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Henry Judd

Big Four

Future War Rests on
U.S.-Russian Rivalry

(12 May 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 19, 12 May 1947, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the White House sits a little, confused man – certainly one of the most inept and unqualified figures, from any standard, ever cast into the office of supreme head of the world’s greatest and most powerful imperialist nation. The disproportion between this man’s talents and the requirements of his job were never more strikingly revealed than in the incident, now deliberately buried by the press, of his vetoing a bill he had intended to sign. Confusion in this complex world is understandable; but this act belongs to a lower order of human behavior! It is best not to describe it.

This man has the task of directing American imperialism at one of the most crucial and complex points in its world history – the period when it must prepare nothing less than its ultimate and back-breaking effort for complete mastery and conquest of the world. This means, concretely, the job of executing the shrewdest, slickest and most successful maneuvers possible with the aim of being in the most favorable position for winning a future war against rival Russian imperialism.

The major weapons of American imperialism are, of course, money, credits, food, exports, war materials. These are counterposed to the demagogic propaganda of Russian imperialism which, only because of the continued stagnation of Europe two years after the war’s end, can still arouse false illusions of agrarian and socialist revolution. But America’s loans and food come at a high price; they are doled out as rations in exchange for political favors in preparing the war against Russia. France is now the main target of this policy. The ousting of the Stalinists from the French cabinet was unquestionably engineered with the approval, perhaps insistence, of the American State Department. The last French loan is expiring; the need for dollars to pay for more food and coal from America is still present.

America’s Group of Specialists

Truman operates under the guidance of an increasingly small and narrow group of “specialists,” men who think of themselves as master strategists, American geo-politicians who think in terms of the Burnham conceptions of world politics. Marshall, an isolated, flint-faced, cold fish if one ever existed, is the deliberately chosen front of this policy, a criminal policy not only because of its adventuristic quality, but because of the certainty with which it leads to World War III. Marshall’s conduct at Moscow indicated he never intended to strike a bargain with the Russians. At any rate, not yet. “... did not use all his opportunities to talk out basic differences with the Russians and the British.” “... he isolated himself ... not only from his own staff and the other Foreign Ministers but also from the important foreign policy developments on Capitol Hill.” (New York Times, April 30) His report to the nation – “the patient is sinking while the doctors consult,” – reveals the part he acted in Moscow.

Truman boasts of a bi-partisan foreign policy. His Republican supporters, principally Vandenberg and John Foster Dulles, are often able to utter thoughts and reveal aims that the Truman-Marshall combo prefers not to discuss. Vandenberg threatens Stalin with separate peace moves – “we cannot wait too long for a peace program which at least unites those who can agree.” Dulles hints at a solid American drive, backed by loans and credits, to revive a Western Germany and then unite it into an anti-Russian federation of Western Europe (he calls this a United States of Europe!). Stassen presses home, in conversation with Stalin, the weaknesses of Russia, and the economic strength of America. Republican Party “isolationism” is forgotten for good, even by these three rival presidential aspirants. The GOP wishes to formulate an acceptable imperialist program; a program it confidentially expects will be carried out by the Republican It already sees succeeding the current occupant of the White House.

But the action behind this common front is neither vigorous – nor clear. When Truman announced his “doctrine,” in the Greek-Turkey aid speech, the Moscow Conference collapsed. The English New Statesman and Nation described Marshall as being “as obstructive as a Communist commissar.” American imperialism came back without a single positive achievement from Moscow. Stalin let the conference collapse; he wishes to see what will happen. Meanwhile, Truman has still to push through his $400 million Greek-Turkey aid bill, requested on March 12. There is as yet no drive or unity of purpose behind America’s foreign policy. The State Department bill for $350 million for a program of direct foreign relief has not only not been passed as yet, but has been cut down to $200 million. The Republicans, pledged to cut expenditures, are embarrassed by the fact that only greater and greater expenditures of money can advance the foreign program they now hold in common with Truman! The dilemma is insoluble, even by a Taft! The list of 27 “urgent” international matters sent to Congress as requiring action by Secretary of State Marshall still remains – 27!

Plunging Headlong into War

American policy, above all, wavers with respect to Germany, the economic heart of Europe so far as recovery is concerned. The three Hoover reports, with their advocacy of definite steps, are largely ignored. Some money and food are put into dying Germany, but not sufficient to lift the patient to its feet – only enough to keep a low state of life. The effect of the money is largely wasted, since it is insufficient to get the economic machine going again. This is characteristic of American imperialist policy in all areas. It is caught in the greatest of all imaginable dilemmas – shall it resurrect and revive yesterday’s defeated rivals and thus run the risk of making out of them tomorrow’s living rivals and competitors; or shall it watch these nations slowly succumb, through stagnation and growing lassitude, to the penetrating techniques of Stalinist imperialism? American policy wavers and drifts; the man in the White House, only succeeding in appearing symbolizes this wavering. He vetoes what he is ridiculous when wishing to appear determined, for; he is for what he vetoes.

The political education of the American working class, and the American people in general, will consist in their growing realization of the fact that some of the men that stand at the head of their government are foolish and bewildered; that the only “positive” and definite action these men are ever capable of taking are steps that lead us closer to a disastrous war with Russian imperialism – inevitable if these men or their similars remain in power in both America and Russia.

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