Timothy Matthews – Catholic Insight March 2009
Western civilization at the present day is passing through a crisis which is essentially different from anything that has been previously experienced. Other societies in the past have changed their social institutions or their religious beliefs under the influence of external forces or the slow development of internal growth. But none, like our own, has ever consciously faced the prospect of a fundamental alteration of the beliefs and institutions on which the whole fabric of social life rests … Civilization is being uprooted from its foundations in nature and tradition and is being reconstituted in a new organisation which is as artificial and mechanical as a modern factory.
Christopher Dawson. Enquiries into Religion and Culture, p. 259.
Most of Satan’s work in the world he takes care to keep hidden. But two small shafts of light have been thrown onto his work for me just recently. The first, a short article in the Association of Catholic Women’s ACW Review; the second, a remark (which at first surprised me) from a priest in Russia who claimed that we now, in the West, live in a Communist society. These shafts of light help, especially, to explain the onslaught of officialdom which in many countries worldwide has so successfully been removing the rights of parents to be the primary educators and protectors of their children.
The ACW Review examined the corrosive work of the ‘Frankfurt School’ – a group of German-American scholars who developed highly provocative and original perspectives on contemporary society and culture, drawing on Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber. Not that their idea of a ‘cultural revolution’ was particularly new. ‘Until now’, wrote Joseph, Comte de Maistre (1753-1821) who for fifteen years was a Freemason, ‘nations were killed by conquest, that is by invasion: But here an important question arises; can a nation not die on its own soil, without resettlement or invasion, by allowing the flies of decomposition to corrupt to the very core those original and constituent principles which make it what it is.’
What was the Frankfurt School? Well, in the days following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it was believed that workers’ revolution would sweep into Europe and, eventually, into the United States. But it did not do so. Towards the end of 1922 the Communist International (Comintern) began to consider what were the reasons. On Lenin’s initiative a meeting was organised at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow.
The aim of the meeting was to clarify the concept of, and give concrete effect to, a Marxist cultural revolution. Amongst those present were Georg Lukacs (a Hungarian aristocrat, son of a banker, who had become a Communist during World War I ; a good Marxist theoretician he developed the idea of ‘Revolution and Eros’ – sexual instinct used as an instrument of destruction) and Willi Munzenberg (whose proposed solution was to ‘organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilisation stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat’) ‘It was’, said Ralph de Toledano (1916-2007) the conservative author and co-founder of the ‘National Review’, a meeting ‘perhaps more harmful to Western civilization than the Bolshevik Revolution itself.’
Lenin died in 1924. By this time, however, Stalin was beginning to look on Munzenberg, Lukacs and like-thinkers as ‘revisionists’. In June 1940, Münzenberg fled to the south of France where, on Stalin’s orders, a NKVD assassination squad caught up with him and hanged him from a tree.
In the summer of 1924, after being attacked for his writings by the 5th Comintern Congress, Lukacs moved to Germany, where he chaired the first meeting of a group of Communist-oriented sociologists, a gathering that was to lead to the foundation of the Frankfurt School.
This ‘School’ (designed to put flesh on their revolutionary programme) was started at the University of Frankfurt in the Institut für Sozialforschung. To begin with school and institute were indistinguishable. In 1923 the Institute was officially established, and funded by Felix Weil (1898-1975). Weil was born in Argentina and at the age of nine was sent to attend school in Germany. He attended the universities in Tübingen and Frankfurt, where he graduated with a doctoral degree in political science. While at these universities he became increasingly interested in socialism and Marxism. According to the intellectual historian Martin Jay, the topic of his dissertation was ‘the practical problems of implementing socialism.’
Carl Grünberg, the Institute’s director from 1923-1929, was an avowed Marxist, although the Institute did not have any official party affiliations. But in 1930 Max Horkheimer assumed control and he believed that Marx’s theory should be the basis of the Institute’s research. When Hitler came to power, the Institut was closed and its members, by various routes, fled to the United States and migrated to major US universities—Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley.
The School included among its members the 1960s guru of the New Left Herbert Marcuse (denounced by Pope Paul VI for his theory of liberation which ‘opens the way for licence cloaked as liberty’), Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, the popular writer Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, and Jurgen Habermas – possibly the School’s most influential representative.
Basically, the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual had the belief – or even the hope of belief – that his divine gift of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to provoke socialist revolution. Their task, therefore, was as swiftly as possible to undermine the Judaeo-Christian legacy. To do this they called for the most negative destructive criticism possible of every sphere of life which would be designed to de-stabilize society and bring down what they saw as the ‘oppressive’ order. Their policies, they hoped, would spread like a virus—‘continuing the work of the Western Marxists by other means’ as one of their members noted.
To further the advance of their ‘quiet’ cultural revolution – but giving us no ideas about their plans for the future – the School recommended (among other things):
1. The creation of racism offences.
One of the main ideas of the Frankfurt School was to exploit Freud’s idea of ‘pansexualism’ – the search for pleasure, the exploitation of the differences between the sexes, the overthrowing of traditional relationships between men and women. To further their aims they would:
• attack the authority of the father, deny the specific roles of father and mother, and wrest away from families their rights as primary educators of their children.
The School believed there were two types of revolution: (a) political and (b) cultural. Cultural revolution demolishes from within. ‘Modern forms of subjection are marked by mildness’. They saw it as a long-term project and kept their sights clearly focused on the family, education, media, sex and popular culture.
The School’s ‘Critical Theory’ preached that the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family – an idea directly linked to Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, which promoted matriarchy. Already Karl Marx had written, in the “Communist Manifesto”, about the radical notion of a ‘community of women’ and in The German Ideology of 1845, written disparagingly about the idea of the family as the basic unit of society. This was one of the basic tenets of the ‘Critical Theory’ : the necessity of breaking down the contemporary family. The Institute scholars preached that ‘Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.’
Following Karl Marx, the School stressed how the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family—it was Marx who wrote so disparagingly about the idea of the family being the basic unit of society. All this prepared the way for the warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Marcuse under the guise of ‘women’s liberation’ and by the New Left movement in the 1960s.
They proposed transforming our culture into a female-dominated one. In 1933, Wilhelm Reich, one of their members, wrote in The Mass Psychology of Fascism that matriarchy was the only genuine family type of ‘natural society.’ Eric Fromm was also an active advocate of matriarchal theory. Masculinity and femininity, he claimed, were not reflections of ‘essential’ sexual differences, as the Romantics had thought but were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined.’ His dogma was the precedent for the radical feminist pronouncements that, today, appear in nearly every major newspaper and television programme.
The revolutionaries knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it. They have succeeded.
Lord Bertrand Russell joined with the Frankfurt School in their effort at mass social engineering and spilled the beans in his 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society. He wrote: ‘Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development.’ The importance of mass psychology ‘has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called ‘education. The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray . When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.”
Writing in 1992 in Fidelio Magazine, [The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness] Michael Minnicino observed how the heirs of Marcuse and Adorno now completely dominate the universities, ‘teaching their own students to replace reason with ‘Politically Correct’ ritual exercises. There are very few theoretical books on arts, letters, or language published today in the United States or Europe which do not openly acknowledge their debt to the Frankfurt School. The witchhunt on today’s campuses is merely the implementation of Marcuse’s concept of ‘repressive toleration’-‘tolerance for movements from the left, but intolerance for movements from the right’-enforced by the students of the Frankfurt School’.
Dr. Timothy Leary gave us another glimpse into the mind of the Frankfurt School in his account of the work of the Harvard University Psychedelic Drug Project, ‘Flashback.’ He quoted a conversation that he had with Aldous Huxley: “These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible’. Leary then went on: “We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, good-natured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.”
One of the directors of the Authoritarian Personality project, R. Nevitt Sanford, played a pivotal role in the usage of psychedelic drugs. In 1965, he wrote in a book issued by the publishing arm of the UK’s Tavistock Institute:‘The nation, seems to be fascinated by our 40,000 or so drug addicts who are seen as alarmingly wayward people who must be curbed at all costs by expensive police activity. Only an uneasy Puritanism could support the practice of focusing on the drug addicts (rather than our 5 million alcoholics) and treating them as a police problem instead of a medical one, while suppressing harmless drugs such as marijuana and peyote along with the dangerous ones.” The leading propagandists of today’s drug lobby base their argument for legalization on the same scientific quackery spelled out all those years ago by Dr. Sanford.
Such propagandists include the multi-billionaire atheist George Soros who chose, as one of his first domestic programs, to fund efforts to challenge the efficacy of America’s $37-billion-a-year war on drugs. The Soros-backed Lindesmith Center serves as a leading voice for Americans who want to decriminalize drug use. ‘Soros is the ‘Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization,’ claimed Joseph Califano Jr. of Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’ (The Nation, Sep 2, 1999).
