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 18/20
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More serious analysts have been quite clear about these matters, both in Congress and in the strategic analysis literature. In May 1973, before the oil crisis erupted, the Senate's ranking oil expert, Senator Henry Jackson, emphasized "the strength and Western orientation of Israel on the Mediterranean and Iran [under the Shah] on the Persian Gulf," two "reliable friends of the United States," who, along with Saudi Arabia, "have served to inhibit and contain those irresponsible and radical elements in certain Arab States...who, were they free to do so, would pose a grave threat indeed to our principal sources of petroleum in the Persian Gulf" -- sources that the U.S. scarcely used at the time, but that were needed as a reserve and as a lever for world domination. The Nixon doctrine had established Iran under the Shah and Israel as the "cops on the beat" in the region, in the words of Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, ensuring that no "radical nationalists" would pose a danger to order. Reviewing this system in 1974, Robert Reppa, a former Middle East analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, wrote that Israeli power protected the regimes of Jordan and Saudi Arabia from "a militarily strong Egypt" in the 1960s and that "the Israeli-Iranian interrelationship" continued to contribute to the stability of the region, securing U.S. interests. As early as January 1958, the National Security Council concluded that a "logical corollary" of opposition to radical Arab nationalism "would be to support Israel as the only strong pro-Western power left in the Middle East." Ten years earlier, Israel's military successes had led the Joint Chiefs of Staff to describe Israel as the major regional military power after Turkey, offering the U.S. means to "gain strategic advantage in the Middle East that would offset the effects of the decline of British power in that area." As for the Palestinians, U.S. planners had no reason to doubt the assessment of Israeli government specialists in 1948 that the Palestinian refugees would either assimilate elsewhere or "would be crushed": "some of them would die and most of them would turn into human dust and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries." Accordingly, there was no need to trouble oneself about them.87

Few issues in world affairs are so important as control of the world's energy system -- or so threatening to world peace, even survival. It continues to be "Axiom One of international affairs" that any effort to tamper with the dominant role of the United States and its clients will be strenuously resisted. As long as it was possible, the "Soviet threat" was brandished to justify U.S. actions to ensure its dominance over Middle East oil. The pretext was never credible, and by 1990 had to be entirely abandoned, while policy persisted much as before. The rational conclusion about the past was not drawn, but with the propaganda veil in tatters, reality could no longer be completely concealed. When the U.S. sent forces to Saudi Arabia in August 1990 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman wrote that "In the past, when the United States was confronting the Soviet Union and competing for influence with Moscow in the Middle East, the stake in whose allies controlled what oil reserves had a military and strategic dimension. But today, with the Soviet Union cooperating in the crisis, that argument has lost much of its urgency" -- or more accurately, the argument had lost its capacity to efface the realities, which therefore had to be stated frankly, for once: "The United States is not sending troops to the gulf simply to help Saudi Arabia resist aggression. It is sending troops to support the OPEC country that is more likely to cater to Washington's interests." In the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne observed that there is "something thoroughly old-fashioned" about the proceedings, quoting Tom Mann, director of governmental affairs at the Brookings Institution, who says: "This is bald self-interest we're talking about here. And in some ways, Bush's way of dealing with these Middle Eastern countries is almost colonial in character." All hasten to add that there is no hint of criticism in such characterizations.88

In brief, the world's major energy reserves must be in the proper hands -- ours -- which can be counted on to use them for the benefit of the right people, Churchill's "satisfied nations, who wished nothing more for themselves than what they had."

Rhetoric aside, the perceived danger throughout, in the Middle East and elsewhere, is independent nationalism, described as a "virus" that might "infect" other countries, a "rotten apple" that might contaminate the region and beyond, a "domino" that might topple others. The cover story is that the dominoes will fall through conquest; Ho Chi Minh will take off to Jakarta in a canoe and conquer the Archipelago, a launching pad for the march to Hawaii, if not beyond; or the Russians will use their base in Grenada for their devilish design of world conquest; and so on. Again, we need not accept the conclusion that a form of madness is a condition of respectability and power. The core assumption of the domino theory, scarcely concealed, has been that the virus might spread through the demonstration effect of successful independent development. Sometimes the enemies are truly the monsters they are depicted to be. Sometimes they compare rather favorably to the preferred "moderates." These characteristics are essentially beside the point; what counts is their accommodation to the needs of "the rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations." Such reasoning holds throughout the postwar period, including the extraordinary efforts to devastate Nicaragua by terror and economic warfare, even sadistic refusal of aid for natural catastrophe and pressure on allies to do the same. The elite consensus on these matters reveals how deeply these imperatives are felt, and provides no little insight into Western moral and cultural values.

