Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 6: Nefarious Aggression Segment 11/14
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6. Moderates and Nationalists

Largely missing from the story was the usual reflex, the Soviet threat, now lost beyond redemption. The President's inability to articulate exalted goals received much criticism, but the reasons for his floundering were left unexamined. The criticism was surely unfair. One could hardly expect the truth, any more than in the past, and the standard pretexts were not available. One try followed another, tracking the public opinion polls with the information they provided about what might sell. Occasionally, some voices even conceded the usually inexpressible reality: that Third World intervention is motivated by U.S. "strategic" and economic concerns, in this case, "to support the OPEC country that is more likely to cater to Washington's interests."47

Iraqi influence over the world's cheapest and most abundant source of energy is seen, correctly, as extremely threatening. U.S. influence over the resources of the Arab world is, in contrast, taken to be benign -- to be sure, not for the majority of the people living in Kuwait or the region generally, or others like them elsewhere,48 but rather for the important people. Always we see the same fundamental principle: the resources and government of the world must be in the hands of the "rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations." The hungry and oppressed must be kept in their place.

On the same Churchillian assumptions, the rich men who do our bidding in the Arab world are "moderates," joining the ranks of Mussolini, Suharto, the Guatemalan generals, and others like them. Expounding the consequences of the Iraqi invasion, the New York Times reports that "the Middle East has now split into a clearly moderate pro-Western camp" and "a fiercely nationalistic anti-Western constellation," which includes "the Arab man in the street," a major Tunisian daily observes, commenting on the "growing pro-Iraqi stand among Arabs in poorer countries." If Saddam Hussein were to fulfill "his threat to scorch" Israel, Bernard Trainor adds, "it would generate further support from millions of disfranchised Arabs who lionize him and who could ignite civil disorder in the conservative and moderate Arab states" -- those ruled and managed by princes and business school graduates who, in the eyes of these millions of Arabs, are Western businessmen who happen to pray to Allah, while worshipping Mammon.49

Note that Trainor follows convention in denouncing Hussein as a Hitlerian maniac on grounds of his threat to scorch Israel -- in retaliation for Israeli aggression, a fact completely overlooked as in this case, or simply dismissed as irrelevant. In contrast, a murderous Israeli reaction to Iraqi aggression, surely to be anticipated, would be regarded as a righteous act of self-defense. Note also that the phrases "moderate pro-Western" and "fiercely nationalistic anti-Western" are redundant. "Pro-Western" implies "moderate"; "anti-Western" implies "fiercely nationalistic," that is, evil and fanatical.

7. The Diplomatic Track

By mid-August, it was clear that the U.S. was not exactly leading a rousing chorus at the United Nations as it attempted to mobilize support for the use of force in the Gulf. Despite threats, pleas, and cajolery, U.S. travelling diplomats were unable to rally more than token participation in anything beyond sanctions of the kind that the U.N. has attempted to impose in other cases of aggression, often to be blocked by the U.S. The isolation of the United States in the Saudi deserts (apart from Britain) could hardly be overlooked, but there was little questioning of the official line that when the world is in trouble, it calls for the sheriff, and we are the only ones honorable and tough enough to shoulder the burden.

Germany announced that it would not help finance U.S. military operations because the arrangement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia was bilateral, not authorized by the U.N. The European Community took the same position. Commenting on the EC decision not to support U.S. operations in the Gulf, while contributing some $2 billion for 1990-91 (15% of the estimated cost) to countries suffering from the embargo, the Italian Foreign Minister stated that "The military action of the United States was taken autonomously. Don't forget the principle of no taxation without representation." Japan politely agreed to do very little, while South Korea pleaded poverty. The Third World reaction was muted, with little enthusiasm for the U.S. effort and often much popular antagonism. The Arab states generally kept their distance. In pro-western Tunisia, a poll showed 90% support for Iraq, with many condemning the "double standard" revealed by the U.S. attitude toward Israeli aggression, annexation, and human rights abuses. Commentators occasionally noted that support for the U.S. military initiative was least in the governments that had "nascent democratic movements": Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, and Tunisia (Judith Miller). Administration analysts expressed concern that if U.S. troops were kept in place too long the "Islamic religious periods" (the Hajj and Ramadan) would allow more expression of popular feelings and "could set off protests and perhaps coups" that "could topple western-oriented governments in the region and cut the diplomatic ground out from under US-led troops facing Iraq" (Peter Gosselin, who also reported accurately that no congressional critic questions Bush's "first principles: that the Persian Gulf is crucial to the United States and that the United States therefore must defend its interests with military force" -- a "first principle" that Saddam Hussein could easily appreciate). Brookings Institution Middle East specialist Judith Kipper said that "To me, the gut issue is the regimes versus the people, because none of the Arab regimes represent their people, and this is why there is such cheering in the streets" for Saddam Hussein, seen to be defending the interests of the Arab masses against the ruling clique that used the oil wealth of the Arab nation to enrich themselves and the Western world. There was little comment on the significance of the fact that insofar as elements of pluralism exist in the Arab world, the governments cannot line up in the U.S. cause.50

The press tried to put a bold face on all of this, stressing the amazing unanimity of world opinion in support of the U.S. stand and finessing the details as best possible. The kinds of problems faced were captured in an AP summary of the top stories of the day: "Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady is declaring his global fund-raising effort a success even though he received no specific pledges of new assistance to help pay." Columnists and editors, however, denounced Japan (and occasionally Germany) as "fair-weather allies" who are refusing "to contribute their full and fair share to the common effort to contain Iraq." There was little effort, however, to explore the odd refusal to "get on board" on the part of those who were, in theory, the main beneficiaries of the U.S. actions.51

Go to the next segment.

47 Thomas Friedman, NYT, Aug. 12, 1990.

48 Merely to note one issue, a case can be made that for the longer term interests of the people of the region, oil should be held back from the market, keeping prices higher now and preserving the resources for the future, instead of leaving hundreds of millions of people with no future but death and starvation in several generations, when their only resource is exhausted, wasted for the benefit of the West and local elites.

49 Youssef Ibrahim, "The Split Among Arabs Unleashes a People's Anger," NYT, Aug. 12, 1990; Trainor, op. cit. The facts are more complex; it is the interpretation and its doctrinal significance that we consider here.

50 "Bonn says it won't fund US buildup," WP-BG, Sept. 6; Serge Schmemann, "Bonn's Iraq-Embargo Aid," NYT, Sept. 7; Alan Riding, Thomas Friedman, NYT, Sept. 8; James Sterngold, "Brady finishes Tour, NYT, Sept. 8; James Clad, Ted Morello, Far Eastern Economic Review, Sept. 6; Friedman, Reuters, NYT, Sept. 7; Edward Schumacher, "Tunis, Long Friendly to West, Bristles With Hostility to U.S. Gulf Moves," NYT, Sept. 6; AP, Sept. 7; Michael Gordon, "Combined Force in Saudi Arabia Is Light on Arabs," NYT, Sept. 5; Miller, NYT, Dec. 6; Gosselin, BG, Nov. 26, 27; Kipper, John Kifner, NYT, Aug. 12, 1990. The real picture is again more complex; it is the interpretation that is relevant here.

51 AP, Sept. 7; Tom Wicker, Editorial, NYT, Sept. 6, 1990. 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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