Category Archives: Military Doctrine

“Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today: Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy. Part III: The Legacy of the Missile Crisis, 50 Years After,” by Ike Nahem

In Part 3, Nahem deals with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Absolutely fascinating! The stuff you never heard before in the lying US media. 50 years on, and they still have not told us the truth. Amazing! Warning: Long, runs to 71 pages on the web.

Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today:
Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy

Part III: The Legacy of the Missile Crisis, 50 Years After

By Ike Nahem

October 1962 marks the 50th Anniversary of the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis.” The last two weeks of that October was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange.

In August 1945, the United States government, having a then-monopoly on the “atom bomb,” unilaterally dropped nuclear bombs, successively, on the civilian inhabitants of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the time of this clear war crime, Japanese imperialism’s conquests and vast expansion that began in the 1930s had shrunk sharply. The Japanese rulers were retreating under intense attack from rival imperialists and indigenous independence forces in their remaining occupied lands, including parts of Manchuria in China, as well as Korea, Vietnam, and the “Dutch East Indies,” now Indonesia.

The Japanese navy was incapable of operations, and the Japanese merchant fleet was destroyed. The Japanese government had begun to send out “peace feelers,” fully aware of its hopeless situation. Washington’s utterly ruthless action finalized the defeat of the Japanese Empire in the Asian-Pacific “theater” of World War II…and sent an unmistakable shock and signal to the world.

The young leaders of the Cuban Revolution, now holding governmental power, were in the very eye of the storm during those two October weeks.

The diffusing and resolution of the Missile Crisis – in the sense of reversing and ending the momentum toward imminent nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union – came when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave way to US President John Kennedy demands and agreed to halt further naval shipments of nuclear missiles to Cuba and withdraw those already in Cuban territory.

Khrushchev further agreed to the removal of Soviet medium-range conventional bombers, very useful to the Cubans for defending their coastlines, and a near-complete withdrawal of Soviet combat brigades.

For his part, Kennedy made a semi-public conditional formulation that the US government would not invade Cuba (this was not legally binding or attached to any signed legal or written document) and also agreed, in a secret protocol to withdraw US nuclear missiles from Turkey that bordered the Soviet Union.

The Cuban government, which had, at great political risk, acceded to the Soviet proposal to deploy Soviet nuclear missiles on the island, was not consulted, or even informed, by the Soviet government, at any stage of the unfolding crisis, of the unfolding US-Soviet negotiations.

Furthermore, Cuban representatives were completely excluded, and the five points Cuba wanted to see addressed coming out of the crisis and included in any overall agreement, ignored altogether under US insistence and Soviet acquiescence. The entire experience was both politically shocking and eye opening for the Cuban revolutionaries.

They came out of it acutely conscious of their vulnerability and angered over their exclusion.

In a public statement on October 28, presenting the five points, Fidel Castro said:

With relation to the pronouncement made by the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, in a letter sent to the premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, to the effect that the United States would agree, after the establishment of adequate arrangements through the United Nations, to eliminate the measures of blockade in existence and give guarantees against any invasion of Cuba, and in relation to the decision announced by Premier Khrushchev of withdrawing the installation of arms of strategic defense from Cuba territory, the revolutionary government of Cuba declares that the guarantees of which President Kennedy speaks–that there will be no aggression against Cuba–will not exist unless, in addition to the elimination of the naval blockade he promises, the following measures among others are to be adopted:

1) Cessation of the economic blockade and all the measures of commercial and economic pressure which the United States exercises in all parts of the world against our country;

2) Cessation of all subversive activities, launching and landing of arms and explosives by air and sea, the organization of mercenary invasions, infiltration of spies and saboteurs, all of which actions are carried out from the territory of the United States and some other accomplice countries;

3) Cessation of the pirate attacks which are being carried out from bases existing in the United States and Puerto Rico;

4) Cessation of all the violations of our air and naval space by North American war planes and ships; and

5) Withdrawal of naval base of Guantanamo and the return of the Cuban territory by the United States.”

Washington Plans Direct Invasion

By April 20, 1961, the revolutionary Cuban armed forces, led by Fidel Castro, was victoriously mopping up, on the coastal battlefields and detaining survivors from the routed counterrevolutionary Cuban exile “army” organized by the US government and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron to the Cubans).

The scheme to destroy the Cuban Revolution had been devised by the Dwight Eisenhower White House and carried out by the new Kennedy Administration in its third month after taking office.

Playa Giron was as humiliating and unacceptable for Washington as it had built confidence and was invigorating for the Cuban revolutionaries. It was certainly no secret to anyone paying the slightest attention that not even a nanosecond passed between Washington’s debacle at the Bay of Pigs and the planning for a new invasion, this time directly by US forces without the proxy agency of the mercenary “troops” of the former ruling classes of Cuba, who were by then ensconced in southern Florida.

Since October 1961 the Pentagon officers assigned to prepare for the US invasion of Cuba had been revising, updating, and “polishing” the concrete details. These “operational plans” were continually reviewed with President Kennedy.

Cuba faced an imminent, violent one-two punch: intensive aerial bombardment followed by large-scale invasion on multiple fronts.

It was less than ten years from the last major US war in Korea. The impact of US bombing on the northern Korean capital of Pyongyang in that country, artificially divided in the aftermath of World War II, could not have been encouraging to the Cuban leadership. Virtually the entire city was flattened by carpet bombings: 697 tons of bombs were dropped on Pyongyang along with nearly 3000 gallons of napalm; 62,000 rounds were used for “strafing at low level.”

According to Australian journalist and eyewitness to the carnage Wilfred Burchett, “There were only two buildings left standing in Pyongyang.” While the numbers of civilian deaths from the US assaults are inexact, well over 1 million Koreans in the north died, some 12-15% of the total population.

The “operational plans” for the US invasion of Cuba were to involve the initial dispatching of 90,000 troops and was projected to reach up to 250,000. This for a country of six million people.

For comparison, the population of Vietnam was around 40 million during the years of the US war in the 1960s and early 1970s. US troop levels reached 500,000. Massive US military operations, in the air and on the ground, killed millions of Vietnamese, perhaps 10% of the Vietnamese population.

There is no question that once “the dogs of war” were unleashed, with the accompanying propaganda onslaught, Washington would wage a war of annihilation under the rote cover of “democratic” and even “humanitarian” verbiage. Cuban resistance would be fierce. Mounting US casualties would, in the initial period, feed war fever and US aggression. In short: Cuba faced unheard of death and destruction. ..and the clock was ticking.

By this time President Kennedy’s “Operation Mongoose” was in effect. “Mongoose” was essentially a large-scale terrorist campaign employing sabotage, bombings, murder, and so-called “psychological warfare” inside Cuba.

Kennedy’s cynical purpose was to undertake any means deemed necessary to disrupt and demoralize Cuban society through constant, incessant violent attacks and economic sabotage to the point where the social and political conditions would be created for a full-scale US invasion.

But Kennedy and his civilian and military “advisers” continued to underestimate both the caliber of the revolutionary leadership and the capacities of the Cuban working people and youth they were terrorizing, as well as the Revolution’s determination and competence to organize their defenses.

Above all, the US rulers were not used to facing such a politically savvy enemy. The young Cuban revolutionary government, with the indefatigable Fidel Castro as its main spokesperson, was adept and quick on its feet in effectively exposing to world public opinion Washington’s anti-Cuba campaign through a vigorous, factually accurate and public counter-offensive based on what the Revolution was actually doing.

The logic behind “Operation Mongoose” was bluntly laid out in an internal memorandum of April 6, 1960 by L.D. Mallory, a US State Department senior official:

The majority of Cubans support Castro … the only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.

Mallory proposed “a line of action that makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”

On July 26, 1961 – the national holiday declared by the revolutionary government commemorating the July 26, 1953 attack led by Fidel Castro and Abel Santamaria on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba – the CIA attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara during the celebrations.

The CIA plan was, if the murders were “successful, ” to stage a provocation against the US base at Guantanamo and make it appear to be Cuban revenge for the murder of their top leaders. This would then be the pretext for a full-scale US invasion.

Here on full display is the cynical mendacity operating at the top of the US government in the drive to bring back the power of the landowners, rich playboys, segregationists, gangsters, and pimps – the full flower of “democracy” to the benighted Cuban masses suffering under literacy drives, free medical care, desegregated public facilities, and the crushing of the US Mafia.

During the next month of August 1961, the CIA organized one of its most pernicious campaigns against the revolutionary government. Its agents spread lies through a built-up rumor bill that there was a Cuban government policy to take all children away from their parents by force and raise them in “state institutions.”

Some 15,000 Cuban families, overwhelmingly from middle- and upper classes full of prejudice and hostility to the Revolution, panicked and sent their children mostly to the US in response to a Big Lie, under the CIA’s infamous “Operation Peter Pan.”

So, while all this criminal activity is going on, the Cuban Revolution advanced its program of social justice and human liberation for the oppressed and exploited majority as the most effective counterforce to the Yanqui aggression. On February 26, 1962 Cuba’s rejuvenated labor unions provided the people power for the campaign of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Health to carry out a nationwide campaign of vaccination against polio.

By the end of the year the disease is completely wiped out on the island. It took the United Nation’s World Health Organization, then far more subject to pressure from Washington than now, 43 years to finally recognize that Cuba was the first nation in the Americas to accomplish this.

Things like this, and the full array of revolutionary advances taking place in the face of Washington’s mounting terrorist campaign, convinced General Maxwell Taylor, who oversaw Operation Mongoose with Attorney General Robert Kennedy at the White House, that the terrorist operation “mak[ing] maximum use of indigenous resources,” could not and would not do the job of overthrowing the revolutionary government.

“Final success,” Taylor explained in a March 1962 report to President Kennedy, “will require decisive US military intervention. ” US spies inside Cuba, at most, could help “prepare and justify this intervention and thereafter facilitate and support it.”

With the Bay of Pigs debacle still fresh in his mind, and without some of the blinkers of more gung-ho invasion advocates, Kennedy hesitated to give a green light to the invasion plans he has ordered up. It remained yellow-lighted however, and Kennedy directed that Mongoose terrorism continue and step up.

The terrorist anti-Cuba campaign was not limited to Cuban territory. On April 28, 1962 the New York offices of the Cuban Press Agency Prensa Latina was attacked in New York, injuring three staff members. More seriously, from May 8-18, a “practice run” for the US invasion of Cuba takes place. The full-scale “military exercise” is code named “Operation Whip Lash and sent an unmistakable signal of intimidation from the US military colossus to the six million people of Cuba.

All this mounting imperialist intervention had only one possible ending point – short of a Cuban surrender, which would never come. Events were coming to a head in Washington, Moscow, and Havana, events that ineluctably posed and placed the nuclear question in the equation.

In a major speech to a closed meeting of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) on January 25-26, 1968 reviewing the entire Missile Crisis, Fidel Castro’s stated that Cuba’s revolutionary leadership looked to the Soviet Union for, “…measures that would guarantee the country’s safety. In that period we had tremendous faith in the Soviet Union. I think perhaps too much.”

While the Cuban government and overwhelming popular majority were mobilized, armed to the teeth, and prepared to fight to the death, they wanted to live in peace and to enjoy the fruits of building a new society after a hard-fought revolutionary triumph. The Cuban leadership fully understood that a US invasion would kill many hundreds of thousands and destroy the Cuban infrastructure and economy. How to stop the coming US invasion was the burning question.

Khrushchev Rolls the Dice

Meanwhile in the Soviet Union, the Soviet leadership was facing a decidedly negative nuclear relationship of forces vis-à-vis Washington. This position of inequality (in the framework of the aptly acronymed Mutually Assured Destruction – aka MAD – nuclear doctrine) was perceived in Moscow as an impediment to carrying out political negotiations and maneuvering with Washington and the NATO powers, and defending Soviet interests in the “geopolitical” Cold War arena.

