Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss

Two books, The Quiet American [1955], by Graham Greene, and The Spy who came in from the Cold [1963], by John Le Carre.
The surprising thing about both these books is how much of the terminology contained in them is the same as what we hear coming out of the current situation in Iraq, the troubles in other African or Arabic countries, and the similarities are eerie.

In 'the Quiet American', terms like national democracy, third force, the old colonies being 'out of touch', the feeling that America is an independent force to be trusted by the subjugated nation, and the threat of the on-coming [in this case communist] peril that will overpower us all. This book came out in 1955, so that's when the concept of National Democracy was already in the language. In 'the Spy who Came in from the Cold' the paranoid security forces, the threat 'within', the use of terms like 'the zone'[East Germany - the DDR], the hatred of the CIA, the determination of unseen groups to bring down 'our' way of life, the saving of free democratic Europe, etc etc.

Heard it all before somewhere? The most striking thing is the idea running through both books that America is simplistic and bullying, handling all problems with the same mixture of heavy handedness, bribery and innocence - as in, the constant assumption that America always underestimates her enemy. It's just like now, then.


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