Empire and Globalization - Carl Boggs
The Logic of U.S. Intervention - Michael Parenti

excerpted from the book

Masters of War

Militarism and Blowback in the Era of American Empire

edited by Carl Boggs

Routledge, 2003, paper

Introduction: Empire and Globalization
by Carl Boggs

Few Americans today would entertain the notion of a U.S. Empire or the idea that their nation stands for anything but peaceful, democratic, humanitarian ends.

... [US] history is one of conquest and dominion, of territorial aggrandizement and imposition of social order through outright coercion-genocidal war against Indian tribes, theft of land from Mexico and Spain, invasion of Russia after World War I, followed by a succession of military interventions in Korea, Indochina, Central America, Iraq, and more recently the Balkans. Today the ethos of militarism-of conquest, domination, violence, and Empire-permeates the American economy, political institutions, and culture. It could hardly be otherwise given the country's position as sole remaining superpower, as unchallenged world hegemon. At the moment the U.S. has unparalleled military domination over the world's land masses, sea lanes, and air spaces, with great aspirations toward colonization of outer space, revealing (in Chalmers Johnson's words) "an imperial project that the Cold War obscured." Consuming nearly 350 billion dollars annually (as of 2002), or roughly 22 times the combined total of the seven most purportedly menacing states, the sprawling Pentagon imperium deploys more than 350 major bases around the world, crucial to monitoring and protecting the New World Order. As in the past, American global power today requires ongoing military research and development, preparedness, and intervention, suggesting that it was Theodore Roosevelt and not Woodrow Wilson who may have best capsulized the thrust of U.S. foreign policy. Speaking in 1897, just seven years after the Wounded Knee massacre of Sioux men, women, and children and only a year before the U.S. would go to war with Spain as the first step toward Empire, TR commented: "In strict confidence . . . I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one." For Roosevelt, as for most subsequent American leaders, war never amounted to the opposite of peace but was rather viewed as a redemptive, purifying, ennobling form of human activity, just another extension of modernity and progress.

As the U.S. continues to celebrate the virtues of international order, human rights, and democracy - never missing an opportunity to lecture nations like China for their human rights abuses - its ruling elites have become increasingly reckless and violent, brazenly violating every global norm they pretend to uphold. Internationally, the U.S. has become an outlaw country, the Rogue State of all rogue states intent on transforming the supposedly abstract process of globalization into the building blocks of Empire and military domination-so far with considerable success. In spring 1999, the U.S., working beneath the umbrella of NATO, bombed Yugoslavia for 79 consecutive days, destroying factories, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, water-treatment plants, electrical and communications systems, and transportation networks, largely wiping out the Serb civilian infrastructure-a clear act of military aggression violating every canon of international law, the United Nations Charter, even the NATO Charter itself. Bombs were dropped on densely populated urban areas. Anti-personnel bombs were used on civilian targets, along with radium-tipped missiles. NATO Commander General Wesley Clark boasted that the aim of the air war was to "demolish, destroy, devastate, degrade, and ultimately eliminate the essential infrastructure of Yugoslavia. As Takis Fotopoulos has persuasively argued, the NATO destruction of Serbia can best be understood as the first war systematically waged in defense of the global market system, a "war" involving few if any casualties for the perpetrators. Along much the same lines, Michael Parenti writes: "The motive behind the intervention was not NATO s newfound humanitarianism but a desire to put Yugoslavia-along with every other country-under the suzerainty of free market globalization."

The Gulf War [1991] represented more than anything a celebration of pure militaristic ideology along with the worship of high-tech weaponry shown on CNN and other TV outlets, the representation of a "perfect war."

When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. can readily lay claim to the status of world champion.

... there is no public reflection today upon the horrific criminal venture that was the Indochina war ...

The U.S. generally behaved without moral restraint in Vietnam, dumping seven million tons of bombs on the country, destroying rural and urban regions with equal abandon, leaving an unparalleled legacy of death and destruction in an impoverished Third World country.

... economic globalization [is a] process driven by corporate domination with its headquarters in the powerful host nations of North America, Europe, and Japan along with the international agencies they control. Today the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few elites is unprecedented, as are its terrible consequences.