By April 1962 fifteen US Jupiter nuclear missiles had been installed and were “operational” in Turkey on the border of the Soviet Union. “Operational” meant ready to launch at any moment. Each missile was armed with a 1.45 megaton warhead, with ninety-seven times the firepower of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The official estimate of the “fatality projection” for each missile was one million Soviet civilians.

The Jupiter deployment in Turkey added to the overwhelming US superiority in quantity and quality in the “nuclear arms race” between Washington and Moscow.

According to Anatoly Gribkov of the Red Army General Staff (cited in the television program DEFCON-2 shown on the US Military Channel), “The United States had about 5000 [nuclear] warheads, the Soviet Union 300. And of those [300] only two or three dozen that could hit the United States.”

Khrushchev decided to alleviate this “imbalance” by placing missiles on the Cuban island if he succeeded in selling the idea to the Cuban leadership.

In the 1960 Presidential election, the liberal Democrat Kennedy shamelessly promoted as an important campaign issue a supposed “missile gap” – in the Soviet Union’s favor – between Washington and Moscow, a conscious fabrication. Kennedy also postured to the right of his Republican opponent, Eisenhower’s Vice-President Richard Nixon, on “getting tough with Castro.”

On this, Nixon had the disadvantage, as Kennedy was no doubt aware, of being unable to publicly tout the Eisenhower White House’s already advanced plans for the mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pigs, which Kennedy carried out three months after his Inauguration. )

Sometime in the spring (April-May) of 1962 the Khrushchev government of the Soviet Union proposed to the Cuban government that Cuba receive nuclear-tipped missiles on Cuban territory. In no other country (including none of its “Warsaw Pact” allies, who were all politically subordinate to the Soviet government) had the Soviet government located nuclear missiles outside of Soviet territory.

Washington, by contrast, had openly placed nuclear missiles in numerous western European countries as well as Turkey and secretly in Okinawa, Japan, aimed at China. (Both the United Kingdom and France, both US allies, also had nuclear arsenals by that time. China detonated its first nuclear bomb in an October 1964 “test.”)

Additionally US “strategic” nuclear armed aircraft were in the air ready for attack orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. US nuclear submarines were in similar mode, and even more difficult to detect. While Soviet capabilities undoubtedly lagged behind the US, it was not so much as to preclude inevitable reciprocal attack in response to any US “first strike.”

Soviet missiles in Cuba would theoretically be a further deterrent to any US “first strike” threat. Placing the missiles in Cuba was clearly seen by the Soviet government as a bargaining piece to advance Soviet strategic interests in the nuclear chessboard that animated US-Soviet “diplomatic” maneuvers and intrigue.

Khrushchev evidently presumed that, faced with a fait accompli, Washington would redress the imbalance to the benefit of the Soviet Union. The Soviet missiles, upon being fully operational, would be able to strike major population centers and whole geographic regions of the US, roughly equivalent to the potential death-dealing capacity Washington had through its missiles in Europe surrounding and targeted on the Soviet Union.

Of course, the big “if” in all of this reasoning was getting to the accompli. Given US technical proficiency this was a fantasy.

At the end of May 1962 the first direct presentation of the Soviet proposal was delivered to Fidel Castro and Raul Castro in Cuba by a Soviet delegation led by an alternate member of the Soviet Presidium (an executive decision-making body). The Soviet officials revealed to the Cuban leaders that their “intelligence” told them conclusively that a US invasion was being seriously prepared, to be implemented at any time over the next months.

Of course the Soviets were not telling the Cubans anything they did not already know in general, but there were new specific facts and details. But the proposal that measures to fortify Cuban defenses could include the deployment of Soviet nuclear missiles on the island leads to intense consultations within the top Cuban leadership (the chief ministers involved are Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara, Osvaldo Dorticos, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, and Blas Roca).

The day after the proposal is received the Cuban leadership tells the Soviet delegation that the nuclear deployment is acceptable in principle.

In an interview with European journalist Ignacio Ramonet (from the book Fidel Castro My Life: A Spoken Autobiography, published in 2006 by Scribner and based on extensive interviews with Castro by Ramonet) Castro referred to the discussions within the Cuban central leadership saying that besides Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership’s

sincere desire to prevent an attack against Cuba…they were hoping to improve the balance of strategic forces…I added that it would be inconsistent of us to expect the maximum support from the USSR and the rest of the Socialist camp should we be attacked by the United States and yet refuse to face the political risks and the possible damage to our reputation when they needed us. That ethical and revolutionary point of view was accepted unanimously.

In a speech many years later in 1992 Fidel Castro said,

We really didn’t like the missiles. If it had been a matter only of our own defense , we would not have accepted the deployment of the missiles. But not because we were afraid of the dangers that might follow the deployment of the missiles here; rather, it was because this would damage the image of the revolution, and we were very zealous in protecting the image of the revolution in the rest of Latin America.

The presence of the missiles would in fact turn us into a Soviet military base, and that entailed a high political cost for the image of our country, an image we so highly valued.” (cited in October 1962 The ‘Missile’ Crisis As Seen From Cuba by Tomas Diez Acosta, Pathfinder Press)

Legality, Secrecy, and Lies: Losing the High Moral Ground

Having agreed in principle, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara, repeatedly argued with the Soviet leadership that the deployment should be open and public. The fact was that there was nothing in the Soviet-Cuban agreement to deploy the missiles that contravened any existing international law.

In any case, the Cuban leaders were certain that it would be virtually impossible for the shipment, site construction, and land deployment to remain concealed from the highly sophisticated US surveillance technology. Furthermore, that, on the face of it, given the US missiles in Turkey and Italy surrounding the Soviet Union, and with practically open US plans to invade Cuba, open and transparent was the way to go politically and morally.

All of this was rejected out of hand by the Khrushchev leadership, and the Cuban leaders chose not to push the point and deferred. In his January 25-26 speech, Castro goes into scathing detail on how shocking, given the Soviet insistence on secrecy, the lack of discretion on the Soviet side was, crossing into outright recklessness, in the actual deployment of the missiles.

The Soviet operation was the largest sea-borne operation in Soviet history. By the time of the missile detection and Khrushchev’s decision to remove them under US pressure, there were already 134 nuclear warheads in place and on the ground in Cuba. All three of the SS-4missile regiments were operational even as Soviet ships stopped moving towards Cuba.

In the book with Ramonet, Castro speaks of the” strange, Byzantine discussion” over the whether Soviet arms shipments to Cuba were offensive or defensive.

Khrushchev, in fact, insisted they were defensive, not on any technical grounds, but rather because of the defensive purposes for which they’d been installed in Cuba…[We felt there was] no need to go into those explanations. What Cuba and the USSR were doing was perfectly legal and in strict conformity with international law. From the first moment, Cuba’s possession of armaments required for its defense should have been declared.

We didn’t like the course the public debate was taking. I sent Che…to explain my view of the situation to Khrushchev, including the need to immediately publish the military agreement [on deploying the nuclear missiles in Cuba] the USSR and Cuba had signed. But I couldn’t manage to persuade him…

For us, for the Cuban leaders, the USSR was a powerful, experienced government. We had no other arguments to use to persuade them that their strategy for managing the situation should be changed, so we had no alternative but to trust them.

In the January 25-26, 1968 speech Castro bluntly expressed his viewpoint:

[Around July] we saw that the United States was creating an atmosphere of hysteria and aggression, and it was a campaign that was being carried out with all impunity. In the light of this we thought the correct thing to do was to adopt a different position, not to get into that policy of lies: ‘we are sending Cuba defensive weapons.’

And in response to the imperialist’ s position, the second weakness (or the first weakness) was not to stand up and respond that Cuba had every right to own whatever weapons it saw fit…but rather to adopt a policy of concessions, claiming that the weapons were defensive. In other words, to lie, to resort to lies which in effect meant to wave a basic right and principle.

Some 35 years later, in the Ramonet book, Castro returned to this crucial political approach, which is much more powerful than the usual technical cast of events when things had reached the stage of an actual nuclear standoff:

There was nothing illegal about our agreement with the Soviets, given that the Americans had missiles in Turkey and in Italy, too, and no one ever threatened to bomb or invade those countries.

The problem wasn’t the legality of the agreement – everything was absolutely legal – but rather Khrushchev’s mistaken political handling of the situation, when even though both Cuba and the USSR had the legitimate right, he started spinning theories about offensive and non-offensive weapons. In a political battle, you can’t afford to lose the high moral ground by employing ruses and lies and half-truths.

The revolutionary consciousness and organization of the popular masses, and their will and determination to resist aggression, was, and continues to be, the decisive factor in the defense of the Cuban Revolution. This objective political fact kept intruding into the subjective actions of both the US and Soviet governments during the October Crisis.

For the Cuban revolutionaries, the economic, military, and political ties forged with the Soviet Union had been an irreplaceable factor in their survival from the period after the January 1959 triumph of the Revolution through the Playa Giron defeat of the US-organized mercenary invasion.

Nevertheless, the unfolding of the Missile Crisis, and its ultimate resolution, left the Cuban leadership feeling vulnerable, insulted, and bypassed by the perceived highhanded behavior of the Soviet government led by Nikita Khrushchev.

In his January 25-26, 1968 speech, focused almost exclusively on the Missile Crisis and its lessons, Fidel Castro said, “I am sincerely convinced that the Soviet Party bears great responsibility in what happened and acted in a totally disloyal manner in its relations with us.”

Referring to the continuing terrorist attacks against Cuba that never stopped after Soviet missiles, planes, and combat troops were removed from Cuba at the “end” of the October Crisis, Castro stated,

Together with the pirate attacks and the U-2 flights, incidents began to flare up at the Guantanamo base [The military base on Guantanamo was ceded to the US government in the notorious neocolonial Platt Amendment of 1901 passed by the US Congress and has been maintained to this day against the demands for its return to Cuban sovereignty.]

The same Guantanamo base which, we are certain, would have been dismantled had there been a modicum of serenity and firmness during the October crisis. Had they had the presence of mind to have posed and demand correctly from a principled standpoint, had they said that they would withdraw the missiles if satisfactory guarantees were given to Cuba, had they let Cuba negotiate, the crisis might even have turned into a political victory…

All the rest are euphemisms of different kinds: Cuba was saved, Cuba lives. But Cuba had been alive and Cuba had been living, and Cuba did not want to live at the expense of humiliation or surrender; for that you do not have to be a revolutionary. Revolutionaries are not just concerned with living, but how one lives, living most of all with dignity, living with a cause, living for a cause…

Cuba did not agree with the way the issue was handled; it stated the need to approach the problem from different, more drastic, more revolutionary and even more legal positions; and it totally disagreed with the way in which the situation was terminated.”

“Uncontrolled Forces”

At the height of the crisis, the central Cuban leadership was certain that a full-scale invasion of the island was imminent. As shown above, preparations – “contingency plans” – for such an invasion had, for many months prior to the secret installation of the Soviet missiles, been in place.

This was the only conceivable basis for Khrushchev to make the missile proposal to the Cuban leaders. In fact, a US invasion of Cuba was on the hair-trigger of being ordered on several concrete conjunctures in the course of the Crisis.

The issue of carrying out a direct US assault was being furiously debated within the Kennedy Administration and the narrow circle of bipartisan Congressional leadership that was privy to the deliberations at the top.

As President and Commander-in- Chief, Kennedy had to choose whether to give the order to invade – again, everything was already in place for the execution of an invasion – the island where many nuclear warheads were already in place, targeting US territory and where Cuban armed resistance was certain to be massive, highly motivated, well-led, and creative.

The Cuban masses, having just experienced a profound social revolution, drawing millions into revolutionary struggle and consciousness, the immense majority of the Cuban population, would be fighting from their own territory against a foreign invasion force and massive bombing assaults. Thousands of Cuban civilians would have been instantly killed in these air strikes.

The political consequences of this carnage – against a sovereign people with the gall to make a Revolution, throw out a venal dictator, institute land reform, literacy campaigns, rent reduction, abolishing Jim Crow-segregation, etc. etc. – would certainly have been devastating for Washington even if nuclear warheads were never launched on either side, a dubious prospect at best.

