American Foreign Policy
I will list some of the facts from the history of American foreign policy. I think J.S. Mill once said something about knowing and understanding both sides of an argument first before having an opinion. I strongly believe it is impetuous to have an opinion on such a big topic without knowing the facts first.
1998 – “I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don’t care what the facts are.” – President George Bush, Sr. referring to the killing of Iranian civilian by the U.S.S. Vincennes. The U.S. Navy killed Iranian civilians on an airline. 290 people died that day. The U.S. Navy warship, in Iranian waters, fired two missiles at an airbus on a routine civilian flight.
1979 – 1984 – American subversion and invasion of Grenada. The U.S. invaded Grenada in 1983, a few years after Maurice Bishop and his followers had took power. The US feared another Cuba.
From What Uncle Sam Really Wants by Noam Chomsky:
“No country is exempt from this treatment [i.e. American state terrorism], no matter how unimportant. In fact, it’s the weakest, poorest countries that often arouse the greatest hysteria. Grenada has a hundred thousand people who produce a little nutmeg, and you could hardly find it on a map. But when Grenada began to undergo a mild social revolution, Washington quickly moved to destroy the threat. There’s a reason for that. The weaker and poorer a country is, the more dangerous it is as an example. If a tiny, poor country like Grenada can succeed in bringing about a better life for its people, some other place that has more resources will ask, “why not us?””
1964 – 1974 – The undermining of the Greek democratic processes.
It has been estimated that over 10,000 civilians died. The liberal prime minister, George Papandreou, had been elected in February 1964 with an outright majority. The Royal Court, the Greek military, and US military and CIA stationed in Greece tried to unseat him. The 1967 coup followed by censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totalling some 8,000 in the first month. This was done to prevent a Communist takeover.” Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed including banning miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers and church attendance for the young would be compulsory. At times, torture occurred using with equipment supplied by the US.
1964 – 1973 – American-backed overthrow of the Democratic Government of Chile. Over 5000 people from the subsequent Pinochet terror campaign were killed and at least 1000 people are missing and presumed dead.
Salvador Allende was a popular elected democratic Marxist president who obeyed their Constitution. The American foreign policy attempted to undermine the government over many years in order to build up military hostility. In 1973, the military overthrew the government and Allende died in the process. Thousands of people were executed, tortured or disappeared. Bodies piled up in the streets and floated in the rivers. In the bloody coup of 11th September 1973, Henry Kissinger and the CIA helped General Augusto Pinochet overthrow the democratically elected leftist government. Pinochet regime embarked on a 17-year terror campaign against the Chilean people, which included mass arrests and executions, death squads, torture and disappearances. Many of the victims were fingered as “radicals” by lists provided by the CIA. Santiago’s national stadium was used as a mass execution site. Many of the professional torturers and assassins in the Chilean military were trained at the School of the Americas, in Fort Benning, Georgia. Under Pinochet, Chile also participated in “Operation Condor”, a joint collaboration between the US-backed dictatorships of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil to hunt down and murder exiled opponents of those regimes.
“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” Henry Kissinger, 1970, referring to Chilean voters
Mid-1950s, 1970-71 – American assassination attempts on the elected leader of Costa Rica. President Jose Figueres was the typical “liberal democrat” and yet the U.S. tried to assassinate him twice.
1963 – 1966 – American subversion and tyranny in the Dominican Republic
In 1963, Juan Bosch took office and he called for land reform, low-rent housing, modest nationalisation of business, and foreign investment provided did not excessively exploit the country. He was serious about civil liberties: Communists, or those labelled as such, were not to be persecuted unless they actually violated the law. A number of American officials and congress people expressed their discomfort with Bosch’s plans, as well as his stance of independence from the US Land reform and nationalisation were touchy issues in Washington as it is a little communist. The military marched in and Bosch was removed. Later a revolt broke out which promised to put the exiled Bosch back into power and the US sent 23,000 troops to help crush it.
1945 – 1974 – American Genocide of the Vietnamese
People with an estimated total civilian deaths of 2,500,000 – 3,500,000 people. The U.S. sided with the French, the former colonisers, and with collaborators with the Japanese, against Ho Chi Minh and his followers, who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American. Ho Chi Minh was some kind of “communist” and had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America’s help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. He was ignored as he was “communist”. 20 years later, America withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Vietnam had poisoned lands, the waters and the gene pool for generations.
1955 – 1973 – American Genocide of the Cambodian
People with an estimated total civilian deaths of 1,000,000 – 2,000,000 people. Between 15-40% of the population was killed between 1974-79. After many years of hostility toward the regime, including assassination plots and the Nixon/Kissinger secret “carpet bombings” of 1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Prince Sihanouk in a coup in 1970. This pushed Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge to enter the conflict and later took power. The years of American bombing had caused Cambodia’s traditional economy to vanish. The Khmer Rouge inflicted even greater misery upon Cambodia. During this time, the U.S. supported Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge after their subsequent defeat by the Vietnamese.
1957 – 1973 – American genocide of the Laotian People.