... the U.S. presides over a reconstituted Empire, made possible by its controlling presence in world production and finance, its vast military power, its leading role in the spread of information technology, and its capacity to disseminate the neoliberal "American model" with its emphasis on privatization, deregulation, technology, and consumerism. Using that awesome leverage, the U.S. reasserts its dominion over weaker (i.e., virtually all) nations, over international structures, and of course over nature as it pursues its mania for growth and profits.

The familiar enemies of the past (fascists, Communists) have been replaced by a new set of demons: rogue states like Libya, Iraq, and North Korea, terrorists, local tyrants, drug traffickers, and the like. Imperial stratagems within the New World Order take many forms, including control over international bodies (United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization), covert actions, global surveillance methods, direct military intervention, political machinations, and deadly economic sanctions of the sort used against Iraq.

... American policymakers, setting themselves up as guardians of the world system, are more inclined than ever to simply disregard international laws and conventions if they get in the way of unrivaled military supremacy. Every instance of U.S. armed intervention during the 1980s and 1990s represents a flagrant violation of regional treaties and laws, not to mention the UN Charter itself, which explicitly prohibits military attacks against sovereign nations (for example, Grenada, Nicaragua, Haiti, Panama, Serbia, and even Iraq after it signaled its strong preference for a negotiated settlement of the Kuwaiti crisis). In any event, the U.S. has consistently shown its contempt for international bodies, agreements, and procedures that might conflict with its hegemonic aspirations.

As the first president of the new global era, Clinton visited more than 70 countries, set up the WTO, boosted the international budget, maintained high levels of Pentagon spending, militarized the drug wars in South America, continued the military and economic assault on Iraq, laid the groundwork for "humanitarian" interventions, bombed the Sudan and Afghanistan, and carried out protracted aerial raids on Serbia.

During the Clinton years, moreover, the U.S. balked at paying its UN dues, rejected a ban on land mines, dragged its feet on nuclear reductions, and kept alive the Reagan-Bush Star Wars fantasy. Enthused by prospects for total surveillance of the world, Clinton raised intelligence spending levels to more than 30 billion dollars, with increasing emphasis on the supersecret National Security Agency. The planned, systematic, and brutal destruction of the Serb infrastructure must be considered one of the great war crimes of the postwar years.

Secretary of State Colin Powell

"The U.S. has a special role in the world and should not adhere to every international agreement and convention that someone thinks to propose."

Already during the second Bush's brief tenure in office, the U.S. has turned its back on the crucial Kyoto accords on global warming, endorsed Clinton's rejection of the land mine treaty, refused to go along with the universal ban on chemical and biological weapons (under pressure from the big chemical firms), and, most fearsome, has abrogated the 1972 ABM arms control agreements in order to resume nuclear testing. Equally menacing is the U.S. threat to overthrow the landmark 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibiting the militarization of space. There are proposals afoot to terminate environmental restrictions on military operations within the country. Bush's doctrine of "preemptive warfare," allowing the U.S. to attack any country, any time it desires, is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter. Under guise of the war on terrorism the U.S. has empowered itself to drop bombs or send missiles against any target its surveillance manages to identify for destruction. This strident, reckless, lawless unilateralism is designed precisely to give the U.S. military a | freer hand in policing the world.

Michael Klare

... whereas international conflict was until recently governed by political and ideological considerations, the wars of the future will largely be fought over the possession and control of vital economic goods-especially resources needed for the functioning of modern industrial societies.

The struggle to achieve and maintain global domination is destined to bring, in response, a perpetual spiral of authoritarianism, decay, violence, insurgency-and indeed terrorism.