Music, Television and Popular Culture
Adorno was to become head of a ‘music studies’ unit, where in his Theory of Modern Music he promoted the prospect of unleashing atonal and other popular music as a weapon to destroy society, degenerate forms of music to promote mental illness. He said the US could be brought to its knees by the use of radio and television to promote a culture of pessimism and despair – by the late 1930s he (together with Horkheimer) had migrated to Hollywood.
The expansion of violent video-games also well supported the School’s aims.
In his book The Closing of the American Mind, Alan Bloom observed how Marcuse appealed to university students in the sixties with a combination of Marx and Freud. In Eros and Civilization and One Dimensional Man Marcuse promised that the overcoming of capitalism and its false consciousness will result in a society where the greatest satisfactions are sexual. Rock music touches the same chord in the young. Free sexual expression, anarchism, mining of the irrational unconscious and giving it free rein are what they have in common.’
The modern media – not least Arthur ‘Punch’ Sulzberger Jnr., who took charge of the New York Times in 1992 – drew greatly on the Frankfurt School’s study The Authoritarian Personality. (New York: Harper, 1950). In his book Arrogance, (Warner Books, 1993) former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg noted of Sulzberger that he ‘still believes in all those old sixties notions about ‘liberation’ and ‘changing the world man’ . . . In fact, the Punch years have been a steady march down PC Boulevard, with a newsroom fiercely dedicated to every brand of diversity except the intellectual kind.’
In 1953 the Institute moved back to the University of Frankfurt. Adorno died in 1955 and Horkheimer in 1973. The Institute of Social Research continued, but what was known as the Frankfurt School did not. The ‘cultural Marxism’ that has since taken hold of our schools and universities – that ‘political correctness’, which has been destroying our family bonds, our religious tradition and our entire culture -sprang from the Frankfurt School.
It was these intellectual Marxists who, later, during the anti-Vietnam demonstrations, coined the phrase, ‘make love, not war’; it was these intellectuals who promoted the dialectic of ‘negative’ criticism; it was these theoreticians who dreamed of a utopia where their rules governed. It was their concept that led to the current fad for the rewriting of history, and to the vogue for ‘deconstruction’. Their mantras: ‘sexual differences are a contract; if it feels good, do it; do your own thing.’
In an address at the US Naval Academy in August 1999, Dr Gerald L. Atkinson, CDR USN (Ret), gave a background briefing on the Frankfurt School, reminding his audience that it was the ‘foot soldiers’ of the Frankfurt School who introduced the ‘sensitivity training’ techniques used in public schools over the past 30 years (and now employed by the US military to educate the troops about ‘sexual harassment’). During ‘sensitivity’ training teachers were told not to teach but to ‘facilitate.’ Classrooms became centres of self-examination where children talked about their own subjective feelings. This technique was designed to convince children they were the sole authority in their own lives.
Atkinson continued: ‘The Authoritarian personality,’ studied by the Frankfurt School in the 1940s and 1950s in America, prepared the way for the subsequent warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Herbert Marcuse and his band of social revolutionaries under the guise of ‘women’s liberation’ and the New Left movement in the 1960s. The evidence that psychological techniques for changing personality is intended to mean emasculation of the American male is provided by Abraham Maslow, founder of Third Force Humanist Psychology and a promoter of the psychotherapeutic classroom, who wrote that, ‘… the next step in personal evolution is a transcendence of both masculinity and femininity to general humanness.’
On April 17th, 1962, Maslow gave a lecture to a group of nuns at Sacred Heart, a Catholic women’s college in Massachusetts. He noted in a diary entry how the talk had been very ‘successful,’ but he found that very fact troubling. ‘They shouldn’t applaud me,’ he wrote, ‘they should attack. If they were fully aware of what I was doing, they would [attack]’ (Journals, p. 157).
In her booklet Sex & Social Engineering (Family Education Trust 1994) Valerie Riches observed how in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were intensive parliamentary campaigns taking place emanating from a number of organisations in the field of birth control (i.e., contraception, abortion, sterilisation). ‘From an analysis of their annual reports, it became apparent that a comparatively small number of people were involved to a surprising degree in an array of pressure groups. This network was not only linked by personnel, but by funds, ideology and sometimes addresses: it was also backed by vested interests and supported by grants in some cases by government departments. At the heart of the network was the Family Planning Association (FPA) with its own collection of offshoots. What we unearthed was a power structure with enormous influence.
‘Deeper investigation revealed that the network, in fact extended further afield, into eugenics, population control, birth control, sexual and family law reforms, sex and health education. Its tentacles reached out to publishing houses, medical, educational and research establishments, women’s organisations and marriage guidance—anywhere where influence could be exerted. It appeared to have great influence over the media, and over permanent officials in relevant government departments, out of all proportion to the numbers involved.
‘During our investigations, a speaker at a Sex Education Symposium in Liverpool outlined tactics of sex education saying: ‘if we do not get into sex education, children will simply follow the mores of their parents’. The fact that sex education was to be the vehicle for peddlers of secular humanism soon became apparent.
‘However, at that time the power of the network and the full implications of its activities were not fully understood. It was thought that the situation was confined to Britain. The international implications had not been grasped.
‘Soon after, a little book was published with the intriguing title The Men Behind Hitler—A German Warning to the World. Its thesis was that the eugenics movement, which had gained popularity early in the twentieth century, had gone underground following the holocaust in Nazi Germany, but was still active and functioning through organizations promoting abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, mental health, etc. The author urged the reader to look at his home country and neighbouring countries, for he would surely find that members and committees of these organizations would cross-check to a remarkable extent.
‘Other books and papers from independent sources later confirmed this situation. . . . A remarkable book was also published in America which documented the activities of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). It was entitled The SIECUS Circle A Humanist Revolution. SIECUS was set up in 1964 and lost no time in engaging in a programme of social engineering by means of sex education in the schools. Its first executive director was Mary Calderone, who was also closely linked to Planned Parenthood, the American equivalent of the British FPA. According to The SIECUS Circle, Calderone supported sentiments and theories put forward by Rudolph Dreikus, a humanist, such as:
· merging or reversing the sexes or sex roles;
In their book Mind Siege, (Thomas Nelson, 2000) Tim LaHaye and David A. Noebel confirmed Riches’s findings of an international network. ‘The leading authorities of Secular Humanism may be pictured as the starting lineup of a baseball team: pitching is John Dewey; catching is Isaac Asimov; first base is Paul Kurtz; second base is Corliss Lamont; third base is Bertrand Russell; shortstop is Julian Huxley; left fielder is Richard Dawkins; center fielder is Margaret Sanger; right fielder is Carl Rogers; manager is ‘Christianity is for losers’ Ted Turner; designated hitter is Mary Calderone; utility players include the hundreds listed in the back of Humanist Manifesto I and II, including Eugenia C. Scott, Alfred Kinsey, Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, Rollo May, and Betty Friedan.
‘In the grandstands sit the sponsoring or sustaining organizations, such as the . . . the Frankfurt School; the left wing of the Democratic Party; the Democratic Socialists of America; Harvard University; Yale University; University of Minnesota; University of California (Berkeley); and two thousand other colleges and universities.’
A practical example of how the tidal wave of Maslow-think is engulfing English schools was revealed in an article in the British Nat assoc. of Catholic Families’ (NACF) Catholic Family newspaper (August 2000), where James Caffrey warned about the Citizenship (PSHE) programme which was shortly to be drafted into the National Curriculum. ‘We need to look carefully at the vocabulary used in this new subject’, he wrote, ‘and, more importantly, discover the philosophical basis on which it is founded. The clues to this can be found in the word ‘choice’ which occurs frequently in the Citizenship documentation and the great emphasis placed on pupils’ discussing and ‘clarifying’ their own views, values and choices about any given issue. This is nothing other than the concept known as ‘Values Clarification’ – a concept anathema to Catholicism, or indeed, to Judaism and Islam.
‘This concept was pioneered in California in the 1960’s by psychologists William Coulson, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. It was based on ‘humanistic’ psychology, in which patients were regarded as the sole judge of their actions and moral behaviour. Having pioneered the technique of Values Clarification the psychologists introduced it into schools and other institutions such as convents and seminaries – with disastrous results. Convents emptied, religious lost their vocations and there was wholesale loss of belief in God. Why? Because Catholic institutions are founded on absolute beliefs in, for example, the Creed and the Ten Commandments. Values Clarification supposes a moral relativism in which there is no absolute right or wrong and no dependence on God.