Washington would lose the “moral high ground,” so crucial to concrete questions of world politics. Cuba would regain what had been eroded by the secretive, clumsy adventurism of Khrushchev’s “initiative” and its incompetent implementation.

The question of the nuclear weapons that were already on the island and the more that were en route would likely have been rendered secondary and the question of Cuba’s right to self-determination would have again risen to the fore. Kennedy was politically savvy enough to realize all of this and finally rebuffed the advocates of launching an invasion.

Uppermost in Kennedy’s considerations were the physical presence of thousands of Soviet combat troops and military personnel (there were some 40,000 Soviet mechanized combat divisions in Cuba, although the Kennedy Administration seems to have counted less than half the actual number).

This fact posed the question that Soviet casualties would be inevitable, further sharply posing the question of questions… would the US invasion inexorably lead to nuclear exchanges? Who would fire first becomes almost a moot, secondary question in the framework of such a political confrontation.

US “intelligence” estimates were that 18,500 US casualties would take place in the first period after a US invasion, according to declassified material obtained by the National Security Archive.

The presence of Soviet nuclear warheads and large numbers of Soviet military personnel, fighter jets, anti-aircraft gun emplacements, and so on, was another major factor leading Kennedy to repeatedly postpone the invasion plans and opt for a naval blockade (labeled a “quarantine” for legalistic purposes) surrounding Cuba, and the drama of a relatively slow showdown unfolding over days in the Atlantic while negotiations between Washington and Moscow intensified, negotiations that excluded the Cuban government.. .as if Cuba had nothing to do with what was happening.

It is always the case when war and combat is actually joined, that the “law of unintended consequences” would come into dynamic play. Or, as the historic revolutionary leader of the working-class movement, Frederick Engels, put it, “Those who unleash controlled forces, also unleash uncontrolled forces.”

The Letters

On October 26, 1962 Fidel Castro – at the most intense, dangerous point of the entire crisis – wrote a letter to Nikita Khrushchev, which stated:

Given the analysis of the situation and the reports which have reached us, [I] consider an attack to be almost imminent–within the next 24 to 72 hours.

There are two possible variants: the first and most probable one is an air attack against certain objectives with the limited aim of destroying them; the second, and though less probable, still possible, is a full invasion. This would require a large force and is the most repugnant form of aggression, which might restrain them.

You can be sure that we will resist with determination, whatever the case. The Cuban people’s morale is extremely high and the people will confront aggression heroically.

I would like to briefly express my own personal opinion.

If the second variant takes place and the imperialists invade Cuba with the aim of occupying it, the dangers of their aggressive policy are so great that after such an invasion the Soviet Union must never allow circumstances in which the imperialists could carry out a nuclear first strike against it.

I tell you this because I believe that the imperialists’ aggressiveness makes them extremely dangerous, and that if they manage to carry out an invasion of Cuba–a brutal act in violation of universal and moral law–then that would be the moment to eliminate this danger forever, in an act of the most legitimate self-defense. However harsh and terrible the solution, there would be no other.

Khrushchev responded, in a second round of letters with Castro that:

In your cable of October 27 you proposed that we be the first to carry out a nuclear strike against the enemy’s territory. Naturally you understand where that would lead us. It would not be a simple strike, but the start of a thermonuclear world war.

Dear Comrade Fidel Castro, I find your proposal to be wrong, even though I understand your reasons.

… As far as Cuba is concerned, it would be difficult to say even in general terms what this would have meant for them. In the first place, Cuba would have been burned in the fire of war….

Now, as a result of the measures taken, we reached the goal sought when we agreed with you to send the missiles to Cuba. We have wrested from the United States the commitment not to invade Cuba and not to permit their Latin American allies to do so. We have we wrested all this from them without a nuclear strike.

We consider that we must take advantage of all the possibilities to defend Cuba, strengthen its independence and sovereignty, defeat military aggression and prevent a nuclear world war in our time.

And we have accomplished that.

Of course, we made concessions, accepted a commitment, action according to the principle that a concession on one side is answered by a concession on the other side. The United States also made a concession. It made the commitment before all the world not to attack Cuba.

That’s why when we compare aggression on the part of the United States and thermonuclear war with the commitment of a concession in exchange for concession, the upholding of the inviolability of the Republic of Cuba and the prevention of a world war, I think that the total outcome of this reckoning, of this comparison, is perfectly clear.

Castro then responded:

I realized when I wrote them that the words contained in my letter could be misinterpreted by you and that was what happened, perhaps because you didn’t read them carefully, perhaps because of the translation, perhaps because I meant to say so much in too few lines. However, I didn’t hesitate to do it…

We knew, and do not presume that we ignored it, that we would have been annihilated, as you insinuate in your letter, in the event of nuclear war. However, that didn’t prompt us to ask you to withdraw the missiles, that didn’t prompt us to ask you to yield.

Do you believe that we wanted that war? But how could we prevent it if the invasion finally took place? The fact is that this event was possible, that imperialism was obstructing every solution and that its demands were, from our point of view, impossible for the USSR and Cuba to accept.

And if war had broken out, what could we do with the insane people who unleashed the war? You yourself have said that under current conditions such a war would inevitably have escalated quickly into a nuclear war.

I understand that once aggression is unleashed, one shouldn’t concede to the aggressor the privilege of deciding, moreover, when to use nuclear weapons.

The destructive power of this weaponry is so great and the speed of its delivery so great that the aggressor would have a considerable initial advantage.

And I did not suggest to you, Comrade Khrushchev, that the USSR should be the aggressor, because that would be more than incorrect, it would be immoral and contemptible on my part.

But from the instant the imperialists attack Cuba and while there are Soviet armed forces stationed in Cuba to help in our defense in case of an attack from abroad, the imperialists would by this act become aggressors against Cuba and against the USSR, and we would respond with a strike that would annihilate them.

Everyone has his own opinions and I maintain mine about the dangerousness of the aggressive circles in the Pentagon and their preference for a preventive strike.

I did not suggest, Comrade Khrushchev, that in the midst of this crisis the Soviet Union should attack, which is what your letter seems to say; rather, that following an imperialist attack, the USSR should act without vacillation and should never make the mistake of allowing circumstances to develop in which the enemy makes the first nuclear strike against the USSR.

And in this sense, Comrade Khrushchev, I maintain my point of view, because I understand it to be a true and just evaluation of a specific situation. You may be able to convince me that I am wrong, but you can’t tell me that I am wrong without convincing me.”

In the January 25-26 speech Castro explains his thinking as he drafted his first letter to Khrushchev “with the utmost care and scruples because what I was about to say was so audacious and daring that I had to present it well.”

He continues:

And there I was thinking, well, what could be done? …Of course we could never present our country as the aggressor or anything like that, but my opinion was that if they invaded we would have to open fire on them with a complete and total round of nuclear rockets. With the total conviction that in a situation such as that, whoever struck first would have a 99 percent advantage.

It would not have been a surprise attack, but only in the case of a concrete invasion, which would have involved the Soviet troops stationed here, and, since they would not have just stood by and watched them die here, what would they have waited for to settle the problem.

In fact, any advantage from such a strike would be quickly overwhelmed by the devastation from the inexorable waves of second, third, many strikes that would be unleashed. Would Kennedy, unable to resist launching the invasion, have resisted a massive and devastating retaliation on Soviet targets, after nuclear weapons had been dropped on invading US troops? By then all Hell, literally, would have broken loose.

Castro’s exchange of letters with Khrushchev assumes that given the forces in play and in motion – 300,000 Cuban combatants, 40,000 Soviet military personnel, the bulk in mechanized combat brigades, on the ground, confronting a US invasion force projected to quickly reach hundreds of thousands, all coming head-to-head while massive US air strikes and countering Cuban-Soviet anti-aircraft fire unleashed, and with the enormous naval forces, many armed with nuclear weapons, including torpedoes – that the US invasion, which he considered inevitable and imminent, would inexorably go nuclear.

Following this undoubtedly correct assumption, Castro’s logic and formulations in his initial letters becomes necessarily more abstract and algebraic. He presents, in the rush and incredible heat and speed of events, a post-invasion scenario where Soviet forces could strike, in a limited “tactical” use (although those terms are not specifically used), the US forces before the US could strike the Soviet forces.

The same technical, military logic of “pre-emption” would, of course, dominate the US side which had a clear superiority in both quantity and quality of nuclear weapons deliverance at that point, the full extent of which the Cuban leadership was not likely aware of the extent of.

Castro continued, “Keep in mind that back then there was not the unlimited supply of rockets that there is today. The Americans did not have too many rockets then, and we knew the speed of their planes and those things.” (In reality, the US supply of rockets was quite sufficient to destroy not only Cuba, but virtually all human life on the earth.)

The MAD doctrine was based on each side’s nuclear arsenal countermanding the others.

The seemingly absurd stockpiling of nuclear warheads and delivery system locations had the “rational” kernel of logic that after a “first strike” or pre-emptive launch of warheads the “other side” would still have enough of an atomic arsenal left to deliver a crushing response.

The idea, developed by “Dr. Strangelove” US theorists like Herman Kahn, and accepted by their Soviet equivalents, was to build up and protect a “second strike” capacity in order to obviate a “first strike.” Of course, Washington continued – and continues to this day – to develop a “decisive” first-strike capability, largely through anti-ballistic and “Star Wars” systems to intercept and eliminate the other sides “second strike” (or first, or any strike) giving the US a credible “first strike.”

The fact of a US invasion – that is, its actual occurrence – of Cuba would have set in motion a dynamic that would have rendered moot, useless, and ridiculous the question of who would “fire” the “first” nuclear weapon, if that could even be determined after the event (if indeed the word after would have any content).

Dozens and dozens of ships, planes, and launch sites on the ground, under the control of dozens and dozens of military officers subject to “orders” in what would have been an unimaginable chaos and breakdown inevitable in what would have been the first nuclear exchange in world history. Would anyone have even known who struck first? The key point – the only determinant fact – in whether nuclear holocaust would be unleashed was whether the US would invade Cuba.

New Facts

What is now known about the Missile Crisis is that a situation existed where, at the height of the confrontation, from October 25-28, literally dozens and dozens of military officers well below the executive political “decision makers” in a theoretical chain of command, on both the Soviet and US side, had the capacity and even the authority to push the nuclear button and pull the nuclear trigger.

We certainly know this to be true in the first-hand accounts by Soviet and US military officers and personnel on the ground, on the oceans, and in the air that have become public and from “classified” government documents on both sides. (see (Noam Chomsky’s Cuban Missile Crisis: How the US Played Russian Roulette with Nuclear War in the October 15 Guardian newspaper, which cites several harrowing moments of near disaster.)

The author Michael Dobbs in an October 18, 2012 New York Times op-ed piece (The Price of a 50-Year Old Myth) wrote,

While the risk of war in October 1962 was very high (Kennedy estimated it variously at between 1 in 5 and 1 in 2), it was not caused by a clash of wills. The real dangers arose from “the fog of war.” As the two superpowers geared up for a nuclear war, the chances of something going terribly wrong increased exponentially…

By Saturday, Oct. 27, the two leaders were no longer in full control of their gigantic military machines, which were moving forward under their own momentum. Soviet troops on Cuba targeted Guantánamo with tactical nuclear weapons and shot down an American U-2 spy plane.

Another U-2, on a “routine” air sampling mission to the North Pole, got lost over the Soviet Union. The Soviets sent MiG fighters into the air to try to shoot down the American intruder, and in response, Alaska Air Defense Command scrambled F-102 interceptors armed with tactical nuclear missiles.

In the Caribbean, a frazzled Soviet submarine commander was dissuaded by his subordinates from using his nuclear torpedo against American destroyers that were trying to force him to the surface.”

In his Guardian piece cited above Chomsky, referring to the famous (to some detractors, infamous) October 26 letter of Fidel Castro, states:

As this was happening and Washington was debating and Kennedy poised to decide on a US invasion, Fidel Castro wrote a letter to Nikita Khrushchev which has been interpreted, over Castro’s sharp objection, as advocating a Soviet nuclear attack – a so-called “first strike” against US territory if the US invasion were to actually occur.

