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    I had an old Ford Fermont back..., 2003-11-07 01:42:35 | Main | The Old Guard has not been dep..., 2003-11-10 14:18:01

    "You are either with us or against us":

    is, I understand, a verbatim quote from V.L. Lenin. The logical fallacy of the policy with respect to a particular tactic of war - namely terrorism - is routinely given evidence by Washington's support for state terrorism and accomadation of anti-state terrorism against official enemies. I am an anti-imperialist because of imperialism's record, not some ideological or moral imperative that would, in rare circumstances, preclude me from supporting policy that would involve bringing America's resources to bear for the benefit of our neighbors. The ideological and moral imperative is, rather, what W. "I Heart Karimov" Bush claims his is: that terror is an invalid political weapon. Other good rules of thumb for meddling in other's affairs would be: don't make things any worse than they already are, and if people want to throw themselves off a cliff shooting them in the back doesn't qualify as successful suicide prevention.

    While I am certainly no fanboy of pluralist capitalism - not taking seriously the idea that it is the 'end of history', nor convinced that this is the best we can do - there have been times when the USG actually followed policies meant to endorse it while at the same time fighting authoritarian leftist elements, rather than just inventing authoritarian lefist elements as pretext for imposing some more archaic and violent form of order and then imposing it without consideration of the human cost.

    In our example today the USG had, of course, supported the previous regime for years, with all the repression and censorship that that entailed, but when the revolution did come, as it perhaps inevitably shall, it didn't organize reactionary, violent organizations and start supplying them with guns and lists of "suspected leftists" to re-impose the old order. A particular bureaucrat, who had been involved in such brutal operations in the past, realized that liberals are just as good at imposing the old economic order without all the mess. Perhaps the alternative would have had ramifications in 1970s Europe that it might not in less white regions of the globe, but "certain people" (Kissinger, who according to the Sunday Times of London authorized the CIA to, as Robert Hunter says, "keep the lid on") apparently wasn't terribly concerned about it.

    Nevertheless the policy persued was in unusual keeping with the actual anti-communist rhetoric, in intervening against authoritarian, anti-democratic communism. It should be pointed out that the communists in question held the elections in which they lost power in the first place. I bring you Portugal, circa 1974, a shining example, so far as I can find, of what benevolent hegemony might actually look like:

    1974-1976: Portugal

      Longtime bigwhig and hotspot bureaucrat Frank Carlucci - later to be Deputy Director of the CIA under Carter and Secretary of Defense under Reagan - begins a stint as Ambassador to Portugal immediately after the 1974 revolution, which came about due to shifts in military demographics away from the aristocracy towards working class conscripts, who were then being sent off to fight anti-colonial rebellions in Africa (Angola, et. al.). Since World War II the USG had supported the repressive, colonialist regime. When the Movement of the Armed Forces, consisting mostly of mid-rank officers who had no interest in dying for somebody else's colonial enterprise, lead a coup, the old government surrendered to the relatively conservative General Spinola. The US was initially unworried by these developments, until Spinola appointed General Vasco dos Santos Goncalves, who was a member of Portugal's Communist Party, as his replacement. The USG government then begins supporting more conservative liberal-socialist groups within the MFA, leading to strong electoral victories in elections that are held during 1975 and 1976.

      No death squads or mass murders of "suspected leftists", Portugal remained within the "Western sphere" and became a liberal-capitalist democratic state, with the economic disparities of the old system largely left intact. Given the alternatives, or the lack of them, one might agree with Ambassador Robert Hunter:

      I don't know if you remember, Frank, when I worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy and we visited Lisbon in November 1974 and, when we came back - against the opposition of certain people in a certain administration - the Senator got $50 million for Portugal. Frank Carlucci was then sent out there to keep the lid on. But he took the lid off and helped produce democracy rather than a fall into communism in Portugal. I'm not so sure, Frank, that everybody's really thanked you as much as they need to do so, but Portugal is a free and democratic nation to a great extent because of this gentleman sitting here, to promote the aspirations of peoples for democracy.

      Carlucci is now Chairman of the Carlyle Group, because "former U.S. Secretaries of Defense get their calls returned everywhere on the planet, especially when they've got multibillion dollar funds at their disposal".

:: posted by buermann @ 2003-11-07 23:21:10 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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