Since the late 1940s the Pentagon has consumed a staggering twelve trillion dollars in resources-without doubt mostly wasteful or destructive consumption-and continues to spend roughly $300 billion yearly (a figure that will reach more than $500 billion within the next several years) to maintain empire. Nuclear weapons have consumed at least one trillion dollars of that total. Government officials and politicians like to speak of military reductions and troop demobilizations but these are simply code words for strategic "modernization": fewer bases, armed personnel, and weapons deployed but much greater reliance on high-tech weaponry (sophisticated planes, ships, bombs, missiles, communications networks, etc.), minimizing the need for large standing armies and navies. The new arms systems have far greater efficiency and firepower. In reality it is the Pentagon itself, often over strenuous objections from Congress, that generally begs to shut down obsolete facilities. Meanwhile, the American social infrastructure deteriorates as the Pentagon's sphere of control widens. Today we find an inverse relationship between growth of the U.S. empire and various measures of domestic well-being. What Petras and Morley wrote several years ago remains even more valid today: "The growth of international financial networks and the resurgence of U.S. global, political, and military power has been accompanied by rising economic and personal insecurity for the vast majority of America's urban dwellers: more real estate speculation, drug money laundering, deindustrialization, crime, prison spending, less social services, housing, well-paid manufacturing jobs. The ideology of 'national security' used to justify global empire is one side of the coin; deteriorating cities and worsening life circumstances inside the empire is the other."

While the permanent war economy reproduces material decay, inequality, and disruption within home boundaries of the superpower, an expanded national-security state (expanded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks) lends yet another definition to blowback: a drastic narrowing of the public sphere that has distorted the very meaning of citizen participation and democratic decision making. The steady decline of American politics over the past few decades (lower voter turnout, weakening sense of efficacy, less civic involvement, meaninglessness of electoral campaigns, spread of anti-political attitudes) can be attributed to the impact of corporate colonization throughout public life, but the growing influence of military power as well as intelligence and law-enforcement resources domestically enters into this matrix.' In the U.S., as elsewhere, the security state thrives on secrecy, a huge intelligence network, techniques of surveillance and control, and centralized bureaucratic power that overrides popular inputs, especially in the realm of foreign and military policy. With vast resources committed to Empire and warmaking, elites naturally want to sidestep open debates that might undermine national "unity" and "security." Thus decisions to intervene militarily are rarely preceded or accompanied by genuine political discussion of the complex questions involved. The Gulf War, for example, was made popular by an immense propaganda barrage unleashed by the Pentagon, the media, and government, creating an ideological milieu in which 45 percent of the population said it would be prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iraq. Military actions were, transformed into a grotesque national spectacle, a great celebration of war-making ...

Blowback also finds its way into the growing culture of militarism that seems to have established deep roots in the national psyche, nourishing a certain sacralization of violence, guns, and war. It is hardly coincidental that the U.S. ranks as the most violent of all industrialized countries, averaging 22,000 murders yearly, with gang warfare in major cities, paramilitary militias enlisting hundreds of thousands of citizens, terrorist bombings on a regular basis, serial killings that have few parallels in other societies, and a burgeoning prison population now well past two million. The connections involving Empire, militarism, media culture, and civic violence (including regular glorification of that violence) have become more visible over time. As Richard Rhodes argues, militarism inevitably transforms the personalities of those who experience it: in making people into killers-and in sacralizing killing-the military generates callousness toward violence, traversing ethical restraints that otherwise might discourage people from violent aggression. In fact the U.S. military itself regularly violates moral standards as part of its international conduct, to the extent that atrocities nowadays draw little interest from the media or political establishment. Such violations are made easier by the advent of high-tech warfare that depersonalizes aggressive attacks and shields perpetrators from their gruesome consequences. The popular media is saturated with images of violence, many of them grotesque and pointless, many of them linked to fetishism of the military.

The role of the mass media in reproducing a culture of militarism cannot be stressed too much. We have seen how U.S. interventions in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans were presented to the American public as TV spectacles glorifying the achievements of high-tech weaponry and communications-spectacles crucial to mobilizing popular support behind military action and, by extension, the defense of empire (though this word is studiously avoided). The Hollywood war machine has been preoccupied with making films that depict something akin to a "good war," furnishing positive images of (U.S.) military operations that, not surprisingly, draw largely on the World War II experience where the supposedly unmediated struggle between good and evil can be mined for patriotic inspiration today.

