The "Relevant" Policy Spectrum

excerpted from the book

Reagan, Trilateralism and the Neoliberals

Containment and intervention in the 1980s

by Holly Sklar

South End Press, 1986



Unlimited containment is, of course, a contradiction in terms. A more accurate label would be unlimited intervention or rollback. Rollbackers say draw the line everywhere and redraw it in Nicaragua, Angola, Eastern Europe and ultimately the Soviet Union itself. Anything less will mean inevitable American surrender in the ongoing Third World War. In the words of the Committee of Santa Fe (May 1980). [The Committee of Santa Fe was comprised of L. Francis Bouchey, Roger W. Fontaine, David C. Jordan, Gordon Sumner and Lewis Tambs, report editor. Under Reagan, Fontaine became a National Security Council advisor for Latin American affairs, Sumner became a special adviser to Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs Thomas Enders and Tambs became ambassador to Colombia. ]

" World War III is almost over. The Soviet Union, operating under the cover of increasing nuclear superiority, is strangling the Western industrialized nations by interdicting their oil and ore supplies and is encircling the People's Republic of China.

Latin America and Southern Asia are the scenes of strife of the third phase of World War 111 [the first two phases were containment and detente]...

America is everywhere in retreat. The impending loss of the petroleum of the Middle East and potential interdiction of the sea routes spanning the Indian Ocean, along with the Soviet satellization of the mineral zone of Southern Africa, foreshadow the Finlandization of Western Europe and the alienation of Japan.

Even the Caribbean, America's maritime crossroad and peuoleum refining center, is becoming a Marxist-Leninist lake. Never before has the Republic been in such jeopardy from its exposed southern flank...

It is time to seize the is time to sound a clarion call for freedom, dignity and national self-interest which will echo the spirit of the American people. Either a Pax Sovietica or a worldwide counter-projection of American power is iri the offing. The hour of decision can no longer be postponed. "

To the rollbackers, detente is just another word for treason-a plot by multinational corporate "one worlders" out to make a buck, whether in rubles, yen or pesos. Arms control is unilateral disarmament. Accommodation is appeasement. To the rollbackers, the Panama Canal Treaties and the Zimbabwe independence settlement were not new leases on a neocolonial future; they were sellouts.

Rollbackers call for a "new nationalism. " U. S. policy should not be moderated to preserve cohesion in the Atlantic Alliance. If the ungrateful Europeans won't go along with Born-Again America, then the U.S. should go-it-alone.

Enduring peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union is unthinkable. The rollbackers lament the Reagan Administration's lost opportunity to "further a process of disintegration within the Soviet empire" during the Polish crisis of 1981-82. Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz explains:

when martial law was declared in Poland...Thanks to the inability of the Poles to pay the interest on their debts to Western banks, there was an opportunity to keep the crisis at a boil by declaring Poland in default. No risk of war was posed by such a policy and yet from the haste with which the United States and even more the West Europeans, shrank from it, one might have thought that they expected the Soviets to launch a nuclear suike if the West refused to roll over the Polish loans.

To the rollbackers the Soviet Union is an evil empire with a master plan for world domination through terrorism, guerrilla warfare and military superiority. U.S. nuclear superiority under Star Wars is seen as necessary and attainable. In the rollbackers' nuclearized crusade to vanquish the Anti-Capitalist, God is on their side.

For many rollbackers, Armageddon is the pre-ordained preface to the Second Coming and its theocracy of Christian believers. Ronald Reagan is the Believer-in-Chief. In 1971, then Governor Reagan remarked:

In the 38th chapter of Ezekiel, it says that the land of Israel will come under attack by the armies of the ungodly nations and it says that Libya will be among them. Do you understand the significance of that? Libya has now gone communist, and that's a sign that the day of Armageddon isn't that far off...Everything is falling into place...Ezekiel tells us that Gog, the nation that will lead all of the other powers of darkness against Israel, will come out of the that Russia has become communist and atheistic, now that Russia has set itself against God. Now it fits the description of Gog perfectly.

In 1983 President Reagan told People magazine: "theologians... have said that never...has there ever been a time in which so many of the prophecies are coming together. There have been times in the past when people thought the end of the world was coming and so forth, but never anything like this." In the fundamentalist prophecies of Armageddon good Christians will be saved from nuclear holocaust and lifted to heaven in the Rapture. Armageddonists don't need to believe Star Wars will provide an impenetrable shield. It just has to help out by buying some time for the Rapture.