‘This same system is to be introduced to the vulnerable minds of infants, juniors and adolescents in the years 2000+. The underlying philosophy of Values Clarification holds that for teachers to promote virtues such as honesty, justice or chastity constitutes indoctrination of children and ‘violates’ their moral freedom. It is urged that children should be free to choose their own values; the teacher must merely ‘facilitate’ and must avoid all moralising or criticising. As a barrister commented recently on worrying trends in Australian education, ‘The core theme of values clarification is that there are no right or wrong values. Values education does not seek to identify and transmit ‘right’ values, teaching of the Church, especially the papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
‘In the absence of clear moral guidance, children naturally make choices based on feelings. Powerful peer pressure, freed from the values which stem from a divine source, ensure that ‘shared values’ sink to the lowest common denominator. References to environmental sustainability lead to a mindset where anti-life arguments for population control are present ed as being both responsible and desirable. Similarly, ‘informed choices’ about health and lifestyles are euphemisms for attitudes antithetical to Christian views on motherhood, fatherhood, the sacrament of marriage and family life. Values Clarification is covert and dangerous. It underpins the entire rationale of Citizenship (PSHE) and is to be introduced by statute into the UK soon. It will give young people secular values and imbue them with the attitude that they alone hold ultimate authority and judgement about their lives. No Catholic school can include this new subject as formulated in the Curriculum 2000 document within its current curriculum provision. Dr. William Coulson recognised the psychological damage Rogers’ technique inflicted on youngsters and rejected it, devoting his life to exposing its dangers.
Should those in authority in Catholic education not do likewise, as ‘Citizenship’ makes its deadly approach’?
If we allow their subversion of values and interests to continue, we will, in future generations, lose all that our ancestors suffered and died for. We are forewarned, says Atkinson. A reading of history (it is all in mainstream historical accounts) tells us that we are about to lose the most precious thing we have—our individual freedoms.
‘What we are at present experiencing,’ writes Philip Trower in a letter to the author, ‘is a blend of two schools of thought; the Frankfurt School and the liberal tradition going back to the 18th century Enlightenment. The Frankfurt School has of course its remote origins in the 18th century Enlightenment. But like Lenin’s Marxism it is a breakaway movement. The immediate aims of both classical liberalism and the Frankfurt School have been in the main the same (vide your eleven points above) but the final end is different. For liberals they lead to ‘improving’ and ‘perfecting’ western culture, for the Frankfurt School they bring about its destruction.
‘Unlike hard-line Marxists, the Frankfurt School do not make any plans for the future. (But) the Frankfurt School seems to be more far-sighted that our classical liberals and secularists. At least they see the moral deviations they promote will in the end make social life impossible or intolerable. But this leaves a big question mark over what a future conducted by them would be like.’
Meanwhile, the Quiet Revolution rolls forward.
The 28 NATO member nations have received a preliminary version of an updated strategic concept containing a divisive call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 8).
(Oct. 1) – A U.S. B-61 nuclear gravity bomb body, shown in an aircraft hangar. NATO member nations appear set in November to consider a draft strategic concept calling for nuclear disarmament (U.S. Air Force/Natural Resources Defense Council).
NATO leaders resolved at their previous summit in April 2009 to update the military alliance’s strategy to better address contemporary security needs. If they reach consensus on the strategy at the group’s next summit, scheduled for Nov. 19-20 in Portugal, the document would require approval by all NATO governments.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in recent months revised the original draft mission statement put forward in May by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and other issue experts (see GSN, May 21). Security experts said the first draft was overly verbose and vague in some areas.
“Rasmussen does not want endless debates, revisions and arguments over the positioning of paragraphs, sentences and even commas,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.
Rasmussen hoped discussions this month by Cabinet-level officials would shed light on “which issues will go to the wire” for the November session in Lisbon, according to diplomats.
“So far, the nuclear issue has taken center stage,” one high-level NATO diplomat said. “The nuclear weapons issue has boiled down to this: Is NATO going to retain the status quo by keeping its weapons for deterrence, or is NATO finally going to give arms control and disarmament precedence?”
Five European nations — Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey — are believed to house roughly 200 U.S. B-61 nuclear gravity bombs.
Calls by Germany and other European states for the document to prominently promote the elimination of nuclear weapons have placed those nations at odds with France, a nuclear-armed state that believes NATO involvement in nuclear matters could threaten French self-determination.
“If there is a sticking point in reaching agreement, then this is it,” a German diplomat familiar with the document said.
“You can understand why France is not happy with the section on disarmament. It does not want its nuclear deterrent to be in any way dragged into NATO discussions,” said Frederic Bozo, a security specialist with the Sorbonne University in Paris (see related GSN story, today).
Poland and Baltic nations expressed concern that rolling back NATO nuclear deployments could undermine the idea of collective security on which the alliance is premised.
“U.S. nuclear weapons are regarded as a strong symbol of the credibility of the American commitment to the security of Europe,” said NATO Defense College Research Director Karl-Heinz Kamp. “Eliminating the American nuclear presence in Europe, even if the number of warheads is small, could further erode alliance cohesion at a time when reassurance and solidarity are at the heart of the alliance debate on its new strategic concept.”
“Deterrence should and will remain central to NATO,” Latvian Defense Minister Imants Liegis said, adding his country was otherwise “pleased with the draft document so far.”
“It meets our concerns, especially over NATO remaining an alliance committed to collective security,” Liegis said. “Actually, the document is surprisingly lucid and crisp.”
British officials did not address the document’s disarmament language. “We have received the draft. We are studying it carefully,” said one British government source. “There will be extensive discussions.”
“We are facing important foreign policy decisions this autumn,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who this week discussed NATO strategy and elimination of nuclear weapons with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Secretary General Rasmussen has circulated a draft that we believe provides a good basis for further discussions and that takes up many of the suggestions that we have made in the process of preparing this new strategic concept,” he said.
An additional secret paper prepared by Rasmussen outlines how the alliance would respond to nuclear, conventional and other strikes. “If you think the strategic concept is classified, you cannot imagine how secretive the operational paper is and will remain,” said one diplomat from East Europe (Judy Dempsey,New York Times, Sept. 30).
Thirty-six former high-level European officials called in a statement Monday for the new NATO strategic concept to “promote both nuclear and conventional arms control and disarmament based on greater international transparency and accountability.”
“NATO should make disarmament a core element of its approach to providing security,” the statement says. “This alliance, building on the Harmel report, has always combined deterrence with détente.”
In addition, the strategy should limit the role of nuclear weapons to deterring a nuclear strike and call for curbs on the role played by nuclear weapons in other security policies.
“In addition, we call upon the alliance to now review its entire nuclear policy and posture with a view to facilitating progress in arms control, in a manner consistent with effective burden sharing and alliance cohesion, effective deterrence and a demonstrable commitment to collective defense,” the document states.
The statement’s signatories included former British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, former British Defense Secretary Des Browne, former European Commission President Jacques Delors, former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (European Leadership Networkrelease, Sept. 27).
Russia requested additional information on NATO intentions before responding to the alliance’s invitation to participate in dialogue during the summit, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 27).
Moscow wants “to better understand where this strategic concept is leading and what it will determine about relations with Russia and NATO’s approach to international law,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov toldRossiiskaya Gazeta in comments published yesterday.
“There are many voices saying NATO must set out in this concept its right to use force in any region of the world” without U.N. Security Council backing, he said. “This would contradict the U.N. Charter and the principle of the rule of law in world affairs” (Reuters, Sept. 30).
Meanwhile, Russia and the United States are soon expected to finish a collaborative assessment of threats posed by issues including WMD and missile proliferation, ITAR-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying.
“Special attention is paid to the challenges in the area of missile proliferation, since such issues are directly linked with problems of [missile defense],” he said (ITAR-Tass, Oct. 1).
Tax police carried out violent raids on two businesses, on Sept. 24 in Berdyansk (above) and on Sept. 29 in Kherson. Police injured five people in the two incidents, including three seriously enough to be hospitalized.(Alexey Kalinin/Courtesy of Berdyanskie Novosti newspaper)
Kyiv Post staff writer Peter Byrne can be reached at email@example.com.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Tax police fire on workers, wounding four.
Masked and armed Ukrainian tax police on Sept. 24 fired guns using rubber bullets at workers of an agricultural enterprise in Berdyansk, a port city in Zaporizhia Oblast, injuring four.
A similar incident took place five days later in Kherson, leaving a mayoral candidate hospitalized.
The violence in Berdyansk started at 9 a.m. as plant employees arrived at work. At least four workers were wounded, two seriously enough to be hospitalized. The region’s top tax official was quick to defend the actions of his subordinates as self-defense, accusing workers of attacking the tax police.
However, eyewitness accounts and video of the incident posted on YouTube contradict the official version of events that workers fired first on police. The six-minute, 31-second clip has since become the latest Ukrainian YouTube sensation, with more than 90,000 hits since it was posted on Sept. 24.
The video shows eight young tax police officers wearing face-covering masks and bulletproof vests blocking workers from their offices. The workers are unarmed in the clip.
“What happened is a glaring example of the socially dangerous behavior exhibited by the nation’s tax police”.
– Syatoslav Olyinyk, a parliament deputy from the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko.
Syatoslav Olyinyk, a parliament deputy from the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, appealed to President Viktor Yanukovych and the Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko to intervene.