... the Bush elites appear more openly and arrogantly dedicated to the aims of U.S. economic, political, and military domination of the world than any previous U.S. administration. A blueprint for renewed Pax Americana was outlined by such Bush acolytes as Rumsfeld, Cheney, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz already in September 2000, under the heading "American Grand Strategy," for the right-wing think-tank New American Century. The plan involves a "core mission" to fight and win multiple wars around the world, through augmented Pentagon spending and modernization along with militarization of space. Describing U.S. military forces as "the cavalry on the new American frontier," the blueprint calls for the invasion of Iraq as one step toward securing full control over Middle East oil reserves.


... a cornerstone of U.S. military policy has been and continues to be nuclear weaponry. It is this most horrifying technology of mass annihilation that the U.S. has used in the past and has considered unleashing on numerous other occasions. The U.S. is still opposed to the abolition of nuclear weaponry, refining and "modernizing" its huge arsenal even while it pretends to oppose "proliferation." Rather than rejecting nuclear weapons as totally barbaric and unthinkable, the Bush administration has fully dismissed antiballistic missile and other arms control treaties so that it can develop even more lethal nukes. The U.S. emphasis on Star Wars reflects yet another tendency in the direction of nuclear strategy. In 2001 the Pentagon authored a Nuclear Posture Review document calling for a more flexible, space-based approach to nuclear warfare, stressing the importance of renewed weapons testing and outlining "contingencies" that might require nuclear attacks on such countries as Russia, China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Given this barbaric imperial posture on the part of American elites-not to mention the new global milieu produced by 9/11 and the war on terrorism-it is easy to understand how the sole superpower has emerged as an out-of-control Empire. U.S. imperial domination is to be unfettered by any international treaties, laws, or conventions, uncompromised by messy UN deliberations or provisions. Of course this is a recipe for the most systemic, overt, reckless global domination by any nation in history.


The Logic of U.S. Intervention
by Michael Parenti

The United States presides over an armed planetary force of a magnitude never before seen in human history. It includes about a half-million troops stationed at over 395 major bases and hundreds of minor installations in thirty-five foreign countries; more than 8,000 strategic nuclear weapons and 22,000 tactical ones; a naval strike force greater in total tonnage and firepower than all the other navies of the world combined, consisting of missile cruisers, nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, and destroyers that sail every ocean and make port at every continent. With only five percent of the earth's population, the United States expends more military funds than all the other major powers combined.

U.S. bomber squadrons and long-range missiles can reach any target, delivering enough explosive force to destroy the infrastructures of entire countries-as demonstrated against Iraq in 1990-91 and Yugoslavia in 1999. U.S. rapid deployment forces have a firepower in conventional weaponry vastly superior to that of any other nation. U.S. satellites and spy planes conduct surveillance over the entire planet. And today the United States is developing a capacity to conduct war from outer space.

Worldwide U.S. arms sales to cooperative capitalist nations rose to $36.9 billion in 2000, up from $34 billion in 1999. In addition to sales, since World War II, the U.S. government has given some $240 billion in military aid to train, equip, and subsidize some 2.3 million troops and internal security forces in more than eighty countries, the purpose being not to defend these nations from outside invasion but to protect ruling oligarchs and multinational corporate investors from the dangers of domestic anti-capitalist insurgency.

How can we determine that? By observing that (a) with few exceptions there is no evidence suggesting that these various regimes have ever been threatened by attack from neighboring countries; (b) just about all these "friendly" regimes have supported economic systems that are subserviently integrated into a global system of transnational corporate domination, open to foreign penetration on terms that are singularly favorable to transnational investors; (c) there is a great deal of evidence showing that U.S.-supported military and security forces and death squads in these various countries have been repeatedly used to destroy popular reformist movements and insurgencies that advocate some kind of egalitarian redistributive politics within their own countries.

The "Left," as I would define it, encompasses those individuals, organizations, and governments that advocate egalitarian redistributive policies benefiting the common people and infringing upon the privileged interests of the wealthy propertied classes.

