I particularly liked this part:
Throughout the Cold War, Soviet capabilities were consistently, almost ludicrously, inflated. It is hard to believe that so-called conservatives could in effect have shared the rosy view of Soviet productive capacity put forth by the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Samuelson, but share them they did. It is as if they didn’t actually believe the free-market rhetoric they otherwise used. They expected a gigantic, socialistic basket case to conquer the world. What it wound up doing was accumulating basket cases in Africa and elsewhere that in no way helped and surely intensified its own economic backwardness.
But [Jeffrey] Lord, never one to question the bipartisan foreign-policy consensus – we heretics, on the other hand, dissent from every bipartisan consensus – takes Truman, a middle-of-the-road Democrat, to be a model statesman. Question Truman and his grandiose statements and strategy? What are you, some kind of commie?
I realize that in questioning the Cold War consensus I am violating one of the long list of unforgivable sins in the official conservative movement. The Cold War, like Ronald Reagan, is one of those topics on which mainstream conservatism will admit no dissent. There is the Official Version of Events, and there are the heretics who question it.
The Cold War apparatus gave birth to a military-industrial complex that is evidently impossible to rein in, and which is constantly in search of further justifications for ever-greater levels of spending. (There’s no fat to trim from the $1.2 trillion annual defense budget!) This is the one government program conservatives may never question. This one is run by omniscient angels who don’t need to be audited. This one has no entrenched interests of its own that it might pursue at the expense of the common good. That’s true only of the farm lobby and the education bureaucracies. This is the Department of Defense, citizen. Trust them. USA! USA!