The Democratic Party
and the Third World 1961-68

excerpted from the book

Confronting the Third World

United States Foreign Policy 1945-1980

by Gabriel Kolko

Pantheon Books,1988


The Democratic Administration Confronts World Change

The Eisenhower Administration greatly advanced the belief that the United States had both the right and the obligation to intervene in any region or nation whose domestic affairs it thought had international significance... the basic assumption that it could arrogate to itself the authority to approve or disapprove the politics of any nation was by the end of the 1950s a firmly implanted conviction ...

By the early 1960s most officials in Washington were convinced that the consequences of their passivity in some nation whose internal affairs displeased them were potentially more dangerous than the unpredictable risks of action. The symbolic importance of the credibility of power inherited from its less articulate predecessors, and of the interrelated nature of changes in one nation to events all around it and in the world, had become fixations transcending a reasoned assessment of the sources of internal tension and change. Indeed, given the economic considerations operating in tandem with the essentially symbolic, the combination invariably reduced opposition within the ranks of American leaders to a more active U.S. role in some nation when the choice presented itself. In a context where everything became potentially important, for whatever the reason, and past successes removed inhibiting concerns about the repercussions of failures in the future, it was highly likely in 1961 that something like the Vietnam conflict would soon occur somewhere, and only chance fixed on that poor nation rather than another. No less inevitable, also, was that such increasingly adventurous thinking would cause regional issues to threaten to overwhelm the United States' priorities and broad international goals and produce uncontrollable new dynamics in its foreign policy and power.

By August 1962, when the NSC approved national policy on a grand strategy toward the Third World, virtually everyone of importance agreed that confronting internal disorder and insurgency in the Third World-or Sino-Soviet "conquest from within," as opposed to conventional warfare-was essential. The NSC favored a greater readiness to act even when there was no direct Russian or Chinese involvement but where they might gain objectively from "other types of subversion" inimical to U.S. interests. The minute issues of the internal affairs of various nations became more than ever the legitimate concern of the United States, including, if need be, a warrant for action. It was, even more than under earlier administrations, the U.S. purpose to make certain "that developing nations evolve in a way that affords a congenial world environment"; naturally, this required "that strategic areas and the manpower and natural resources of developing nations do not fall under communist control...." But in the even larger sense it meant that the United States had "an economic interest that the resources and markets of the less developed world remain available to us and to other Free World countries."

Here was the basis for a far greater activism in the Third World. It embodied Washington's fears and stereotypes regarding Soviet culpability for the poor nations, problems as well as its residual right, even obligation, to manipulate autonomous trends for which Communists were not responsible and recast them into an integrated world order under U.S. hegemony.

The new Administration believed that its fresh will and far greater wisdom, combined with a superior organizational structure for implementing policy, would allow it to master the elusive threads and contradictions that had plagued its predecessors. All the involved agencies-the State and Defense departments, the CIA, the Agency for International Development, and others-met frequently to analyze in seminars and papers the "problems of development and internal defense" for which they needed common solutions. As Cambridge professors were invited to Washington to supplement local talent in analyzing the vast panoply of social, cultural, and political changes in the Third World, the United States confidently prepared to confront it energetically.

One of its first and most important initiatives was in "counterinsurgency," a rubric that was more a vague philosophy of action than a concrete set of techniques and goals, a typically "can do" vision whose optimism was to carry the Administration along until Vietnam raised profound doubts as to its efficacy. The debacle of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961, rather than puncture such sublime self-confidence and produce caution, actually became a goad to further activity. It had revealed its CIA organizers as incompetent and the U.S. confidence in its Cuban exile proxies as naive, but instead of learning from this failure, the unanimous consensus in Washington favored renewing the effort, in Kennedy's words the day after the invasion failed, to fight subversion with "the new concepts, the new tools, the new sense of urgency" that were still in the process of being articulated.

Frequent references to "Vietnam and Thailand as counterinsurgency laboratories," of Vietnam "as a test case" of U.S. ability to fight wars of national liberation successfully, revealed how experimental counterinsurgency doctrine was from the inception, and it was based mainly on the assumption that American brains and money together would quickly find ways to translate desires into realities. Precisely because of this, Vietnam after 1961 was principally a conjunctural problem for Washington, set in a regional and global context, its symbolism being as much a stimulus to action as the domino theory. The mere fact that the conflict in Vietnam was initially intended to be fought primarily "by those on the spot" rather than with U.S. forces revealed that those who led the world's most powerful nation, and who were also still naive learners, were also extremely ignorant concerning the huge void they were about to plunge into. The Administration quickly created a special interagency group to coordinate counterinsurgency, broken down into country sections. A Vietnam task force was organized in April 1961 as the first response to the Bay of Pigs disaster, on the mistaken assumption that Vietnamese might prove easier than Cubans to overcome.