Rightist governments and groups including fascist ones, are dedicated to using the land, labor, markets, and natural resources of countries as so much fodder for the enrichment of the owning and investing classes. In almost every country, including the U.S., rightist groups, parties, or governments pursue tax and spending programs, wage and investment practices, methods of police and military control, and deregulation and privatization policies that primarily benefit those who receive the bulk of their income from investments and property, at the expense of those who live off wages, salaries, fees, and pensions. That is what defines and distinguishes the Right from the Left.

While claiming to be motivated by a dedication to human rights and democracy, U.S. Ieaders have supported some of the most notorious right-wing autocracies in history, governments that have tortured, killed, or otherwise maltreated large numbers of their citizens because of their dissenting political views, as in Turkey, Zaire, Chad, Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, the Philippines, Cuba (under Batista), Nicaragua (under Somoza), Iran (under the Shah), and Portugal (under Salazar). Assistance is also given to counterrevolutionary groups in leftist revolutionary countries. These groups have perpetrated some of the most brutal bloodletting against civilian populations, as have Unita in Angola, Renamo in Mozambique, the Contras in Nicaragua, the Khmer Rouge (during the 1980s) in Cambodia, the counterinsurgency ethnic slaughter in Rwanda, the mujahideen and then the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the right-wing Albanian separatist KLA in Kosovo.

U.S. support of right-wing conservatism has extended to the furthest reaches of the political spectrum. After World War II, U.S. Ieaders and their Western capitalist allies did little to eradicate fascism from Europe, except for putting some of the top Nazi leaders on trial at Nuremberg. In a short time, former Nazis and their collaborators were back in the saddle in Germany. Hundreds of Nazi war criminals found a haven in the United States, either living in comfortable anonymity or employed by U.S. intelligence agencies during the Cold War.

In France, too, very few Vichy collaborators were purged. As Herbert Lottman writes, "No one of any rank was seriously punished for his or her role in the roundup and deportation of Jews to Nazi camps." U.S. military authorities also restored fascist collaborators to power in various Far East nations. In South Korea, for instance, police trained by the fascist Japanese occupation forces were used immediately after the war to suppress left democratic forces. The South Korean Army was commanded by officers who had served in the Imperial Japanese Army, some of whom had been guilty of horrid war crimes in the Philippines and China.

In Italy, within a year after the war, almost all Italian fascists were released from prison while hundreds of Communists and other leftist partisans who had been valiantly fighting the Nazi occupation were jailed. Allied authorities initiated most of these measures. From 1945 to 1975, U.S. government agencies gave an estimated $75 million to right-wing organizations in Italy, including some with close ties to the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI). From 1969 to 1974, high-ranking elements in Italian military and civilian intelligence agencies, along with various secret and highly placed neofascist groups, embarked upon a campaign of terror and sabotage known as the "strategy of tension," involving a series of kidnappings, assassinations, and bombing massacres (i stragi), including an explosion that killed eighty-five people and injured some two hundred in the Bologna train station in August 1980. Fueled by international security agencies including the CIA, terrorism was directed against the growing popularity of the democratic parliamentary Left. The objective was to "combat by any means necessary the electoral gains of the Italian Communist Party" and create enough terror to destabilize the multiparty social democracy and replace it with an authoritarian "presidential republic," or in any case "a stronger and more stable executive." Implicated in this terrorist campaign, the CIA refused to cooperate with an Italian parliamentary commission investigating i stragi in 1995.

In the 1980s scores of people were murdered in Germany, Belgium, and elsewhere in Western Europe by extreme rightists in the service of state security agencies. As with the earlier strategy of tension in Italy, these attacks attempted to create enough popular fear and uncertainty to undermine the existing social democracies. The U.S. corporate-owned media largely ignored these acts of right-wing terrorism in Western Europe while giving prominent play to tiny and far less effective left terrorist grouplets found in Italy and West Germany.