The general framework of world order was to be a form of liberal internationalism guaranteeing the needs of U.S. investors. Several factors combined to require that the Third World specialize in export of primary products: the needs of European and Japanese industrial recovery; the triangular trade patterns that helped maintain U.S. exports at a high level in the manner already mentioned; and ready access to resources, including raw materials for military production, with its central role in economic management and population control. The conflict between U.S. policy and independent Third World development was deeply rooted in the structure of the world system. The persistent resort to violence to bar nationalist threats is a natural concomitant of these commitments.89

Though the principled opposition to independent Third World nationalism is spelled out emphatically in the internal planning record, and is illustrated in practice with much consistency, it does not satisfy doctrinal requirements and is therefore unfit to enter public discourse. One would be hard put to find a discussion of these central features of the contemporary world order in the popular or intellectual journals. In mainstream scholarship, the crucial facts are commonly ignored, marginalized, or flatly denied. Thus, in Gaddis's important study of the origins and evolution of the "containment" policy, we read that "all postwar chief executives" believed "that nationalism, so long as it reflected the principle of self-determination, posed no threat to American institutions" and therefore did not call forth a hostile American response -- as illustrated by the "fact" that "certainly Kennedy had no objections to the Cuban revolution itself" but only to "the danger of Soviet control," and by our efforts at "deterring aggression" in South Vietnam and in "the defense of Greece" (in both cases, defense against "internal aggression" as Adlai Stevenson explained at the United Nations in 1964). All of this is presented without evidence or argument (except that political figures and propagandists have claimed it to be so) and with the blithe disregard for historical fact, or even relevant documentation, that is typical of the genre.90

As noted, the basic thrust of policy is beyond challenge or even awareness. These doctrines have certain consequences. One is the striking correlation between U.S. aid and human rights abuses that has been noted in several studies. The reason is not that U.S. policymakers like torture. Rather, it is an irrelevance. What matters is to bar independent development and the wrong priorities. For this purpose it is often necessary (regrettably) to murder priests, torture union leaders, "disappear" peasants, and otherwise intimidate the general population. Governments with the right priorities will therefore be led to adopt such measures. Since the right priorities are associated with U.S. aid, we find the secondary correlation between U.S. aid and human rights violations. And since the conclusions are doctrinally unappealing, they pass into oblivion.

A second consequence is the general U.S. opposition to social reform, unless it can be carried out in conformity to overriding U.S. interests. While this is occasionally possible in the Third World, such circumstances are rare, and even where social reform could be pursued along with subordination to U.S. interests (Costa Rica is a noteworthy example), Washington reacted with considerable ambivalence.91 A third consequence is the extreme elite hostility to democracy. The reason is plain: a functioning democracy will be responsive to appeals from the masses of the population and will be likely to succumb to excessive nationalism.

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87 Avi Shlaim, Collusion across the Jordan (Columbia, 1988), 388, paraphrasing 1948 JCS records; 491, citing the Israeli state archives. For references and further details, see Towards a New Cold War (chapter 7), and Fateful Triangle, chapter 2.

88 Friedman, "U.S. Gulf Policy: Vague `Vital Interests'," NYT, Aug. 12; Dionne, "Drawing Lessons From History," WP Weekly, Aug. 13, 1990. On the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, see chapter 6.

89 For an informative examination of these topics, see Borden, Pacific Alliance.

90 Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 201, 231, 240, 286.

91 See Necessary Illusions, 111f. and Appendix V, sec. 1, for a review of the declassified record and other relevant material. 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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