisenhower came to power in 1952, and ruled through the height of the 1950s Cold War in Europe, there was in fact no attempt at rollback ever undertaken by American imperialism. US strategy remained one of containment. Thus in 1956, during the Hungarian uprising, American imperialism made no intervention, except propagandistic, implicitly acknowledging Russia’s prerogative to suppress rebellion in its own sphere of influence. On the other hand, under Eisenhower, US imperialism clearly continued the strategy of containment, moving into the breach in Indochina, following the defeat of French imperialism in the region, by undermining the Geneva Accords, to block eventual unification of Vietnam by bolstering the regime in the South, by maintaining the division of Korea and turning South Korea into a showplace for western capitalism in the Far East, and by moving to oppose Fidel Castro’s regime and its overtures towards Moscow. The continuity of this policy can be seen in that it was the conservative Republican Eisenhower administration that planned the Bay of Pigs invasion, but it was the liberal Democrat Kennedy, whose administration carried it out.

It was the liberal Democrat Johnson, who first began to develop the notion of détente – he called it “building bridges” and “peaceful engagement” – in 1966, but it was the conservative Nixon, a Republican, with Henry Kissinger at his side, who presided over the flowering of détente in the early 1970s. And it was the Democrat Carter, not Reagan, who began the process of dismantling détente and reviving the Cold War. Carter made human rights a cornerstone of his foreign policy, which while it forced certain changes in the antiquated military dictatorships that dominated Latin America, also alienated Moscow and revived anti-Russian propaganda. In 1977, NATO adopted three Carter proposals: 1) détente with Moscow had to be based on a position of strength (based on the Harmel Report adopted in 1967); 2) a commitment to standardization of military equipment within NATO and further integration of NATO forces on the operational level; 3) revival of the arms race, through what came to be known as the Long-Term Defense Program (LTDP), which started with a call for beefing up conventional weaponry in NATO countries. In response to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Carter switched to fully-fledged Cold Warrior stance, essentially ending détente, refusing to submit the Salt II treaty to the Senate for ratification, and organising the American boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. In December 1979, under Carter’s leadership, NATO adopted a “dual track” rearmament strategy – negotiating with Moscow to cut or eliminate Russia’s intermediate range nuclear SS20 missiles aimed at Western Europe by 1983, but at the same time preparing to deploy equivalent US missiles (464 cruise missiles in the UK, Holland, Belgium and Italy and 108 Pershings in West Germany) in the event that agreement with Moscow were not reached. In this sense, Reagan’s support to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, acceleration of the arms race, and deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe 1983-84, which triggered so much protest in Europe, was in complete continuity with American policy initiatives undertaken on Carter’s watch rather than a divergence from it. The strategic goal of preventing the rise of a rival power in Asia or Europe that might challenge the US was developed at the end of the first Bush administration, continued through the Clinton administration, and is now at the heart of Bush the younger’s policy. Even the much ballyhooed war against Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda unleashed by the Bush administration after 9/11 is a continuation of a policy begun under the Clinton administration, even if it is elevated to a higher level of open combat, designed primarily to establish and solidify the American presence in Central Asia. Likewise, the necessity for US imperialism to be prepared to take unilateral action militarily was developed in the Clinton administration, and taken up by the current Bush regime. The overarching continuity in American imperialist policy is a reflection of the central characteristic of state capitalist policy-making in decadent capitalism, where the permanent bureaucracy, not the legislature, is the locus of political power. This is of course not to deny that sometimes that are significant policy divergences within the bourgeoisie in the US that stand in sharp contrast to the overall unity. The two most glaring examples were Vietnam and the China policy in the late 1990s that led to the impeachment of Clinton, both of which will be discussed below.

The Korean War: containment in action in the Far East

While East-West tensions in Western Europe, especially in Germany and Berlin, and in the Near East had preoccupied American imperialist policy makers in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, events in the Far East soon rang alarm bells. With a US military government in place in Japan, and a friendly nationalist regime in China, which would also serve as a permanent member of the Security Council, the US had anticipated a dominant role in the Far East. The fall of the nationalist regime in 1949 raised the spectre of Russian expansionism in the Far East. Even though Moscow had done plenty to alienate Mao’s leadership during the war years, and had a working relationship with the nationalists, Washington feared a rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow as a real challenge to US interests in the region. The blockage of a Russian led attempt to win UN recognition for Red China in the UN, led Moscow to walk out of the Security Council, boycotting that body for seven months, until August 1950.

