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Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet foreign spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov warned the United States, "We have done the most terrible thing to you that we could possibly have done. We have deprived you of an enemy." For nearly half a century, the elusive threat posed by the Soviet Union formed the basis of American foreign and domestic policy. Much of the United States' political and economic development was in fact a product of the government's exploitation of a supposed Soviet menace. Gerasimov recognized that the fall of communist Russia denied the American government the ability to exploit the fear of Marxism to its own benefit. It was as if the American government had lost its reason for being.