Third World citizens will react with special bitterness to the news that Moscow's June, 1948, break with the Yugoslav Communist leader Marshal Tito signaled "the end of the mirage of international communism." ("Nationalism, Not Communism, Is Today's Threat" by John Lukacs, Op-Ed Page, June 22)
Lukacs is correct, but Iranians who supported Mossadegh, Guatemalans who supported Arbenz, and Chileans who supported Allende will remember that it was just this "mirage" by which U.S. administrations justified the violent overthrow of their nationalist, and democratically elected, leaders.
These were not the only countries where the United States replaced popular nationalist governments with brutal dictatorships. And, there is evidence that Washington acted less from a mistaken "obsession with international communism" than from a profoundly ignoble purpose.
In February, 1948, four months before the Cominform-Tito split, State Department "wise man" George Kennan wrote in a top secret foreign-policy journal: " . . . we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population." Kennan outlined a strategy: "Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity . . . . "
To that end, "We should cease to talk about vague and . . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when . . . the less we are hampered by ideological slogans, the better."
This exercise in realpolitik has led to the deaths of millions of Third World people through war, terror, and economic impoverishment. The virulent, and increasingly violent anti-Americanism we see around the globe is also a predictable result of this policy.
Sadly, Lukacs tarnishes his analysis by saying that the "various nationalisms of the Third World" are now the real "threats" to our national security and interests. And, does his Soviets-are-also-possible-victims theory hint at a future U.S.-U.S.S.R. defense pact against the Third World?
Third World nationalism is the appropriate foundation for national self-respect and non-exploitative economic development. We can help by accepting Lukacs' analysis and rejecting his implied conclusion.