Khrushchev himself took the necessarily and purposely algebraic and highly cautious words of Castro as such a call, and used Castro’s wording as practically a cover to carry out the retreat and concessions to Kennedy that diffused the crisis and reverse the momentum towards purposeful or accidental nuclear exchanges.

Extraordinary Gathering

Details on the Cuban leadership’s viewpoint on the origins, development, and “end-game” of the October Crisis, and their attitude to the actions and behavior of the Soviet leadership, were presented on January 25-26, 1968 cited above, when Fidel Castro gave an exhaustive 12-hour speech to the gathered Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).

In a remarkable oration spread over two days, Castro painstakingly – combining great emotion with razor-sharp, cool logic – detailed how the “Missile Crisis” unfolded and how Cuba’s relations with the Soviet Union emerged out of the crisis different from what they had been before. The January 24-26, 1968 Central Committee meeting was perhaps the nadir of the downward spiral of Cuban-Soviet relations set in motion by the October Crisis of 1962.

The entire speech, previously unpublished in any public medium, was printed in 2002, for the first time, in the official Cuban Council of State English translation, in the book Sad and Luminous Days: Cuba’s Struggle with the Superpowers after the Missile Crisis by James Blight and Philip Brenner published by Bowman and Littlefield Publishers.

The timing of the special, extraordinary meeting of the PCC Central Committee was not fortuitous. It was held just 107 days after the death of Che Guevara and the defeat of his guerrilla forces based in Bolivia, which was a real blow to the Cuban revolutionaries and would raise many challenges in the development of Cuba’s revolutionary foreign policy in a new objective reality. (This question will be returned to in detail in Part IV of this series.)

Fidel Castro and the Cuban leadership placed an important part of the responsibility for the defeat of Che’s guerrilla on the top leadership of the Bolivian Communist Party which supported the program and perspective of the Soviet Union in Latin America and opposed Che Guevara’s armed struggle and leadership in Bolivia (which was seen as the initial base for a continental revolutionary movement) reneging on previously given commitments.

Opposition to the Cuban revolutionary line in Latin America was opposed – with varying degrees of vehemence – by virtually all of the Latin American Communist Parties. This betrayal disrupted and undermined the formation and development of urban resistance forces crucial to supplement Che’s struggle, leaving the guerrillas exposed and vulnerable.

At the time of their April 1961 victory at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron to the Cubans) over US-organized Cuban counterrevolutionaries, Fidel Castro declared that the Cuban Revolution was a socialist revolution and that he was a “Marxist-Leninist.” Castro’s words wholly corresponded to the social and economic deeds of his revolutionary government and to the profound internationalism of the Cuban leadership team. (see Part II of this series)

The Cuban revolutionaries shared this terminology with the government of the Soviet Union (and the Chinese government as well, which was then engaged in a war of words with the Soviet leadership), but the Castro leadership team’s domestic policies and revolutionary internationalist foreign policy perspective stood in unspoken contrast to the outlook and program of the Soviet government and Communist Party, particularly in regard to the “road to socialism” in Latin America and other semi-colonial countries and the promotion of “détente” and “peaceful coexistence” with the advanced capitalist-imperialist powers.

Prior to the October Crisis these differences were subsumed in the alliance that was forged between the revolutionary government of Cuba and the Soviet Union and its allied Eastern European governments.

Prior to Fidel Castro’s speech, the Central Committee gathering had heard an extensive report by Raul Castro, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Cuba’s President today in 2012). The report was a damning indictment of a secret faction of the PCC led by Anibal Escalante. Escalante’s faction, which was composed of former leaders, like himself, and cadres of the Popular Socialist Party (PSP).

Before the Revolution the PSP, which had a base in the industrial working class and trade unions, was connected to the dominant currents in the “world Communist movement” and Latin American Communist Parties that looked to the Soviet Union for political direction and program. The PSP initially opposed the July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro, coming out in support and joint activity in the last period before the revolutionary triumph.

Over the next few years the majority of PSP cadres were successfully integrated into what became the PCC. In 1962 Escalante, who had been the top functionary of the Integrated Revolutionary Organization, an initial formation bringing together the currents supporting the Revolution, had come under fierce public criticism by Fidel Castro for “sectarianism” and “bureaucratism” in March 1962. See here.

Some thirty-five members of the so-called “microfaction” were expelled from the PCC and received prison sentences from two to fifteen years.

The most serious of the charges involved secret activity aimed at forging ties between the “microfaction” and officials and Communist Party leaders in the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and Czechoslovakia in their common opposition to the revolutionary line of the PCC in Latin America and the position of the large majority of the PCC in domestic and foreign policies in general, going so far as to urge Soviet economic pressure on Cuba, for which they were charged with treason.

Escalante’s grouping never argued for their political positions openly within the structures and procedures of the PCC, which was their right.

In their secret functioning inside Cuba and intrigues with Soviet and Eastern European officials and diplomats, they portrayed Che Guevara as “Trotskyite adventurer” and the Castro leadership as “petty bourgeois” elements that seized control of the Revolution, holding the working class in contempt. Moreover, the Cuban revolutionary leadership was “anti-Soviet” and did not support Soviet “hegemony.”

The political lessons drawn by the revolutionary leadership in Cuba from the perceived Soviet “capitulation” to Washington were sharp and clear: they felt they were now and always would be in the final analysis “on their own.”

Or, more precisely, that the survival and security of the Cuban Revolution would ultimately be dependent not on powerful benefactors – who would no longer be prettied up in their minds to be more revolutionary than they actually were – but, rather, through the extension of the Revolution, especially across the Americas.

In fact, following the resolution of the Missile Crisis – which was hugely traumatic in world public opinion – led to increased propaganda for “peace” and “reconciliation” in both Moscow and Washington, with accompanying diplomatic maneuvering.

This culminated in the actual signing by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (formally the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, which was strongly welcomed in world public opinion when it went into effect in October 1963, one year to the month from the political drama and trauma of the Missile Crisis.

The treaty did not ban “underground” nuclear tests which could also lead to radioactive releases into the atmosphere as well ground water. The treaty put no limits on the production of nuclear warheads and their fitting onto missiles.

The aftermath of the Missile Crisis was that Soviet-Cuban relations over the next six years, politically deteriorated to nearly a bitter, breaking point. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963 and Khrushchev’s leadership in the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet state came to an ignominious end as he was pensioned off and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev and Alexi Kosygin In October 1964.

The new Lyndon Johnson White House abided by Kennedy’s verbal “pledge” and invasion plans were put in mothballs, although covert action, terrorism, and containment continued. Primary focus and attention shifted to Indochina where Johnson maintained continuity with Kennedy’s intervention and deepened it.

The immediate threat of US-Soviet nuclear exchange and war receded on October 28 with the announcement that Soviet ships had stopped advancing and that Soviet missiles would be withdrawn. But for Cuba the crisis and the pressure intensified.

Not even two weeks after the supposed resolution of the crisis the world’s “sigh of relief, 400 Cuban workers were killed when a Cuban counterrevolutionary sabotage team dispatched from the US blew up a Cuban industrial facility.

Right up until his assassination Kennedy was approving terrorist attacks against Cuba. US intervention by proxy never stopped and became systematic. US-backed counterrevolutionaries were defeated in the Escambray mountains in central Cuba in a campaign from 1963-65.

The six years that followed the end of the Missile Crisis saw Cuban-Soviet relations decline – in public as well as “private” state-to-state and party-to-party behind-the-scenes relations – almost to a breaking point, before formal and definite improvements after 1968 through the 1970s and 1980s until the Soviet government collapsed in 1991, setting off a huge economic depression and crisis in Cuba.

In this period of improved relations, fundamental contradictions remained and sharp policy differences emerged over questions like Soviet policies in Africa, military tactics in Angola, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which Cuba opposed. These questions will be returned to in future Parts of this series.

As this article gets ready to be launched into cyberspace, I came across an October 22 article written for the Cuban press by Fidel Castro. The article is entitled Fidel Castro is Dying and is written tongue-in-cheek is response to the later ridiculous and repulsive rumor-mongering – yes, this time he really is dying even dead, we’ve got a Venezuelan doctor who knows for sure this time – periodically engaged in by professional Castro-haters. It is a veritable cottage industry.

Fidel, with pictures, once again, combats the liars and the fools:

While many persons in the world are deceived by information agencies which publish this nonsense – almost all in the hands of the privileged and rich – people believe less and less in them. Nobody likes to be deceived; even the most incorrigible liar expects to be told the truth.

In April of 1961, everyone believed the information published in the news agencies that the mercenary invaders of Girón or Bay of Pigs, whatever one wants to call it, were approaching Havana, when in fact some of them were fruitlessly trying by boat to reach the yanqui warships escorting them.

The peoples are learning and resistance is growing, faced with the crisis of capitalism which is recurring with greater frequency; no lies, repression or new weapons will be able to prevent the collapse of a production system which is increasingly unequal and unjust.

A few days ago, very close to the 50th anniversary of the October Crisis, news agencies pointed to three guilty parties: Kennedy, having recently become the leader of the empire, Khrushchev and Castro.

Cuba did not have anything to do with nuclear weapons, nor with the unnecessary slaughter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki perpetrated by the president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, thus establishing the tyranny of nuclear weapons. Cuba was defending its right to independence and social justice.

When we accepted Soviet aid in weapons, oil, foodstuffs and other resources, it was to defend ourselves from yanqui plans to invade our homeland, subjected to a dirty and bloody war which that capitalist country imposed on us from the very first months, which left thousands of Cubans dead and maimed.

When Khrushchev proposed the installation here of medium range missiles similar to those the United States had in Turkey – far closer to the USSR than Cuba to the United States – as a solidarity necessity, Cuba did not hesitate to agree to such a risk. Our conduct was ethically irreproachable.

We will never apologize to anyone for what we did. The fact is that half a century has gone by, and here we still are with our heads held high.

October 22, 2012

Ike Nahem is a longtime anti-war, labor, and socialist activist. He is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York (cubasolidarityny@ mindspring.com) and a founder of the New York-New Jersey July 26 Coalition. Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. These are his personal political opinions. Comments and criticisms can be sent to ikenahem@mindspring.com

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Four Left Latin American Governments Quit OAS Defense Treaty

Four leftwing Latin American nations quit the OAS defense treaty, asking for changes in the document. The OAS has always been the whore of the US, a sickening and reactionary organization. They threw Cuba out for no good reason long ago. These heroic Latin American nations are doing what should have been done long ago. The OAS is just shit, a Cold War creation of the Yankee dogs. Get rid of it already.

Yankee go home!

The nations are Nicaragua, led by the Sandinista hero Daniel Ortega, Venezuela, led by Hugo Chavez, Ecuador, led by Rafael Correa and Bolivia, led by Evo Morales.

I am reminded of the words of the former Sandinista national anthem:

America, enemy of mankind!

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Is There Anything Good About North Korea?

Steve wants to know if there is anything good about North Korea.

If there are good things in north Korea, I would like to hear about them. I just heard about scarce food, electricity and petrol, a crippled economy and a brainwashed, repressed population. Sounds like a God awful place to live. Give me South Korea any day- highly developed and free.

As a general rule, if the state has any extra money at all, it goes to the workers and the ordinary people to better their lives. People only work 6 hours a day in Pyongyang, and there are no food shortages in Pyongyang. Workers are treated with respect, kindness and dignity, unlike almost everywhere in the capitalist world, where workers are treated with extreme contempt and society is organized around a “Fuck the workers!” capitalist mindset. Everyone has a place to live and nice clothes to wear.

The suicide rate is almost zero, lower than just about any other state on Earth. This is probably the most amazing statistic of all, the very low suicide rate. There is so much insecurity in a capitalist system, and in neoliberal capitalism, the insecurity is extreme.

A friend of mine recently lost her house. She had not prepared for it beforehand, and she left at a moment’s notice as they were getting ready to sell her house. She left almost all of her possessions that she had worked a whole life to obtain behind in the house. All that stuff is now someone else’s property.

