In 1947, Harry Truman wanted Congress to vote for $400 million in aid to support Greece and Turkey against the threat of communist takeover.
That was a lot of money back then. What’s more, Truman had to win over a Republican-led Congress dominated by isolationists. But Sen. Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, an influential Republican who also chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, offered the president a sage piece of advice: Make a personal appearance before Congress, play up the threat of Soviet expansionism, “and scare the hell out of the American people.”
Which is exactly what Truman did. (Click here for the text of Truman’s March 12, 1947 speech.) And it worked. Congress allocated the funds, and the United States embarked upon a half-century battle against communism which resulted in the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is familiar with that history, borrowed the Truman-Vandenberg playbook as he stumped on behalf of new cybersecurity legislation, warning of a possible “cyber-Pearl Harbor” in a speech last week. (Read More)