FDL Book Salon Welcomes Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

By: Saturday December 14, 2013 1:59 pm

Between them, their unquestioned attitudes conditioned all of the covert interventions of the Eisenhower era. The coups in Iran and Guatemala, for example, were as much about defeating perceived threats to the business interests of America’s capitalist elites as containing the spread of communism. Ho Chi Minh and Sukarno offended Foster’s Calvinist religiosity. Patrice Lumumba’s fate was so miserable in part because patrician Americans had very little personal notion of life in post-colonial Africa. All these men were “monsters” in the brothers’ demonology, and therefore deserving of monstrous treatment.

Of course, the Dulles brothers’ value system now appears outmoded, even quaint. But, as Stephen Kinzer reminds us again in a stimulating concluding chapter, the actions that it propelled the U.S. to take in the 1950s shaped the world we live in today. What unthinking cultural assumptions and prejudices drive the behavior of those who make current U.S. foreign policy?

 

Lakeside Diner

By: Wednesday August 29, 2012 4:45 am

A variety of links to interviews/articles/speeches/videos on current issues that may be of interest.

The Seduction of Technology: A Memorial Day Ramble

By: Monday May 28, 2012 6:45 am

Memorial Day thoughts from the Viet Nam era and beyond

FDL Movie Night: “The Man Nobody Knew”

By: Monday October 31, 2011 5:00 pm

“Your father is a murderer”

Was he? Or did William Colby act for what he saw as the highest good for America and the the world? Are the two mutually exclusive? Can we ever really know our families? These questions and more are at the center of The Man Nobody Knew, a portrait of William Colby, by his son and Emmy-award winning director, Carl Colby, our guest tonight.

What Obama Fights For: Giving $9.55 Billion to North Korea to Spend on Nukes

By: Wednesday June 29, 2011 1:29 pm

At a time of high unemployment, it’s difficult to fathom why the President would be fighting to increase our trade deficit and ship tens of thousands of jobs overseas by pushing his NAFTA-style trade deal with Korea. Even more stunning, however, is the loophole in the Obama deal that will hand billions over to North Korea to spend on their nuclear weapons program.

FDL Movie Night: JFK and Zapruder–The Day that Changed America

By: Monday November 22, 2010 5:00 pm

Tonight, on the 47th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination of we’re doing something a little different–discussing the Zapruder film and other footage from that day, along with the event itself and how Kennedy’s assassination changed America.

I was two years old then, so all I recall was my dad having me watch the funeral on the teevee. But as I grew up, it was impossible to ignore the impact of that day in Dallas on our collective psyche as a nation. Questioning authority, distrust of government, conspiracy theories, the war in Viet Nam, civil rights, hippies, Nixon (and all he did both good–like EPA and OSHA–and bad). How would thing be different if Kennedy had not been shot? Hard to say.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gordon Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster

By: Sunday January 10, 2010 2:00 pm

Gordon Goldstein’s Lessons in Disaster (Holt, 2008) is a remarkable and very relevant book. The author spent more than a year working with an icon from the second half of the twentieth century, McGeorge Bundy, as he struggled to compose his memoirs. Bundy was one of the most influential figures in a postwar generation of smart, energetic, confident, well-born men who transformed universities, politics, and foreign policy in Cold War America. As Goldstein explains, Bundy was the central character in David Halberstam’s rueful parable of The Best and the Brightest. He was one of the Masters of the Universe who brought the United States into a terribly self-defeating and enormously destructive war in Vietnam. Readers today might naturally wonder about the parallels with the architects of the twenty-first century wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the investment strategies and corporate management philosophies that brought the world economy to its knees.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Deborah Nelson: The War Behind Me

By: Saturday February 21, 2009 2:00 pm

As Deborah Nelson makes clear in passages like the above, (from her new book The War Behind Me,) chronicling a seemingly endless accumulation of war crimes can become monotonous. The evil can come to seem, in Hannah Arendt’s term, “banal”, and one is reminded of Stalin’s cynical observation that one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

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