Q&A with Stephen on C-SPAN

Stephen Kinzer talked about his most recent book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War. He points out that John Foster served as secretary of state and Allen as CIA director, saying, “These two brothers were about the most extraordinary pair of siblings to emerge in American history, at least up to that point.” He explains how the Dulles brothers simultaneously led the “overt and covert” operations of U.S. foreign policy. They despised communism. Mr. Kinzer discusses how the Dulles brothers are ultimately responsible for many of the country’s contemporary geopolitical problems. He describes their roles in multiple U.S.-led overthrows, including that of Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran and President Arbenz in Guatemala. Mr. Kinzer also highlights the personality and character traits of the brothers including the fact that Allen had numerous extramarital affairs and John Foster never smiled.

3 Responses

  1. Jeffry Oliver
    Jeffry Oliver at | | Reply

    Mr. Kinzer…
    I thank you for your work on these most important issues. Like you I am fascinated by the question Why are we the way we are? That is Americans, but even beyond that Why are Human Beings the way they are?

    I am 63 years old. In the mid 1970s the Shah visited America. There were protests. The protesters covered their faces in fear of the Shah’s secret police, afraid that if their identities were known their families, still in Iran, would be in danger. This led me to do research. I found out about Mossadegh, a name never uttered in polite American circles. This led me to Arbenz and all the others on the Dulles’s monster list.

    Another question might be: Why are we so quick to believe that this person is a monster, but that person is not? Who shall be judged a monster when monsters sit on the Bench?

  2. David Chowes
    David Chowes at | | Reply

    Mr. Kinzer.

    I saw you on Q&A this past Sunday. I knew about how American foreign policy had
    used hegemony via actions by the CIA as it seemed that their arrogance knew no bounds (e.g., Iran, South America, Cuba, Vietnam…) but you posited that the origins of these policies emanated form the Dulles brothers, And how it has set a template for our world view for decades through today.

    Their strong Calvinist religious beliefs led them to set policies which were set in a black and white view of the world. So, both seemed to believe that their actions were consistent with their moral values.

    Unknown names today (except for the D. C. airport) their influence on our foreign policies may by most not be attributed to them — but, their world view has been alive and well even after CIA director Allen Dulles was fired after the ‘bay of pigs’ fiasco.

    Your appearance on Q&A explained to me so much which I didn’t know.

    Thank you.

    David Chowes, New York City

  3. JOHN Coover
    JOHN Coover at | | Reply

    I watched the interview on c-span and it was excellent and prompted me to buy the book. This is history which America needs to know !

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