She was extremely depressed for a long time due to not being able to find a job. No one would take her in even after months of looking. She finally found someone at the very last minute who would take her in, but she had to drive 1,500 miles to get there.

A lot of other folks are not so lucky. Some of my friends are homeless as we speak and others have been homeless in the past. A friend of mine who had their house foreclosed on recently attempted suicide but failed.

In a socialist society, no one is ever going to throw you out of your house and make you homeless. You’re never going to lose every possession you ever owned because you can’t pay to move it form one place to the next. You’re never not going to be able to find a job, and even if so, the state will give you enough money to get by anyway.

It’s probably the freedom from having these life-shattering worries that explains North Korea’s shockingly low suicide rate.

Housing in the rural areas is excellent, in comparison with most 3rd world rural areas, where housing is terrible. Education is free through the graduate level. Many ordinary party cadres that you meet if you take a real tour of the country are absolutely dedicated to serving the people. How many other political party officials anywhere on Earth have as their dominant ethos, “Serve the people?” Virtually none.

The state just build a very nice Disney-style amusement park in Pyongyang that is cheap enough that any ordinary worker can easily go visit there.

There is actually quite a bit of capitalism creeping in, such the farmer’s markets and swap meet style markets all over the country. You can buy DVD’s from South Korea and the West in an underground market right underneath one of the most official buildings in Pyongyang.

In the north, there is a Gold Rush boom, and the people taking advantage of it are generally capitalist-minded. Small “firms” are springing up to mine the gold. The state knows about them and you have to cut the state in X amount of gold, then you get to keep the rest. There are also a lot of freelancers up there just mining gold on their own.

The crime rate is about zero, and a woman can walk around the streets of Pyongyang at 3 AM without having to worry about a thing.

Day care is free and taken care of by the state. It’s open 24 hours a day. Workers just drop their kids off and go to work. That’s totally cool!

Society is not based on fuck the workers as hard as you can and workers are the enemy and give as much of society’s income to the rich and the corporations, and take as much as you can from the workers, which is the way most of the rest of the world is set up.

On the downside, there is a lot of poverty in the rural areas, the roads are falling apart, even in Pyongyang, medical services have been crippled, the prison camp system is horrific and the brainwashing is nutty.

To tell the truth though, most of problems are due to sanctions. There are “dual use sanctions” in place against North Korea due to the nuclear program. These sanctions were put in place by the US. These sanctions are the same sanctions that utterly ruined the economy of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (remember that)? The economic situation in North Korea is very similar to that of Saddam’s Iraq under sanctions.

They are also locked out of the world banking system and many states either refuse to trade with them or are banned from trading with them under sanctions rules. The US has been embargoing them since 1945, 66 years. Juche sprang up for a reason, you know.

North Korea’s economy was as good or better than the South’s until 1980. Since then, they have been falling behind.

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Iran Versus Israel: Who’s Threatening to Nuke Whom?

Iran has never, ever, ever threatened to nuke Israel, nor have they ever, ever threatened to wipe Israel off the map. These are just the fevered dreams, delusions and hallucinations of the Jews and their Islamophobic and Zionist Gentile supporters. It’s all nonsense.

Iran isn’t suicidal. Even if they got a bomb, and of course I support Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon 100%, they would never use it in a first strike against Israel. The notions about a “suicidal Shia regime” are from the panting breaths of super-Jews like Bernard Lewis.

No Arab nation has ever threatened to nuke Israel, nor have they ever threatened to kill all the Israelis. The worst they have advocated is an invasion and conquest of Israel, followed by making the Jews leave. That was Saddam’s position and that is the position of some hardline Palestinians. It’s not even the position of Iran! Even Ahmadinejad says he wants to get rid of the Zionist regime in Israel followed by a single state for everyone in Israel/Palestine. Not one Jew has to leave.

Even Al Qaeda doesn’t advocate killing all the Jews in Israel. Sure, they want to conquer the place, and after that, they say that all the Jews have to take off. But that’s not the same as extermination. This “they are going to do a Holocaust 2 on us” is all coming from the paranoia of the Jews and their Gentile Zionist supporters. There’s no basis for it in reality.

But as we can see in this video, there is one party that is threatening to nuke another party. Israel is threatening to nuke Iran! Sure, they say they will use “tactical nukes,” but they are threatening to use nukes nonetheless. The only nation in the region threatening to nuke another country is Israel.

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“We Are All Jews Now,” or the Reasons for the Iraq War

Gay State Girl wrote:

I don’t know why they identify the Iraq war as an exclusively Jewish war. There certainly were Jewish policy makers pulling the strings behind the war, but Jewish politicians, reporters, and entertainers were also among the first outspoken critics of the Iraq war.

Less than 1/4 of American Jews believed it was a good idea. It has effectively been tarred as a Jewish war, and those who believe that are not open to debate. In a way, white gentiles are lucky that Jews dominated the West in its last hour: The blame will ultimately go to those in power.

Neoliberalism, Globalization, secularization, neocolonialism, Radicalism and perversion of traditional values could have all been achieved with white gentiles in power and many rich white gentiles seem eager to jump on the bandwagon or at least cash in on it.

Jewish support for the war on the day of the war was around 58%, but it dropped below 50% shortly after. Nevertheless, the powerful Jews in the US, the money Jews and hardline US Zionism was in back of the war 100%+. For instance the major US Jewish organizations supported the war at the time and probably do to this day.

I read Israeli and Jewish papers in the run-up to the war, and 100% of them supported the war. A good source for hardline Zionism is Debka.com. It’s more or less run by the Mossad or former Mossad agents. I can’t even put into words the intensity with which Debka was pushing for that war. Debka is pretty much the voice of hardline national security Zionism in Israel.

I was on Usenet in Jewish and Israeli Usenet groups, and there was not a single Jewish person who was not pushing the war. And at the time, I was trying to sell a book written by a top official in Saddam’s regime that said there were no weapons of mass destruction. A lot of people were interested in the book. Two of the agents I talked to were violently, I mean violently opposed to the book. Both were Jewish.

Radical Zionists in both the US and Israel were some of the major people pushing the war. The sausage factory cooking up fake evidence was run out of Ariel Sharon’s office. After the US invaded Iraq, Sharon said, “Good, now invade Syria, Libya, Iran and a few other countries.” Israeli military officers and intelligence officers were deeply involved with the neocon group in the Executive Branch that was cooking up the war. All of the major US Jewish organizations were behind the war. The big money Jews were all behind the war.

Jews were some of the loudest and most belligerent voices promoting the war. Thomas Friedman wrote that the war was cooked up in Washington and Tel Aviv by 25 people, most of them Jewish.

That said, the US Right was totally behind the war for a very long time, since the last war really (and this was the principal reason for the war). That radical Zionism was also for the war was more a marriage of convenience than anything else. The US Right has now been taken over by neocons, and most of the US Right are White Gentiles. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, etc. were all pushing this war for a very long time, and Bush did not attack Iraq for Israel! He ain’t that stupid. He did it for his own reasons.

Bush and the leaders of the US Republican Party and rightwing were discussing plans to attack Iraq before Bush even took office. As soon as Bush took office, many people in his administration argued for attacking Iraq. It was something Bush always wanted to do anyway. Saying that the dirty Jews talked the dumb goy Bush into attacking Iraq for the Jews is stupid. These guys are not that dumb. He was going to do it anyway.

Sure, helping Israel was part of the prize, but it wasn’t the main reason. The US does not march off into major wars in the Middle East solely to benefit Israel. I am not sure if we have ever done so. However, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush are all deeply tied in with far rightwing Zionism, such as JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. It’s full of retired and sitting US military. It has been a longstanding policy of Zionism to tie the US and Israeli militaries together at the hip like Siamese twins, and that is what has been done.

A former Marine officer told me about the Israelis, “We (US national security) got totally infiltrated by (the Israelis) back in the early 1980′s, and they’ve been there ever since. By now, it’s impossible to get rid of them.” Many US national security concerns have been signed over to the Israelis, and Israeli spies, double agents and dual citizens are running amok all over our national security complex.

Support for radical Zionism is now an essential part of US military doctrine, and overwhelmingly, US Gentiles in the security state, the legislative branch and the Executive Branch are now on board with it. So it’s not a bunch of Jews pulling the strings.

It’s more, “We are all Jews now,” Jewmerica, Judeomerica, the Jewnited States of America, USreal, Israel as the 51st state, etc.

This is why I used “USreal” and “Jewmerica” to describe the two countries which are essentially tied together as a single nation at the moment. Jews are only 2% of the US population. They couldn’t have tied the two countries together without a Hell of a lot of Gentile help.

The oil people were initially against the war, but Cheney et al convinced the oil people that the war was a done deal and told them to get on board. They laid out maps of Iraqi oil fields before the war and divided them up. Nevertheless, oil was not the major reason for the war.

The major reason for the war was US politics. It wasn’t a war for Israel or a war for the Jews or any of that crap. Those were decorations on the cake, not part of the main ingredients.

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“Obama’s Anti-China Stratagems – Drumbeats Of War,” by Peter Tobin

An excellent piece by Peter Tobin, who is a Marxist, on how US imperialism appears to be threatening China and trying to encircle that country. Indeed, US imperialists are very afraid of China. The motto of the ultra-impieralist neoconservative crowd around George Bush seemed to be “Get China!” Richard Perle, Super-Jew, Cold Warrior and one of the most vicious US imperialists of all, was quoted as saying that if China continued on its present trends of economic and military development, war with the Chinese was probably inevitable within 20 years.

This same crowd, which included Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and other punks, also listed Western Europe as a “US enemy” and suggested various projects to screw the Europeans, who were economic competitors.

I have always said that capitalist nations, by their very nature, have no allies, none. They can’t have any, as they out to screw over every other country on Earth. I don’t want to screw over all the other countries. I want to grow together with them. Solidarity over imperialism and realpolitik and Great Games. That’s one reason I’m a socialist.

Lenin was correct. Capitalism leads to imperialism and imperialism leads directly to war. Around World War 1, only the socialists were sounding the alarm, saying that the war was really just a mad capitalist grab for land and resources. They were right; that’s exactly what WW1 was.

Similarly, WW2 was another mad rush for land and resources on the part of the Axis Powers, who were eating sour grapes because they felt they had been locked out of the colonialism game, which the West had fenced off by colonizing most of the world. The Axis said, reasonably enough, “We want colonies too!”

Of course colonialism was always a capitalist and imperialist project. For all the blather about “White man’s burden,” ultimately colonialism was and still is (in its modern form of neocolonialism) all about the loot.

In the conflict below of the US Empire versus China, my heart lies with the Chinese people.

Obama’s Anti-China Stratagems – Drumbeats Of War

US economic and military muscle-flexing in the Pacific and specifically its unilateral intervention into the complex maritime issues among the countries contiguous to the South China seas has led the Chinese to warn about ‘outside forces’ getting involved in disputes that it argues should be settled bilaterally.

What is at stake is a region that carries one-third of the world’s seaborne trade and over half of its oil and gas transport and where there are known to be massive petroleum resources waiting to be exploited.

America is also attempting to tie China to increased free trade arrangements through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). It has signed bilateral free trade deals with eight Pacific Rim countries to the exclusion of the ‘economically unreformed’ China. There has also been increased pressure in the long-running dispute regarding an undervalued Chinese Yuan which the US alleges costs American jobs by using ‘unfair currency practices’ to undervalue and effectively dump Chinese goods on western markets.

But the most ominous development has been the increased focus on military presence to counter China’s growing naval power. E.g. the Chinese Navy has recently commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Varyag, a clear challenge to the hitherto US domination of the Pacific. Hu Jintao has further announced a increase in naval strike capacity as a ‘preparation for war.’

In this regard, an important first for the Pentagon war-planners was the agreement to deploy 2,500 Marines plus naval ships and aircraft to a base in Darwin, Australia commencing next year.

