Third World citizens will react with special bitterness to the news that Moscow's June, 1948, break with the Yugoslav Communist leader Marshal Tito signaled "the end of the mirage of international communism." ("Nationalism, Not Communism, Is Today's Threat" by John Lukacs, Op-Ed Page, June 22)
Lukacs is correct, but Iranians who supported Mossadegh, Guatemalans who supported Arbenz, and Chileans who supported Allende will remember that it was just this "mirage" by which U.S. administrations justified the violent overthrow of their nationalist, and democratically elected, leaders.
These were not the only countries where the United States replaced popular nationalist governments with brutal dictatorships. And, there is evidence that Washington acted less from a mistaken "obsession with international communism" than from a profoundly ignoble purpose.
In February, 1948, four months before the Cominform-Tito split, State Department "wise man" George Kennan wrote in a top secret foreign-policy journal: " . . . we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population." Kennan outlined a strategy: "Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity . . . . "