Most Americans are unaware of world history. The post WW II and Cold War propaganda created several generations of Americans that have either forgotten or never learned about America's role in the world after the War. Ken Burns recent series, The War was made by him in his own words because Americans have little knowledge about WW II and its consequences. Yet, the period from 1945-1950 has had the most significance on our country's economics and foreign policy. Ken Burns found that nearly half of Americans believe that we were at war with the Soviet Union and Germany was our ally in WW II.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, archival information from both the U.S. and Russia has been released that has shown that our government was primarily responsible for the Cold War. The belligerent attitude the U.S. displayed after the War against the USSR was intense as our government set its sights on dominating the post-war world. The Soviets who had suffered 25 million war dead and the devastation by the Germans of their occupation was more interested in their own security than a confrontation with us. Morris Berman expressed this in his book: Dark Ages America (2006):
"As is the case with the "war on terrorism," I believe much of the Cold War was an illusion, a large mythic structure or narrative co-created by the United States and the USSR for their own respective domestic political agendas. On both sides, the presence of a powerful enemy served to generate a huge apparatus of employment and government expenditures, including elaborate structures of espionage, military research and development, scientific research institutes, and the like. The two "threats" thus maintained each other and enabled each system to define itself in opposition to the other. After all, writes Ivan Eland (in The Empire Has No Clothes), if the main goal of US. foreign policy after 1945 had been to fight communism, the pax Americana we had established during the Cold War years would have been dismantled after 1991. But our military spending never dropped below Cold War levels after that date. The truth of the matter is that the conspiracy theory of a global red menace threatening to engulf the world was grossly exaggerated by the United States for imperial purposes, to gain public support for military and political intervention in the affairs of other nations and for the huge defense budgets such intervention would require. In this way the Cold War became the justification for building a global empire. In fact, given the decrepit state of the Soviet economy, some analysts within the U.S. government had contemptuously referred to the USSR as "Upper Volta with missiles." Consider the fact that in the "National Security Strategy" of 2002, the Bush administration admitted that during the Cold War, we faced a "risk-averse adversary"-: -an admission, says Chalmers Johnson, that would never have been made during the Cold War itself. If KGB archives demonstrate how brutal the Soviet Union was within its own borders (satellite states included, of course), they also reveal that the Kremlin's focus was on internal security, not world domination. The documents show that Russia regarded Germany, rather than America, as its greatest threat...... ..... This is why, for example, the Kremlin backed away from supporting the Greek and Italian Communists after the war, and why events in Hungary and Czechoslovakia (awful though they were) can correctly be seen as efforts to bolster a shaky regime, not to extend into fresh territory. Even the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was defensive, an attempt to ward off the advance of Islamic fundamentalism toward Russia's Muslim provinces. (At least, this is what Russian archival material thus far examined reveals.) It was Americans who became obsessed and predatory during the postwar period, to a far greater degree than the Soviet Union. It is not that the Berlin airlift and Wall and the Cuban missile crisis were not real, and I am not suggesting there was no threat at all. But that seems to be largely it. Most of the Cold War was smoke and mirrors."
The current Administration is the last of the old Cold Warriors. They have portrayed countries as our official enemies who were not a threat to us. Iraq was an adversary of Iran before we overthrew Saddam. The Taliban were enemies of Iran and welcomed their ouster in Afghanistan. Each time the Iranians reached out to open negotiations they were rejected much in the same way as was done after WW II to the USSR. Unfortunately, this group of criminals that run our "ship of state" put the final nail in the coffin on American imperialism.
As George McGovern said in his 1972 acceptance speech, "Come Home America." Perhaps this administration unwittingly has given us the opportunity to again become a member of the community of nations.