“What happened is a glaring example of the socially dangerous behavior exhibited by the nation’s tax police. No one can feel safe in a country where tax agents wearing masks are shooting unarmed civilians,” Olyinyk said. “The mere fact that tax policemen opened fire out in the middle of street is outrageous. This altercation shows the need to either replace those who head the country’s tax police, or to eliminate this law enforcement agency altogether.”
Armed tax police officers in Berdyansk stand behind Andriy Shevchenko, deputy chief of the Berdyansk tax authority, during a Sept. 24 raid on a business there. Officers shot four workers, injuring two seriously enough to be hospitalized, during the confrontation. Eyewitnesses said the workers were unarmed and did not provoke the assault. (Alexey Kalinin/Courtesy of Berdyanskie Novosti newspaper)
“Tax police were forced to return fire using rubber bullets to restore order.”
– Viktor Yashchenko, head of Zaporozhia Oblast’s tax police directorate.
The official version is this: Tax agents and tax police were deployed to a Berdyansk agricultural enterprise early on Sept. 24 to seize documents related to a criminal case when they were met by armed men demanding entry to the premises.
“Some of these men carried cameras,” Viktor Yashchenko, head of Zaporozhia Oblast’s tax police directorate, told journalists on Sept. 27. “Others carried automatic weapons, and one of the men began shooting from a gas pistol. Tax police were forced to return fire using rubber bullets to restore order.”
Video footage of the incident shows only tax agents carrying pistols and automatic weapons. Eyewitnesses to the melee, which took place on a 12-hectare plot occupied by some 20 enterprises, say it was tax police who fired on workers and not the other way around.
Local journalists covering the story said a special detachment of armed tax police were deployed from Zaporizhia to Berdyansk to carry out the raid, which was supervised by a local tax inspector.
Valeriya Bukhanova, a journalist with weekly newspaper Berdyanskie Vedomosti, said most of the two dozen or so enterprises located in the compound process and store various types of motor oils.
“Nothing like this has ever happened in Berdyansk before,” Bukhanov told the Kyiv Post on Sept. 28.
Vladlen Hiryn, a candidate for Kherson mayor, was hospitalized on Sept. 29 when a squad of tax police officers raided businesses allegedly tied to him. Supporters said Sept. 30 that the raid was an attempt to prevent Hiryn from running for mayor in the Oct. 31 election. (UNIAN)
But it did happen again, on Sept. 29, this time in Kherson, where a raid by a dozen tax police officers on an enterprise resulted in the hospitalization of mayoral candidate Vladlen Hiryn.
Hiryn and several enterprise workers attempted to repel the law enforcement agents, saying the police action was illegal and aimed at preventing Hiryn from running for political office. Hiryn received wounds to the face and shoulder during the tussle and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Collecting taxes has been a police function in Ukraine since the late 1990s, when the agency under former tax chief Mykola Azarov (1996-2001), now the nation’s prime minister, was accused of harassing entrepreneurs and companies with ties to opposition leaders.
Tax police, who are subordinate to the State Tax Administration, seek out and arrest individuals who avoid paying taxes and businesses which neglect reporting to tax authorities.
“We are going to do something terrible to you — we are going to deprive you of an enemy.” –says Georgi Arbatov, the Kremlin’s best- known America watcher.
MOSCOW (AP) — Georgy Arbatov, a foreign policy adviser to Soviet presidents who served as the country’s top America-watcher during the Cold War, died Friday. He was 87.
Russian state TV, which reported Arbatov’s death, did not give the cause of death, or say where he was when he passed away.
Arbatov, who advised leaders from Leonid Brezhnev to Mikhail Gorbachev and was especially close to Yuri Andropov, was credited in the West and later in Russia for understanding the Soviet system was fundamentally untenable.
“He belonged to a group of reformers who believed that the Soviet system could be and had to be reformed,” said Yevgeny Primakov, who served as prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, in comments to state news channel Rossiya-24.
“His name is associated with the entire epoch of the Soviet Union. … He was part of the closest and best trusted consultants of Brezhnev and Andropov,” Primakov said.
From 1967 to 1995 Arbatov ran the U.S. and Canada Institute, an advisory body to Soviet authorities that he founded and that had huge sway over policy toward the American continent at a time of heightened tensions for the Cold War adversaries.
Arbatov, who studied international law but started out as a journalist after fighting in World War II, penned speeches for leaders including Brezhnev.
Arbatov was awarded the highest Soviet scientific distinction in 1974, named Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R.
Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of parliament, said Arbatov’s legacy remains.
“He was a scientist, a politician, a diplomat, and everything that made our politics in recent decades politics of civic-mindedness, politics of effectiveness, and politics of creativity.”
Arbatov remained honorary director of the think tank he created.
No information was immediately available about his survivors or funeral plans.
OSLO/PARIS (Reuters) – European oil majors resisted pressure from the United States to abandon all Iranian activities, saying they would continue buying Iranian crude and exit the country only upon expiry of existing contracts.
France’s Total said it was still buying Iranian crude and Royal Dutch Shell said it was not illegal to lift Iranian crude under the latest United Nations sanctions.
Norway’s Statoil said it was providing Tehran with technical assistance while Italy’s ENI said it would exit Iran only when existing deals expire.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said on Thursday Total, Statoil, ENI and Royal Dutch Shell will suspend all dealings with Iran voluntarily to avoid American sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
Western powers seek to bring Tehran into new talks on an atomic program they fear is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
Iran, which has resisted pressure to open wide-ranging talks, says its nuclear program is peaceful and that while it is open to talks, it will never give up its right to peaceful nuclear energy.
The U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, are working with Germany to draw Iran back into negotiations that collapsed last year. But progress has been slow and U.S. officials describe sanctions as a way to pressure Tehran to talk.
CRUDE IS STILL LEGAL
Steinberg said the deal with European majors set a precedent that other firms should follow but the majors said on Friday the deal was not that straightforward.
“The group (Total) is in line with the relevant legislation, on an international and European basis as well as national. The recent European sanctions will keep to a minimum our activities in the country, where already we were not very present” a Total spokeswoman said.
“Today we have no operations in Iran apart from the purchase of crude oil, which today is considered licit.”
She said Total had not cut back its dealings in Iran since saying earlier this year it would halt the sale of oil products.
Total “answered fully” the questions asked by the U.S. State Department on its Iranian operations, she said.
She would not say whether the State Department had given orders or suggestions in addition to the questions.
“We are monitoring the evolution of the legal situation.”
Shell also said it was complying with all legislation while declining to comment on its trading activities. Traders say it is still involved in Iranian crude purchases. “As you know, it is not illegal to lift oil from Iran,” a Shell spokesman said.
Statoil on its part also said on Friday it would conclude work in Iran by 2012 at the latest but was still providing technical assistance after finishing development of the South Pars project last year.
“Already in 2008 we said that we would not make further investments in Iran and we have been very open and transparent on this policy,” Statoil spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen said.
“We have completed South Pars 6, 7, 8 last year and since then our activities have been limited to providing technical assistance for the Iranian operator for a limited period.”
He said the assistance program was limited to three years “but it may conclude before that.”
ENI’s spokesman said the group will exit Iran once its commercial contracts in the country are concluded, reiterating the group’s position on Iran that it would abstain only from future deals.
Eni has a buyback agreement in Iran, which means it is paid in barrels for its investments and traders say the group is still bringing Iranian crude for its refineries in Italy.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by James Jukwey)
By Alison Fitzgerald, Jason Gale and Helen Murphy
May 14 (Bloomberg) — Fidencio Alvarez abandoned his bean and corn farm in southern Honduras because of the rising cost of seeds, fuel and food. After months of one meal a day, he hiked with his wife and six children to find work in the city.
“We would wake up with empty stomachs and go to bed with empty stomachs,” said Alvarez, 37, who sought help from the Mission Lazarus aid group in Choluteca in January. “We couldn’t afford the seeds to plant food or the bus fare to buy the food.”
Honduran farmers like Alvarez can’t compete in a global marketplace where the costs of fuel and fertilizer soared and rice prices doubled in the past year. The former breadbasket of Central America now imports 83 percent of the rice it consumes — a dependency triggered almost two decades ago when it adopted free-market policies pushed by the World Bank and other lenders.
The country was $3.6 billion in debt in 1990. In return for loans from the World Bank, Honduras became one of dozens of developing nations that abandoned policies designed to protect farmers and citizens from volatile food prices. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee in Washington today explored the causes of the global food crisis and possible solutions.
The committee examined whether policies advocated by the bank and the International Monetary Fund contributed to the situation. Governments from Ghana to the Philippines were pressured to cut protective tariffs and farm supports and to grow more high-value crops for export, reports by the Washington-based World Bank show.
The IMF pressed Haiti, as a condition of a 1994 loan, to open its economy to trade, Raj Patel, a scholar at the Center for African Studies in the University of California at Berkeley told the committee. When trade barriers fell, imports of subsidized rice from the U.S. surged, devastating the local rice farmers, Patel said.
