- Capitalism and Alternatives -

As an American, and a Socialist

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on December 15, 1999 at 13:22:52:

In Reply to: The World Today, and the USA owns it posted by worldlyman on December 15, 1999 at 00:10:21:

Well, y'all know my feeling on this. As an American, and a Socialist, I'm now going to jump in with a line of argument taht is certain to piss off the rightists (which I don't mind) and the leftists (which I do mind.) But so it goes....

: Now that the Soviet Union is gone, there is no other super power to
: keep US control on the world in check. The US is literally quite free to drop bombs, invade other countries and still engage in CIA subversion whenever it damn well pleases without having to worry about strong military retaliation from another nation.

I agree America is more powerful than it used to be. But I deny that America's only opponent during teh Cold War was the Soviets, and I deny that there is no opposition to the US today. To assume that during teh cold war everyone lined up behidn the Americans or the Soviets ignores the whole lesson of Non-Alignment. The world was full of countries which refused to be pigeonholed, and which steered an independent course from either Mscow or Washington. Some were benevolent (India, Seden, Burkina Faso, Yugoslavia). Others were malevolent (Cambodia, Iran, The Dominicanm Republic, Uganda). But they were all IDNEPENDENT.

Incidentally, did you know which country has the most consistently anti-American voting record at the UN? It's not China, Russia or Libya. India, the world's largest democracy, has voted against the US in 84% of all UN votes, not counting abstentions. Just as india was idnependent back then, she will be idnependent in teh future. In fact, India stood up for principle and NON-ALIGNMENT during many of the years when China, the Soviet Union and America wete content to give each other three-way blowjobs. (Cambodia? Nixon in China? Stalin on the colonial question? Etcetera).

: Long before there was ever a Soviet Union, the US has waged violence
: around the world, from Cuba to the Philippines, from Nicaragua to
: Mexican territory, from Hawaii to Haiti..........on behalf of entrenched elite interests and territorial expansion (or "Manifest Destiny" i.e. "God Told Us to Conquer the World" sort of thing)

Indubitably. Anyone who's spent time on this BBS can tell you that my political litmus test is Nicaragua. I will not support any leader who condemned the Sandinistas and defended the El Salvadoran government. The US role in Central America, for teh most part, has been atrocious and many of our actions have been pure evil. Reagan will burn in hell for the 250,000 Guatemalans, 30,000 Nicaraguans, and 70,000 Salvadorans dead as a direct result of his policies.

On the OTHER hand.....

The US HAS done good things, although unfortunately they're far too infrequent. Jimmy Carter was a great man who exterted a vastly positive influence for good in the world. As a demonstration that things tend to deteriorate with time, he was succeeded by the devil Ronald Reagan. A short list:

1) The US stood up for Egyptian freedom and for Nasser's right to nationalize Suez. America in fact threatened war against Israel, France and England if they invaded Egypt.
2) The US did donate food aid and development advisors, although not enough, to the West African countries, and helped out countries liek Mali and Ethiopia during the '80s famines.
3) The US did intervene, although late and half-heartedly, to overthrow the right-wing villains Trujillo and Diem.
4) Carter placed sanctions on South Africa and colonialist Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
5) Carter also forced the El Salvador junta to nationalize banks and redistribute land. he later called El Salvador 'the most bloodthirsty government in the Americas', an honest statement taht in my book is enough to recommend him to the presidency.
6)The US was one of the few countries to condemn the Chinese invasion of Tibet in '51.
7) The US prevented Kim Il Sung from taking over SOuth Korea, which did not want him as its ruler. We showed restraint, refusing to take over North Korea, merely ensuring taht South Koreans were not subjected to an invasion that they did NOT want. YEs, I know, South Kroea was a tyranny. But at least South Koreans are tyrannized and well-fed, while North Koreans are tyrannized and starving.

: Post WW II, though the Soviet Union was a colossal wreck (13 million
: people and 7 million soldiers dead, thousands of factories demolished, etc.), the US masters claimed that a large Pentagon establishment was always needed to protect us from "Soviet expansionism" (though the Soviet military NEVER possessed first-rate power projection forces like the USA).

: Look at the old Soviet record of worldwide violence. It PALES in
: comparison to the US catalog in both number AND scope.