America, before it dominated the world by ‘land, sea and air’ was a maritime empire in the Pacific, emerging in the last decades of the 19th Century. The blue-water strategy was driven to a great extent by the perceived need to penetrate the untapped Chinese market, known as the ‘Open Door’ policy. The phrase that encapsulated America’s global ambition was ‘Manifest Destiny’, i.e. the belief that Americans were God’s people whom he had chosen to shape the world. Starting with Asia, the precept was: “Westward the course of Empire takes its sway.”*

Significantly this continued expansion across the Pacific was underpinned and legitimized by the new theory of geopolitics which asserted that national powers do not act for moral reasons, although they may claim to, but for strategic ones. Securing unfettered access to resources, controlling markets and military domination are what drive empires and any stratagem that secures long-term hegemony in these areas is justified. It furthermore theorized that future empires would be resource-driven and therefore would have to be continental powers before all else.

The American empire for all its attitudinizing about ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’ and ‘democracy’ has in fact followed the logic of the theory’s principal advocates, Admirals Mahan and Mackinder, with regard to ‘realpolitik’ – the realization that securing national advantage required the ruthless application of power necessary to build and sustain an empire.

All of these elements can be traced in recent US activity in the region and this activity is meant to remind any potential usurpers that, whatever the rate of relative economic and political decline, the US is still the number one world power and retains overwhelming military superiority over all others. Note that the USA constitutes only 3% of the world’s population but is responsible for over half of its military expenditure.

“Violence Is As American As Cherry Pie.” (H. Rap Brown)

That fact that the US empire is able to refocus, diplomatically, economically and military, on the rising threat of China while, among other things, fighting a major war in Afghanistan, threatening war against Iran, fomenting civil war in Syria, bankrolling the military machine of the Israeli settler state and initiating this year by Presidential decree a military presence in sub-Saharan Africa, demonstrates the flexibility and strength of the Empire and its continuing global military dominance.

The Empire has also intensified is its warmongering ethos. America is a society saturated in cultural, personal and institutional violence, racism, anti-communism and militarism. As its economic power declines, it is therefore conditioned to resort to even use of force to maintain domination. As the Black Panther leader, H. Rap Brown, (above) pointed out: violence and its glorification are in America’s historical DNA.

Its latest interventions in the Pacific and South China Seas therefore have all the classic ingredients for later imperial war by provocatively laying yet more bricks in the wall around China. They also march in step with the present diplomatic initiative made by US Secretary of State Clinton who made a recent visit to Myanmar to try to woo that nation from its long-standing Chinese alliance.

In their turn these projects march in step with the rest of the joined-up strategy in SE Asia which, while having other economic and political objectives, has the geopolitical strategy of encircling and hobbling China.

Thus its involvement in Afghanistan is as much about extirpating a Islamist threat as part of its ongoing ‘War On Terror’ as it is to securing access to the petroleum resources of the many ‘Stans’ in Central Asia and to having a standing army or militarized client state in the region as a counterweight to the now well-established continental power across the border.

Similarly, its post 9/11 embrace of Gyenandra and subsequent funding of the expansion of the King’s army by over 20,000 personnel and provisioning of huge amounts of arms and military equipment to that army was as much about defeating the communist revolution in Nepal as it was about getting another footing on the same border.

The relationship between US and Nepalese militaries continues to  strengthen to this day as joint strategy meetings at command level take place in the US embassy and joint visits are common. In fact the NA High Command in August attended a US Navy-convened maritime conflict scenario conference in sunny California! What is a land-locked country doing being represented there?

The Nepalese Maoists tried, after Powell’s visit in 2002, to point this out to the Chinese in an attempt to forge common cause, at least among equally threatened parties, if not actual comrades. The Chinese noted their points.

The new strategic alliance with India show the multifaceted interests of US imperialism in action.

Among these are 1) the increasing penetration of neoliberal global capitalism into the Indian market and society beginning with the Memos of Understanding (MOUs) initiated by Bush in 2006, 2) granting India a pass card in relation to its nuclear power obligations, 3) the insertion of American and Israeli military advisers into counterinsurgency where they assisted with the planning and execution of the genocidal Operation Green Hunt which has claimed the lives of many Adivasis and communists (the most recent being Comrade Kishenji), and 4) being granted a potential anti-China launching platform.

The establishment of this new alliance was facilitated by the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) American oligarchs sharing a strong class bond with the Hindutva Brahminical Indian oligarchs.

Anti-China from Communism to Capitalism

The hostility to People’s Republic dates to its communist origins in 1949. American reactionaries had armed and supported the Chaing Kai-shek-led Bonapartist, feudal, comprador Koumintang (KMT) against the communists, and their overwhelming defeat by the PLA was seen as a ‘betrayal’ by ruling circles in America. It directly contributed to the anti-communist hysteria and show trials of the McCarthy period.

It also led to America fighting a proxy war against China when the CIA funded and armed Tibetan Yellow-Hat Gelugpa separatists in their 1959 uprising, a failed attempt to restore their pre-1950 medieval theocratic slave society. India had facilitated this by allowing the Lamists, under CIA guidance, to establish a base in Khalimpong which even Nehru referred to as “a nest of spies.”

It further saw the attempt by the CIA to establish a Khampa base in Nepal’s Mustang region for the purposes of cross-border raids. This was destroyed by the RNA in 1974.

The ripples of this policy are still clearly evident in the financial, diplomatic and political support given to the Gyatso clique in the figurehead of the Dalai Lama. The same network also funds their monasteries in Nepal and the network’s presence is evident in the number of monks you see loafing around in Kathmandu talking on expensive cell-phones.

America still uses Tibetan ‘Human Rights’ as a club to beat Nepal with as evident from the threat last week to withdraw specific funding if the Nepalese government would not guarantee safe passage for renegade Tibetan/Chinese using Nepal as a transit station and for agitprop activities.

Aside from these specific policies during the 1950s, there was also a massive propaganda campaign in the West to paint Chinese communism as the ultimate ‘totalitarian’, ‘ant-hill’ society and threat to human ‘freedom’. This went hand-in-hand with the cosying up to the more ‘moderate’ communism of the USSR in the era of ‘Détente’.

This sustained vitriolic brainwashing provided the ideology that the American ruling class utilized in the wars it launched against Korea, Vietnam, Kampuchea and Laos beginning in the early fifties. Its earlier drive to empire saw it slowly choke, provoke and finally sweep aside the indigenous westernizing Japanese empire, but post-1945 it was beaten decisively in three and stalemated in one of these later unprovoked aggressions.

All these protean efforts were galvanized by the aim of establishing itself as the major continental power in SE Asia, following Mahan and Mackinder’s advice.

The emergence of China as a state-capitalist concern, following the termination in the mid 1970s of the period of communist construction, was wholeheartedly embraced by the US dominated west, as it provided cheap goods to sate its obsessive consumerist society. Later, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was yet another proof that capitalism was triumphant everywhere and that history was effectively at an end.

The hostility has resurfaced as established Western capitalism has become mired in a decade-long financial crisis, caused essentially by substituting metaphysics for materialist criteria in the law of value, in short: speculation instead of production.

China’s new type of state-planned capitalism, where land and the finance sector are state-controlled and where the state-directed economy is production oriented has proved more resilient. It is an historical irony that erstwhile communists have proved to be the more efficient capitalists.

What is happening is that within the era of the capitalist mode of production, the torch is being taken from a declining power and passed on to a rising power. Thus it has reawakened American hostility to China. Hence we have Emperor Obama, lecturing the Chinese prior to the recent East Asia Summit about its need to be a ‘grown up’ economy and for it to stop ‘gaming the system’ (i.e. getting the better of the Americans).

America has had designs on China for well over a century; during that period it has variously tried to contain, defeat, subvert, and control China, all of which have come to total failure. China is getting stronger in every sphere despite America’s efforts, and that is what makes war more likely at some point in the coming decades.

Encircle America

The US state is presently the most dangerous threat to world peace and progress. It is a state built on genocide and slavery and which through creating a post-1945 military/industrial economy has become increasingly dependent on war economically, technologically and strategically as a solution to all problems. Consider that while it is engaged in massive reductions in state expenditure along with all the other developed capitalist nations in crisis, it is increasing military expenditure.

This is a sure sign that it foresees an increasing need for force to maintain its hegemony. So America’s very conditions of existence make it gung-ho, trigger-happy and create a culture of impunity. The absence of a socialist bloc further encourages the tendency to act unilaterally and murderously.

It shows that contradictions within differing types of expanding capitalist societies are becoming increasingly antagonistic in the global jostle for power and resources.

It is why Lenin stressed that great power rivalry under imperialist capitalism inevitably leads to hostilities and that therefore imperialism is war – continual war – and why Mao added:

In order to end (imperialist) war we must make (People’s) war.

American imperialism remains, even intensifies, as the principal contradiction facing the world proletariat. The US is the heart and head of international reaction. Domestically its progressive and proletarian forces are outnumbered and beleaguered, but as the recent upsurge in class struggle around the Wall Street occupations has shown, they are not negligible or without fighting spirit.

The further these domestic contradictions intensify, the weaker will become the cohesion required to withstand the external revolutionary threat. That is why struggles everywhere are symbiotically fused and why this century will be the battleground where reaction and revolution will contend.

At the moment, the fact remains that the US with its vast and expanding military-industrial complex remains the arsenal of fascism and as such is a threat both to human progress and survival. It is this ‘Evil Empire’ that must itself be encircled and smashed by world revolution. As Rosa Luxemburg wrote the choice for humanity is stark:

Socialism or barbarism.

*The obverse of the ideology of American ‘exceptionalism’ in this instance led to the specific racist view of Chinese as the “Yellow Peril’, a paranoia created by the influx of cheap ‘coolie’ labour brought in from the mid-19th century to work the goldfields and build the railways, particularly the transcontinental track.

They died in their thousands, unmourned and despised by the nation they were serving. As soon as they were no longer useful, the US government adopted a series of controls over further Chinese immigration beginning with the 1875 Page Act, moving on to the 1885 Chinese Exclusion Act, etc. and culminating in the 1922 Cable Act, which declared that Chinese were not racially acceptable as American citizens. The term ‘Yellow Peril’ was a precursor to the later ‘Red Menace,’ which similarly saw ‘Asian hordes’ swarming the barricades of western ‘civilization’.

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“Balance of Military Forces in Nepal – in Relation to PLA Integration into the NA,” by Peter Tobin

Here is another article from Peter Tobin, this time on the situation in Nepal. As of now, the PLA has been integrated into the Nepalese Army, so the article is moot, as it was written over the summer before this happened. Nevertheless, it gives you a good view of what is happening on the ground in Nepal. As I mentioned before, Peter is real Communist, and his articles at the least give you a chance to see things from a Communist point of view.

The groups that I read on the Net are all screaming that the integration of the PLA into the Nepalese Army was a “betrayal.” I am not sure it was, and I generally support integration of rebel armies into the main national army as part of a peace agreement.

Balance of Military Forces in Nepal – in Relation to PLA Integration into the NA
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Before reporting on arguments around the integration into NA, (as per terms of 2005 CPA) of approximately 20,000 PLA cadre, it is necessary to understand the overwhelming logistical and numerical apparent superiority of the military available to the reactionary parties through the state apparatus.

The Nepalese Army has 95,000 active personal. It has been well-armed by India, US, UK, Russia and Israel. Its officer caste is trained in India, the US and the UK, and its high command is profoundly anti-Maobaadi (viz the 2008 coup against the Prachanda-led coalition).

Last year the PM of Nepal – the unelected UML, GS, and Delhi’s placeman after Prachanda - threatened to unleash the forces at his disposal against any “Maoist attempt to seize state power” during the May manifestations. There is no doubt that the NA general staff would have complied.

It receives $1.7 billion from US though the EMET program which is jointly funded by Defense/State Departments, and funneled through the euphemistically titled: EIPC (Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities).

Further military networking and synching occurs through OCD (Office for Defense Co-operation) convened under CINCPAC (US Commander-in Chief – Pacific).