“That is very odd,” said committee chair Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. “For anyone to have looked at Haiti at that time and thought that it was a functioning economy is a sign I think of ideology going rampant.”
“Of course they got it wrong,” said Robert S. Zeigler, director-general at the International Rice Research Institute, southeast of Manila. “It will work if you’re an extremely wealthy country and you can import rice at any price. But if you’re not an extremely wealthy country, I think that’s very poor advice.”
`Command and Control’
“The focus of the liberalization was on lowering domestic food prices,” said Mark Plant, the IMF’s deputy director of policy development in Washington. Governments’ “command and control” policies increased consumer costs and cut farmer income, he said.
Williamson, now affiliated with the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a May 9 interview that the ideas are still sound, though they may have been pushed too hard by the World Bank.
“My own view is that all those things are good for countries,” he said. “But I’m not terribly sympathetic with the World Bank going in and laying down a list of things countries have to do.”
Honduran agriculture stagnated through the 1980s because of subsidies and market controls, prompting the bank to recommend economic changes, said Adrian Fozzard, the institution’s manager for Honduras.
Rice farmers in Honduras were protected by the highest import tariffs in Central America when former president Rafael Callejastook office in 1990 with the economy stalled. The trade barriers that helped the country meet more than 90 percent of domestic demand were dismantled under an agreement for a World Bank loan in September that year, allowing cheaper imports to flood the market.
The requirements for the loan included eliminating import restrictions and surcharges and reorganizing the agricultural finance system, according to Eurodad, a network of 54 European non-governmental organizations that was granted access to the World Bank’s loan database to monitor loan conditions.
Prices paid to farmers fell by 13 percent in 1991 and 30 percent more in 1992, according to the Food and Agriculture Organizationin Rome.
In August 1993, the World Bank advised Honduras to adopt a second round of economic changes as part of another loan, according to Eurodad. Those conditions included eliminating all price controls and cutting tariffs further.
“Remaining trade and price controls should be eliminated,” bank officials said in a 1994 internal report. “The program of privatization of state silos should be completed; and the use of a grain reserve for price stabilization should not be reinstated.”
The report’s author, Daniel Cotlear, now a World Bank economist for Latin American and the Caribbean, declined to comment for this story.
The bank pushed the policies because food prices fell in real terms for at least two decades, and few economists expected that to change, said Mark Cackler, manager of its Agriculture and Rural Development Department. Free trade and open markets remain the best path to competitiveness, he said.
“There are actually opportunities to reduce protectionism that have a beneficial impact,” Cackler said.
World Bank Reaction
World Bank spokesman Sergio Jellinek said it’s impossible to connect today’s food price crisis with 20-year-old free-trade policies.
“The price of food, especially grains, is determined in the international market and not in the local markets,” he said. “So if a country such as Mexico, or Colombia, or El Salvador or Honduras would have multiplied by three or four its grain production, that would not have significantly affected world supply. And food prices in local markets would be as high as they are today.”
There now are 1,300 rice farmers in Honduras, compared with more than 20,000 in 1989, according to human rights group FIAN.
“The international lending agencies have destroyed the basic grains industry in Honduras,” said Gilberto Rios, executive secretary of FIAN Honduras. “The best land now produces things like African palms, which are not for consumption.”
Last month, thousands of activists, students and farmers blocked highways and rallied in the capital, Tegucigalpa, to protest food prices and policies that made their country the most open to free trade in Latin America — and one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.
Not `a Boon’
Per capita income rose by 0.5 percent a year from 1990 to 2004, one of the slowest growth rates in Latin America, a January reportby the International Food Policy Research Institute found.
“Trade liberalization does not appear to have been much of a boon to the Honduran economy,” the Washington-based institute said in the report.
In the Philippines, the World Bank encouraged the country, the world’s biggest importer of rice, to stop striving for self- sufficiency and instead to diversify into crops like tropical fruits which have greater export value.
It approved a $60 million loan in 2004 to help the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture become more market- oriented, diversify crops and stimulate private investment.
A World Bank Group technical working paper in June 2007 said the government shouldn’t stockpile grain to stabilize prices. Rather, it should keep enough on hand for disasters and social welfare programs. It also advocated opening the domestic market to competition by cutting tariffs.
Philippines Reverses Course
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo now says the country has to change course toward being able to feed itself.
“We must move toward more self-sufficiency, not necessarily 100 percent, but more self-sufficiency, less import dependence on rice,” she said last month.
African nations including Ghana and Mali similarly followed World Bank advice. In 1992, the bank required Ghana to cut tariffs on rice to 20 percent from 100 percent, leading to a tripling of cheap rice imports, Patel said.
In 2004, the bank advised Ethiopia to stop providing fertilizer and credit to small farmers as part of a debt relief package, and it persuaded Indonesia to dismantle its rice marketing board, according to Elizabeth Stuart in Washington, who is the head of relations with the World Bank and IMF for Oxfam International, the U.K.-based alliance fighting poverty.
Now farmers are asking the Honduran government to reverse policy and provide cheap, long-term loans to buy the seeds and fertilizers they need to survive.
The government of Honduras yesterday asked the IMF to send a team to the country to examine how the rising food and fuel prices are affecting the economy and whether they should reconsider some aspects of a current economic program, the IMF said in a press release.
“We haven’t seen the worst of it yet; that’s to come,” said Jarrod Brown, president of the Mission Lazarus. “They need help now.”
For Alvarez and his family, help can’t come quickly enough.
“We want to go back to our land, it’s all we have,” he said.
HARAZ N. GHANBARI / THE ASSOCIATED PRESSMichael G. Vickers has served as assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict since July 2007.
Posted : Friday Oct 1, 2010 18:34:18 EDT
The White House has nominated Michael Vickers, a former Special Forces soldier and Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary operations officer, to be undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
Since July 2007, Vickers has served as assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. During his 13 years in Special Forces, he said he served on both the “black” and “white” — covert and overt — sides of special operations, Vickers told Congress.
According to his Defense Department biography, during his Special Forces and CIA years Vickers had operational and combat experience in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia, spanning covert action and espionage, unconventional warfare, counterterrorism (including hostage rescue operations), counterinsurgency, and foreign internal defense.
His tenure as a CIA operative included serving as a “principal strategist” of the largest covert action in CIA history, the arming of Muslim insurgents in Afghanistan in 1980s against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. The paramilitary operation ended with the Soviet Union withdrawing from Afghanistan.
The undersecretary for intelligence, one of the most senior positions in the Defense Department, reports directly to the secretary of defense. If his nomination is approved by the Senate, Vickers would replaces James Clapper, who was recently appointed to serve as director of national intelligence, a job created in 2004 to oversee 16 intelligence agencies.
Vickers and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have a “long professional relationship” that dates back to their time together at the CIA, said Gates’ spokesman Geoff Morrell.
President Alvaro Colom: ” I was upset and very angry”
US testing that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with gonorrhoea and syphilis more than 60 years ago was a “crime against humanity”, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has said.
President Barack Obama has apologised for the medical tests, in which mentally ill patients and prisoners were infected without their consent.
Mr Obama told Mr Colom the 1940s-era experiments ran contrary to American values, Guatemala said.
The US has promised an investigation.
We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologise to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices”
Statement from US secretaries of state and health
‘Shocking, tragic, reprehensible’
Syphilis can cause heart problems, blindness, mental illness and even death, and although the patients were treated it is not known how many recovered.
Evidence of the programme was unearthed by Prof Susan Reverby at Wellesley College. She says the Guatemalan government gave permission for the tests.
No offer of compensation has yet been made, but an investigation will be launched into the specifics of the study, which took place between 1946 and 1948.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday the news was “shocking, it’s tragic, it’s reprehensible”.
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Colom said the test subjects were “victims of rights abuses”.
“There’s been a very strong reaction in the Guatemalan media and by my compatriots,” he said.
“Of course, there may have been similar incidents in other countries around the world, but speaking as the president and a Guatemalan, I would have preferred that these events had never happened on this soil.”
The joint statement from Mrs Clinton and Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health.
“We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologise to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”
In his phone call to President Colom, Barack Obama reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to ensure that all human medical studies conducted today meet exacting US and international legal and ethical standards, the White House.
President Obama also “underscored the United States’ deep respect for the people of Guatemala and the importance of our bilateral relationship”.
The study by Prof Reverby shows that US government medical researchers infected almost 700 people in Guatemala with two sexually transmitted diseases.
The patients – prisoners and people suffering mental health problems – were unaware they were being experimented upon.
The doctors used prostitutes with syphilis to infect them, or inoculation, as they tried to determine whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, not just cure it.
The patients were then treated for the disease, but it is unclear whether everyone was cured.
Prof Reverby has previously done research on the Tuskegee experiment, where the US authorities measured the progress of syphilis in African-American sharecroppers without telling them they had the disease or adequately treating it.
The experiment ran from 1932 to 1972, with President Bill Clinton eventually apologising for it.