Because counterinsurgency was at the beginning a strategy employing surrogates, above all to avoid drawing in American manpower, its first and quickest application was in the form of aid to the police in various nations. The ClA's police training program, which operated under an AID cover, had functioned until that time at a modest level. It doubled its activities in fiscal 1962, beginning in July 1961, over the previous year. Police training schools were opened in both Panama and Washington as well as in Liberia. By 1968, in addition, it had 458 U.S. police experts operating in 34 countries, and by 1973 it had trained over 7,300 foreign police in the United States alone.

This police program was overwhelmingly political in its functions from its inception. In virtually all of the nations it operated in, the police, as in Guatemala in 1956, were, as one American official wrote, "acutely geared to security against subversive activity and communist attack, with the primary police function taking a secondary role." In Indonesia, a U.S. police adviser could report in late 1960, he had left a "pro-Western influence" among a vital force in a disturbingly anti-American nation. Reports the AlD's overseas advisers sent back described countless examples of the police's role in the "control [of] social unrest," to "maintain internal security," "investigating and controlling subversives," and the like. All advisers were given systematic political indoctrination to equip them for this function. That the AlD's police program provided the status quo in dozens of authoritarian regimes help to retain their power was the explicit goal of the effort, not so much for the sake of various dictators and juntas but primarily to immobilize leftists and other undesirable elements as part of a global assault against national liberation movements.

The police's function, as the liberal luminary Chester Bowles explained to Kennedy in 1961 and as everyone acknowledged from this time onward, was largely to eliminate the role of the military in coping with violence, especially in the cities. Were guerrilla warfare to break out, the military could then use its much larger and more destructive firepower, but that was to be avoided- as indeed it was in most places. Since use of the military against strikers or demonstrations was counterproductive, by 1965 some Pentagon officials argued it was more essential in Latin America to equip the police adequately rather than the military since the police were much more likely to utilize what they received. What the police did in numerous nations was to serve as the basic instrument of violence, allowing the military, with whom it was invariably allied ideologically, the time to assume a much larger role in the Third World's politics during the 1960s than ever before. This, too, was understood and desired in Washington.

Just as the Kennedy Administration's action academics came to power animated by notions of counterinsurgency they justified with social science jargon, so, too, did they possess a much more articulate vision of the role of the military in Third World societies than their predecessors. True, the Eisenhower Administration preferred military regimes, but its rationale for doing so-that they kept order-was clumsy even if honest.

The Pentagon itself by 1959 had qualms about such a crude defense of the official NSC policy, and so it commissioned various think tanks, the Rand Corporation being the most important, to develop a more sophisticated rationale. Rand's 1959 conference of experts on the military in the Third World argued, despite a few skeptics gathered there, that in addition to providing a stable alternative to democracy when it failed, the military alone possessed the technical and administrative proficiency essential for more rapid modernization and were in fact the leading carriers of industrial and secular values. Given the semiliterate nature of most of these nations, the officers transmitted vital skills to their largely peasant soldiery and were prone even to be solicitous of the needs of society's poor. Rather than being a menace, the officer class was an integral aspect of solutions for Third World problems congenial to American interests. Similar views came from other analysts, and the articulate minority of consultants who disputed such notions was ignored. "Military modernization" theory was to become a major social science fashion for the next decade and beyond, especially among Washington's large stable of subsidized professors.

In later versions, modernization theorists added that civilian institutions could not direct or control civilian demands but that the military's "efficiency, honesty, and nationalism," as Harvard's Samuel P. Huntington described them, caused it to become true defenders of middle-class order against the impatient masses, and that they were the best friends of U.S. ambitions and needs in most of the Third World. Walt Rostow by early 1962 was employing such analyses in an aggressive campaign to win Administration support for targeting the officer classes as its main allies. He did not deny that in some nations they might not conform to the desired model, but their role in the modernization process was potentially decisive-extending well beyond their task of maintaining internal security. The NSC's official policy on "internal defense" in August 1962 reflected Rostow's influence: "A change brought about through force by non-communist elements may be preferable to prolonged deterioration of governmental effectiveness," it stated, giving approval to those alone who had access to sufficient power to mount coups. "It is U.S. policy, when it is in the U.S. interest," it continued, "to make the local military and police advocates of democracy and agents for carrying forward the developmental process."

From this point onward, with leading Rand advocates of this position incorporated to help define the rationale for the strategy, U.S. dependence on officers and the military for "nation-building" became a standard aspect of the indoctrination of all Americans working on "internal defense" and counterinsurgency. This vision was to shape Washington's political policies decisively ... in every major area of the Third World ... The era of the generals was inaugurated not just in the realm of policy, as under Eisenhower, but in theory as well.

Still unresolved in the early 1960s was whether this use of ideas to influence policy was merely an attempt to justify an existing brutal one and make it appear more respectable in order to intensify it. Did the United States want officers who were truly modernizes conforming to their abstract technocratic model or simply pliable anti-Communists who would also sacrifice their national interests if they clashed with American needs? In a word, what would be Washington's response to officers who were genuine nationalists rather than merely anti-Communist, especially when true nationalism also conflicted with the United States' integrative requirements and ambitions?

