President Truman extends the Monroe Doctrine to cover the entire globe.
The purpose of Mr. Truman’s message to Congress was so simple and obvious that it should have been universally understood. The conflicting interpretations applied to it in this country and in Europe reflect only the confusion of a public which has yet to realize that the United States, as the greatest industrial and military power in the world, is going to support its rapidly expanding interests in every continent. No talk about the United Nations will deflect it from that purpose. No scruples about intervention or imperialism. No further dependence on Britain. It may make strategic and diplomatic mistakes; it may move uncertainly, since the implications of overwhelming power are still new to it and run counter to old, established attitudes. Its course of action is not fixed–the contradictions between the policy announced for Greece and Turkey and the policy being pursued in China are apparent–but the objectives and general outline of its policy are now clear. President Monroe’s hands-off doctrine has been expanded by President Truman to encompass the globe.
It would be foolish to waste much indignation on the language of the President’s mes-sage: his unctuous reference to Greek “freedom” and “integrity” and the “necessity of helping free peoples to maintain their free institutions”–as embodied in the noisome, brutal oligarchies ruling Greece and Turkey. All governments are hypocrites and questionable policies are packaged to please the eye of the guileless, moral beholder. It is useful to expose this particular deception only in order to bring to bear as much pres-sure as possible in defense of the people of those countries, especially of Greece; and to illumine the real and specific intentions behind the President’s verbal camouflage.
Put baldly, Mr. Truman’s message was a plain declaration of political war against Russia. Nothing more, but also nothing less. Under his plan, American money and arms would be employed simultaneously to establish economic stability and crush rebellion in Greece, thus accomplishing what Britain has failed to accomplish and ending the dan-ger of a Communist-controlled government linked with similar governments in the other Slavic states. By this maneuver the President thinks he can prevent a political “chain reaction” which would engulf Turkey and open the whole Near and Middle East to Soviet domination.
The idea might be feasible, however unappetizing, if the premises were what the Ad-ministration apparently believes them to be. But the new strategy, as Mr. Truman out-lined it, is based on a series of false assumptions about the situation in Eastern Europe.
What Mr. Truman charges. is that the guerrilla forces fighting in the mountains of northern Greece and their political sympathizers in the population are actually nothing more than Russian-inspired terrorists who must be crushed by force of arms (American arms) lest a “totalitarian” regime be imposed upon the Greek people. Whether the guerrillas have received help–or if so, to what extent–from across the borders, the President obviously does not know, since he sprang his drastic program on the world without waiting for the findings of the United Nations commission now investigating the disturbances in northern Greece. But one thing is dead sure without thy new evidence: the Greek guerrillas have received far less help from any source than the government’s army has received from the British; and still they fight on. They fight, not because Russia orders them to, but because they have the backing of a large part of the Greek people who have suffered beyond endurance at the hands of right-wing irregulars and soldiers, armed and trained by the British. Terror has been practiced on both sides in Greece, but by ignoring the terror of the right Mr. Truman betrayed a shocking indifference to the human and political realities of the Greek struggle. And he demonstrated his faulty un-derstanding of the situation all over Eastern Europe.