The Anti-Empire Report
by William Blum
Since The Great Flood hit Pakistan in July …
- many millions have been displaced, evacuated, stranded or lost their homes; numerous roads, schools and health clinics destroyed
- hundreds of villages washed away
- millions of livestock have perished; for the rural poor something akin to a Western stock market crash that wipes out years of savings
- countless farms decimated, including critical crops like corn; officials say the damage is in the hundreds of millions of dollars and it does not appear that Pakistan will recover within the next few years
- infectious diseases are rising sharply
- airplanes of the United States of America have flown over Pakistan and dropped bombs on dozens of occasions 1
I direct these remarks to readers who have to deal with Americans who turn into a stone wall upon hearing the United States accused of acting immorally; America, they are convinced, means well; our motives are noble. And if we do do something that looks bad, and the badness can’t easily be covered up or explained away … well, great powers have always done things like that, we’re no worse than the other great powers of history, and a lot better than most. God bless America.
A certain percentage of such people do change eventually and stop rationalizing; this happens usually after being confronted X-number of times with evidence of the less-than-beautiful behavior of their government around the world. The value of X of course varies with the individual; so don’t give up trying to educate the hardened Americans you come in contact with. You never know when your enlightening them about a particular wickedness of their favorite country will be the straw that breaks their imperialist-loving back. (But remember the warning from Friedrich Schiller of Germany: Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens. — “With stupidity even the gods struggle in vain.”)
Here’s a recent revelation of wickedness that might serve to move certain of the unenlightened: New evidence has recently come to light that reinforces the view of a CIA role in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of The Congo following its independence from Belgium in 1960. The United States didn’t pull the trigger, but it did just about everything else, including giving the green light to the Congolese officials who had kidnaped Lumumba. CIA Station Chief Larry Devlin, we now know, was consulted by these officials about the transfer of Lumumba to his sworn enemies. Devlin signaled them that he had no objection to it. Lumumba’s fate was sealed. 2
It was a classic Cold War example of anti-communism carried to absurd and cruel lengths. Years later, Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon told a Senate investigating committee that the National Security Council and President Eisenhower had believed in 1960 that Lumumba was a “very difficult if not impossible person to deal with, and was dangerous to the peace and safety of the world.” 3 This statement moved author Jonathan Kwitny to observe:
How far beyond the dreams of a barefoot jungle postal clerk in 1956, that in a few short years he would be dangerous to the peace and safety of the world! The perception seems insane, particularly coming from the National Security Council, which really does have the power to end all human life within hours. 4
President Eisenhower personally gave the order to kill the progressive African leader. 5
We can’t know for sure what life for the Congolese people would have been like had Lumumba been allowed to remain in office. But we do know what followed his assassination — one vicious dictator after another presiding over 50 years of mass murder, rape, and destruction as competing national forces and neighboring states fought endlessly over the vast mineral wealth in the country. The Congo would not hold another democratic election for 46 years.
Overthrowing a country’s last great hope, with disastrous consequences, is an historical pattern found throughout the long chronicle of American imperialist interventions, from Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s to Haiti and Afghanistan in the 1990s, with many examples in between. Washington has been working on Hugo Chávez in Venezuela for a decade.
Just like the commercials that warn you “Don’t try this at home”, I urge you not to waste your time trying to educate the likes of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who not long ago referred to “the men and women of the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps” as “the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century.” 6 What can you say to such a man? And this is the leading foreign policy columnist for America’s “newspaper of record”. God help us. The man could use some adult supervision.
A man named Barack Obama
For many years I have not paid a great deal of attention to party politics in the United States. I usually have only a passing knowledge of who’s who in Congress. It’s policies that interest me much more than politicians. But during the 2008 presidential campaign I kept hearing the name Barack Obama when I turned on the radio, and repeatedly saw his name in headlines in various newspapers. I knew no more than that he was a senator from Illinois and … Was he black?
Then one day I turned on my kitchen radio and was informed that Obama was about to begin a talk. I decided to listen, and did so for about 15 or 20 minutes while I washed the dishes. I listened, and listened, and then it hit me … This man is not saying anything! It’s all platitude and cliché, very little of what I would call substance. His talk could have been written by a computer, touching all the appropriate bases and saying just what could be expected to give some hope to the pessimistic and to artfully challenge the skepticism of the cynical; feel-good language for every occasion; conventional wisdom for every issue. His supporters, I would later learn, insisted that he had to talk this way to be elected, but once elected — Aha! The real genuine-progressive, anti-war Barack Obama would appear. “Change you can believe in!” Hallelujah! … They’re still saying things like that.
Last week Obama gave the traditional annual speech at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. 7 To give you an idea of whether the man now sincerely expresses himself “outside the box” at all, here’s what he had to say about Pakistan: “Since the rains came and the floodwaters rose in Pakistan, we have pledged our assistance, and we should all support the Pakistani people as they recover and rebuild.” Does he think no one in the world knows about the American bombs? Did he think he was speaking before sophisticated international diplomats or making a campaign speech before Iowa farmers?
Plus endless verbiage about the endless Israeli-Palestine issue, which could have been lifted out of almost any speech by any American president of the past 30 years. But no mention at all of Gaza. Oh, excuse me — there was one line: “the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams”. Gosh, choke. One would never know that the United States possesses huge leverage over the state of Israel — billions/trillions of dollars of military and economic aid and gifts. An American president with a minimum of courage could force Israel to make concessions, and in a struggle between a thousand-pound gorilla (Israel) and an infant (Hamas) it’s the gorilla that has to give some ground.
And this: “We also know from experience that those who defend these [universal] values for their people have been our closest friends and allies, while those who have denied those rights — whether terrorist groups or tyrannical governments — have chosen to be our adversaries.”
Such a lie. It would be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the Western world in the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Kosovo, Colombia, and Israel. As to terrorist groups being adversaries of the United States — another item for the future Barack Obama Presidential Liebrary; as I’ve discussed in this report on several occasions, including last month, the United States has supported terrorist groups for decades. As they’ve supported US foreign policy.
“Yes, of course it’s nice to have a president who speaks in complete sentences. But that they’re coherent doesn’t make them honest.” — John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine. 8
The secret to understanding US foreign policy
In one of his regular “Reflections” essays, Fidel Castro recently discussed United States hostility towards Venezuela. “What they really want is Venezuela’s oil,” wrote the Cuban leader. 9 This is a commonly-held viewpoint within the international left. The point is put forth, for example, in Oliver Stone’s recent film “South of the Border”. I must, however, take exception.
In the post-World War Two period, in Latin America alone, the US has had a similar hostile policy toward progressive governments and movements in Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Bolivia. What these governments and movements all had in common was that they were/are leftist; nothing to do with oil. For more than half a century Washington has been trying to block the rise of any government in Latin America that threatens to offer a viable alternative to the capitalist model. Venezuela of course fits perfectly into that scenario; oil or no oil.
This ideology was the essence of the Cold War all over the world.
The secret to understanding US foreign policy is that there is no secret. Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policies fades away. To express this striving for dominance numerically, one can consider that since the end of World War Two the United States has:
- Endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
- Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
- Waged war/military action, either directly or in conjunction with a proxy army, in some 30 countries.
- Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
- Dropped bombs on the people of some 30 countries.
- Suppressed dozens of populist/nationalist movements in every corner of the world. 10
The United States institutional war machine has long been, and remains, on automatic pilot.
The 9/11 Truth Movement
The Truthers have long been pressing me to express my support for their cause. Here’s how I stand on the issue. I’m very aware of the serious contradictions and apparent lies in the Official Government Version (OGV) of what happened on that fateful day. (Before the Truthers can be dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, it should be noted that the OGV is literally a “conspiracy theory” about the fantastic things that a certain 19 men conspired to do.) It does appear that the buildings in New York collapsed essentially because of a controlled demolition, which employed explosives as well as certain incendiary substances found in the rubble. So, for this and many other questions raised by the 9/11 Truth Movement, the OGV can clearly not be taken entirely at face value but has to be seriously examined point by point. But no matter what the discrepancies in the OGV, does it necessarily follow that the events of 9/11 were an “inside job”? Is it an either/or matter? Either a group of terrorists were fully responsible or the government planned it all down to the last detail?
What if the government, with its omnipresent eyes and ears, discovered the plotting of Mideast terrorists some time before and decided to let it happen — and even enhance the destruction — to make use of it as a justification for its “War on Terror”? The Truthers admit that they can’t fully explain what actually took place, but they argue that they are not obliged to do so; that they have exposed the government lies and that the fact of these lies proves that it was an inside job. The Truthers have done great work, but I say that for me, and I’m sure for many others, to accept the idea of an inside job I have to indeed know what actually took place, or at least a lot more than I know now. It is, after all, an incredible story, and I need to know how the government pulled it off. I need to have certain questions answered, amongst which are the following:
- Were the planes that hit the towers hijacked?
- Did they contain the passengers named amongst the dead?