This issue was not to arise in many places, much less quickly, and so the theory's impact caused U.S. officials increasingly to regard military aid to many Third World nations as political in purpose, because to varying degrees it strengthened the officers' actual and potential power in the political structure of every state receiving aid, thereby shaping its political evolution. Few needed arms for external defense, in any case, and most had no insurgency to confront. U.S. military missions working in foreign nations were integral to the effort, as a Pentagon official was later to phrase it, "to maintain our relations with the people who are in a position of influence in those countries so we can help to influence the course of events in those countries." Officers are "the coming leaders of their nations," Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara argued: "It is of inestimable value to the United States to have the friendship of such men." Between 1950 and 1969, as a consequence, about 128,000 Third World officers and enlistees were given training in the United States, while U.S. missions trained 76,000 abroad.

The political potential of this enormous, costly effort was obvious to all in Washington, including those who dismissed Rostow's attribution of efficiency and virtue to the military as either false or irrelevant-or both. When an aid review committee under retired General Lucius Clay in early 1963 argued for reducing economic and military assistance to inefficient or corrupt regimes in order to save taxpayers' money, the circle of key policymakers around Kennedy thought it excessively naive. "I daresay if we confined our aid to those countries who would use it effectively ...," Robert W. Komer told the president, "we could reduce the list of our clients considerably.... But in applying such criteria we would be opting ourselves out of shoring up, or otherwise influencing, a whole series of client states which, whatever their own internal weaknesses, it is in our strategic interest to help." Regardless of their character or form, the United States was more firmly committed than ever to working politically with the military in the Third World.


The Challenge of Latin America


Cuba Shakes Up the Hemisphere

Cuba, more than any place in Latin America, had been virtually a de facto U.S. colony. Economically, preferential tariff arrangements since 1901 transformed it into a vast dependent sugar plantation tied wholly to the U.S. market while importing three-quarters of its needs from the north. During the 1950s the stagnant sugar industry still accounted for 80 percent of Cuba's export earnings and a quarter of its national income, requiring a country with vast uncultivated estates reserved for sugar to import a quarter of its food needs. Cuba's trade deficit with the United States in the decade up to 1959 amounted to one billion dollars. U.S. investors owned fully 40 percent of Cuba's sugar production, 90 percent of its utilities, half of its railroads, and much else-while naturalized citizens controlled a significant part of the remainder. The main economic function of the highly Americanized Cuban middle and upper classes was to service this United States-owned system as well as the immensely profitable industry that catered to Yankee tourism with hotels, prostitution, and gambling. Marginalized and with precious little national identity, this comprador bourgeoisie preferred to make and spend money and left politics, and the army that controlled it under Fulgencio Batista for most of the time since 1933, to déclassé, highly corrupt soldiers with few ties to the established local economic elites. Perhaps more than for any other nation in the hemisphere, the United States' domination had created in Cuba a centrifugal, highly unstable society.

It was the very nature of this ruling class, combined with the economic and social consequences of a dependent export economy with large unemployment and growing land tenure problems, that made the July 26 Movement under Fidel Castro capable of winning power so quickly and with relatively few forces, for the Cuban status quo had few defenders ready to stand and fight for it. The proximity to Florida and the elite's strong personal and economic links elsewhere in the area, where it had diversified a large part of its money, also allowed it to be highly mobile. Cuba was a nation with a society the United States had made over for its own needs and desires, and m 1959 it was to become a challenge to it without precedent.

Social and economic conditions in Latin America gave the deeply agitated Kennedy Administration no cause for complacency. Statistical indicators, whatever their methodological deficiencies, revealed a troubled region in the process of a structural crisis and with a vast mass of humanity in profound distress.

Latin America has been the most rapidly urbanizing Third World region in this century, in large part due to the failure of the existing land system to provide the minimum livelihood for survival. From 1930 to 1960 the percentage of the population (201 million people in 1960) living in urban areas had doubled, to reach 33 percent. East Asia, by contrast, had only 18 percent urbanized, and the other Third World continents even less. This pattern of growth continued in much the same fashion for the next twenty years. Put another way, in 1960 two-thirds of the Latin population lived in rural areas, while agriculture and mining, the basic economic activities to which they related, generated only 17 percent of the gross domestic product.

The social causes of the misery the masses lived in were diverse, but the inequitable structure of land tenure was by far the most important. In Peru, with the highest rate of urbanization, those owning more than 1,000 hectares of land in 1960, or 0.2 percent of all landholders, accounted for 69 percent of the land. Over nine-tenths of those engaged in agriculture owned no land whatsoever, working as tenants or laborers. In Argentina the 5.8 percent of the holders with 1,000 or more hectares had 74 percent of the land. In Brazil, 0.9 percent of the owners held 44 percent of the land, while in Chile 1.3 percent owned 73 percent. In Colombia, 0.3 percent owned 30 percent of the land, while in Venezuela 1.3 percent held 82 percent.