In Italy, as long as the Communist party had imposing strength in parliament and the labor unions, U.S. policymakers worked with centrist alternatives such as the Christian Democrats and the anticommunist Italian Socialist Party. With Communism in decline by the 1990s, U.S. Ieaders began to lend more open encouragement to extreme rightist forces. In 1994 and again in 2001, national elections were won by the National Alliance, a coalition of neofascists, ultraconservatives, and northern separatists headed by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi. The Alliance played on resentments over unemployment, taxes, and immigration. It attempted to convince people that government was the enemy-especially its social service sector. At the same time it worked to strengthen the repressive capacities of the state and divide the working class against itself by instigating antagonisms between the resident population and immigrants, all the while preaching the virtues of the free market and pursuing tax and spending measures that redistributed income upward. U.S. Ieaders have had not a harsh word to say about the Italian neofascists.

U.S. leaders profess a dedication to democracy. Yet over the past five decades, democratically elected reformist governments-guilty of introducing redistributive economic programs-in Guatemala, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Syria, Indonesia (under Sukarno), Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti, the Congo, and numerous other nations- were overthrown by their respective military forces funded and advised by the U.S.

... for over the last half century or more, U.S. Ieaders have been the greatest purveyors of violence and terrorism throughout the world.

Exceptions that Prove the Rule

U.S. Ieaders have striven with much success to repress (1) the emergence of competing forms of production (socialist, collectivist, communitarian); and (2) competing capital formations (prosperous autonomous capitalist economies, or mixed ones, in emerging nations, and with FTAA and GATS, all public sector services except police and military in all capitalist countries). The goal is the Third Worldization of the entire world, including Europe and North America, a world in which capital rules supreme with no public sector services; no labor unions to speak of; no prosperous, literate, effectively organized working class with rising expectations; no pension funds or environmental, consumer, and occupational protections, or medical plans, or any of the other insufferable things that cut into profit rates.

While described as "anti-West" and "anti-American," just about all leftist governments-from Cuba to Vietnam to the late Soviet Union-have made friendly overtures and shown a willingness to establish normal diplomatic and economic relations with the United States. Only in a few rare cases have U.S. Ieaders treated leftist governments or forces in a friendly fashion: Yugoslavia during the Cold War, the Khmer Rouge (if it could be considered leftist) against a socialist government in Cambodia during the 1 980s, China today as it allows business investments and labor exploitation within its "enterprise zones." In such instances U.S. support has been dictated by temporary expediencies or the promise, as in the case of China, that the country is moving toward incorporation into the global capitalist system.

In the post-World War II era, U.S. policymakers sent assistance to Third World nations and put forth a Marshall plan, grudgingly accepting reforms that produced marginal benefits to the working classes of Western Europe and elsewhere. They did this because of Cold War competition with the Soviet Union and the strong showing of Communist parties in Western Europe. With no competing lure today, Third World peoples (and working populations everywhere) are given little consideration in the ongoing campaigns to roll back benefits and wages.

After the Counter-Revolution

One can judge the intentions of policymakers by the policies they pursue in countries that have been successfully drawn into the Western orbit. For decades we were told by U.S. Ieaders, media commentators, and academic policy experts that the Cold War was a contest between freedom and an expansionist Communism, with nothing said about the expansionist interests of global capitalism. But immediately after Communism was overthrown in the USSR and Eastern Europe, U.S. Ieaders began intimating that there was something more on their agenda than just free elections in the former "captive nations"-namely free markets. (By "free markets," of course, we are referring to the investment processes related to global neoliberal corporate domination, which are neither free nor a market.) Getting rid of Communism clearly meant getting rid of public ownership of the means of production. Of what use was political democracy, they seemed to be saying, if it allowed retention of an economy that was socialistic or even social democratic? So the kind of polity seemed to weigh less than the kind of economy.