- Were they piloted or were they flying via remote control?
- If piloted, who were the pilots?
- Did a plane crash in Pennsylvania? If so, why? What happened to the remains of the plane and the passengers?
- Did a plane crash into the Pentagon? What happened to the remains of the plane and the passengers?
- Why do Truthers say that some, or many, of the named Arabic hijackers have been found alive living abroad? Why couldn’t their identity have been stolen by the hijackers?
If the Truthers can’t answer any or most of the above questions, are they prepared to consider the possibility of 9/11 being a “let-it-happen” government operation?
Do words have to mean something?
“Holocaust denier barred from leading tour at Auschwitz”. That was the headline over a short news item in the Washington Post on September 22. The story, in full, read: “British historian and Holocaust-denier David Irving will not be permitted to give tours at Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, museum officials said Tuesday after the controversial historian arrived in Poland to lead a tour of Nazi sites. Irving told the British Daily Mail on Friday that Treblinka was a genuine death camp but that Auschwitz was a ‘Disney-style tourist attraction’.”
So how can Irving be called a “Holocaust-denier” if he says that the Nazi concentration camp at Treblinka “was a genuine death camp”? I don’t know. Do you? Why don’t you ask the Post? They never reply to my letters. And while you’re at it, ask them why they and their columnists routinely refer to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a “Holocaust-denier”. You might even point out to them that Ahmadinejad said in a speech at Columbia University (September 24, 2007), in reply to a question about the Holocaust, “I’m not saying that it didn’t happen at all. This is not the judgment that I’m passing here.”
Indeed, I don’t know if any of the so-called “Holocaust-deniers” actually, ever, umm, y’know, umm … deny the Holocaust. They question certain aspects of the Holocaust history that’s been handed down to us, but they don’t explicitly say that what we know as the Holocaust never took place. Yes, I’m sure you can find at least one nut-case somewhere.
Speaking of nut-cases, two days after Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R.-CA) introduced legislation “To prohibit Federal grants to or contracts with Columbia University” (HR 3675, 110th Congress). I’m surprised he didn’t call for a Predator to fly over the campus and drop a few bombs. Don’t ya just love our Congressmembers? Soon to be joined it seems by a few Teaparty types who think that Barack Obama is a socialist. (If Obama is a socialist, what, I wonder, do they call Hugo Chávez? Or Karl Marx?) The new Madame Speaker of the House may be Alice in Wonderland.
- Wikipedia, Drone attacks in Pakistan ↩
- AllAfrica.com, New Evidence Shows U.S. Role in Congo’s Decision to Send Patrice Lumumba to His Death, August 1st 2010↩
- The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate: The Church Committee), Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, November 20, 1975, p.58↩
- Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World (1984), p.57↩
- New York Times, February 22, 1976, p.55 ↩
- New York Times, October 11, 2009↩
- White House Press Office, Remarks by the President to the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 2010↩
- The Providence Journal, “Obama a very smooth liar“, June 17, 2009 ↩
- Reflections by Comrade Fidel, “What they want is Venezuela’s oil“, September 27, 2010 ↩
- A link to any of the first five lists can be obtained by writing to William Blum at firstname.lastname@example.org. The sixth list has not yet been uploaded to the Internet. ↩
William Blum is the author of:
- Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
- Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
- West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
- Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org
[“Reducing [Afghanistan and Pakistan] to a Special Forces and Drone targetting range,” will increase the local anti-American hatred and encourage stereotypes of American cowardice, for perceptions of a great national army unwilling to risk injury to fight like men.]
The CIA can kill militants all day long. If the drone war in Pakistan drives the local people into al Qaeda’s arms, it’ll be failure. A new poll of the Pakistani tribal areas, released this morning, suggests that could easily wind up happening. Chalk one up for drone skeptics like counterinsurgent emeritus David Kilcullen and ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden.
Only 16 percent of respondents to a new poll sponsored by the drone-watchers at the New America Foundation say that the drone strikes “accurately target militants.” Three times that number say they “largely kill civilians.”
CIA director Leon Panetta, by contrast, has staunchly defended the drone program as meticulously targeting terrorists. In a war that depends heavily on perceptions, it’s a big discrepancy.
There’s more bad news for Panetta and his boss in the White House. A plurality of respondents in the tribal areas say that the U.S. is primarily responsible for violence in the region. Nearly 90 percent want the U.S. to stop pursuing militants in their backyard and nearly 60 percent are fine with suicide bombings directed at the Americans. That comes as NATO accelerates incursions into Pakistan. Just this morning, it announced that a pursuit of insurgents in Afghanistan’s Paktiya Province led to a U.S. helicopter shooting at the militants from Pakistani airspace. Enraged Pakistani officials responded by shutting down a critical NATO supply line into Afghanistan.
Whatever NATO says, very few in the tribal regions are inclined to believe the U.S. is in Afghanistan and occasionally in Pakistan to fight terrorism. They think the U.S. is waging “larger war on Islam or… an effort to secure oil and minerals in the region.”
On the brighter side, wide majorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas disapprove of al Qaeda (over three-quarters), the Pakistani Taliban (over two-thirds) and the Afghan Taliban (60 percent). There’s also strong support for the Pakistani army: almost 70 percent want the army to directly confront al Qaeda and the Taliban in the region; 79 percent say they wouldn’t mind if the tribal area were run by the army.
Now for the qualifiers. Polling in the conflict-heavy tribal areas is a dicey proposition. A survey last year of the tribal areas published in the Daily Times found that almost two-thirds of respondents wanted the U.S. drone campaign to continue. So either support for the drones has bottomed out or there’s significant methodological discrepancies. The Pakistani firm that actually conducted the new poll of 1000 respondents across 120 FATA villages, the Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme, has polled the area for years.
Not everyone is convinced. During a trip to Pakistan this summer, Georgetown University’s Christine Fair, an influential defender of the drones, heard a lot of support for the drone strikes among her hosts. (Though one imagines that those willing to host Americans would probably be favorably inclined to the drones.) From her perspective, the opposition to what she’s termed the “most successful tool that the United States and Pakistan have” against militants is based on a “disinformation campaign” spread by terrorist sympathizers in the Pakistani intelligence services.
Fair says she’s unsurprised by New America’s poll. “The biggest problem is that they fail to control for the proximity to the drone strikes,” she tells Danger Room. “That is, the farther from the actual point of impact [of the drones] the distrust and ignorance of the program expands, due to the prevailing propaganda.” The upshot from the poll, in Fair’s view, is to “impress upon [Pakistani intelligence] that the disinformation campaign needs to stop,” not to stop the drones.
Indeed, stopping the drones is a remote possibility. As (possibly dubious) fears of a FATA-based plot to attack European cities expand within the intelligence community, September alone has seen 20+ unmanned attacks, making it the most drone-intense month of the war thus far. Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, revealed a behind-the-scenes decision late last year by the Obama administration to intensify aerial and even ground assaults on the extremist safe havens in Pakistan. It’ll take more than local outrage over the drones to get an administration fearing domestic terror attacks to place them back in their hangars.
Update, 2:40 p.m. Kenneth Ballen of Terror Free Tomorrow, one of New America’s partners on the poll, emails to explain the methodological difference between today’s poll and the 2009 survey. ” Our poll of FATA was a methodologically valid random sampling of opinion. Informal and anecdotal interviews of residents, while important, do not have the same statistical validity,” he says.
Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/09/new-poll-pakistanis-hate-the-drones-back-suicide-attacks-on-u-s-troops/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Fpolitics+%28Wired%3A+Politics%29#ixzz11C3f6yq2
Does Obama order such Coup attempts, or do Right-wing Quasi-governmental Groups IndependentlyOrchestrate & Fund them?
Post-9/11, Washington sponsored four coup d’etats. Two succeeded – most recently in Honduras in 2009 against Manuel Zelaya, and in Haiti in 2004 deposing Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Two others failed – in Venezuela in 2002 against Hugo Chavez, and on September 30 in Ecuador against Rafael Correa – so far. Two by Bush, two by Obama with plenty of time for more mischief before November 2012.
From his record so far, expect it. He continues imperial Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations. In addition, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, North Korea, and other countries are targeted, besides deploying CIA and Special Forces armies into at least 75 countries worldwide for targeted assassinations, drone attacks, and other disruptive missions.
More than ever under Bush and Obama, America rampages globally, Ecuador’s Raphael Correa lucky to survive a plot to oust (or perhaps kill) him. September world headlines explained, including by New York Times writer Simon Romero headlining, “Standoff in Ecuador Ends With Leader’s Rescue,” saying:
“Ecuadorean soldiers stormed a police hospital Thursday night in Quito where President Rafael Correa was held by rebellious elements of the police forces, and rescued him amid an exchange of gunfire….”
AlJazeera explained more in an article headlined, “Ecuador declares state of emergency,” saying:
Coup plotters shut down airports, blocked highways, burned tires, and “rough(ed) up the president.” They also took over an airbase, parliament, and Quito streets, the pretext being a law restructuring their benefits, despite Correa doubling police wages.
