In 1946 the United States was almost completely self-sufficient economically and was the wealthiest and greatest military and industrial power in the history of the world. After all the death and destruction caused by WWII, the U.S. had only suffered military casualties. We had not suffered occupation, civilian bombings, or any of the genocidal atrocities committed by Germany and Japan primarily upon Poland, Russia, and China. Approximately 25 million Russians, 6 million Poles, and 8 million Chinese died during the War with each country virtually destroyed along with Asia and Europe. The Allies, including Russia had defeated the greatest forces of evil in the history of the planet. In addition, we had the atomic bomb.
The fear of another depression as well as the abhorrence of Soviet communism by the American industrialists brought us to the continuation of the anti-communist policies that preceded the War. In fact, many of these American industrialists supported the Nazis before the War in the hopes that Germany would defeat Bolshevism on its own. The defeat of Nazi Germany brought the U.S. squarely into the same policy of confrontation and isolation with the USSR that preceded Hitler 's Germany. Russia had been a convenient ally when we desperately needed their military power to defeat Hitler. In 1946, with the atomic monopoly in our "holster " we had the audacity to tell the Soviet Union that we were not happy with the "spheres of influence " that had been agreed upon at the Yalta Conference. Never mind that Russia had lost 25 million people and had its country destroyed. Never mind that the Red Army destroyed the German Army and would have done so even without our D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. We just decided to confront Russia throughout the world until they finally became equal to us in military power. In 1949, Russia tested its first atom bomb and a hydrogen bomb 6 months after we had successfully developed our own.
What a lost opportunity to stop the nuclear arms race right before it started. Unfortunately our military leaders were drunk with power after the war and did not understand the unintended consequences of our aggressive foreign policy after the War. The man who headed the Manhattan Project and developed the atomic bomb was J. Robert Oppenheimer. After the War, he fought the rest of his life to keep the atomic secret within the United Nations and out of the hands of the military. His reward for that was that he lost his security clearance in 1954 because he was falsely accused of being a communist. By that time, the atomic genie was out of the bottle and since that time the people of the world have been held hostage to WMDs.
American historians with the help of the corporate media have blamed everything bad that has happened in the last 60 years on the Soviet Union. Through means of isolation and confrontation with them for 50 years we ultimately bankrupted them and ourselves. The collapse of the Soviet empire gave us the world we are in today. We actually supported the fundamentalists in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to support a secular government there. In that theory of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend " the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan by jihad forces led primarily by Osama Bin Laden. I guess the Soviets were not so crazy when they decided to fight Islam fundamentalism at their borders. However, since our Presidents in the last 60 years could only see "red " any rational foreign policy without war, destabilization or violence against "monolithic communism " was not part of strategy. Most of us miss the days when we had such a rational adversary as the Soviet Union.
Today multinational corporations make confrontation, destabilization, and war a profitable business. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S., Russia, China, France, and the U.K. are selling armaments all over the world. It is a significant part of our global economy and will continue to be until we all realize that war is no longer an option. And today 's friend could one day be our worst nightmare as was the case with Osama Bin Laden. The Prussian General Carl Von Clausewitz said in the 19th Century: "War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means." In the 21st Century, that option is becoming less viable and threatens our survival.