Gabriel Kolko – USA

Linked with Iraq, The United States, & the End of the European Coalition, with The death of deterrence, and with The Decline of the American Empire.

Gabriel Kolko is a historian, a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto. He is the author of ‘Anatomy of a war: Vietnam, the United States, and the modern historical experience’, the classic ‘Century of war: Politics, conflicts and society since 1914′ (1995) and Another century of war? (2002). He spent 30 years working in Vietnam. (See NTHposition).

He says: “The world is increasingly multipolar, and the US’ desire to maintain absolute military superiority over the world is a chimera.”

Gabriel Kolko - USA.jpg

Sorry, I can not get any photo of Gabriel Kolko – USA, but a picture of his book ‘the Age of War’.

Kolko received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1962. While there he was a member of the Student League for Industrial Democracy with Jesse Lemsich. Following graduation he taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at SUNY-Buffalo. He joined the York University History Department in 1970 and is now an emeritus professor of history there. Kolko’s research interests include American political history, the Progressive Era, and foreign policy in the twentieth century.

Kolko was considered a leading historian of the early New Left, joining William Appleman Williams and James Weinstein in advancing the corporate liberalism idea whereby the old Progressive historiography of the “interests” versus the “people” was reinterpreted as a collaboration of interests aiming towards stabilizing competition [Novick, 439]. According to Grob and Billias, “Kolko believed that large-scale units turned to government regulation precisely because of their inefficiency” and that the “Progressive movement – far from being antibusiness – was actually a movement that defined the general welfare in terms of the well-being of business” [Grob and Billias, 38]. Kolko, in particular, broke new ground with his critical history of the Progressive Era. He discovered that free enterprise and competition was vibrant and expanding during the first two decades of the twentieth century, while corporations reacted to the free market by turning to government to protect their inherent inefficiency from market conditions. This behaviour is known as corporatism, but Kolko dubbed it “political capitalism”. Kolko’s thesis “that businessmen favored government regulation because they feared competition and desired to forge a government-business coalition” is one that is echoed by conservative economists today [Grob and Billias, 39]. Former Harvard professor Paul H. Weaver uncovered the same inefficient and bureaucratic behaviour from corporations during his stint at Ford Motor Corporation (see Weaver’s ‘The Suicidal Corporation’, 1988).

Gabriel Kolko is an important contributor to the historiography of the Vietnam War. In The Roots of American Foreign Policy (1969), Kolko contended that the American failure to ‘win’ the war demonstrated the inapplicability of the US policy of containment. Later, in The Anatomy of a War (1985), Kolko became, along with writers such as George Kahin, a leading writer of the postrevisionist, or synthesis, school, which suggested, inter alia, that the revisionist school was wrong in speculating that the United States could have won the war had it played its cards right. Although Kolko and Kahin advance similar viewpoints, they differ as to the situation in South Vietnam. Kahin, in his treatise Intervention, emphasises that the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam was a spontaneous home-grown movement that indicated a pervasive desire among South Vietnamese for unification with North Vietnam. Kolko disagrees, contending that the NLF was dominated by Hanoi from its foundation in 1960, confirming the US Government policy stance expressed in the White Paper of 1965 that opposition to the Saigon government was ‘not a spontaneous and local rebellion against the established government’. (Read all on wikipedia).

Bibliography:

  • Kolko, Gabriel, “Wealth and power in America: An analysis of social class and income distribution”, 1962;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, The Triumph of Conservatism, The Free Press, 1963, ISBN 0-02-916650-0 … and its book review ;
  • Kolko, G., Railroads and Regulation, 1877-1916, Greenwood Publishing Company, 1965, ISBN 0-8371-8885-7, (his Ph.D. dissertation);
  • Kolko, Gabriel, THE MANDEL CASE, 1969;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, The Roots of American Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Power and Purpose, Boston, 1969;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945, ASIN B0007EOISO;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, Crimes of war: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars, with Falk, Richard A and Robert Jay Lifton, (eds), New York: Random House, 1971;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, FRASER-BORGMANN DEFENSE, 1971;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, AID FOR VIETNAMESE CIVILIANS, 1971;
  • Kolko, G. and Kolko, J. (), The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy 1945-1954, Harper & Row, 1972, ISBN 0-06-012447-4;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, THE MYTH OF LIBERATION, 1983;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, Anatomy of a War; Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience, The New Press, 1985, ISBN 1-56584-218-9;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, Century of War: Politics, Conflicts, and Society since 1914, The New Press, 1994, ISBN 1-56584-191-3;
  • Kolko, Gabriel, The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World, Lynne Rienner Publishers, March 2006, ISBN 1-58826-439-4.

Book-Review of Another Century of War, by Donald Archer, Sept. 25, 2006.

links:

on counterpunch: march 2004, Novermber 2002

Gabriel Kolko’s History: “Inspired by an obsessive hatred of America“;

COOKING ON THE ROAD TO COLLAPSE: THE TERMINAL TRIANGLE RULES, By Carolyn Baker Ph.D.;

The Conference Table or Battlefield, By Sean Gonsalves, Sept 18, 2006.

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