This basic pattern in land ownership showed up in income distribution statistics. In 1960, the richest 5 percent of the population earned 33.4 percent of the income in Latin America taken as a whole, with 29.2 percent for the next richest 15 percent-or 62.6 percent for the wealthiest fifth. Peru and Colombia had the most inequitable distribution in the hemisphere and among the worst in the entire Third World. Latin America's poorest half of the population received 13.4 percent of the income in 1960. The per capita annual income of those in the poorest fifth in 1960 was $60, while those in the wealthiest 5 percent received $2,600. Latin America was, above all, a class society with a vast gulf-economic, social, and political-between the rich and the poor. Indeed, the statistical gap between them was significantly greater in Latin America than in any other Third World region.

Politics in Latin America both reflected and reinforced the highly inequitable economic structure, and even those civilian parties that disturbed the United States, with the exception of the relatively unimportant Marxist groups, never challenged a system of distribution that favored them. As complex as civilian politics in the region was-and the distinctions among the many countries in this regard discourage excessive generalizations-beliefs in egalitarianism never influenced it. The general rhetoric of reform, on the other hand, was far more important because the huge congregations of displaced peasants in the cities, most without appropriate skills and living precariously, made labor-absorbing economic development a key issue for them, reinforcing the political strength of those sectors of the middle and upper classes who for their own reasons and interests wanted economic, and particularly industrial, growth. Elite-dominated populism created a distinctive political dialogue in many Latin states, but it scarcely shaped economic policy beyond the creation of employment-a goal for which most of the masses were grateful. Nor was political democracy in the formal, institutional sense an important issue in civilian politics in Brazil, Argentina, and elsewhere. Civilian elites were ready to manipulate the masses for their own purposes, but not to give them power, for the continuation of their own privileges precluded that.

The Dominican Republic: Dictatorship and Intervention

U.S. Marines installed Rafael Trujillo to run the Dominican Republic in the 1920s while they occupied it, and he ruled one of the hemisphere's poorest countries as America's loyal servant. His corruption was legendary and his repression comparable. Not until the advent of Castro did Washington begin to doubt the wisdom of relying upon him, and an OAS condemnation of his regime on June 8, 1960, goaded it further when several weeks later there was a Trujillo-sponsored assassination attempt against President Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela, who had led the criticism against Trujillo's incarceration of many thousands of political prisoners, murder, and torture. The Eisenhower Administration then reduced its purchases of Dominican sugar, essential for the island's economy, and later attempted to cut it entirely. In response, on August 25 Trujillo's radio began to defend Castro and announced it would broadcast Soviet news agency reports. By that time the CIA had established contact with various opposition groups and begun to provide them with guns fitted for assassinations.

On May 30, 1961, one of them killed Trujillo. With his vice president and the dead dictator's longtime ally, Joaquin Balaguer, nominally in control, Trujillo's eldest son assumed power with the backing of the army. Yet the United States remained undecided what to do as the military, a conservative middle-class party, and a democratic Left party, the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), under Juan Bosch, emerged as the main contenders. Finally, despite Balaguer's reimposition of repressive measures, the Kennedy Administration resolved to try to liberalize the existing regime and proposed that the OAS lift its economic sanctions. It demanded, however, that the Trujillo clan, which was seeking to hold on to power, leave the island, and threatened an invasion should they refuse. On November 17,1961, the Trujillos departed, taking an estimated two-hundred-million-dollar fortune with them and leaving behind four times that in property. Balaguer and the army took over, and at the beginning of 1962 U.S.-Dominican relations were normalized, the sugar quota restored, and large amounts of economic aid given the impoverished country.

Meanwhile, riots and aborted coups forced Balaguer to leave office, and the island remained in suspense pending the outcome of elections in December 1962. A new U.S. ambassador, John Bartlow Martin, arrived to keep all the contending factions in order until then, while a council of former Trujillo officers provided a transitional government, but he quickly resolved that the Left should be suppressed, and he assiduously cultivated the military. The four deeply disunited and small radical parties disturbed him greatly, but he later conceded that "None of the Castro/Communist parties seemed to me prepared to try to overthrow the government by force," but instead would try to infiltrate larger groups-though how they could do so while divided remained unclear. When Bosch, however, won the December 20 election by a two-to-one majority, what Martin feared most appeared to him about to come to pass.

Martin was hostile toward Bosch from the inception, and especially resented the freedom he gave to the smaller leftist parties to function, suspecting he had secret ties with them himself if he was not actually a "deep-cover Communist"-a claim that found echoes in Washington.' Almost as ominous, Bosch pressed his social and economic reforms, canceled an Esso contract and then stopped delivery of sugar under the U.S. quota because world prices were far higher and the Dominicans had already lost six million dollars in potential income thereby. On September 20, 1963, seven months after he came to office, a rightist-led strike against Bosch caused the State Department to wash their hands of him just as an inevitable coup seemed days away. Martin himself opposed Bosch but feared abandoning the constitutional process even more, making a feeble gesture to keep the Right from taking over, but five days later a military coup installed a pro-American civilian junta while generals remained in the background, supervising it. After several months of feigned distress, the State Department recognized it.

The new junta took office with no concessions to the modest U.S. demands that it return to constitutional processes while also excluding Bosch and the Left, and it refused to broaden its membership because it realized that in the existing hemispheric context Washington would not challenge it. Until April 1965 it ran the Dominican Republic in a way that alienated virtually everyone: the masses, who suffered as much as they had under Trujillo; the middle class parties, who disliked the return of rampant corruption; reformers within the military itself; and even some officers who had served Trujillo and wanted to see Balaguer's reinstatement. By that date Bosch had managed to wield together an alliance that demanded a restoration of the 1963 constitution, and when it initiated an uprising on April 24 a large part of the army rallied to its side, as well, of course, as the masses. The junta fell the next day, and on April 26 the army distributed guns to from three thousand to ten thousand people in the capital, Santo Domingo, where the combat was confined. Within three days it was virtually in the constitutionalists' hands, and only a few pockets of resistance remained.

Following the crisis, State Department officials convinced themselves immediately that guns passed out to the population might end up in the hands of the deeply divided leftist groups, who could then take leadership away from the pro-Bosch officers. But they did not believe it was certain to occur if they did not act, for the CIA estimated that there were about fifty-five disunited Castroists and Communists among the rebels, and from three hundred to three thousand in the entire country. American officials urged the remnants of the military to continue resisting, but on April 28, when their local allies' defeat appeared imminent, they made a unanimous decision to recommend the use of U.S. forces. Their immediate concern was that proCastro nationalists would take power, but to reach this conclusion they had to number Bosch and his party among them; and while risk of a leftist takeover appeared dangerous enough, even more persuasive was the credibility of American power in the world-since at least that, Washington believed, seemed certain to be at stake. President Johnson made it plain that he did not propose "to sit here with my hands tied and let Castro take that island. What can we do in Vietnam if we can't clean up the Dominican Republic?"

On April 28 U.S. troops began landing in the Dominican Republic, reaching twenty-three thousand on May 9. Ostensibly to protect the lives of American citizens and arrange a cease-fire, their obvious objective was to keep Bosch and the Left out of power. They complied with none of the ostensible OAS procedures for actions such as this, and indeed the Dominican invasion was, and still remains, the most massive U.S. direct hemispheric intervention in this century. Press opinion in Latin America ran ten to one against it, and Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, and others protested formally. The sham pretensions of inter-Americanism were laid to rest, but the message that the United States had both the will and the capacity to act decisively was unmistakably clear to the entire world.

The rest was foredoomed, since foreign troops were there to fight against real or alleged Communists, and this meant restoring the pro-American military to complete control of the army. U.S. forces were reduced, but enough remained to make it possible for Washington to dictate settlement terms, which culminated in June 1966 in an election between Balaguer and Bosch that, not surprisingly, brought Trujillo's intimate back to power. While the United States' defenders insisted that the election was genuinely free, the point would be irrelevant even if true. With all the arms in the hands of Balaguer's allies, and U.S. soldiers still present and Washington's position on Bosch unmistakably known, the population's option of a resumption of the war or a vote for the U.S. candidate alone would have been sufficient to determine the outcome.

Balaguer restored many former Trujillo officers to military service and brought back the old regime. "The terrorism, corruption and misery that marked Rafael Trujillo's 31-year dictatorship . . . are even more widespread today under constitutionally elected President Joaquin Balaguer," a Wall Street Journal reporter said in summing up his reign in late 1971; "So say some friends as well as most foes of the U.S.-backed Balaguer government, and evidence is mounting to support their view."

In the end, Washington far preferred to save the dictators of its own choice to tolerating the array of democrats, demagogues, nationalists, and reformers that the people of Latin America chose to lead them.


The Other Southeast Asian Challenges

The United States' consistent policy after the Indonesians won their independence was to aid the police and military with equipment to maintain order against the Communist Party (PKI). In late 1948 Sukarno and his army ruthlessly suppressed a PKI-supported land reform movement in the Madiun region, virtually destroying the PKI leadership, jailing thirty-six thousand, and greatly increasing Washington's respect for him and particularly his officers. Strategically, by 1953 the NSC resolved to encourage those nationalist forces the army especially personified, as well as the very large Islamic parties, to prevent Indonesia from moving toward the Left. The security of Japan, whose access to the islands' vast resources it believed crucial to keep it safely in the U.S. camp, was unquestionably its primary concern, and for practical purposes it assigned Indonesia to Japan's economic sphere of interest. Indonesia was a major link in its expanded geopolitical domino theory for East Asia. No later than December 1954, the NSC decided that the United States would use "all feasible covert means" as well as overt, including "the use of armed force if necessary," to prevent the richest parts of Indonesia from falling into Communist hands.

