Reminder: Our online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination” continues this Wednesday, March 10, at 7 pm Eastern time. We now have 640 registrations. This week’s speaker is Michael Swanson, author of the book The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 and his newly released book Why the Vietnam War? The conference will proceed thematically, and q&a following the talks will be limited to the topics covered by each particular speaker. If you missed the first presentation by James DiEugenio on JFK’s policy toward Third World nations, I recommend that you watch it before this week’s presentation: https://www.fff.org/freedom-in-motion/video/president-kennedy-and-the-third-world
The Future of Freedom Foundation often receives books from authors and publishers who are interested in having their books reviewed by FFF. It usually takes just a quick perusal to see that most of the time, the books are not a good fit for FFF.
Several years ago, FFF received a book entitled The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963. I was intrigued by the title but naturally figured that this was going to be just another book that I was going to have to reject for an FFF review.
How wrong I was! I quickly perused the book and realized that I wanted to read it. I took it home and couldn’t put it down. It is the best book I have read about the origins of the U.S. national-security state form of governmental structure under which we live today. I wrote and talked about the book here:
The author, Michael Swanson, has now just come out with a sequel to The War State, a book entitled Why the Vietnam War?, which is as good as The War State. This book is one of the best histories of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War you will ever read.
One of the great aspects of the book is that Swanson has oriented it toward the educated layman by making it very easy to read. Another great aspect of the book is that it puts the Vietnam War into the context of the Cold War and the U.S. national-security state. In doing this, Swanson is able to show how America continues to live with the consequences of the Vietnam War even today — and with the forces that led to U.S. involvement in the war.
As Swanson points out,
The tough truth is that to act as a world superpower the United States has bases all over the world, has repeatedly engaged in covert operations to overthrow governments it has deemed unfriendly to it, and carried out wars. Today it rains down drone strikes on world hot spots. Yes, it has also made alliances. But in the end it has acted like every other imperial power in history that came before it, because it has done what they all have done — interfered with the internal governments of other states to get them to carry out policies that they desire. Such interference in other states is the definition of empire. To bring order to the world the United States must constantly be engaged in some sort of warfare somewhere on the planet at all times.
There are almost no history books about the United States that really examine past American wars, such as the Vietnam War, and explain how they fit as an operation of empire…. So the Vietnam War just looks like an isolated sad tragedy on the History Channel that has no meaning for today, People are taught that it was just a bunch of bad decisions and mistakes, but by focusing on a historical event like the Vietnam War in a new way we can begin to see the “world process” without which history an seem like a trap between two dichotomies.
Swanson received a master’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and then dropped out of the college’s Ph.D. program to enter the business world. He ran a hedge fund from 2003-2006. Since retiring from the hedge fund world, he writes about global investment trends, the financial markets, and American history. He runs the website wallstreetwindow.com
For one of the best histories of the Vietnam War and the Cold War/national-security state context of the war, I highly recommend reading Swanson’s new book Why The Vietnam War? If you haven’t read his excellent book The War State, I highly recommend reading that excellent book first.
We are honored and pleased that Mike, who has become a good personal friend of mine, is going to be the second speaker in our current online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.” He speaks this Wednesday, March 10, at 7 pm. Eastern Time. Admission is free but registration is required.
The conference will proceed on a weekly basis and in a thematic manner, If you missed the first presentation, which was by James DiEugenio on JFK’s policy toward Third World nations, I highly recommend watching Jim’s talk before Mike’s talk this Wednesday: https://www.fff.org/freedom-in-motion/video/president-kennedy-and-the-third-world/