into the modern post-war period, saying that administrators believed that“the United States [would be able to] begin to frame its global goals assomething other than, and very different from, the old-style imperialism.”
What seems particularly relevant in this discourse is to note that, moreso than any particular cultural antagonism, the US administration tended tolump the developing world together. There tended to be a boilerplate modelof desired political atmosphere, leadership, and economic development thatrelied on a set of assumptions about a nation’s inherent inabilities to governthemselves and develop productive and equitable indigenous systems.Speaking on early American imagination of Vietnam, Bradley notes that the“persistence of fin de siecle assumptions about non-white peoples and thesuperiority of Western civilization” represented the general “ubiquitous faithin racialized cultural hierarchies.”
Similarly, Yaqub suggests that it’s difficultto locate a particular antagonism or disregard for Arab civilization because of the “blanket condescension with which top administration officials regardedOthers in general, be they Arabs, Jews, Europeans, or US congressmen.”
Yaqub’s most important argument is that “the use of the term“culture” can be misleading.”
He suggests that the relevant factor was thepower dynamics between small countries “not permanently dominated” andthe big powers. While this is in many ways true, it fails to account for the wayin which those big powers justified economic and political disparities withcultural hierarchies. Still, it is important to recognize the salience of hisargument, especially in attempting to understand the relationship of USadministration’s with Third World leaders.
Creating the Third World Leader
In the post-war American vision, national leaders were assumed to andmoreover
fulfill certain roles. These prescriptive roles generallydid not involve guidance, insight, and indigenous vision, but ratherimplementation of the American development plan. Markets were to beopened, and not just domestically but internationally. Specifically, markets,