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Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and they own it and we want it”

(Anonymous Trump official)

Introduction

US hostility and efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government forms parts of a long and inglorious history of US intervention in Latin America going back to the second decade of the 19th century.

In 1823 US President Monroe declared, in his name, the ‘Monroe Doctrine” – the US right to keep Europeans out of the region, but the right of the US to intervene in pursuit of its economic, political and military interests.

We will proceed to outline the historical phases of US political and military intervention on behalf of US corporate and banking interests in the region and the Latin American political and social movements which opposed it.

The first period runs from the late 19th century to the 1930’s, and includes Marine invasions , the installation of US client dictatorships and the resistance of popular revolutions led by several revolutionary leaders in El Salvador, (Farabundo Marti), Nicaragua, (Augusto Sandino), Cuba (Jose Marti) and Mexico [Lazaro Cárdenas].

We will then discuss the Post-WWII US interventions , the overthrow of popular governments and the repression of social movements, including Guatemala (1954), Chile coup (1973), US invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1982),and Panama (1989).

We will then exam US efforts to overthrow the Venezuela government (1998 to the present).

US Policy to Latin America: Democracy, Dictatorship and Social Movements

US General Smedley Butler summarized his 33 years in the military as a ‘muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers . . . I helped Mexico safe for American oil interest in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for National City Bank, to collect revenue . . . I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the . . . House of Brown Brothers in 1902 – 1912. I brought a light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interest in 2016. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903 . . . looking back on it, I could have given Al Capone a few hints’!

During the first 40 years of the 20th century the US invaded Cuba, converted it into a quasi-colony and repudiated its hero of independence Jose Marti; it provided advisers and military support to El Salvador’s dictator, assassinated its revolutionary leader Farabundo Marti and murdered 30,000 landless peasants seeking land reform. The US intervened in Nicaragua, fought against its patriotic leader Augusto Sandino and installed a dictatorial dynasty led by the Somoza regime until it was overthrown in 1979. The US intervened in Cuba to install a military dictatorship in 1933 to suppress an uprising of sugar workers .Between 1952 – 1958 Washington armed the Batista dictatorship to destroy the revolutionary July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro. In the late 1930s the US threatened to invade Mexico when President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the US oil companies and redistributed land to millions of landless peasants.

With the defeat of fascism (1941-45), there was an upsurge of social democratic governments in Latin America.But the US objected. In 1954 the US overthrew the elected Guatemala president Jacobo Arbenz for expropriating the banana plantations of United Fruit Company. It backed a military coup in Brazil in 1964, the military remained in power for 20 years. In 1963 the US overthrew the Dominican Republic’s democratically elected government of Juan Bosch and invaded in 1965 to prevent a popular uprising . In 1973 the US supported a military coup overthrowing democratic socialist president Salvador Allende and backed the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet for nearly 20 years. Subsequently, the US intervened and occupied Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.

US propped up rightwing regimes throughout the region which backed US banking and corporate oligarchs which exploited resources, workers and peasants.

But by the early 1990’s powerful social movements led by workers, peasants, middle class public employees/doctors and teachers challenged the alliance of domestic and US elite rulers. In Brazil the 300,000 strong rural workers movement (MST) succeeded in expropriating large fallow estates; in Bolivia indigenous miners and peasants including coca farmers overthrew the oligarchy. In Argentina general strikes and mass movements of unemployed workers overthrew corrupt rulers allied with City Bank. The success of the popular nationalist and populist movements led to democratic elections won by progressive and leftist Presidents throughout Latin America, especially Venezuela.

Venezuela: Democratic Election, Social Reforms and the Election of President Chavez

In 1989 the US backed President of Venezuela imposed austerity programs that provoked popular demonstrations which led to the government ordering the police and military to repress the demonstrators: several thousand were killed and wounded. Hugo Chavez, a military official, rebelled and supported the populer uprising.He was captured, arrested, later freed and ran for presidential office.. He was elected by a wide margin in 1999 on a program of social reforms, economic nationalism, an end of corruption and political independence.

Washington began a hostile campaign to pressure President Chavez to accept Washington’s (President Bush) global war agenda in Afghanistan and around the world. Chavez refused to submit. He declared, “You don’t fight terror with terror”. By late 2001 the US Ambassador met with the business elite and a sector of the military to oust President elect Chavez via a coup in April 2002. The coup lasted 24 hours ..Over a million people, mostly slum dwellers, marched to the Presidential palace, backed by military loyalists .They defeated the coup and restored President Chavez to power. He proceeded to win a dozen democratic elections and referendums over the following decade. President Chavez succeeded in large part because of his comprehensive program of socio-economic reforms favoring the workers, unemployed and middle class.

Over 2 million houses and apartments were built and distributed free to the popular classes; hundreds of clinics and hospitals provided free health care in the populous neighborhoods; universities, training schools and medical centers for low income students were built with free tuition.

Thousands in neighborhood community centers and ‘local collectives’ discussed and voted on social and political issues – including criticism and recall of local politicians, even elected Chavez’ officials.

Between 1998 and 2012, President Chavez won four straight Presidential elections,several congressional majorities and two national referendums, garnering between 56% and over 60% of the popular vote.After Chavez died President Maduro won elections in 2013 and 2018 but by a narrower margin. Democracy flourished, elections were free and open to all parties.

As a result of the inability of US backed candidates to win elections, Washington resorted to violent street riots,and appealed to the military to revolt and reverse the electoral results. The US applied sanctions beginning with President Obama and deepen with President Trump. The US seized billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets, and oil refineries in the US. The US selected a (non-elected) new President (Guaido) who was directed to subvert the military to revolt and seize power.

They failed: about one hundred soldiers out of 267,000 and a few thousand rightwing supporters heeded the call. The “opposition” revolt was a failure.

 
An Assessment
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Introduction

US global power in the Trump period reflects the continuities and changes which are unfolding rapidly and deeply throughout the world and which are affecting the position of Washington.

Assessing the dynamics of US global power is a complex problem which requires examining multiple dimensions.

We will proceed by:

  1. Conceptualizing the principles which dictate empire building, specifically the power bases and the dynamic changes in relations and structures which shape the present and future position of the US.
  2. Identifying the spheres of influence and power and their growth and decline.
  3. Examining the regions of conflict and contestation.
  4. The major and secondary rivalries.
  5. The stable and shifting relations between existing and rising power centers.
  6. The internal dynamics shaping the relative strength of competing centers of global power.
  7. The instability of the regimes and states seeking to retain and expand global power.

Conceptualization of Global Power

US global power is built on several significant facts. These include: the US victory in World War II, its subsequent advanced economy and dominant military position throughout five continents.

The US advanced its dominance through a series of alliances in Europe via NATO; Asia via its hegemonic relationship with Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand in Oceana; Latin America via traditional client regimes; Africa via neo-colonial rulers imposed following independence.

US global power was built around encircling the USSR and China, undermining their economies and defeating their allies militarily via regional wars.

Post WWII global economic and military superiority created subordinated allies and established US global power, but it created the bases for gradual shifts in relations of dominance.

US global power was formidable but subject to economic and military changes over time and in space.

US Spheres of Power: Then and Now

US global power exploited opportunities but also suffered military setbacks early on, particularly in Korea, Indo-China and Cuba. The US spheres of power were clearly in place in Western Europe and Latin America but was contested in Eastern Europe and Asia.

The most significant advance of US global power took place with the demise and disintegration of the USSR, the client states in Eastern Europe, as well as the transformation of China and Indo-China to capitalism during the 1980’s.

US ideologues declared the coming of a unipolar empire free of restraints and challenges to its global and regional power. The US turned to conquering peripheral adversaries. Washington destroyed Yugoslavia and then Iraq – fragmenting them into mini-states. Wall Street promoted a multitude of multi-national corporations to invade China and Indo-China who reaped billions of profits exploiting cheap labor.

The believers of the enduring rule of US global power envisioned a century of US imperial rule.

In reality this was a short-sighted vision of a brief interlude.

The End of Unipolarity: New Rivalries and Global and Regional Centers of Power: An Overview

US global power led Washington into ‘overreach’, in several crucial areas: it launched a series of costly prolonged wars, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, which had three negative consequences: the destruction of the Iraq armed forces and economy led to the rise of the Islamic State which overtook most of the country; the occupation in Afghanistan which led to the emergence of the Taliban and an ongoing twenty year war which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and several thousand wounded and dead US soldiers; as a result the majority of the US public turned negative toward wars and empire building

The US pillage and dominance of Russia ended, when President Putin replaced Yeltsin’s vassal state. Russia rebuilt its industry, science, technology and military power. Russia’s population recovered its living standards.

With Russian independence and advanced military weaponry, the US lost its unipolar military power. Nevertheless, Washington financed a coup which virtually annexed two thirds of the Ukraine. The US incorporated the fragmented Yugoslavian ‘statelets’ into NATO. Russia countered by annexing the Crimea and secured a mini-state adjacent Georgia.

China converted the economic invasion of US multi-national corporations into learning experiences for building its national economy and export platforms which contributed which led to its becoming an economic competitor and rival to the US.