Now here, sir, is where I must differ. I will happily condemn the actions of right-wing American governments in Central America and other places. I will even accept that at times America was as bad as the Soviet Union, and that the post-Stalin Soviet Union, in its attitude towards democracy in other countries, had as much of a mized record as did the US. But I will not accept that the US was any WORSE than the Soviet Union.

Yes, I know that American client states included the Dominican Republic, South Korea, South Viet Nam, Guatemala, Uruguay, Chile, El Salvador, and other sordid terror states, including possibly the most repressive countries in the world. But the Soviets, too had their nasty clients. How about Ethiopia, where the government apparently gave up any pretence of socialist democracy, and blatantly stood for rule by an elite- while starving its people and throwing people in jail for life for trivial offenses? Apparently, in Socialist Ethiopia, if the government shot you your family had to pay for the bullet.

How about North Korea? How about Equatorial Guinea, where the population fell by a third under the rule of Francisco Macias Nguema, a Russian client? Or Guinea, or Romania, or Afghanistan, or Czechoslovakia (in 1968) or Hungary (in 1956)?

The Chinese, of course, were even worse. Every Chinese influenced state turned into a bloody disaster- North Korea, Cambodia, Albania....

:Analyze what
: the US planners (State Dept.) wanted in 1948 in the Policy Planning
: Study #23.............basic US domination of the world's resources (where a "disparity" had to "be maintained"). This document was top secret for 20 years and speaks volumes of the US establishment mindset that go beyond the "freedom and democracy" rhetoric.

Oh, yes, but
1) America had some courageous politicains who didn't buy into thsi, who believbed in teh right things (notably Jimmy Carter).
2) do you think that teh Soviets were markedly better? Sure, SOMETIMES the Soviets were idealistic, just as the Americans were SOMETIMES.
Evil men sometimes rose to teh top in both systems.

: We analyze that the Pentagon establishment was and is a funnel in
: which to make the rich even richer through public welfare. For those
: who decry Leftists as "anti-patriotic", then how do we (or an economic
: "libertarian") justify the Pentagon procurement officers paying $7,477
: for ONE motor assembly pin worth TWO CENTS, a fax machine for
: $600,000 apiece, a fifty cent light bulb for $50 and $1,200 for a pair of pliers worth $12? (Keep in mind that Pentagon officers move on to nice corporate careers after a fine tenure in government).

I agree.

: How do we justify a US military force structure designed to fight two
: major world wars at once despite the fact there is no more "hostile" Soviet Union?

: We always hear our leaders speak of "our interests" or "US interests" around the world. Can YOU define what they are?

: Analyze how Castro's imperfect Cuba is still far more humanizing than
: the previous capitalist Batista era of bloodshed and the US puppet capitalist states of today like Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador........yet all the US policy makers cry tears over "human rights" in Cuba but not in Colombia.

: In US-supported Colombia, there are death squads and US-supplied
: helicopter gunships terrorizing and slaughtering peasants in the countryside. (Colombia is not something we hear about in the news a lot except when "Marxist rebels" wipe out government outposts or when a "drug lord" is captured.)

Well, I agree that the Colombian government is terrible, unwoirthy of American aid, and the right wing detah squads are pathological. But the FARC / ELN are no angels either. Kidnappings, and all that; I knwo they generally don't kill their prisoners, but they're something ratehr un-idealistic about kidnapping random Americans who havcen't committed any crimes, isn't there?

: That type of violence does not go on in socialist Cuba yet we know
: which country is most demonized by US opinion makers.

They don't make MY opinion. I KNOW Colombia is worse than Cuba. HEll, arguably in many respects the US is worse than Cuba.

: Cubans may not always like what goes on with Castro, but they are
: fed, educated and provided with health care. In Colombia, El Salvador
: and such places of capitalist heaven, there is mass poverty and hunger
: and thousands of children begging on the streets suffering from
: malnutrition and dysentry. That is what drove and drives people in those places against US-backed authority.

: Not "drug warlords" and not "Soviet puppet strings."

: Newsweek, Bill Clinton, Maddy Albright, TIME, CNN and the rest surely
: will not tell you that the Colombian military IS tied with the drug lords. It's not a surprise that the docile US population buys into the hype that the US supports Colombia to "fight drugs" (in lieu of the Soviet hobgoblin pretext which is no longer serviceable).

: The World Today. And the USA owns it.

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