By mid-1964 Sukarno had become seriously ill, leaving the country often for medical treatment, and it was clear that the entire precariously balanced power structure over which he presided would not last much longer. At stake for many officers were careers and fortunes, so the tensions within the military intensified. The U.S. embassy received constant coup rumors from January 1965 onward. That month, those in charge of the army organized a secret committee, which others dubbed the "Generals' Council," to deal with purely political issues relating to Sukarno, and it definitely considered what to do should he become incapacitated or die. Sukarno fell seriously ill again in early August, and the CIA learned that the Generals' Council convened a meeting in Djakarta on September 30. With rumors of threatened coups from both sides circulating throughout September, any gesture by one side was certain to evoke a response, including a preemptive one, by the other. It was a time, as the second-in-charge of the U.S. embassy later recalled, when "there was a power play going on, everybody was maneuvering to get to the top." Regardless of its truth or falsity, a pro-Sukarno faction of the military was convinced that the Generals' Council was planning a coup against Sukarno on Armed Forces Day, October 5, when many of their troops could be brought unnoticed into the city, ostensibly to parade. Since the army leadership had contingency plans should Sukamo leave the scene, their fear may have been wrong, but it was not implausible. The September 30 Movement was the pro-Sukamo officers' response to this alleged or real danger, and it was not a coup but principally an effort to keep him in command, as well as a struggle between factions of the military.

Indonesia by late 1965 presented U.S. strategy in Southeast Asia with a danger at least as great as Vietnam at a time when its preoccupation there made large-scale intervention in Indonesia impossible. The logic of the domino theory applied to it as much as to Vietnam, but its economic and strategic value was far greater. Relying on peaceful means, the PKI had grown consistently, and could be expected to continue to do so. The United States had depended on the military since 1949 to create a barrier to the Communists, and it understood well that Sukarno's skilled balancing of contending forces to maintain his control would end in the near future with his death. The events of September 30 created a small challenge but also an enormous opportunity to resolve America's dilemmas by directing the military's wrath against the Communists.

... the Indonesian generals in early November approached the United States for equipment "to arm Moslem and nationalist youths in central Java for use against the PKI...." Most were using knives and primitive means, and communications gear and small arms would expedite the killing. Since "elimination of these elements" was a precondition of better relations, the United States quickly promised covert aid-dubbed "medicines" to prevent embarrassing revelations. At stake in the army's effort was the "destruction," as the CIA called the undertaking, of the PKI, and "carefully placed assistance which will help Army cope with PKI" continued, as Green described it, despite the many other problems in Indonesian-U.S. relations that remained to be solved.

The "final solution" to the Communist problem in Indonesia was certainly one of the most barbaric acts of inhumanity in a century that has seen a great deal of it; it surely ranks as a war crime of the same type as those the Nazis perpetrated. No single American action in the period after 1945 was as bloodthirsty as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate the massacre, and it did everything in its power to encourage Suharto, including equipping his killers, to see that the physical liquidation of the PKI was carried through to its culmination. Not a single one of its officials in Washington or Djakarta questioned the policy on either ethical or political grounds; quite the contrary. "The reversal of the Communist tide in the great country of Indonesia" was publicly celebrated, in the words of Deputy Undersecretary of State U. Alexis Johnson in October 1966, as "an event that will probably rank along with the Vietnamese war as perhaps the most historic turning point of Asia in this decade."

No one counts the dead in a massacre, and those able to make a reliable estimate afterward had no incentive to do so in this case. On December 4, as they both were clamoring for yet more killing, Green wrote to Rusk that over 100,000 but not more than 200,000 had been murdered in northern Sumatra and central and eastern Java alone, and the destruction was still going on. At the beginning of the following April the CIA estimated roughly 250,000 deaths in a party of 3 million and 12 million front group members. By the end of the month it dismissed the government's claim of 78,000 dead and thought 250,000 to 500,000 closer to reality. But "An accurate figure is impossible to obtain," the CIA concluded. A State Department estimate that year placed the figure at roughly 300,000, a number former ambassador Jones employed when he published his memoirs five years later-though he, too, did not exclude 500,000. Other estimates range up to I million dead, and official Indonesian data released a decade later gave 450,000 to 500,000 as the number killed. As stunning as these figures are, not a single official U.S. document dealing with them has ever expressed dismay or regret!