US global empire building suffered important setbacks in Latin America resulting

from the the so-called Washington Consensus. The imposition of neo-liberal policies privatized and plundered their economies, impoverished the working and middle class, and provoked a series of popular uprising and the rise of radical social movements and center-left governments.

The US empire lost spheres of influence in some regions (China, Russia, Latin America, Middle East) though it retained influence among elites in contested regions and even launched new imperial wars in contested terrain. Most notably the US attacked independent regimes in Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Sudan via armed proxies.

The change from a unipolar to a multi polar world and the gradual emergence of regional rivals led US global strategists to rethink their strategy. The Trump regime’s aggressive policies set the stage for political division within the regime and among allies.

The Obama – Trump Convergence and Differences on Empire Building

By the second decade of the 21st century several new global power alignments emerged: China had become the main economic competitor for world power and Russia was the major military challenger to US military supremacy at the regional level. The US replaced the former European colonial empire in Africa. Washington’s sphere of influence extended especially in North and Sub Sahara Africa: Kenya, Libya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Trump gained leverage in the Middle East namely in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Jordan.

Israel retained its peculiar role, converting the US as its sphere of influence.

But the US faced regional rivals for sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Algeria.

In South Asia US faced competition for spheres of influence from China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Latin America sharp and abrupt shifts in spheres of influence were the norm. US influence declined between 2000 – 2015 and recovered from 2015 to the present.

Imperial Power Alignments Under President Trump

President Trump faced complex global, regional and local political and economic challenges.

Trump followed and deepened many of the policies launched by the Obama- Hillary Clinton policies with regard to other countries and regions . However Trump also radicalized and/or reversed policies of his predecessors. He combined flattery and aggression at the same time.

At no time did Trump recognize the limits of US global power. Like the previous three presidents he persisted in the belief that the transitory period of a unipolar global empire could be re-imposed.

Toward Russia, a global competitor, Trump adopted a policy of ‘rollback’. Trump imposed economic sanctions, with the strategic ‘hope’ that by impoverishing Russia, degrading its financial and industrial sectors that he could force a regime change which would convert Moscow into a vassal state.

 
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Introduction

By the end of the Obama regime, the US had gone through seven wars and was in the process of losing five of them. Washington was facing global challenges to its dominant economic and political role from Russia and China. The US adopted a dual response: to pursue a policy of reconciliation with regional adversaries – (Iran and Cuba) – and to promote a policy of confrontation toward China and Russia.

President Obama and Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton sought to encircle China in Asia and ‘rollback’ Russia’s influence and ties with neighboring countries (like the Ukraine) and Middle Eastern allies (Syria).

The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, competed with the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton for global supremacy but through subterfuge, cloaking their drive for world power with a ‘nationalist agenda’ (‘make America strong’) . . . Donald Trump and Clinton shared the strategic goal focused on weakening and destroying rivals and competitors in China, Russia and EU.

The problem is that the US public, having suffered through three decades of losing and costly wars, was in no mood to opt for more of the same.

Candidate and subsequent President Donald Trump pursued a double discourse; talking of peace negotiations while pursuing aggressive wars, following essentially the Obama-Clinton line.

Since both parties followed similar unpopular policies which threatened to deepen inequalities and multiply wars, they both adopted a policy of strategic deception by focusing on clearly peripheral issues that served to intensify electoral conflict and deflected public attention from their essential convergence on imperial goals.

The Democrats could not defeat or discredit President Trump by acknowledging the continuities in policy. Hence the Democrat embraced a bizarre conspiracy that the Republicans and Trump were colluding with the Russians to steal the elections and betray democracy and the American people. The Republicans responded by pursuing and deepening the Obama-Clinton program by adopting and radicalizing their anti-Russian, China, Iranian, Venezuela, Cuban policies. President Trump embraced the Democratic globalist agenda but cloaked it with a bellicose pseudo ‘nationalist’ ideology.

In a word, the Democratic Party and President Trump engaged in prolonged shadow boxing over whom and how they would direct the US global power grab.

The key to the party-partisan shadow boxing was the Mueller Report ; specifically, the Democratic Party’s attempt to oust Trump without exposing their imperial convergence.

The Mueller Report (MR)

After a two-year investigation no Russian conspiracy was discovered and no one cared – the public have other concerns.

According to a compilation by foreign policy analyst Steve Lendman, Mueller’s “Report” employed ‘40 FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants and other professional staff for over 2 years and spent $25 million dollars’. According to Lendman they issued 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, interviewed over 500 individuals and made 34 indictments in search for evidence .

None of which pertained to the Russian-Trump plot..

