Saturday, March 29, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 3: The Global System Segment 4/5
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5. The Silver Lining

In its final think piece for 1988 on the Cold War, the New York Times featured Dimitri Simes, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He begins with conventional doctrine: "For more than 40 years, America's international strategy has been subordinated to one overriding concern -- deterring Soviet global designs against the West." But if Gorbachev really is reducing these threats, "there may be sizable advantages to exploring the Kremlin's opening, uncertain as it may be, in order to liberate American foreign policy from the straightjacket imposed by superpower hostility."17

Simes identifies three "national security challenges" that can be addressed if Gorbachev's words are followed by appropriate deeds. First, the U.S. can shift NATO costs to its European competitors, one element of the larger problem of competing blocs already discussed. Second, we can end "the manipulation of America by third world nations." The U.S. will be able to "resist unwarranted third world demands for assistance" and will be "in a stronger bargaining position vis-a-vis defiant third world debtors." The problem of the manipulation of America by the undeserving poor is particularly acute with regard to Latin America, which transferred some $150 billion to the industrial West from 1982 to 1987 in addition to $100 billion of capital flight; the capital transfer amounts to 25 times the total value of the Alliance for Progress and 15 times the Marshall Plan, Robert Pastor writes. The Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland estimates that between 1978 and 1987, some $170 billion in flight capital left Latin America, not including money hidden by falsified trade transactions. The New York Times cites another estimate that anonymous capital flows, including drug money and flight capital, total $600 billion to $800 billion. This huge hemorrhage is part of a complicated system whereby Western banks and Latin American elites enrich themselves at the expense of the general population of Latin America, saddled with the "debt crisis" that results from these manipulations, and taxpayers in the Western countries who are ultimately called upon to foot part of the bill. And now we can tighten the screws further on the poor majority, the second advantage accruing to us from Gorbachev's capitulation, according to Simes's analysis.18

The third and most significant opportunity afforded us, Simes continues, is that the "apparent decline in the Soviet threat...makes military power more useful as a United States foreign policy instrument...against those who contemplate challenging important American interests," considering them "easy prey." The U.S. need no longer be inhibited by fear of "triggering counterintervention" if it resorts to violence to suppress such challenges. Had it not been for these inhibitions, the U.S. could have used force to prevent the 1973 oil embargo (in reality, the U.S. found the price rise not unwelcome as a weapon against Europe and Japan); and "the Sandinistas and their Cuban sponsors" will be "a little nervous" that Gorbachev may not react "if America finally lost patience with their mischief." America's hands will be "untied" if concerns over "Soviet counteraction" decline. This will permit Washington "greater reliance on military force in a crisis."

Things may be looking up, then, despite Gorbachev's maneuvers and the "erosion in clarity" they have caused. The clouds have a silver lining, and we may yet benefit from the Gorbachev maneuvers, if we handle them properly.

As this analysis reveals, Gorbachev's initiatives have had the salutary effect of clearing the air and sharpening the distinction between rhetoric and policy. At the rhetorical level, the U.S. "contains" the Soviet Union and "deters its global designs." But in practice, as more acute analysts have long understood, fear of "Soviet counteraction" has deterred the pursuit of U.S. global designs. Since these designs require periodic resort to force and subversion in far-flung areas where the U.S. lacks conventional force advantage, Washington has been compelled to maintain an intimidating military posture, one reason why a policy of Third World intervention has led to the demand for continual expansion of strategic weapons capacities. As all recognize, a major Soviet crime has been Moscow's assistance to Third World countries or movements that the United States intends to subvert or crush. The hopeful element in Gorbachev's initiatives is that now the Soviet Union may remove the barriers to Washington's resort to violence to achieve its global designs and to punish the mischief of those who do not properly understand their subordinate role.19

For the ideologist, there is indeed an "erosion in clarity" as it becomes more difficult to manipulate the Soviet threat in a manner "clearer than truth." But for people who want to escape the bludgeoning of the mass mind, there is an increase in clarity. It is helpful to read in the pages of the Times that the problem all along has been Soviet deterrence of U.S. designs, though admittedly the insight is still masked. It is also useful to read in Foreign Affairs that the détente of the 1970s "foundered on the Soviet role in the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, Soviet assistance to the Vietnamese communists in their war of conquest in Indochina, and Soviet sponsorship of Cuban intervention in Angola and Ethiopia" (Michael Mandelbaum). Those familiar with the facts will be able to interpret these charges properly: the Soviet Union supported indigenous elements resisting the forceful imposition of U.S. designs, a criminal endeavor, as any right-thinking intellectual comprehends. It is even useful to watch the tone of hysteria mounting among the more accomplished comic artists, for example, Charles Krauthammer, who welcomes our victory in turning back the Soviet program of "unilaterally outflanking the West...economically or geopolitically" by establishing "new outposts of the Soviet empire" in the 1970s: "Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and, just for spite, Grenada." Putting aside the actual facts, it is doubtless a vast relief to have liberated ourselves from these awesome threats to the very survival of the West.20

Go to the next segment.

17 Dimitri K. Simes, "If the Cold War Is Over, Then What?," NYT, Dec. 27, 1988.

18 Robert Pastor, "Securing a Democratic Hemisphere," Foreign Policy, Winter 1988-9; Pastor was Director of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs for the National Security Council under the Carter administration. Jeff Gerth, NYT, Feb. 12, 1990.

19 See chapter 1, p. 59, for a similar insight a year later by Elliott Abrams.

20 Mandelbaum, "Ending the Cold War," Foreign Affairs, Spring 1989; Krauthammer, "Beyond the Cold War," New Republic, Dec. 19, 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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