Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
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C H A P T E R   S I X

Nefarious Aggression

From Z Magazine, October 1990.

The second act of aggression of the post-Cold War era took place on August 2, 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, later annexing it outright after international sanctions were imposed. Any Middle East crisis at once assumes ominous proportions because of the incomparable energy reserves of the region. The events of August were no exception.

The reaction to Saddam Hussein's aggression followed two distinct paths, uneasily related. The U.N. Security Council at once condemned the invasion and called for economic sanctions; implicit in this approach is a diplomatic track to arrange a negotiated withdrawal. This option offered unusually high prospects for success, for one reason, because the regular violators of sanctions (the U.S., Britain, France, and their allies) strongly supported them in this particular case. The U.S. and Britain followed a different course, preparing for a military strike against Iraq and its occupying forces in Kuwait. The divergence is understandable, in the light of history and the distribution of power in the contemporary world.1

Middle East oil was initially in the hands of England and France, joined later by the United States, an arrangement formalized in the Red Line agreement of 1928. After World War II, France was excluded by legal chicanery and the U.S. took over the dominant role.2 As discussed earlier, it has always been a guiding policy that Middle East oil should be under the control of the United States, its allies and clients, and its oil corporations, and that independent "radical nationalist" influences are not to be tolerated. This doctrine is a corollary to the general hostility to independent Third World nationalism, but one of unusual significance.

The U.S. and its British ally reacted vigorously to Iraq's challenge to their traditional privilege. The political leadership and ideological managers professed great indignation that a powerful country would dare to invade a defenseless neighbor. The matter was raised to cosmic significance, with eloquent rhetoric about a New World Order based on peace, justice, and the sanctity of international law, at last within our grasp now that the Cold War has ended with the triumph of those who have always upheld these values with such dedication. Secretary of State James Baker explained that

We live in one of those rare transforming moments in history. The Cold War is over, and an era full of promise has begun... And after a long period of stagnation, the United Nations is becoming a more effective organization. The ideals of the United Nations Charter are becoming realities... Saddam Hussein's aggression shatters the vision of a better world in the aftermath of the Cold War... In the 1930s, the aggressors were appeased. In 1990, the President has made our position plain: This aggression will not be appeased.3
The analogy to Hitler and Munich became a virtual cliché. Though unable to defeat Iran even with the backing of the U.S., USSR, Europe, and virtually the entire Arab world, Iraq was now poised to take over the Middle East and control the world. The stakes were high; the course of history would be determined by our willingness to avenge Saddam Hussein's invasion of a weak and defenseless country, an unprecedented atrocity, and to destroy the new Hitler before it is too late.

The U.S. at once dispatched a huge expeditionary force, virtually doubled after the November elections. While a deterrent force could be kept in the desert and offshore, hundreds of thousands of troops could not be maintained in place for long. The predictable effect of this decision was to undercut the reliance on sanctions, which would only have an impact over an extended period. The U.S. also made it clear and explicit that diplomacy would not be tolerated. Contacts with Iraq would be limited to delivery of an ultimatum; this flat rejection of diplomacy is what the President called "going the extra mile" to explore all peaceful means; with the rarest of exceptions, articulate opinion followed the leader. To justify this unprecedented rejection of diplomacy, the U.S. claimed to be upholding immutable high principles, a rhetorical stance that successfully undercut any form of diplomacy (sometimes called "linkage") and also barred withdrawal of the expeditionary force without Iraqi capitulation. The rhetorical stance cannot survive a moment's scrutiny, but that caused no problem, because it was subjected to none within the mainstream. Debate continued, but on narrow tactical issues, a framework in which the administration was sure to prevail. From almost the first moment, then, the options were successfully narrowed to the threat or use of force.

Go to the next segment.

1 On the latter, see the introduction.

2 See chapter 1, pp. 53f., and sources cited.

3 "Why America is in the Gulf," Address by James Baker to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Oct. 29, 1990; U.S. Department of State. 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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posted by u2r2h at 10:29 PM


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