Was the Money and Resources Wasted by the Mueller Report?

According to most critics of the Mueller Report (MR) it was a ‘big waste of money’. That would be true if the purpose of the MR was designed to discover a politically partisan case to impeach Trump.

However, if the deeper meaning of the MR was to distract public attention from large-scale, long-term issues of climate change, living standards, trade wars, economic sanctions, wars and the declining economy, then the money allocated to the MR was well taken.

Twenty-five million dollars spent to distract citizens from a war budget of nearly a trillion dollars was a bargain – very cheap entry fee for witnessing an inconclusive bi-partisan shadow boxing match.

In particular the Democratic Party could burnish their ‘fighting powers’ without risking their alliance and ties with donors on Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, Big Pharma etc.

President Trump could engage the MR by fighting and winning and not have to face his bigger problems with disenchanted supporters over the massive tax handouts to the corporate elite, his opposition to peaceful relations with Cuban, Iran, Venezuela and Syria and the popular wrath induced by Trump’s craven submission to Israel’s land grabs in Palestine and Syria.

The public still awaits the so-called bi-partisan trillion-dollar spending legislation for infrastructure reconstruction. Instead the Democrats move from Trump-Russia conspiracies to investigating Trump’s ‘obstruction of justice’.

Two Centuries of US ‘Meddling’ in Latin American Elections

Since the early 19th century when the US self-appointed their right to intervene in Latin America (the Monroe Doctrine), the US has invaded, overthrown, occupied and dictated Latin American economic, political and military policies. Since WWII the US overthrew democratic governments in Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. More recently the US plotted the overthrowing of governments in Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

Neither the Republican or Democratic parties have spoken up to condemn US meddling in the politics of other free and independent countries.. Instead both parties selectively invented fake plots of Russia controlling US voters in place of recognizing that voters were fed up by the Obama-Clinton trillion-dollar bank handouts, Middle East wars and… voted for Trump.

Needless to say, the voters are not impressed by Trump’s ‘victory’ in defeating the Democrats Russian plot.

Fewer and fewer voters are being attracted by the bipartisan shadow boxing – they are no longer distracted and deceived by palace conspiracies. They want trade agreements with China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and Russia that create jobs. They want trillion-dollar infrastructure investments not handouts to war contractors and Israeli lobbies.

The MR is not read by the public; it is ignored and disposed as toilet paper. They want real political and class warfare (not shadow boxing) on health care, student debts, joint ventures with China and Russia and North Korea that increase jobs and avoid wars.

If we go to elections on the basis of four years of public chatter by Wall Street look a-likes, the majority of the American people will not collude in perpetuating their decline and death through wars, drugs and air and water pollution.

 
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Introduction

Over the past half decade, a small army of US analysts, politicians, academics and media pundits have been predicting the imminent fall, overthrow, defeat and replacement of the Venezuelan government. They have been wrong on all counts, in each and every attempt to foist a US client regime.

In fact, most of the US induced ‘regime changes’ has strengthened the support for the Chavez – Maduro government.

When the US promoted a military-business coup in 2002, a million poor people surrounded the presidential palace, allied with the military loyalists, defeated the coup. The US lost their assets among their business and military clients, strengthened President Chavez, and radicalized his social program. Likewise, in 2002-03 when state oil company executives launched a lock-out.They were defeated, and hundreds of hardcore US supporters were fired and Washington lost a strategic ally.

A more recent example is the overbearing role of President Trump’s bellicose proclamation that the US is prepared to invade Venezuela. His threat aroused massive popular resistance in defense of national independence ,even among discontented sectors of the population.

Venezuela is in the vortex of a global struggle which pits the imperial aspirations of Washington against an embattled Venezuela intent on defending its own, and like countries, in support of national and social justice.

We will proceed by discussing the multi-sided means and methods adopted by Washington to overthrow Venezuela’s government and replace it by a client regime.

We will then analyze and describe the reasons why Washington has failed, focusing on the positive strengths of the Venezuelan government.

We will conclude by discussing the lessons and weaknesses of the Venezuelan experience for other aspiring nationalist, popular and socialist governments.

US Opposition: What Venezuela Faces

The US assault on Venezuela’s state and society includes:

  1. A military coup in 2002
  2. A lockout by the executives of the Venezuelan oil company
  3. The exercise of global US power – organized political pressure via clients and allies in Europe, South and North America
  4. Escalating economic sanctions between 2013 – 2019
  5. Street violence between 2013 – 2019
  6. Sabotage of the entire electrical system between 2017 -2019
  7. Hoarding of goods via corporations and distributors from 2014 – 2019
  8. Subversion of military and civilian institutions 2002 – 2019
  9. Regional alliances to expel Venezuelan membership from regional organizations
  10. Economic sanctions accompanied by the seizure of over $10 billion dollars of assets
  11. Sanctions on the banking system

The US direct intervention includes the selection and appointment of opposition leaders and ‘dummy’ representatives overseas.