The newly installed private market governments in Eastern Europe, under strong direction of Western policymakers, eliminated price controls and subsidies for food, housing, transportation, clothing, and utilities. They reduced medical benefits and support for public education. They abolished job guarantees, public employment programs, and workplace benefits. They forbade workplace political activities by labor unions. They have been selling off publicly owned lands, factories, and news media at bargain prices to rich corporate investors. Numerous other industries have been simply shut down. The fundamental laws were changed from a public to private ownership system. There was a massive transfer of public capital into the coffers of private owners. Throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, "reforms" brought severe economic recession and high unemployment; a sharp increase in crime, homelessness, beggary, suicide, drug addiction, and prostitution; a dramatic drop in educational and literacy standards; serious deterioration in health care and all other public services; and skyrocketing infant mortality with plummeting life expectancy rates. i4

Another of many examples is Grenada. In 1983, U.S. forces invaded the tiny and relatively defenseless sovereign nation of Grenada (population 110,000) in blatant violation of international law. The invasion could not be denied, but what of the intent? The Reagan administration justified the assault by claiming (a) it was a rescue operation on behalf of American students whose safety was being threatened at the St. George medical school; (b) the island harbored a large contingent of Cuban troops and "deadly armaments"; (c) the New Jewel revolutionary government had allowed the island to become a Soviet-Cuban training camp "to export terror and undermine democracy," and was planning to build a Soviet submarine base and a Soviet military air base; (d) Cuba and the USSR could use Grenada to control crucial "choke points" along oil tanker lanes that came to the U.S. When it was determined that these various charges were without foundation, some critics concluded that White House policy toward Grenada had been unduly alarmist and misguided. But the fact that officials offer confusing and misleading rationales is no reason to conclude ipso facto that they are themselves confused or misled. It may be that they have other motives which they prefer not to enunciate.

In actuality U.S. global free-market policy was quite rational and successful with regard to Grenada. Under the New Jewel revolutionary government, free milk and other foodstuffs were being distributed to the needy, as were materials for home improvement. Grade school and secondary education were free for everyone for the first time. Free health clinics were opened in the countryside, thanks mostly to assistance rendered by Cuban doctors. Measures were taken in support of equal pay and legal status for women. The government leased unused land to establish farm cooperatives and turn agriculture away from cash-crop exports and toward self-sufficient food production. We can conclude something about the motivation underlying the U.S. invasion by noting how the U.S. counterrevolutionary occupation put an immediate end to almost all these government-sponsored programs. In the years that followed, unemployment in Grenada reached new heights and poverty new depths. Domestic cooperatives were suppressed or starved out. Farm families were displaced to make way for golf courses as the corporate-controlled tourist industry boomed. Grenada was once more firmly bound to the privatized freemarket world, once again safely Third Worldized.

The same process occurred after the U.S. invaded Panama in December 1989, supposedly to bring Manuel Noriega, described as a drug-dealing dictator, to justice. With Noriega and his leftist military deposed and the U.S. military firmly in control, conditions in that country deteriorated sharply. Unemployment, already high because of the U.S. embargo, climbed to 35 percent as drastic layoffs were imposed on the public sector. Pension rights and other work benefits were abolished. Public sector subsidies were eliminated and services were privatized. Publicly owned media were shut down by U.S. occupation authorities, while a number of Panamanian editors and reporters critical of the invasion were jailed. The U.S. military arrested labor union leaders and removed some 150 local labor leaders from their elected positions within their unions. Crime, poverty, drug trafficking, and homelessness increased dramatically. Free-market Third Worldization was firmly reinstated in Panama.

President Dwight Eisenhower [1953] uttered a forbidden truth in his State of the Union message:

"A serious and explicit purpose of our foreign policy [is] the encouragement of a hospitable climate for [private] investment in foreign nations."

October 1970 cable to CIA operatives in Chile from Kissinger's "Track Two" group states,

"It is firm and continuing policy that [the democratically elected government of] Allende be overthrown by a coup.... We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [United States Government] and American hands be well hidden."

... U.S. politico-corporate elites have long struggled to make the world safe for the system of transnational corporate capital accumulation; to attain control of the markets, lands, natural resources, and cheap labor of all countries; and to prevent the emergence of revolutionary socialist, populist, or even military nationalist regimes that challenge this arrangement by seeking to build alternative or competing economic systems. To achieve this, a global military machine is essential. The goal is to create a world populated by client states and compliant populations completely open to transnational corporate penetration, on terms that are completely favorable to the penetrators. It is not too much to conclude that such an activist and violent global policy is produced not by dumb coincidence but by conscious design.

Masters of War

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