Economics Magazine

Book Update: The Making of the American Empire

Posted on the 12 December 2011 by Andrewgavinmarshall @A_G_Marshall

On my chapter(s) on the origins and making of the American Empire, from which I will post a sample this week, I discuss the post-War plans formed to shape an American-led ‘new world order’, written by the Council on Foreign Relations in cooperation with the U.S. State Department. The plans concluded on what was termed the “Grand Areas”, which designated the resource rich nations of the world as subject to American dominance and hegemony. I take the reader through the internal policy discussions within the corridors of power on debating the implementation and focus of policy. Several prominent strategists were central in this process, including Dean Acheson, George C. Marshall, and George F. Kennan, among others. Kennan wrote a State Department Policy Planning report in 1948 in which he explained that while Latin America, East Asia and the Middle East were to be controlled by America, Africa was to be left for the Europeans to “exploit” for their own development. The central focus being shaped in the post-War years was in shaping the Cold War between the democratic West and the Communist east.

With the shaping of a National Security Doctrine by President Truman, America was set on course for a permanent war footing, allowing it to constantly focus on “threats” around the world. With the Eisenhower administration coming to power in 1953, an increased emphasis was placed not only on the Soviet-American challenge, but on the emergence of the decolonization struggles in the “Third World,” which represented a far greater challenge to American strategists and elites than did the Soviet Union. General George C. Marshall, a Secretary of State in the Truman administration and Army Chief of Staff in the FDR administration (who originated the Marshall Plan for Europe), stated in the 1950s that what was being seen was a “world revolution” of the “little people.” Eisenhower’s administration expressed a great fear of the revolutionary “little people” of the world, who threatened American dominance. Eisenhower’s National Security Council articulated policies based largely upon this conception of the dominant global threat, when in 1953, the National Security Council produced a document on Latin America in which it explained that the central threat from the region was “radical nationalism” in which governments were attempting to meet the demands of “the masses” in wanting “an increased standard of living.” In 1954, the administration set itself against one of these “radical nationalist” regimes in Guatemala, which mistakenly elected a popular president who sought to serve the interests of the domestic population, and threaten the interests of the United Fruit Company. Not helping matters was the fact that United Fruit had extensive ties to the Council on Foreign Relations, which was urging intervention in Guatemala, as well as the fact that two individuals who were employed by United Fruit happened to be John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State and CIA Director, respectively. Thus, in 1954, the CIA overthrew the democratic government of Guatemala, and installed a ruthless dictatorship.

I continue to examine the strategic discussions as well as the actual implementation of plans in the post-War period to maintain and expand American and Western global dominance in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. There is a great deal more work to do on these chapters, however, I am doing extensive research as I am writing them, and have accomplished a great deal so far. In truth, I think these are some of the far more interesting chapters I have worked on thus far. Many theorists and writers, including myself, have for long claimed that following World War II, America became a global empire. This is largely accepted, though it is also viewed often as a “perspective” and “interpretation” of the post-War period. What is most interesting, however, is that the American politicians and strategists in the post-War planning period produced so many documents and made so many statements so as to remove any pretense of “interpretation” from the matter; they made it overtly clear that America was to become a global empire.

I won’t give away too much more of the content for these chapters, since I do a thorough analysis of the actual documents themselves, and in order to do so, I had to go to exclusive archives of the National Security Council and the U.S. State Department, as a great deal of this information hasn’t even been covered in the academic literature, apart from a very few notable exceptions. I will, however, provide a preview from this chapter for this week.

Apart from that, please support the Book Project as best as you can, and donate if possible. The Project now has no money, so this could potentially be its last week. I am still going to continue working this week as if funds were available, so hopefully donations follow suit.

Thanks again,



Book Update: The Making of the American Empire

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