When it comes to the Third World, the Ivy League foreign policy Establishment has its geostrategies, epitomized by Henry Kissinger. Rightwingers prefer Egostrategics. It's very simple. If you're not for US you're against US. If you're for US, you're the "moderate autocrat" of a "moderately repressive regime" like Pinochet of Chile, Chun of South Korea, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Zia of Pakistan and Mobutu of Zaire (friendly autocrat alumni include Marcos, Duvalier, the Shah and Somoza.) If you're against US, you're a "totalitarian dictator," like Presidents Ortega of Nicaragua and dos Santos of Angola. If you're for US, you're democratic "freedom fighters," like the contras and the Angolan UNITA force headed by Jonas Savimbi. If you're against US

you're Soviet-Libyan-Cuban-backed Marxist-Leninist "terrorists," like the Salvadoran FMLN, South African ANC and Palestine Liberation Organization.

Egostrategists don't accommodate and they don't apologize. Being American means never having to say you're sorry.

At the 1984 Republican convention Jeane Kirkpatrick railed against the Democrats who "always blame America first." Just as former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young epitomized the congenial Carter style, former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick epitomizes the arrogance and paranoia of Reaganism. A prototypical neoconservative, Kirkpatrick was a partisan of Cold War liberal Hubert Humphrey before becoming a co-founder of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority which opposed George McGovern's candidacy for president in 1972. Neoconservative Democrats merged with rightwing Republicans in the Committee on the Present Danger, founded in 1976 to campaign against detente. Kirkpatrick is a specialist in the disinformation and doublespeak of egostrategics:

" Generally speaking, traditional autocrats tolerate social inequities, brutality and poverty, while revolutionary autocracies create them.

Traditional autocrats leave in place existing allocations of wealth, power, status and other resources which in most traditional societies favor an affluent few and maintain masses in poverty. But they worship traditional gods and observe traditional taboos. They do not disturb the habitual rhythms of work and leisure, habitual places of residence, habitual patterns of family and personal relations. Because the miseries of uaditional life are familiar, they are bearable to ordinary people, who growing up in the society, learn to cope, as children born to untouchables in India acquire the skills and attitudes necessary for survival in the miserable roles they are destined to fill. "

"Such societies create no refugees," she adds. Such is the depth of Kirkpatrick's much-acclaimed scholarly knowledge.

In Kirkpatrick's world-enforced by the Immigration and Naturalization Service-refugees from "moderately repressive" regimes are not refugees; they are self-serving fortune seekers. "Ordinary people" don't rebel, they habitually bear their traditional miseries unless the commies stir up trouble. If that happens, the U.S. objective is clear: reinstate order.

As Kirkpatrick wrote in a published article, "The problem confronting El Salvador is Thomas Hobbes's problem: How to establish order and authority in a society where there is none. "9 She spells out her draconian views on the solution in an unpublished 1980 paper for the American Enterprise Institute, "The Hobbes Problem: Order, Authority and Legltimacy in Central America":

" Order, as John Stuart Mill emphasizes, is the "preservation of all existing groods."...heroes are people who make a special contribution to highly valued goods.

Hernandez Martmez is such a hero. General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez who governed El Salvador from 1931 to 1944, was minister of war in the cabinet of President Arturo Araujo when there occurred widespread uprisings said to be the work of Commumst agitators. General Hernandez Martinez then staged a coup and ruthlessly suppressed the disorders-wiping out all those who participated, hunting down their leaders. It is sometimes said that 30,000 persons lost their lives in this process. To many Salvadorans the violence of this repression seems less important than that of the fact of restored order and the thirteen years of civil peace that ensued. The traditional death squads that pursue revolutionary activities and leaders in contemporary El Salvador call themselves Hernandez Martinez Brigades, seeking thereby to place themselves in El Salvador's political tradition and communicate their purposes. "

No wonder Kirkpatrick is considered a heroine by the Nicaraguan contras. The "Jeane Kirkpatrick Task Force" is the only contra unit named for a foreigner. "The men chose the name themselves," reports contra leader Adolfo Calero. "They listen to the Voice of America and they admire Mrs. Kirkpatrick for her courage. "

Reagan, Trilateralism and the Neoliberals