Saturday, March 29, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 1: Cold War: Fact and Fancy Segment 17/20
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In discussion of African policy particularly, the element of racism cannot be discounted. Dean Acheson warned the former Prime Minister of the White government of Rhodesia in 1971 to beware of the "American public," who "decide that the only correct decision of any issue must be one which favors the colored point of view." Echoing Nobel laureate Elihu Root, he urged that Rhodesia not "get led down the garden path by any of our constitutional clichés -- equal protection of the laws, etc. -- which have caused us so much trouble..." He was particularly disturbed by the Supreme Court's use of "vague constitutional provisions" which "hastened racial equality and has invaded the political field by the one-man-one-vote doctrine," which made "Negroes...impatient for still more rapid progress and led to the newly popular techniques of demonstration and violence" (September, 1968). The "pall of racism...hovering over" African affairs under the Nixon administration, "and over the most basic public issues foreign and domestic," has been discussed by State Department official Roger Morris, including Nixon's request to Kissinger to assure that his first presidential message to Congress on foreign policy have "something in it for the jigs" (eliciting "the usual respectful `Yes'"); Kissinger's disbelief that the Ibos, "more gifted and accomplished" than other Nigerians, could also be "more Negroid"; and Alexander Haig's "quietly pretend[ing] to beat drums on the table as African affairs were brought up at NSC staff meetings."81

In the Middle East, the major concern was (and remains) the incomparable energy reserves of the region, primarily in the Arabian peninsula. These were to be incorporated within the U.S.-dominated system. As in Latin America, it was necessary to displace traditional French and British interests and to establish U.S. control over what the State Department described as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history," "probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment." Later, President Eisenhower described the Middle East as the most "strategically important area in the world."82

After the war, U.S. corporations gained the leading role in Middle East oil production, while dominating the Western hemisphere, which remained the major producer until 1968. The United States did not then need Middle East oil for itself. Rather, the goal was to dominate the world system, ensuring that others would not strike an independent course. Despite the general contempt for the Japanese and disparagement of their prospects, some foresaw problems even here. George Kennan proposed in 1949 that U.S. control over Japanese oil imports would help to provide "veto power" over Japan's military and industrial policies. This advice was followed. Japan was helped to industrialize, but the U.S. maintained control over its energy supplies and oil-refining facilities. As late as 1973, "only 10 per cent of Japan's oil supply was developed by Japanese companies," Shigeko Fukai observes. By now, Japan's diversification of energy sources and conservation measures have reduced the power of the "veto" considerably, but it is still a factor not without weight.83

It is, furthermore, misleading simply to assert that the U.S. has sought to keep oil cheap, though that has generally been the case. Oil prices declined (relative to other commodities) from the 1940s until the sharp rise of the early 1970s brought them back into line. This was a major boon to the Western industrial powers, though extremely harmful to the long-term interests of the Arab world; and reduction in the real cost of oil was also of critical importance for the Reaganite veneer of prosperity. But cheap oil is a policy instrument, not an end in itself. There is good reason to believe that in the early 1970s, the U.S. was by no means averse to the increase in the price of oil, harmful to its industrial rivals, but beneficial to U.S. energy corporations and exporters. Control over energy is a lever for global dominance; the actual price and production levels gain significance within this context, and the economic effects of fluctuations are not a straightforward matter.84

U.S. interest in the Philippines derives in part from similar concerns. U.S. bases there form part of the military system surrounding the Middle East region from the Indian Ocean to Israel, Turkey, Portugal and beyond, designed to ensure that there will be no threat to control over its resources by the United States and dependable local elites. The United States is a global power, and plans accordingly.

Subsequent developments in the Middle East keep to the pattern just outlined, including the deepening relations with Israel as a "strategic asset" and mercenary state; the U.S. rejection of a broad international consensus on a political settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict for many years85; and Israel's sale of U.S. arms to Iran in the 1980s, which, as high-level Israeli sources reported in the early 1980s (long before there were any hostages), was carried out in coordination with the U.S. government to encourage a military coup, which would restore the Israel-Iran-Saudia Arabia alliance on which U.S. policy had been based under the Nixon Doctrine -- one of many features of the Iran-contra affair suppressed in the congressional-media damage control operation. The same model of overthrowing an unwanted civilian government had been pursued successfully in Indonesia, Chile, and other cases.86

The major policy imperative is to block indigenous nationalist forces that might try to use their own resources in conflict with U.S. interests. A large-scale counterinsurgency operation in Greece from 1947 was partially motivated by the concern that the "rot" of independent nationalism there might "infect" the Middle East, Acheson warned. Greece was regarded as an outpost of U.S. power, protecting Middle East oil for the U.S. and its allies. A CIA study held that if the rebels were victorious, the U.S. would face "the possible loss of the petroleum resources of the Middle East." A Soviet threat was concocted in the usual manner. The real threat was indigenous nationalism, with its feared demonstration effects elsewhere.

Similar factors led to the CIA coup restoring the Shah in Iran in 1953. Nasser became an enemy for similar reasons. Later, Khomeini was perceived as posing another such threat, leading the U.S. to support Iraq in the Gulf War. The Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein then took over the mantle, shifting status overnight from favored friend to new Hitler when he invaded Kuwait in an effort to displace U.S.-British clients. The primary fear throughout has been that nationalist forces not under U.S. influence and control might come to have substantial influence over the oil-producing regions of the Arabian peninsula. Saudi Arabian elites, in contrast, are considered appropriate partners, managing their resources in conformity to basic U.S. interests, and assisting U.S. terror and subversion throughout the Third World.

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81 Douglas Brinkley and G.E. Thomas, "Dean Acheson's Opposition to African Liberation," Transafrica Forum (Summer, 1988); Morris, `Uncertain Greatness' (Harper & Row, 1977).

82 The specific reference is to Saudi Arabian oil. For references and further discussion, see Towards a New Cold War. Also Aaron David Miller, Search for Security (U. of North Carolina, 1980); Irvine Anderson, Aramco, the United States and Saudi Arabia (Princeton, 1981); Michael Stoff, Oil, War and American Security (Yale, 1980); David Painter, Oil and the American Century (Johns Hopkins U. 1986). Eisenhower cited in Steven Spiegel, The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict (U. of Chicago, 1985), 51.

83 Cumings, op. cit.; Fukai, "Japan's Energy Policy," Current History, April 1988. See also Towards a New Cold War, 97-8.

84 See Towards a New Cold War, chapter 11.

85 On the diplomacy of the Arab-Israel conflict as it evolved in the post-1967 period, see Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle, and on the current phase of U.S. efforts to block a comprehensive settlement, see Necessary Illusions and my article in Z magazine, January 1990.

86 For details, see Fateful Triangle, 457f.; Culture of Terrorism, chapter 8. Also John Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, The Iran Contra Connection (South End, 1987), chapters 7, 8; Samuel Segev, The Iranian Triangle (Free press, 1988). KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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