Moscow’s Security Council boycott would have a profound impact in June 1950, when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Truman immediately ordered American forces in the battle to defend the pro-western regime in South Korea, a full week prior to a Security Council vote authorizing military action under US leadership, demonstrating that American imperialism’s predisposition to take unilateral action is not a recent invention. Not only did American troops enter battle in Korea before the UN authorization, but even after it became a UN-endorsed operation, and 16 other nations sent forces to participate in the “police action,” the American commander reported directly to Washington, not to the UN. Had Moscow been present in the Security Council it could have exercised a veto to bloc UN military intervention, prompting an earlier version of the same drama we have witnessed in the past few months as to what degree American imperialism would go it alone to defend its imperialist interests.

Some bourgeois analysts suggest that the Russian boycott was in fact motivated by a desire to avoid the possibility of an early acceptance of Mao’s regime by the UN in a new vote and instead to use the time to cement relations between Moscow and Beijing. Zbigniew Brzezinski even suggested that it was “a calculated move deliberately designed to stimulate American-Chinese hostility…the predominant US inclination prior to the Korean War was to seek some sort of an accommodation with the new government on the Chinese mainland. In any case, the opportunity to stimulate a head-on clash between America and China must have been welcomed by Stalin, and deservedly so. The ensuing 20 ears of American-Chinese hostility were certainly a net gain for the Soviet Union” (“How the Cold War Was Played,” Foreign Affairs, 1972, p.186-187).

Cuban Missile Crisis and the brink of nuclear war

Fidel Castro’s overthrow of the US-supported dictator Battista in 1959 posed a serious dilemma within the bipolar Cold War confrontation and brought the superpowers to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. The character of Castro’s revolution was at first unclear. Draped in an ideology of democratic populism, with a certain romanticisation of the guerrilla thrown into the sauce, Castro was not a member of the Stalinist party, and his links to it were quite strained. However, his nationalisations of American-owned properties in the initial moments after taking power, quickly alienated Washington. American animosity only operated to push Castro into the arms of Moscow for foreign aid and military assistance. The CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, originally planned under Eisenhower and executed by Kennedy, demonstrated American commitment to the overthrow of the Russian-backed regime. For the US, the existence of a regime in its own backyard, linked to Moscow was intolerable. Ever since the Monroe Doctrine, promulgated in 1823, the US had maintained a position that the Americas were off-limits to European imperialisms. To have its Cold War adversary establish a beachhead just ninety miles from American territory in Florida was absolutely unacceptable to Washington.

By the fall of 1962, Castro and the Russians expected an imminent American invasion, and in fact under Robert Kennedy’s instigation, in November 1961, Washington had begun Operation Mongoose, which planned for a military operation against Cuba in mid-October 1962, conducted under the umbrella of a US-inspired decision of the Organisation of American States to exclude Cuba from membership and to prohibit arms sales to Castro. “On 1 October, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered military preparations for a blockade, an air strike, an invasion, with ‘maximum readiness’ for the last two actions to be achieved by 20 October” (B.J. Bernstein, Encyclopedia of US Foreign Relations, p.388). At the same time the US had installed 15 Jupiter missiles in Turkey, near Russia’s southern border, aimed at targets in Russia, which Moscow found unacceptable.