Around half a million civilian deaths occurred. The Laotian left, led by the Pathet Lao, tried to effect social change peacefully, making significant electoral gains and taking part in coalition governments. The CIA and the State Department, through force, bribery and other pressures, engineered coups in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and Pathet Lao had no choice but to use armed force. The CIA created its “Arme Clandestine” totalling 30,000, from every corner of Asia to do battle, while the US Air Force, between 1965 and 1973, rained down more than 2 million tons of bombs on Laos, many of whom were forced to live in caves for years in a desperate attempt to escape the bombs. Eventually the Pathet Lao took control of the country, following on the heels of events in Vietnam.
1965 – 1973 – American tyranny and terrorization of the people of Thailand.
The US used Thailand to help its daily bombings of Vietnam and Laos. It tried to suppress rebels who were fighting for economic reform, an end to police repression and in opposition to the huge US military presence, with its vast airbases, piers, barracks, road building and other major projects, which appeared to be taking the country apart and taking it over. To fight the guerrillas, the US financed, armed, equipped and trained police and military units in counter-insurgency, significantly increasing their numbers; transported government forces by helicopter to combat areas; were present in the field as well, as battalion advisers and sometimes accompanied Thai soldiers on anti-guerrilla sweeps. The Americans instituted considerable propaganda and psychological warfare activities, and encouraged the Thai government to adopt a more forceful response.
1947 – 1970s – American perversion of democracy in Italy
The US forced the Italian government to dismiss its Communist and Socialist cabinet members in order to receive American economic aid. The CIA the covertly funded the Christian Democrat candidates. This perversion of democracy was done in the name of “saving democracy” in Italy. American corporations also contributed many millions of dollars to help keep the left from a share of power.
1965 – American-backed Genocide of the Indonesian People
Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 estimated civilian deaths. A supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points, resulted in the ouster from power of Sukarno and his replacement by a military coup led by General Suharto. A massacre began of Communists, Communist sympathisers, suspected Communists, suspected Communist sympathisers and was called by the New York Times “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history.” The US embassy had compiled lists of “Communist” operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres, as many as 5,000 names, and turned them over to the army, which then killed them. The Americans would then check off the names of those who had been killed or captured. Indonesia’s military and police forces continue to be one of America’s best customers for weapons, training, and torture devices.
1961 – 1964 – American-backed state terrorism and overthrow of democracy in Brazil
President Joao Goulart took an independent stand in foreign policy, resuming relations with socialist countries and opposing sanctions against Cuba. His administration passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinationals could transmit outside the country; a subsidiary of ITT was nationalized and he promoted economic and social reforms. In 1964, he was overthrown in a military coup which had deep, covert American involvement. The official Washington line was that it was unfortunate that democracy has been overthrown in Brazil but Brazil had been saved from communism. Next, the Brazilian Congress was shut down, political opposition was reduced to virtual extinction, habeas corpus for “political crimes” was suspended, criticism of the president was forbidden by law, labour unions were taken over by government interveners, mounting protests were met by police and military firing into crowds, peasants’ homes were burned down, disappearances, death squads, a remarkable degree and depravity of torture…the government had a name for its program: the “moral rehabilitation” of Brazil. Brazil broke relations with Cuba and became one of the US’ most reliable allies in Latin America.
1953 – 1964 – American/British overthrow of the democratically-elected President of Guyana
The UK and the US went to great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader, Cheddi Jagan, from occupying his office. Cheddi Jagan was a Third World leader who tried to remain neutral and independent and was elected on three occasions. His policies in office were not revolutionary but he did attempt to build a society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model. In 1964, he was forced out by using general strikes and disinformation to terrorism.
1963 – American/British Assassination of the Leader of Iraq
July 1958: General Abdul Karim Kassem overthrew the monarchy and established a republic. It sparked revolutionary feelings and increased the influence of the Iraqi Communist Party. CIA Director Allen Dulles told Congress that the Iraqi Communists were close to a “complete takeover” and the situation in Iraq was “the most dangerous in the world today.” Kassem tried being a neutralist in the Cold War and pursued rather inconsistent policies toward the Iraqi Communists, never allowing them formal representation in his cabinet, nor even full legality, though they strongly desired both. He tried to uphold power by playing the Communists off against other ideological groups. A secret plan for a joint US-Turkish invasion of the country was drafted by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the 1958 coup. Reports of Soviet intervention in Iraq forced the US to hold back. In 1960, the US began to fund the Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq who were fighting for a measure of autonomy and the CIA undertook an assassination attempt against Kassem, which was unsuccessful. The Iraqi leader became more of a wanted man after helping to create OPEC, which challenged the stranglehold Western oil companies had on the marketing of Arab oil. In 1962 he created a national oil company to exploit the nation’s oil. In February 1963, Kassem told the French daily, Le Monde, that he had received a note from Washington “in terms scarcely veiled, calling upon me to change my attitude, under threat of sanctions against Iraq… All our trouble with the imperialists [the US and the UK] began the day we claimed our legitimate rights to Kuwait.” (Kuwait was a key element in US and UK hegemonic designs over mid-east oil.) A few days after Kassem’s remarks were published, he was overthrown in a coup and summarily executed; thousands of communists were killed. Papers of the British cabinet of 1963, later declassified, disclose that the coup had been backed by the British and the CIA.