The system that emerged in Indonesia after 1967 was even more centralized around one man than it had been under Sukamo, who at least had allowed a modicum of civil liberties and permitted parties to function far more freely as long as he could control them. Sukamo co-opted many of his potential opponents, but Suharto put them in prison, or worse. He also concentrated all power over the army in the hands of a monolithic clique, which had never existed under Sukamo, and used it as both a mechanism for political control of the state apparatus at all levels and economic aggrandizement via a level of corruption that ranks among the highest in the world after 1945. Politically it created an unstable administrative order subject to arbitrary changes, predictable only in that its primary function was to reinforce the Suharto clique's power. Economically it is far more complex save in one regard: what Suharto and his circle have done for themselves.

Suharto never truly committed himself to an economy patterned along United States- or IMF-endorsed classical lines but rather acted as the State Department's experts in March 1966 predicted he would: He became richer. After 1972 and the massive entry of Japanese capital into Indonesia, Suharto found he had leverage in dealing with the rest of the world and his debtors- which he used repeatedly to borrow immense amounts for the state oil company, Pertamina, and other huge ventures. Local banks loaned massive sums to his political friends or their generally Chinese business associates, who still run most of the state as well as most of the private sector, and the magnitude of the corruption and waste nearly led to Pertamina's bankruptcy in 1977 and a serious weakening of the internal banking system. By astutely playing off foreign interests and milking them all, the political structure Suharto controlled worked with allied national business interests to operate a debt-ridden economy whose stability was as much dependent on a world economy that encouraged and funded such high-risk economic strategies as on Suharto's wisdom or folly. Indonesia's external public debt was $2.4 billion in 1970 but $14.9 billion a decade later, much of which had funded patronage projects. By 1986 Suharto and his family controlled thirty companies dealing in transport, electronics, chemicals, and much else. He had become a fabulously wealthy man.

Less problematical were the conditions of life for the masses, which in Indonesia meant largely the rural areas. During 1963-67, a depressed period, and 1970-74 the nation's ability to supply its own cereals declined, and in 1969-71 per capita calorie consumption was only 83 percent of minimum requirements-making Indonesia the poorest nation in Southeast Asia. In 1969, a total of 47 percent of the rural population lived in the starkest poverty. While data on such trends are uneven, all point to a decline in the rural living standards during Suharto's "New Order." The introduction of capital-intensive agriculture among wealthier peasants reduced employment for the poorer without reversing the national food deficit. Peasants after 1965 were afraid to organize, so landlessness increased and ownership became more concentrated. In eastern and western Java, by the late 1970s the real wages of rural workers was declining sharply, while land ownership also dropped. The percentage of farmers owning less than half a hectare grew from 46 percent in 1973 to 63 percent in 1980. In the end it was the peasantry, as everywhere, who paid the costs of the regime the United States supported ...

It remained the United States' desire, in the 1960s as in previous decades, to use the Philippines to show the world what it alone could do to create democracy and an ideal society in the Third World. At the same time, it regarded the country as a key market and investment outlet as well as a major supplier, and it insisted that Filipino politics adjust to its needs rather than pursue the nationalist economic policies to which the Garcia regime, despite its traditional corruption, had surprisingly given momentum. Yet the fact that a truly indigenous national bourgeoisie emerged during these years had political implications that greatly exceeded the still relatively marginal economic resources such a class could mobilize. As long as economic development was linked to the control of political power, the main threat to the United States after 1960 came not from the dormant Left but from middle and upper-class entrepreneurs who by necessity had to expound a nationalism that was synonymous with anti-Americanism.

The United States supported the victorious Macapagal in the November 1961 elections not because the Liberal was less corrupt than Garcia, and honesty was the main campaign issue, but because he favored a restoration of the U.S.-Philippines bilateral trade system to its original form-notwithstanding a formidable nationalist contingent in Congress. His first major act upon taking office was to implement IMF and U.S. Treasury recommendations and lift all exchange controls, in return for which the Philippines, which had earlier been denied IMF and World Bank loans, received $300 million in U.S. and IMF aid. With the peso devalued by about half, the Philippine economy once again became an open hunting ground for U.S. businessmen, most of whom still preferred sending previously blocked profits out of the country rather than investing further-to the extent, in fact, that in no year after 1945 had new foreign investment equaled profits repatriated to the United States. Macapagal's economic program, the price of continued IMF aid was consciously antinationalist, and the major damage it inflicted on local business interests led to an end of the rapid growth of the manufacturing sector that had occurred during the 1950s. Export interests, in conformity with the standard U.S. and IMF formula, were ascendant once more.

Economically, the results showed up quickly in inflation, which drove down the real income of labor and forced thousands of businesses to the brink of failure or over it. By 1964 a tenth of the labor force was unemployed, while almost a third of the remainder was underemployed-farm labor that worked the smaller part of the year, or the innumerable urban poor who had been forced off the land to live a lumpen existence in slums. The larger structural trends in the economy during this decade were testimony to the ability of the U.S.-IMF program to impose countless otherwise avoidable difficulties on national economic development strategies. By 1965 almost a third of the nation's capital stock was foreign-owned, mainly American-owned, and two-thirds of the hundred largest corporations, dominant in manufacturing, utilities, and commerce, were foreign. By the mid-1960s the repatriation of profits and the amortization of its loans were costing close to $400 million annually, forcing Manila to continue borrowing. The national public external debt rose from $174 million in 1960 to $480 million in 1965, then doubled by 1970.