In fact, Washington’s fingerprints are on another attempt against a Latin leader, some (not all) of whose policies fall short of neoliberal extremism.
A tipoff was State Department spokesman, Phillip Crowley, saying we’re “monitoring (not denouncing) the situation,” much like it refused to condemn Zelaya’s ouster, instead calling on “all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law, and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.” Most other Latin states demanded his “immediate and unconditional return,” whether or not they meant it.
Washington opposes Correa for Ecuador’s ties to Hugo Chavez and Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) membership, a WTO/NAFTA alternative based on principles of:
- complementarity, not competition;
- cooperation, not exploitation; and
- respect for each nation’s sovereignty, free from corporate and outside control.
Though falling short of these goals, ALBA nations, in principle, pledged:
- to benefit and empower their citizens;
- provide essential goods and services; and
- achieve real grassroots economic growth to improve the lives of ordinary people and reduce poverty.
ALBA membership, however, signals opposition to US hegemony, especially its neoliberal model, dominance, dismissiveness, and one-way trade deals for the Global North over the South, the curse Latin states have endured for decades, besides earlier US-sponsored coups and belligerency.
Before his rescue, police spokesman Richard Ramirez told AP that “the chief of the national police, Gen. Freddy Martinez, presented Correa with his irrevocable resignation because of Thursday’s events.”
On October 1, the Russian Information Agency, Novosti headlined, “Ecuador in chaos as police put president in hospital,” saying:
“Correa remained hospitalized….one person was killed and dozens injured during (street) riots.” After Ecuadorean military and special police forces rescued him, Correa told the national radio in a phone interview:
“This is a coup d’etat attempt by opposition forces. They resorted to (violence) because they will not win the election. I call on the citizens to stay calm.”
After being attacked by tear gas, he was hospitalized, then prevented from leaving when rebel police and coup supporters surrounded the building. Inside he said, “It seems that the hospital is under siege….(The) conspiracy (was) planned long ago,” and he knows where. He added, “I will leave (the hospital) as president, or they will have to carry my corpse out of here.”
His government declared a state of emergency. Flights from Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport were suspended, then resumed early October 1. In addition, scattered violence and looting was reported in several Ecuadorean cities, including the capital.
Freed by soldiers, a visibly angry Correa addressed a huge crowd of supporters from the presidential palace, saying:
“Ecuadorean blood, the blood of our brothers has been needlessly spilled. You have mobilized to support the national government….the citizens’ revolution, democracy in our fatherland. When we realized we couldn’t talk and wanted to leave, they attacked the president. They threw tear gas at us, straight at our faces. They had to take me to the police hospital where they held me hostage. They wouldn’t let me leave. They shamed the institution (the police). They will need to leave the ranks.”
While still captive, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino urged supporters to “walk peacefully to the hospital, where the president is blocked by (rebel) police officers.” On arriving, they shouted, “This is not Honduras. Correa is president. Down with the coup, down with the enemies of the people.”
Ecuador remains in flux. As a result, new developments need close monitoring. Writing for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Andres Ochoa said:
Before the coup attempt, “Correa seemed an untouchable figure in Ecuadorian politics. However, his presidency might very well be defined by the outcome of this day, and his political projects may rest on the results.”
On October 1, AFP writer Alexander Martinez headlined, “Ecuador president rescued from police uprising,” saying:
Correa “made a triumphant return to the presidential palace after loyalist troops rescued him from a police rebellion amid gunfire and street clashes that left at least two dead” and dozens wounded.
“We got him out, we got him out,” Interior Vice Minister Edwin Jarrin told AFP.
“The rescue capped a dramatic day of violence and confusion that began early Thursday” when rebel police assaulted him.
After his rescue, Correa thanked the military and a police special operations unit, saying:
“If not for them, this horde of savages that wanted to kill, that wanted blood, would have entered the hospital to look for the president and I probably wouldn’t (be) telling you this because I would have passed on to a better life.” Supporters are grateful not yet.
Commenting on developments, Latin American expert James Petras explained that Ecuador’s “ELITE MILITARY” put down the coup. In 2008, defense minister Javier Ponce “denounced” Washington “for subverting police.”
At the same time, there’s “legitimate protest by trade unions against Correa’s austerity plan, which the right exploited, seeing the pro-Correa forces divided.” In addition, some NGOs and “supposed Indian groups who tacitly supported the coup are on the take from America’s National Endowment of Democracy (NED) and USAID,” the usual suspects with a long disruptive history throughout the region and beyond.
Their operatives weren’t on the streets visibly, but they expressed no opposition to coup plotters. Instead, “Their statement called for the government’s replacement,” meaning it’s Obama administration policy – not for Correa’s domestic policies, says Petras. It’s for his “ties with US arch enemy Chavez and ALBA.”
Events remain fluid and fast moving. Stay tuned for more updates.
Listen to Lendman’s cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman’s stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
By Patrick J. Buchanan
“We’re all on the same page until the polls close Nov. 2,” Richard Viguerie, the longtime conservative strategist who has allied with the Tea Party, told The New York Times. After that, “a massive, almost historic battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party begins.”
Indeed, such a battle seems unavoidable. Consider.
The great issue uniting and motivating the Republican Party and Tea Party is the deficit-debt crisis, a national debt nearing 100 percent of gross domestic product and a deficit of 10 percent of GDP.
As to the cause of the deficit that could precipitate a run on the dollar, double-digit inflation, even a default, the Tea Party and GOP also agree — federal spending that consumes 25 percent of GDP.
Both are also on the same page in their opposition to closing the deficit with new or higher taxes.
This means spending must be slashed. But to cut the budget to 20 percent of GDP, where it was before George W. Bush and Barack Obama, requires spending cuts of an astronomical $700 billion a year. Even then, the 2011 deficit would be $700 billion.
As interest on the debt must be paid, or we default, there are only two places you can find that kind of money. The first is the major entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security — and social spending for education, veterans benefits, earned income tax credits and unemployment compensation.
But a Democratic Party, brutalized and bled on Nov. 2, returning to Capitol Hill with its moderate wing annihilated, is unlikely to collude with a resurgent Republican right and Tea Party caucus in hacking away at social programs that are the Democratic Party’s pride and joy, and the reason that party exists.
Which leaves one place where a bipartisan majority may be found for major spending cuts: defense and the empire, the warfare state.
The “agonizing reappraisal” of commitments abroad that John Foster Dulles predicted half a century ago may be at hand.
And here is where the Tea Party and War Party split the blanket.
If Obama makes good on his pledge of full withdrawal of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of 2011, will the Tea Party and Republican right oppose that withdrawal and join the War Party in demanding that we retain an army in Iraq indefinitely?
If Obama refuses to go to war against Iran, a war that would send oil prices soaring, close the Persian Gulf and be a disaster for the global economy, will the Tea Party join the War Party in denouncing Obama for not launching a third war in the Near East?
If Obama begins his promised withdrawal from Afghanistan next July, will Tea Party Republicans join the War Party and the generals in accusing Obama of inviting an American defeat?
The neocons are nervous the Tea Party may not sign up to soldier on for the empire. Writing in The Washington Post, Danielle Pletka and Thomas Donnelly of AEI have sniffed out the unmistakable scent of “isolationism” among Tea Party favorites.
They are warning that the old right and Tea Party might unite in a “combination of Ebenezer Scrooge and George McGovern, withdrawing from the world to a countinghouse America.”
Sorry, but the old neocon name-calling won’t cut it this time.
After Iraq and Afghanistan, the American people are not going to give the establishment and War Party a free hand in foreign policy. Every patriot will do what is necessary and pay what is needed to defend his country. But national security is one thing, empire security another.
Why should Americans, 65 years after World War II, be defending rich Europeans from a Soviet Union that has been dead for 20 years, so those same Europeans can cut their defense budgets to protect their social safety nets?
President Eisenhower told JFK to bring the troops home from Europe, or the Europeans would wind up as permanent wards.
Was Ike a closet isolationist?
Almost $14 trillion in debt today, we borrow from Europe to defend Europe, borrow from Japan to defend Japan, borrow from the Gulf Arabs to defend the Gulf Arabs. And we borrow from Beijing to send foreign aid to African regimes whose U.N. delegations laughed and applauded as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the General Assembly that 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government. Have we lost all sense of self-respect?
In his 1969 “Silent Majority” address, Richard Nixon said that, after Vietnam, America would provide Asian allies with weapons and assistance in defending their freedom. But Americans would no longer do the fighting.
Why are U.S. soldiers still on the DMZ, 57 years after the Korean War? Why are Marines still on Okinawa, 65 years after Gen. MacArthur took the surrender? Cannot Korea and Japan, prosperous and populous, conscript the soldiers for their own defense?
National security, yes. Empire security we can no longer afford.
The only problem with Sen. McGovern’s “Come home, America!” slogan was the timing.