The first in a series of Studies in Imperialism and the Cold War sponsored by the Bertrand Russell Centre for Social Research, these essays make a rigorous assault on the orthodox picture of the cold war as an inevitable result of clashing doctrines and Soviet ambitions. The thesis developed here (by Deutscher, Bagguley, Berger, Gitlin, Gittings, Morrock and Williams) has been expounded elsewhere by Fleming, Alperovitz, J. Lukacs, and Horowitz himself. It begins with Russia's postwar exhaustion, Stalin's efforts to quash European communist militancy, and George Kennan's revelation of high policymakers' private disbelief in a Red Menace. Having revised the model of equally colossal antagonists, they argue that the ostensible need to ""contain"" a nonexistent ""threat"" has served to justify the aggressive mobilization of American economic and military strength in order to expand U.S. hegemony and defend imperial interests against the genuine danger of popular nationalist movements. Their case is supported by analyses of the 1917 U.S. military intervention in Russia, American counter-insurgency and Soviet standoff during the 1947 Greek revolution, the origins of China's foreign policy, and the war in Vietnam. Uniformly lucid in style, debatable in the best sense, these essays exhibit a depth and sobriety that will receive commensurately serious critical attention.