The war defined the U.S. response to the November 1965 election, in which Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos, who switched over to the Nacionalistas to obtain their nomination, were the two major contestants. By that time economic problems had become acute with rising inflation, and informed Manila experts estimated that corruption was consuming about a third of all government revenues. The CIA believed that all the candidates were pro-American and that neither would do much to bring reforms to the nation, making a stronger Left in the future likely. Both would send forces to Vietnam, despite the fact that Marcos had earlier opposed Macapagal's bill to dispatch engineering troops, and Marcos was deemed a "ruthless politician" while Macapagal was flabby. Washington always considered Marcos a cynical opportunist...

Given the fact that it could not lose, the United States remained neutral in the election. Marcos won and immediately assumed the role of the typical Philippine politician, in the United States' estimate, and in July 1966 he helped push through a measure that authorized two thousand engineer troops to Vietnam. Even more important to the United States, which still hoped to get combat forces from Marcos, was a carte blanche from him to use American bases in the Philippines as logistics centers and even, possibly, for combat launches in the Vietnam War. In September 1966, to "Keep Marcos on our side and help him silence his critics," whom the war had made far more numerous, Marcos fulfilled his desire to visit Washington. The Administration knew that it would have to reward him with significant aid and that it would be channeled into Marcos's political coffers-perhaps even his pocket. In addition to eighty million dollars in grants, Marcos received thirty-nine million dollars for the expenses of his Vietnam contingent-part of which was paid in cash and deposited in banks he controlled. It was in this context that the United States also pressed Marcos to "improve general trade and investment climate in the Philippines and find ways to protect American acquired rights after 1974," when the Laurel-Langley Agreement was to expire. However much Vietnam dominated relations between Washington and Manila after 1964, economics was still very alive in everyone's calculations.

Marcos' visit proved to the Johnson Administration that he could be bought and that he would remain a loyal ally in protecting American interests just in his own country but in Southeast Asia as well.

By 1969 and the beginning of the Nixon Administration, politics within the Philippine ruling class had long since reached an impasse, and the existing political institutions and forces no longer had the capacity to resolve the profound contradictions and needs of the contending sections of the elite, much less the larger society. The nation's economic malaise, which threatened to deepen into a crisis with untold implications, was not only making a travesty of the U.S. desire to use its former colony as an example of what it was capable of accomplishing for the world but also reflected the continuing role of the United States in the economy. The election of November 1969 was the turning point, pitting Marcos against Serging Osmena, a former collaborator with the Japanese. Osmena had switched parties constantly since 1945 and was a classic Philippine oligarch who knew everything about patronage, corruption, and violence. He stood only for himself, leaving no one to represent the nationalist businessmen. He was also ardently pro-American, and while neither he nor Marcos threatened Washington, Nixon as much as endorsed the president. Marcos took no chances and simply raided the national treasury, spending from fifty million to two hundred million dollars, depending on the source, on his campaign-more than the cost of all postwar elections combined. The violence and ballot-box manipulation that went with it were also unprecedented. The election's impact on the economy and society, its morale and cohesion, ushered in a new era that I at the same time reflected the inevitable logic of politics in the nation the United States had created after 1946.

The Probem of Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa frustrated the United States consistently throughout the 1960s, and as its problems in Vietnam and elsewhere increased monumentally, it sought to relegate the continent to the very bottom of its concerns. AU this only reinforced the Administration's natural inclination to employ the ideas on the crucial role of the military in modernizing new nations that it was applying elsewhere, if only to locate sympathetic anti-Communist elements in the hope that they might create stability where none existed. At the inception of the decade its Rand consultants on Africa argued that the military alone might modernize tribal societies and impose skills and a common language on them. In a region where most Africanists influential in establishment circles believed the state had preceded formation of the nation, officials in Washington dealing with Africa were instinctively drawn to supporting the military. There were sixty-four military mutinies and failed or successful coups in Africa in 196348 alone, and many American specialists thought that military coups were a healthy response to foreign "alien ideologies" that such civilians as Nkrumah, Lumumba, or African socialists were advocating. These more "realistic" officers, their reasoning went, would be "more receptive to the free world economic doctrine and technology." CIA experts tried to amend this optimistic analysis by pointing out that while officers were becoming the decisive power group in Africa, they shared none of the military's capacity elsewhere to administer nations. They were primarily ambitious and interested in power, but rather than noting the risks in this reality Washington simply accepted the military as a dominant, unavoidable, and desirable fact of life. But in its quest for stability, which by 1966 caused even the small group of reformers among U.S. decisionmakers to regard the African political climate after so many military takeovers as "the best it has ever been," the United States opted for relying on the armies in Africa also.

Confronting the Third World

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