The OCD office is in the American Embassy - I have tried to take a picture of this Reich Protector’s bunker – it is architecturally the projection of ugly American power, and I wanted to attach it to my comments, but was taken in by Nepalese embassy police – jointly controlled by the Americans, and questioned for an hour, photos copied and then deleted, mobile phone numbers taken and personal details and photo taken.

I was told it was against the law, but was shown no proof, was read no rights, and was not offered legal representation. (I tried to tell them of my construction background, and how, aesthetically, I was interested in grotesque, fascist-brutalist architecture, but to little effect).

Initially, this growing post 9/11 relationship with the US compromised Nepal’s ‘traditional’ neo-colonial subservience to India, but as each share an equal detestation and fear of Maoism, and so, along with the Nepalese quislings form a unholy triumvirate, in opposition, by fair means or foul, to Maoist advance.

Add to the NA figures another 40,000 heavily armed paramilitaries - ‘Armed Police Force’ and potentially, the reactionary static classes have access to approximately 150,000 active military/para-military personal – equipped with new and well-tried weaponry – a huge superiority of man-, and fire-power, over about 20,000 PLA fighters.

It is almost certain that there is a contingency plan in Washington and Delhi, should all means and stratagems fail, of imposing a Chilean-style solution in the event of Maoists taking state power through a People’s revolt.

Right now Kathmandu has the formal appearance of a city under a military dictatorship; it is an armed camp, soldiers or paras, bristling with guns, are either on every street corner, patrolling, or charging about in personnel carriers. Every government, or significant, building is guarded and fortified.

There are dozens of military barracks – large and small – scattered throughout Kathmandu – like chocolate chips in a cookie, and holding thousands of soldiers and police.

After obviously noting the traditional Lee Enfield, Sterling, and AK 47s, I can now spot Heckler-Kochs, Galils, and Insas; Katmandu must be one of the most heavily military infested cities in the world, with troops, paras, primed, preened, and ubiquitous.

Many among NA ranks have combat experience, not just against the PLA from 1996 to 2005, but as UN ‘peacekeepers’ and US mercenaries in Iraq and Somalia. Sending a further contingent to NATO-occupied Afghanistan is now being given strong government consideration. The High Command is in favor, as it develops their policy of building a flat up Washington’s ass.

All these forces fall under the remit of the NDC (National Defense Counsel), which the principal members are the PM, the Home Minister and the CoS. Its recommendations go to the President – who has replaced the King – since 2008 as the ultimate Commander.

(That’s ‘democracy’ folks – replacing the rule of one man and his advisers by another man and his. It was, in fact, a functional and symbolic a change of class power, the feudal succumbing to the Bhradralok dressed up in the forms of democracy, and the latter, for the second time since 1990, both riding on, and betraying, the Peoples’ revolutions of 1990 and 2006).

All this looks bleak  on paper - so needs to be heavily qualified: The NA is not completely homogenous, demographically Nepal is a young country, youth unemployment is high, in the cities and countryside; the army is therefore an attractive magnet.

They held a recruitment rally in one of gardens in Tudikhel Park near city-center, and thousands turned up last Friday.

Many of recruits are, like their peer group, naive, friendly, and curious. (I get asked the same question by bored sentries, as I do everywhere: ‘kun desh aaunuhuncha? kina Nepalma basnuhuncha? – “Where from? Why Nepal?” etc. Always in the polite form.)

It reflects the diversity of communities and ethnic groups in Nepal, and the question of whether it would follow a bloodthirsty, anti-Maoist, officer caste through whatever gates of hell they might choose to open up, is moot; tragically, dozens were shot by the RNA and AP, during both Andolans, but it could have been much higher.

One of the reasons CoS, Thapa, ran to the King after 19 days of popular, determined agitation to tell him the war was lost, was said to be significant rank-and-file revulsion at what killings had occurred and definite reluctance to be active butchers in further killings of their own people.

In the short-term they might well participate in a ‘crackdown’ or, indeed, a coup. But whether they are capable of the sustained murderous sadism that all ranks showed following Kissinger’s 1972 coup in the CIA trained Chilean army is doubtful.

Uncertainty regarding the unswerving loyalty of the NA’s lower ranks is one reason its officer caste, through the high command, have prevaricated over integrating committed PLA cadre into its ranks. The fear of ‘Bolshevik’ contagion spreading among the NA rank-and-file is great.

It is worth noting that UPCN(M) Politburo member CP Gajurel was quoted as saying to the effect that the paramilitary Armed Police Force was a greater threat than the NA.

But the biggest reason not to over-awed by the raw statistics is this was the same military machine that, despite complying with the axiom of warfare that requires those attacking a fortified, or entrenched position to possess, no less than a 3 to 1 majority over a defender, could not defeat, or even out-maneuver, the PLA, for the best of a decade. Despite $20 billion US aid, swelling its ranks from 50,000 to 70,000, in the few years following 2002, it signally failed to defeat or roll-back the Mobaadi.

To the contrary, it was pushed out of more and more of the countryside and into its city strongholds, where the Maoists now faced the attacker’s dilemma. A few attempts, around 2002, to break into Katmandu had been costly and easily repulsed – to send the PLA in frontally, or even to try insert them into urban areas, would have been military suicide.

This stalemate led the Maoists to adapt the PPW and move from an armed phase to a political one, by making a tactical alliance with reactionary parties against the, by now, common monarchical enemy, in order first to overthrow feudalism, and second, equally important, to gain access to the urban masses and bring them into the revolution.

The balance of forces is exactly the same today as it was in 2006, except that the PLA – still in brigade structure and still with access to weapons – is relocated in cantonments as per the CPA, and it underlines the importance of the PLA to the Party and the People.It is
why the UCPN(M) has consistently refused the demands of the political/military reactionaries; to dilute, dismantle or disarm this crucial armed section of the proletariat.

It should also be noted that the bare figures of declared PLA combatants are far less than the numbers of committed, experienced warriors. The PLA is the beating heart of a strong cardiovascular system. The people were, and remain, the blood that flows through its ventricles.

PLA/NA Integration – No Middle Way
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The apparent decision by the Dahal/Bhatterai axis to change party policy on integration and a new constitution by going in step and agreeing in ‘modalities’ to integration first, has further alarmed the axis around Baidya/Gajurel.

The ‘Dual Step’ policy has always been a practical proposition, that, as in the last analysis - political power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and that if the PLA disarmed before a new constitution was agreed to, the Bhadralok/quislings classes, then with absolute monopoly of violence through the state’s repressive apparatus, would force through governmental arrangements to continue the Katmandu centralized ancien regime, with superficial concessions to ‘democratic’ forms and furbelows.

There was also concern that decisions were being made by party leaders contrary to party policy and outside party structures. This was apparent over ending the ‘dual security’ arrangements for the UCPN(M) leadership, where 200 PLA cadre gave them round-the-clock protection. The security personnel guarding the Baidya group are still refusing to hand over their weapons.

It was reported that this was part of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ – a 5 point plan, to extend the CA for 3 months and conclude the peace process simultaneously with a new statute, was reached party leaders of CPN-UML, NC and UCPN(M) on May 28th.

The Baidya group claimed this was a further violation of party norms and should have been put before the Central Committee, and many of PLA combatants were reported to have been shocked by the precipitate nature of the decision and rued the “humiliation” of being dispatched, with their weapons, back to their cantonments.

The press photo of the first batch to go on May 6 (Katmandu Post) taken at Dahal’s residence, shows a solemn farewell, with Dahal looking impassive in the centre of what best can be described as a stone-faced group.

The five-point deal has widened the fissure within the Party, the standing-down of the security unit is its latest crack. The Baidya/Gajurel have specifically rejected the DDR proposals, cited above, and fear that the Dahal/Bhatterai leadership are making too many compromises, that amount to a ‘surrender’ of the PLA’s moral and military integrity, to be sacrificed on the altar of ‘reformism’ and ‘parliamentary cretinism.’

Therefore, the NA suggestion that 10,000, approximately, PLA combatants be subsumed in a new unit, which they would form 50%, the other shared between NA, APC and Nepal Police. This would be under NA officer command. There are further suggestions that it could be unarmed, either as a forest guard, or assigned to the currently fashionable, and expanding, area of ‘disaster management.’

Regarding the latter; there was huge meeting of top military and civil officers of the “Nepal-US Military Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Table Top Exercise” (Phew!), where top brass from the NA and US Marines plus some politicos and the usual NGO stooges, were present. But, ‘Marines’ – ‘humanitarian’ – even Pentagon PR (oxy)morons can’t get traction from such an unlikely combination.)

The 5 PP rejectionists have argued for maintaining the PLA as a single cohesive armed force, suggesting they be assigned as border security, as there is none at present, while Indian maintains an active border force that encroaches into Nepal when it chooses, with impunity and without challenge.

National self-respect and territorial integrity demand no less, and with the PLA: ‘cometh the hour – cometh the man’.

However, the press-labeled soi dissant ‘hardliners’ have said, following the rejection of the above Maoist proposal, that they might consider the NA one, if, and only if, it is under PLA command, Otherwise, the PLA’s identity would be compromised, as this was their sole presence in the armed forces, whereas the others would retain theirs, due to their presence throughout the security apparatus.

Another reason for seeing positive aspects to the NA proposal is that the NA have abandoned the completely unacceptable proposal for individual integration under NA aegis and now recognize the PLA is a force and can be integrated as such (albeit they might have just moved from dissolving it completely and will try to disarm it completely.)

As Party secretary Gajurel has acknowledged, it is a “positive development,” especially set against the UML quisling hoodlum faction around Oli and the Nepal NC and NA officer caste, who have always claimed it was a private army, therefore, could not be integrated.

But there is a strong feeling that if Dahal agrees to NA command of an integrated PLA force, whatever its shape, it will not ensure a stable peace.

PLA Position
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This concern is shared in PLA ranks. At a meeting between the commanders and Party leaders, they stated their united opposition to surrendering their weaponry, presently in containers located in the seven cantonments, and demanded the weapons be put back in the ‘process of integration.’ They further insisted on adhering to Party policy on unit/brigade integration and not on individual selection. They also raised the question of a ceiling on PLA cadre promotion and the related command structure of the proposed unit.

On the numbers of 10,000 PLA combatants, there is broad consensus – the exception being the opportunist Madhesi MJF-L, which calls for only 6,000 to be in the process - with the remaining 9,600 getting rehabilitation packages, funded by the peace-loving, conflict-resolving USA and the EU.

Political points were made to the effect that, as the active division commander of 5th Rolpa said, “They fought for the revolution, not for the sake of the leaders.”

They further expressed concern at vacillations in the party line, and wanted to know if they were for peace and constitution or for people’s revolt, which had been put on hold.

But in fact there is a division in the ranks, with most of the commanders close to the Dahal camp, while the majority of lower rung commanders and rank and file are close to the Baidya faction.

So when the latter said that Dahal was preparing to sacrifice the PLA to continue the ‘march through the corridors’; there was a strong rebuttal from the PLA’s deputy commander Sharma, who stressed that the Dahal/Bhatterai faction was equally worried about the PLA’s combatants future. He was reported as saying, “We formed the PLA. I am one of its deputy commanders. So, we love our party’s army more than Kiranji (Baidya)”.

Yet there is still general concern, across the PLA that the leadership have not given convincing counter-arguments against the allegations of the Baidya group. This is focused on the central role played by its charismatic, pressured Chairman.

Dahal’s Position
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Up to the Palungtar plenum late last year, the Party had sanctioned a ‘two-line struggle’ between what first appeared to be a tactical difference regarding whether to seize state power through a third Andolan sooner or later. This hardened into a more fundamental division between continuing the revolution or consolidating its gains, hitherto, through an ‘historic compromise.’ A third position emerged around Dahal which appeared to be a perfectly laudable attempt to finesse a compromise position between the two factions.

It did not prove possible, so when Dahal sided with the Baidya camp at the plenum, calling for preparation for an uprising, Bhatterai put in a dissenting note. Since then the Dahal leadership did little practical preparation to enforce this decision, and has in fact now formally declared it to be ‘impractical, in the present circumstances.’ In the last month it has been buried with Dahal’s decisive move towards the Bhatterai position for peace and as new constitution.