Moscow sought to counter both threats through one measure: the deployment of nuclear missiles aimed at the United States in Cuba. The Kennedy administration miscalculated Moscow’s intentions, and considered that the deployment of the missiles was an offensive, not defensive, measure, and demanded the immediate dismantling and withdrawal of the missiles already deployed, and that any other missiles en-route to Cuba be returned to Russia. Because a naval blockade of Cuban waters would have been an act of war under international law, the Kennedy administration announced a “quarantine” of Cuban waters, and prepared to stop Russian vessels suspected of carrying missiles on the high seas, in international waters. The whole crisis occurred on the eve of the midterm Congressional elections in November 1962, in which Kennedy apparently feared a rightwing Republican triumph if he appeared weak in confrontation with Khrushchev, though it is difficult to believe, as some historians claim, that Kennedy was motivated more by domestic political considerations than foreign policy and defense strategies. After all because of their proximity to the US, the Russian missiles in Cuba increased Moscow’s capacity to hit the continental US with nuclear warheads by 50%, constituting a major alteration in the balance of terror of the Cold War. In this context the administration pushed hard and brought the world to the brink of direct nuclear confrontation, especially when the Russians successfully shot down a U2 spy-plane in the middle of the crisis. triggering demands from the Joint Chiefs of Staff for an immediate attack on Cuba. At one point, Robert Kennedy “suggested looking for a pretext – ‘sink the Maine or something’ and go to war with the Soviets.[2] Better then, than later, he concluded” (Bernstein, p. 390). Finally a behind the scenes deal was reached with Khrushchev when the Americans offered to secretly remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey in return for the withdrawal of the Russian missiles from Cuba. Because the American concession was kept secret Kennedy was able to claim a complete victory in forcing Khrushchev to back down. The huge propaganda coup for the US may have severely undermined Khrushchev’s authority within the Russian ruling circles and contributed to his removal shortly thereafter. The members of the Kennedy inner circle maintained the fiction for nearly two decades, lying in their various memoirs. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the facts surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis and the secret agreement that ended it were revealed (Bernstein, op cit.). Sobered by coming so close to the brink of nuclear war, Moscow and Washington agreed to establish a “hotline” means of communication between the White House and the Kremlin, reached agreement on a nuclear test ban treaty, and focused more on confrontation through proxies for the rest of the Cold War.

Proxy wars during the Cold War

Throughout the Cold War Russian and American imperialism never confronted each other directly in armed combat, but rather through a series of proxy wars, which were confined to the peripheral countries, never involving the metropoles of world capitalism, never posing a danger of spiralling out of control into a world war or a nuclear conflagration, with the exception of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Most often these peripheral conflicts involved proxies representing both sides, usually a client government backed by American imperialism, and a national liberation movement backed by Moscow. Less frequently the conflicts involved either Russia or the US fighting a proxy for the other, as when the US fought in Korea, or Vietnam, or when the Russians fought the US-backed and supplied Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. In general the insurgents were supported by the weaker bloc (i.e., the so-called wars for national liberation supported by Stalinism throughout the Cold War). Notable exceptions, were Angola and Afghanistan where the rebels were supported by the US. In general advances achieved in this deadly imperialist chess game by Russian proxies, brought a larger and more devastating response from US proxies, for example the Middle East wars where Israel pushed back Russian supported Arab offensives repeatedly and overwhelmingly. Despite the numerous liberation struggles it backed throughout four decades, Russian imperialism was seldom successful in establishing a lasting beachhead outside its existing sphere of influence. Various states in the third world would play the two blocs off against each other, flirt with Moscow, accepting its military supplies, but never completely or permanently integrating into its orbit. Nowhere was the inability of Russian imperialism to spread permanently its influence more glaring than in Latin America, where it was never able to expand its influence beyond Cuba. In fact unable to spread Stalinism to Latin America Cuba was forced to repay its aid from Russia by sending shock troops to Angola in the service of Moscow.

(to be continued)

J. Grevin



1 American Federation of Labour, the main US trades union organisation.

2 In 1898, the battleship USS Maine was destroyed in Havana harbour by a mysterious explosion. The US government immediately seized on the pretext to declare war on Spain, with the aim of "liberating" Cuba. Modern historians agree that the US government of the time showed no interest in discovering the true cause of the disaster, now believed to have been the poor design of the ship which had its ammunition stored too close to its boiler room.

This is yet another example of the machiavellianism of the bourgeoisie, which constantly looks for and invents pretexts to provide cover for its imperialist gambits. See “Twin Towers and the machiavellianism of the bourgeoisie” in International Review n° 108

Historic events: