The Roots of Today’s International Organizations and World War I

Lambert here: The 100th Anniversary of the start of World War I has provoked many reflections; here, it’s interesting to see the continuities between the international organizations set up after World War II and those set up after World War I, sometimes by the same actors: Keynes, Jean Monnet (!). At the same time, I can’t help but read a passage like this:

State expenditure was slashed. Some 50,000 civil servants lost their jobs, and there were continuing attempts to reduce the pension provision of officials who once administered the empire.

and be reminded of the nostrums of today’s Austerians. As Clavin herself seems to admit, “success for whom?” is always the question to ask with respect to “success stories.”

By Patricia Clavin, Fellow and Tutor in History, Professor of International History, Jesus College Oxford. Originally published at VoxEU.

It is common to identify the origins of global economic and financial organizations in the period following the Second World War – notably at the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944. In fact, many of the ideas, people, and practices that informed the work of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the European Economic Community lie in the First World War.

A World Organised

The League of Nations was the world’s first intergovernmental organization, with antecedents in European internationalist movements of the late Nineteenth Century. The idea for a new organization to safeguard peace and capture the imagination of citizens around the world was the final proposal of President Wilson’s famous Fourteen Points.

At first there was no intention for the new organization to become involved in economic or financial affairs (beyond a vague paean to free trade).  But the League of Nations reflected lines of continuity from the war into the ‘peace’, in a period that was peace in name only. Between 1918 and 1923, the world was riven by revolution, civil war, and episodes of ethnic cleansing. Waves of violence killed around four million people – a figure higher than the combined figure of war casualties of Britain, France, and the USA (Gerwarth and Horne 2012).

A New Definition of sDcurity

This disorder reflected the wider definition of security that had emerged during the First World War. Security no longer meant simply protecting people and property against the threat of violence, and the assertion of territorial control. It now related to the stability of the capitalist order and to the ‘intactness’ of the human body, defined in biological and increasingly racial terms.

Among the western allies, the associated powers and key neutrals, the war had promoted a broad framework of inter-governmental cooperation that resulted in an incipient international bureaucracy. This bureaucracy would be invoked by the League of Nations as part of efforts to safeguard a liberal, capitalist world order. After 1920 member governments began to see the League of Nations as a useful tool to meet what they called ‘common economic needs’ (Smuts 1918, Clavin 2013).

These economic needs were most apparent in the new Austrian republic, which was gripped by hunger and runaway inflation between 1918 and 1922. Its empire had dissolved, remained under blockade by the Allies and new unfriendly neighbours until 1919, and the Paris peace settlement prohibited unification with Germany (Clavin 2014).

The Austrian Crisis

But western concern for Austria was not expressed primarily in terms of the risk to human health or political stability – even for ‘Red Vienna’.  Instead anxiety in the west about the fate of Vienna reflected a global ordering that accorded Austria a scientific eminence, and stylized Vienna as a treasury of high culture (Roberts 2009).

Crude definitions of race entered the equation too: Austrians were a people worth saving. They were “sober, hard-working, enterprising….They are a people not unlike the French… and entirely foreign to what is known now as the true German character” (Memo by Oppenheimer 1919). The agency employed by the new republic to solicit aid on Austria’s behalf put it differently: the country had “guarded the West from the inroads of the Eastern barbarians” throughout “the ages” (Office of International Relief and Mutual Understanding 1920).

Of course, the reason Austria needed food aid was because the new state was unable to grow or buy the supplies it needed to feed the population. An unwilling European postcolonial state, Austria was bankrupt and its economy was in a tail-spin. The problem was brought to official and public attention by the men who had overseen the management of food, shipping, and finance for the Allies in the First World War; notably, Herbert Hoover, John Maynard Keynes, Arthur Salter, and Jean Monnet  (Clavin 2014).

Now members of the Allies’ Supreme Economic Council, these men became leading protagonists in organizing a petition of more than 150 leading economists and financiers who argued that economic cooperation should be facilitated by the new League of Nations.  This was agreed at the Brussels Conference of 1920, where the Austrian crisis became the founding moment behind the creation of the League’s Economic and Financial Organization (Marcus 2010).

Although the USA was outside the League of Nations, it was still able to determine the deal forged by the organization. Favourable terms for US investors were backed up by a series of extraordinary political guarantees for a loan scheme that – for the first time – handed financial oversight of a nation state to an intergovernmental organization (Flores and Decorzant 2012, Clavin 2013). State expenditure was slashed. Some 50,000 civil servants lost their jobs, and there were continuing attempts to reduce the pension provision of officials who once administered the empire.


The Austrian ‘success story’ built the ideas about global economic and financial governance to develop within the League (de Bordes 1924). The Austrian case was an important reference for the practices of oversight developed by the IMF (Pauly 1997). It established what were to become key feature of intervention in the twentieth century;  notably that international organization and aid programmes should meet the mores of US capital.

The Austrian case also revealed the limited rights of peoples who were the object of international efforts at currency stabilization – so much for the language of rights spoken at the Paris Peace Conference. They charged the League with offering the promise of global citizenship when in reality it operated like an elite victors’ club. The consequences for Austrians’ fledgling liberal democracy were severe (Berger 2000).


Editors’ note: This is the fifth in a series of Vox columns by leading economic historians on the First World War, which will be collected in a Vox eBook at the end of the year: “The Economics of the First World War”, edited by Nicholas Crafts, Kevin O’Rourke and Alan Taylor.


Berger, P (2000), Im Schatten der Diktatur. Die Finanzdiplomatie des Verters des Völkerbundes in Österreich, Meinoud Marius Rost van Tonnigen, 1931-1936, Vienna.

Clavin, P (2014), “The Austrian Hunger crisis and the genesis of international organization after the First World War”, International Affairs.

Clavin, P (2013), Securing the world economy. The reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946,  Oxford University Press.

Flores, J and Y Decorzant (2012), “Public borrowing in harsh times: the League of Nations Loans revisited”, Université de Genève, Working Papers series, WPS 12091,
font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"”>, accessed 27 July 2014.

Gerwarth, R and J Horne (2012), War in peace: paramilitary violence after the Great War, Oxford University Press.

Marcus, N (2010), “Credibility, Confidence and Capital: Austrian reconstruction and the collapse of global finance, 1921-1931”, Unpublished Ph.D. New York University.

Office of International Relief and Mutual Understanding (1920), Food supply of the republic of Austria, Vienna: Office of International Relief and Mutual Understanding.

Oppenheimer, F (1919), Memorandum by ‘Relative to the situation in Austria’, 3 June, Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939.

Pauly, Louis, Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy (Cornell University Press, Cornell NY, 1998).

Roberts, S (2009), “Exhibiting children at risk: child art, international exhibitions, and Save the Children Fund in Vienna, 1919-1923”, Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of Education.

Smuts, J C (1918), The League of Nations: A Practical Suggestion, London: Hodder and Stoughton.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. FederalismForever

    The IMF might have taken on a less “Austerian” profile if Stalin’s Soviet Union hadn’t made the fateful choice of refusing to join the IMF in the first place. FDR (and his communist agent Dexter White) made a concerted effort to recruit Stalin into the IMF, but Stalin refused, and would later pressure other communist countries (like Poland and Cuba) to leave. (Stalin also refused to allow the Soviet Union to receive Marshall Plan aid.)

    Those who complain about the “embedded liberalism” of IMF policies tend to forget that the IMF was set up by a bunch of capitalist countries. Of course its policies will be biased towards capitalism! Instead of complaining about this, we might ask why the Soviets and the other comecon countries didn’t set up an alternative to the IMF with policies were favorable to socialism and central planning. But I guess it would have been difficult for those countries to contribute the necessary billions to a common fund when those countries themselves were struggling to stave off mass famines and economic breakdown caused by socialism and central planning.

    1. Chris Geary

      Please enlighten us on the mass famines and economic breakdown in post WWII Eastern Europe. Unless of course, it didn’t happen.

      1. Jim Haygood

        The workers were prospering so well, until the autumn of 1989.

        Can ye spare a carburetor for my Trabant, comrade?

        1. Calgacus

          Rather better than they did after 1989. The scale of the climb in mortality in Russia under Yeltsin is unheard of outside war or an enormous catastrophe.

          1. Ben Johannson

            The right doesn’t like to hear that workers were doing better under the Soviet Union than its successor, or that growth rates after the October Revolution led to significant gains in standards of living.

            For Haygood only capitalist wealth counts.

            1. PaulArt

              I second that comment about Haygood. Once a man has tasted the benefit of making money from another man’s efforts then it is difficult for him to earn his own living evermore. I find the comments about Russia by the Capitalist water carriers here hilarious and dead giveaways.

              1. FederalismForever

                Before we get too carried away by nostalgia for the Soviet worker paradise, we should remember that a great portion of the economic success of this system was built on the backs of a forced labor system very much akin to slavery. See:


                After all, we wouldn’t analyze the economic system of the Confederacy without taking slavery into account, would we?

                1. penny bloater

                  Nor taking into account modern slave labour in the US ‘prison industry’ today: three strikes and 25 years for minor offences, incarceration of citizens found without identification, minors given jail terms for graffiti.

                  All the time, consultants and lobbyists pressure governments to increase sentences and have new laws enacted on behalf of a burgeoning post 9/11 security industry.

                  Two million Americans are now incarcerated as well – giving the Soviet Union more than a run for its money – as the judicial system has clearly lost sight of notions of social justice not unlike these older screlotic systems of bonded and forced labour.

                  Also (FederalismForever) Stalin was refused Marshall Aid by Truman after Roosevelt had provisionally agreed to some sort of post war peace dividend for Russia’s efforts. At the same time MA was a ‘trojan horse’ for the global expansion of US corporations and a means of injecting stimulus to cash strapped European countries and thereby avoid another global recession.

                  Finally, the USSR couldn’t have joined the Bretton Woods system as the Rouble was a non-convertible currency, as the Russians were, like today, reluctant to place their economy and currency at the mercy of the private, international financial markets.

      2. Massinissa

        He means post WW1 Russia, not post WW2 Russia.

        There certainly was a famine, but I would hardly call the 20s-30s a period of economic breakdown for Russia. Rather, it was a period of profound growth.

        1. FederalismForever

          On the whole, mass famines and economic breakdown have plagued counties that have experimented with central planning – e..g, China (twice), Russia, North Korea, Ethiopia, etc. (By way of comparison, no capitalist country has ever experienced a mass famine.) Also compare the economic performance of South Korea vs. North Korea, or West Germany vs. East Germany. It’s no wonder, then, that the centrally planned countries might have had more difficulty contributing multiple billions to a mass collective pooling arrangement such as the IMF. Moreover, since so many of these countries refused to join the IMF, or left the IMF early on (e.g., Mao’s China), it is not exactly shocking that policies typically advocated by the IMF would adopt such a pro-capitalist pro-austerity tilt. But, in principle, there was nothing stopping the anti-capitalist countries from adopting their own special version of an IMF.

          1. Leo Cullen

            Many successful countries employed a degree of central planning for their economies: South Korea (which was a military dictatorship), Japan, Taiwan and even West Germany all had strong government involvement in their development.
            The UK, when it was at its most laissez faire, experienced a series of devastating famines in which millions died. Countries under its rule also suffered dreadfully. Reality is more complex than ideology.

            1. Vaclav

              If I’m not mistaken, Ireland was actually producing more than enough food to feed the country during the famine, but strict enforcement of property rights by the British government ensured most of the foodstuffs produced by Irish farmers went to English landlords.

              During previous food crises the Irish government was able to close the ports and intervene to keep food production in country, thus averting famines.

          2. Calgacus

            (By way of comparison, no capitalist country has ever experienced a mass famine.)
            I imagine you are not Irish or Indian.

            But, in principle, there was nothing stopping the anti-capitalist countries from adopting their own special version of an IMF.
            During the Bretton Woods era, the IMF had some legitimate functions, and the Soviet bloc had similar economic cooperation institutions, like COMECON. Since then the IMF has been nothing been nothing but an international loan-shark devoted to criminal activities, attempting to create a world of debt-peonage. Nobody sane would want such a thing. The BRICS are beginning to try to create such institutions like the postwar ones. The USA has used its power to attempt to prevent such institutions forming in the past, for example, iirc an Asian fund under the leadership of Japan before the Asian Financial crisis of the late 90s.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              IMF can hardly be an international loan shark; that would imply a degree of central planning by an international class of bankers acting collectively. But that cannot be because capitalism. The end.

              Adding… Good call on famine in India; I should have instantly thought of that.

              1. Calgacus

                The phrase “international loan-sharking institutions” is from Jonathan Kwitny’s Endless Enemies. He also has a memorable conversation there, where he naively notes to a (iirc) World Banker, that the “development” plan for Country X involved saddling it with an eternal, unpayable debt. The reply was: “Yes, that is the intention.”

          3. PaulArt

            The East Bloc countries did help each other generously. Russia for example gave tons of aid to India over several years starting with Indian independence in 1947. Most of us growing up in the 1970s in India learned Mathematics and Engineering from dead cheap Russian books that one could buy at the Russian embassy or on the sidewalks. I remember using many Physics books with problems that were simply superb and thought evoking many times better than say any American (Nelkon and Parker) or British textbook (Resnick and Halliday for example). Russia put a satellite in space and had a space program better than the USA in the early days. Most of American rocket science would not have been possible if boat loads of V2 scientists were secretly airlifted from post WWII Germany and ‘asylum-ed’ into New Mexico for helping America’s space and atomic program. Dr.Strangeglove was art imitating life 100%. For that matter, the space program in the USA itself was a state effort and not some hallowed and hoary Capitalist venture. It is amusing to constantly hear the Capitalist water carriers repeatedly take ALL the credit for scientific progress and advancement of this country. It is complete balderdash. Henry Ford sold cars for crying out loud and Edison was mediocrity personified who got his ass kicked squarely by Nikola Tesla. Today we still use most of Tesla’s principles in power generation and Induction motors because Tesla was supremely uninterested in money unlike Edison. Tesla sold all his patents to Westinghouse because he was in need and poverty. A 100 years from now if Capitalists and Capitalism are going to be known for anything, they will be known for hijacking human progress and sending the World almost to the abyss through Global Warming via the promotion of the endless exploitation of natural resources on behalf of the 0.1%.

            And by the way before anyone starts yammering about Silicon Valley, the early silicon valley pioneers were never all about money as the current idiotic crop is. Cashing in on $5 billion worth of stock options and using a tax loophole to escape paying taxes and then strutting around pretending to help public education – how pathetic does Zuckerberg strike you when you compare him to a Robert Noyce or a Bill Hewlett or Dave Packard?

            Oh and also, the Internet was a DARPA effort and over several years and so was UNIX from which now so many OSes and RTOSes have sprung.

            1. FederalismForever

              @PaulArt. Massive government spending (e.g., DARPA) is not the same thing as central planning. I agree with what you say about early Silicon Valley (back then, some startups were even organized as collectives!) but it is simply inconceivable that any centrally planned economy that has existed thus far could ever produce a Silicon Valley. When you take a detailed look at how Silicon Valley came to be, you find that very few of the day-to-day decision-making at the “micro” level was done by government (you will also notice a complete lack of unions or organized worker collectives). This helped support a “fail often and fail early” culture which allowed bad ideas to be discarded quickly. (There is a good book on this by Arun Rao and Piero Scaruffi called “A History of Silicon Valley: The Greatest Creation of Wealth in the History of the Planet” – and these authors readily acknowledge that Silicon Valley required massive government spending.)

              1. penny bloater

                Silicon Valley wouldn’t have survived without big fat defence contracts and R&D subsidies from Uncle Sam. ‘Spin-offs’ exploited by private companies such as the transistor were first produced for the development of air-air missiles like the Sidewinder and Sparrow. They also had free access and rights of technological transfer to all innovations made at university research departments.

                Also, every developmental state in existence has used ‘indicative’ state directed planning to establish manufacturing industry and an export market – including France and Sweden in the 1950s and 60s, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Brazil, India, Canada and West Germany where it is federated and devolved to a regional level with companies like Bayer and VW.


                Evidence suggests that public and private sectors mutually rely on each other to produce a dynamic, healthy economy.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The phrase “procrustean bed” was made for comments like this. Also “fighting the last war.” Or, to be fair, the last war but one or two or three. Perhaps “Austrian” was the trigger word.

  2. lakewoebegoner

    from the historical record, it’s prettty clear that Woodrow Wilson was the first neo-con President.

    It’s arguable, and beyond the scope of this website, that the non-interventionists were correct in America sitting out the war, especially as the Kaiser, though not a nice guy, was not Hitler (godwin’s law, lol).

    1. Massinissa

      He DID crack down on the socialist/anti-war movement of Eugene V Debs during the war using the Espionage Act.

      God knows that if neocons hate anything its real alternatives to capitalism. And non-interventionists. And Socialist Non-interventionists most especially!

      Let me quote Debs from his trial:

      “Your honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the form of our present government; that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in the change of both but by perfectly peaceable and orderly means….

      I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and factories; I am thinking of the women who, for a paltry wage, are compelled to work out their lives; of the little children who, in this system, are robbed of their childhood, and in their early, tender years, are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon, and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the machines while they themselves are being starved body and soul….

      Your honor, I ask no mercy, I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never more fully comprehended than now the great struggle between the powers of greed on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of freedom. I can see the dawn of a better day of humanity. The people are awakening. In due course of time they will come into their own.

      When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the Southern Cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches the Southern Cross begins to bend, and the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of Time upon the dial of the universe; and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the look-out knows that the midnight is passing – that relief and rest are close at hand.

      Let the people take heart and hope everywhere, for the cross is bending, midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning”

      The Morning still has not come… Like most period marxists of all stripes, non-authoritarian and authoritarian both, Im afraid he got dusk confused with sunrise.

    2. Massinissa

      For what he has done to Debs, Wilson is… The president for whom I have the MOST enmity for. Other presidents of history I dislike for one reason or another, but with Wilson, it just… Feels so personal.

      Also, Wilson had knowledge that the Lusitania had thousands of rounds of ammunition aboard, and did not tell the general public or the passengers on board it who died when it was attacked. Another hero of mine, former presidential candidate for the Populist Party and the secretary of state for Wilson, William Jennings Bryan, quit his position after the sinking of the Lusitania because of Wilsons duplicity.

    3. Carolinian

      Absolutely correct. In fact the parallels between Wilson and the Clintons or the r2p types, all of whom pretend to be high minded and well meaning, are striking. Certainly the case has been made that without US intervention WW1 would have ended in stalemate and no Hitler, WW2 would have resulted. Our world would be quite different than what it is now, perhaps caused by this one man.

      1. FederalismForever

        @Carolinian. Agreed. The comparison between Wilson and Obama is also worth pondering. Two constitutional law professors, no military experience, noted for speech-making, high-minded and pompous, etc.

        The thing about the Wilson Administration is that, at its inception, you might have had the most anti-war pro-pacifist combination of President and Secretary of State (William Jennings Bryan) in US history. (When he first fame into office, Wilson was strongly pacifist.) And yet, Wilson would end up sending the U.S. military into at least six countries.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Let’s try to keep the labelling semi-precise and historically grounded. People who’ve mastered the literature will correct me, but IIRC the neo-conservative core were Trotskyites who flipped and became “Holier than the Pope,” as is often the way, in 50s Manhattan. Saying that Wilson was a neo-con is like saying Warhol and are Seurat are both pointillists because their paintings have small dots. Sure, Wilson and the neo-cons might have shared some ideas, but that doesn’t put them in the same ideological box. And we might ask ourselves why and how and when and through whom ideas are transmited in growing (or collapsing) imperial political classes….

      1. Jim

        It is also important to note that neoconservatives are not really traditional conservatives.

        Instead of adapting traditional American domestic conservative positions they have attempted to alter the contents of conservatism to their liking. In fact, neoconservatives have been anything but the hard right-wingers, that portions of the American Left have made them out to be.

        Neoconservatives supported the modern welfare state in contrast to traditional conservatives who tended to endorse small government and unfettered capitalism. Neoconservatives also identified with the liberal policies of FDR and Lyndon Johnson. In fact neoconservatives (think for example Norman Podhoretz, Midge Dector, Elliot Abrams, Irving Kristol, Bill Kristol, Gertude Himmelfarb, Meyrav and David Wumser, Richard Perle, R. James Woolsey, Paul Wolfowitz, Albert Wohlstetter, Doglas Feith, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen. Stephen Cambone, Robert Kagan, Donald Kagan, Federick W. Kagan) can be see as a “flex group” (the word coined by Janine R. Wedel) or an informal network that plays multiple and overlapping roles and helps to conflate Big State and Big Capital interests.

        These individuals have tended to operate through semi-closed networks and to penetrate key institutions, revamping them to marginalize other potential players.

        Their family and personal connections have also allowed them to become extremely influential, especially in the area of American foreign policy, after most of them gave up on the Democratic party in the late 1970s.

        It is not off the mark to argue that at their foundation the neoconservatives were primarily urban, Jewish and Democratic proponents of Big State policies, that managed to take over a conservative movement that was once in the hands of Catholic and more or less anti-New Deal Republicans.

        1. FederalismForever

          @Jim. Excellent analysis. Do you have any thoughts on why this “flex group” gave up on the Democratic Party in the 1970s? It seems a key underlying event was the shift in the Soviet Union’s stance towards Israel. (Recall that both Truman and Stalin initially recognized Israel in 1948.) This may have provided the stimulus for this “flex group” to take a new look at the Cold Warriors in the Republican Party who had always advocated taking a tough stance with the Soviets.

          1. Jim

            As far back as the late 1960s many neoconservatives (think especially Norman Podhoretz) sensed that the liberals and the left were identifying with issues that were apt to be harmful to Israel. About to be neocons adopted a pronounced anti-Soviet policy as the Soviet Union aided Israel’s enemies in the Middle East and prohibited Soviet Jews from emigrating.

            In the early to mid-1970s neocons basically wanted to return to an anti-communist Cold war positions but liberal democrats largely felt this position had been discredited by what happened in Vietnam. In addition the neocons did not agree with the foreign policy of mainstream Republicans who accepted Henry Kissinger’s emerging policy of détente with the Soviet Union which was pushed by both Nixon and Ford.

            Many future neocons were still loyal to the Democrats as late as 1976 but came to realize that Carter did not perceive a dire Soviet expansionist threat. And by the early 1980 many neoconservatives found kindred spirits among the Republican party’s staunchly anti-communist conservatives who were disenchanted with the Republican détente policy.

            Neocons were eventually welcomed into the Republican party as intellectual allies who had the academic standing and public reputations which many traditional conservatives lacked. The neoconservatives had access to prestigious establishment intellectual journals and influential contacts in politics and the media.

            1. toldjaso

              The British speaker of truth who accused KissDeath of being a triple agent died for his principles, a free man.

      2. Ben Johannson

        Leo Strauss can be credited with the more proximate influence in spawning neoconservatism. An enthusiastic supporter of relativism, (think “when we act we create our own reality”) atheism for elites and coercive religion for the masses as social control, Strauss had an enormous impact on several generations of elites, including an old teacher of mine.

  3. diptherio

    A New Definition of sDcurity

    Coining words again, are we Lambert?…teeheehee

    And you’ve got an unclosed “em” tag in there somewhere too…

  4. OC Sure

    Damn these roots proliferating their invasive horticultural metaphors as represented by all of their shoots, branches, limbs, and leaves that serve no greater purpose then to draw a black curtain around the economy of productive work, separating it from the sunlight of sustenance; damn these roots and bite the trunks that they feed with the sharpest of chainsaws. Damn these roots until they are all unearthed and exposed to sunlight.

  5. Jim

    “…the war had promoted a broad framework of inter-governmental cooperation that resulted in an incipient international bureaucracy. This bureaucracy would be invoked by the League of Nations as part of efforts to safeguard a liberal capitalist world order.”

    It is important to remember that the idea of a League of Nations was at the heart of the progressive vision.
    Just as the autonomous commission lay at the center of America’s domestic reform, so a new international agency would supposedly supply coherence to a new world. Just as a Federal Trade Commission or an Interstate Commerce Commission was expected to manage, respond and adjust according to the flow of events, so the League would supposedly provide a bureaucratic solution to international flux.

    Progressive thought helped to promote the idea among the corporate elite the that they could not function without the assistance of an increasingly powerful national government. It came to be accepted by Big Capital that only Big government could ensure the necessary stability and continuity for Big Capital to be successful.

    By the inter-war years progressive Big Government and Big capital were well on the way to the construction a sophisticated political system in which public bureaucracy primarily sheltered Big Capital and well as occasionally regulating it.

    Public power and private property had already begun to merge.

  6. toldjaso

    Why does Clavin start with The League of Nations? Has she forgotten the Congress of Vienna, its backers and its purpose; as well as its failure, which ensured House-Wilson establishment of The League of Nations?
    “1815-1915: FROM THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA TO THE WAR OF 1914” — by Ch. SIGNOBOS, Professor in the University of Paris, Translated by F.E. Matheson (LIBRAIRIE ARMAND COLIN, 103 Boulevard St. Michel, PARIS, 1915 — brochure from STUDIES AND DOCUMENTS ON THE WAR; Secretary of the Committee: M. Emile DURKHEIM, 4, Avenue d’Orleans, PARIS)

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