Arriving at a consensus has always been a difficult, but it is an essential feature of the Maoists’ political endeavors in Nepal.

While the bourgeois press and the hireling petit bourgeois ‘commentariat’ for obvious reasons are always screaming about ‘splits’, the Party has never conferred that much importance on them.

Internal arguments, struggles, divisions are intrinsic, and distinctive, among adherents of Mao’s political philosophy; thus the conflict between the Bhatterai-Baidya factions is seen a ‘unity of opposites,’ where each position encapsulates a different visionary approach, and that far from being a potential party-breaker, these are just different routes to a remaining common goal.

The weakness in this argument could be said to Dahal’s position, which is more of being a political fixer than ‘visionary,’ and where he is forced to be ‘all things to all men.’ Facing threatening, unbending, incorrigible static forces, principally embodied by NC and UML (that’s Unified Marxist-Leninists – you have to pinch yourself sometimes, when confronting such blatantly contradictory nomenclature), backed and paid by India and US, he has reacted by palming them off, buying time, and trying to hold an increasingly factious party together.

This had led to charges of ‘opportunism,’ ‘revisionism’ and ‘reformism’ from the so-called ‘hardliners’, there is also suspicion that Dahal is being groomed as a ‘Statesmen’, with reactionaries describing him as an architect of the peace process, along with the late, unlamented, GP Koirala!

It should be noted that the ‘march through the corridors’ has not been completely unproductive, as Maoists have recently ensured that their nominee, Mahara, got the crucial post of Home Secretary, and the cops, reactionary parties, and the lackey media are still screaming about it.

Conclusion (For Now)
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The present aim is to conclude the outstanding differences between the parties in the CA within the 3 month extension, not just in terms of PLA/NA integration, but the constitution – will it be a People’s Federal Democracy, as the UCPN(M) want, or just another western-style parliamentary charade?

These, the positions of the 300,000 strong formidable YCL, the return of property expropriated during the armed phase of PPW, the termination of the process of Maoist combatants being hounded for alleged ‘Human Rights’ violations, are all among 70 or so issues to be resolved.

The Party factions have further agreed to work together to prevent a split, by allowing open discussion and dissent with their ranks and agreeing to convene a party congress – the first for eighteen years - later this year, to hammer out a unified position.

On the bright side, the party, in both the country, the CA and the government, has declared its total unity against allowing an Indian multinational, GMR, to run the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project, declaring it an ‘anti-national move’ and saying the party is ‘prepared to shed blood’ in resisting it if the government sends in the NA to guard the site. It is seen as a continuation of India stealing Nepal’s vital water resources through unequal treaties and economic domination.

The government, for its part, is determined to see GMR run the project and have stated they will put in the NA to protect the site.

Thus there is the possibility of a flashpoint, as the Maoists, and indeed many non-communist patriotic Nepalese, are not prepared to see another repeat of the 1996 scandal of the Mahakali Project (brilliantly documented and exposed by Dr. Bhatterai), where the UML-led government gave way completely to Indian interests, with the hoodlum faction around Oli lining its pockets.

Regarding the present outstanding differences, the position is that Chairman Dahal is preparing a ‘bottom line’ on NA/PLA integration and an acceptable constitution.

Whatever consensual talks UCPN(M) leaders enter into with the reactionary parties; UML, NC etc., these parties are unlikely to change their stance on these issues.

The Baidya group want Dahal to ‘correct’ his mistake of accepting the NA’s proposal of setting up a separate force of the PLA, whereas he counters that he only agreed to the ‘spirit of the suggestion’ and not to the modalities. He has therefore said that should be bulk integration and that Maoists should command its directorate.

The Baidya and Bhatterai factions, indeed the whole Party and PLA, want to maintain this position.

The NC, predictably, has rejected both bulk integration and Maoist command, and has also refused, along with Oli the UML hoodlum dadagiri (boss), to give it a military mandate, as required by the Maoists.

The UCPN(M) is also proposing that the new constitution should be “anti-expansionist and anti-imperialist” and should guarantee the rights of the marginalized, the Dalits and the oppressed Janjatis, and should be a Federal People’s Democracy.

PS. I would like to thank Comrades Guarev and Kanchan, and latterly some of the Lazimpath (Katmandu suburb where I live) comrades for their information and opinions in compiling the above. I have also extracted information from the bourgeois English language press.

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The Survival of North Korea

Here.

Nice and actually sane review of a book called The Survival of North Korea in Foreign Policy in Focus. They are one of the few sane American groups writing about foreign policy. As the review points out, legions of idiots have been predicting the oncoming doom of the North Korean regime for the past 20 years. They’ve all been wrong, over and over. Various US Administrations have also been predicting the looming demise of North Korea. The Bush Administration actually had a policy designed to make the regime collapse.

There is one thing I would like to say.

Yes, there is malnutrition in North Korea. At its worst, it was at the exact same level as India’s malnutrition and starvation is year in and year out. You never heard that in the capitalist press, now did you?

If North Korea’s food problems are evidence of the failure of Communism (despite the fact the Communist nations generally did an excellent job of providing basic caloric intake for their citizens), then why is the capitalist world’s chronic malnutrition and starvation crisis (capitalism starves 14 million humans to death every year, mostly in South Asia) not evidence of the failure of capitalism?

But one thing makes me absolutely sick. And that is that the US, the West and South Korea have been playing politics with food aid to North Korea. At the same time that the West is screaming that North Korea is starving its people (A lie – the regime is not deliberately starving its people – there is just not enough to go around), the West is cruelly withholding food aid to the nation, frankly killing and sickening North Koreans. What bullshit is that?

I would also like to take this opportunity to come out in strong support of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. They should absolutely not dismantle this program, and they need to expand it greatly. They also need to come up with some missiles that have a long enough range to actually hit the mainland US. The problem is that this is the only thing that US imperialist dogs will listen to.

Western imperialists are intent on regime change. In general, regimes have a right to national sovereignty and certainly have a right to resist regime change by Western imperialism. North Korea watched with dismay as one regime after another – Serbia, then even worse Iraq, and most recently Libya, fell to imperialist regime change for the simple reason that they did not have nuclear weapons. The only way to head off Western regime change imperialists is to get yourself some nuclear weapons.

So this is what North Korea has done. That decision was correct, proper and above all moral. A nation has a moral duty to preserve its state from enemy invaders, which is what regime changers are.

Continued cooperation with South Korea will result in many benefits for both nations.

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US Imperialism in Latin America: The Example of Haiti

Tulio is a US Black on the site who has consistently defended US imperialism, particularly in Latin America. Here, he uses they “they do it too” argument to support US imperial meddling in its neo-colonies in the Western Hemisphere.

Latin Americans do plenty of that to each other. They are their own worst enemy. Hell, in 1969, Honduras and El Salvador went to war over a fucking soccer match. Thousands of civilians ended up dying. Here is your homework assignment: Find out why Bolivia is a land-locked country. They weren’t always one.

So, because Latin Americans fight each other from time to time, US imperialism should intervene constantly in Latin America to create a continent of impoverished neo-colonies dependent on their US imperial master? And if you disobey your Yankee patron, we will slaughter you by the thousands.

The US overthrew Aristide under George Bush, put in a Duvalierist regime, which then murdered 3,000 Haitians. US Marines showed up at his door and ordered him to leave the country or they would murder him and his family. The coup regime was then kept in power by a UN army that massacred poor Haitians and helped the Duvalierists slaughter the poor. Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have stated explicitly that Aristide is not coming back.

Aristide incurred the wrath of World Imperialism by daring the raise the minimum wage. In addition, he built more schools in 4 years than had been built in 200 years since 1804. He offered every poor Haitian child a free lunch once a day, but he could not afford to feed everyone. And he rejected the World Bank and IMF terms for Haiti.

For these crimes (probably mostly for raising the minimum wage), the US, Canada and France overthrew Aristide, slaughtering many Haitians in the process. Afterwards, 3,000 poor Haitians were brutally murdered by the Duvalierists while the US, Canada and France looked on and cheered.

It is curious why a supposedly non-imperialist country like Canada got involved, but they have a lot of factories in Haiti.

The US also has many factories in Haiti. Aristide was overthrown by the US at the behest of US corporations who owned factories there.

The role of France is complicated. Let us say that France has hated Haiti ever since they threw out the French colonialists in 1804 and slaughtered some 25,000 Frenchmen in the process. France has never forgiven them and has demanded that Haiti pay back France for the loss of its stolen colonial property. Why France overthrew Aristide is not known, but I believe he said he was not going to make payments to France anymore.

I am very curious to see how Tulio feels about US imperial meddling in Haiti, which resulted in the US colonization of Haiti for decades followed by decades of US support for the Duvalierists who destroyed the country, stole all the money for themselves and their elite pals, and murdered 150,000+ Haitians with their Tonton Macoute militias, not to mention the overthrow of a proud nationalistic Black man by three rich White Western countries, which resulted in the mass murder of 3,000 Haitians.

Jean Bertrande Aristide was the first pro-people President in the history of Haiti. For the crime of helping his people, Western imperialism overthrew him at gunpoint and then oversaw the mass murder of 3,000 Aristide supporters.

This Haiti vignette is US policy in Latin America in a nutshell. This is what it is, everywhere on the continent. This is how it’s been off and on since 1850, with a brief respite with the Good Neighbor Policy under Roosevelt.

The US imperialist war on the Haitian people has continued under Barack Obama, a Black President.

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US Foreign Policy in a Nutshell

Smedly Butler, US general, War Is a Racket:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914.

I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916.

I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Everything Butler wrote is correct. Not only that, but the US is still doing this. The Cold War is over, and we haven’t changed 1%. That’s because the Cold War was never really about fighting the USSR. It was about the interests of the US corporations.

Butler sums up US imperialism (US foreign policy is simply US imperialism and vice versa) in a nutshell. And that’s US foreign policy as it was, as it is, and as it will be into the forseeable future. US foreign policy has the support of the entire US political class, both parties, every US administration, the entire US media and most crucially the US rich and US big business, who frankly run this country as a sort of a dictatorship.

It’s a dictatorship because there is no opposition. There’s no opposition press. There’s no opposition party. There are never any US administrations that oppose the essentials of US corporate capitalism and its corollary, US imperialism.*

US imperialism simply means that the US is constantly intervening all over the globe in the interests of the US rich and US corporations. As the middle classes, working classes and poor are attacked by the moneyed classes who control the US, so the US military is used by the US moneyed class as their private army. When you join the US military, you are joining the rich man’s army.

The US military is the army of the rich and the army of the corporations. The purpose of the US military is to go around the world attacking the middle and working classes and poor who are going up against the US rich and businesses their elite allies. That’s what those ~170 or so bases are there for.

If you’re not from the moneyed classes, why in God’s name have you joined the Army of the Rich, the army of your class enemies? Why are willing to go off and fight, get hurt and die for your rich enemies? What’s wrong with you?

*FDR was probably the most progressive President that the US has ever had. The Good Neighbor Policy, initiated in 1934, was the only time in US history that the US has had an anti-imperialist attitude towards Latin America. In addition to the Great Anti-Fascist War (WW2) that he waged and his progressive policies at home, FDR goes down in history as the greatest progressive US President of the 20th Century.

Bill Clinton did a few anti-imperialist things here and there. He restored Leftist Aristide to power in Haiti via US Marines. He proposed several frank humanitarian interventions in which US imperialism had no interests whatsoever (whenever anyone says “US interests” they mean the interests of US imperialism).

He apologized to Guatemalans for overthrowing the pro-people government in 1954, which led to 35 years of rightwing governments that slaughtered 200,000 Guatemalans in cold blood, with the total support of both US political parties and administrations of both parties.

By contrast to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama is simply a US imperialist dog of the worst order. And Hilary Clinton, once in office as Secretary of State, has turned into a nasty, monstrous rightwing witch, a murderous agent of imperialism. Hilary Clinton was much better as Bill’s wife when he was in office. Since 2008, she’s turned into a reactionary monstrosity.

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