In brief the US has engaged in a sustained, two decades struggle designed to bring down the Venezuelan government. It combines economic, military, social and media warfare. The US strategy has reduced living standards, undermined economic activity, increased poverty, forced immigration and increaser criminality. Despite the exercise of US global power, it has failed to dislodge the government and impose a client regime.

Why Venezuela has Succeeded?

Despite the two decades of pressure by the world’s biggest imperial power ,which bears responsibility for the world’s highest rate of inflation, and despite the illegal seizure of billions of dollars of Venezuelan assets, the people remain loyal , in defense of their government. The reasons are clear and forthright.

The Venezuelan majority has a history of poverty, marginalization and repression, including the bloody massacre of thousands of protestors in 1989. Millions lived in shanty towns, excluded from higher education and health facilities. The US provided arms and advisers to buttress the politicians who now form the greater part of the US opposition to President Maduro. The US- oligarch alliance extracted billions of dollars from contracts from the oil industry.

Remembrance of this reactionary legacy is one powerful reason why the vast majority of Venezuelans oppose US intervention in support of the puppet opposition.

The second reason for the defeat of the US is the long-term large-scale military support of the Chavez-Maduro governments. Former President Chavez instilled a powerful sense of nationalist loyalty among the military which resists and opposes US efforts to subvert the soldiers.

The popular roots of Presidents Chavez and Maduro resonates with the masses who hate the opposition elites which despise the so-called ‘deplorables’. Chavez and Maduro installed dignity and respect among the poor.

The Venezuelans government defeated the US-backed coups and lockouts, these victories encouraged the belief that the popular government could resist and defeat the US-oligarch opposition. Victories strengthened confidence in the will of the people.

Under Chavez over two million modern houses were built for the shanty town dwellers; over two dozen universities and educational centers were built for the poor, all free of charge . Public hospitals and clinics were built in poor neighborhoods as well as public supermarkets which supplied low-cost food and other necessities which sustain living standards despite subsequent shortages.

Chavez led the formation of the Socialist Party which mobilized and gave voice to the mass of the poor and facilitated representation. Local collectives organized to confront corruption, bureaucracy and criminality. Together with popular militias, the community councils ensured security against CIA fomented terror and destruction.

Land reform and the nationalization of some mines and factories secured peasant and workers support – even if they were divided by sectarian leaders.

Conclusion

The cumulative socio-economic benefits consolidate support for the Venezuelan leadership despite the hardships the US induces in recent times. The mass of the people have gained a new life and have a lot to lose if the US- oligarchy return to power. A successful US coup will likely massacre tens of thousands of popular supporters of the government. The bourgeoisie will take its revenge for those many who have ruled and benefited at the expense of the rich.

There are important lessons to be learned from the long-term large-scale successful resistance of the Venezuelan government’s experience but also its limitations.

Venezuela , early on, secured the loyalty of the army. That’s why the Chavista government has endured over 30 years while the Chilean governments of Salvador Allende was overthrown in three years.

The Venezuelan government retained mass electoral support because of the deep socio-economic changes that entrenched mass support in contrast to the center-left regimes in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador which won three elections but were defeated by their right-wing opponents, including electoral partners, with a downturn in the economy, and the flight of middle-class voters and parties.

Venezuelas linkages with allies in Russia, China and Cuba provided ‘life jackets’ of economic and military support in the face of US interventions, something the center-left governments failed to pursue.

Venezuela built regional alliances with nearly half of South America, weakening US attempts to form a regional or US invasion force.

Despite their strategic successes the Venezuelan government has committed several costly mistakes which increased vulnerability.

  1. Failure to diversify their exports, markets and banking system. The US sanctions exploited these weaknesses.
  2. Failure to carry out monetary reforms to reverse or contain hyperinflation.
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Venezuela 
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The mass murder and wounding of 97 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ) which took place on Friday, March 15, 2019, has profound political, ideological and psychological roots.

First and most important, Western countries led by the Anglo-American world has been at war killing and uprooting millions of Muslims with impunity over the past thirty years. Leading media pundits,political spokespeople and ideologues have identified Muslims as a global terror threat and the targets of a ‘war against terror’. On the very day of the NZ massacre, Israel launched large-scale air attacks on one hundred targets in Gaza. Israel has killed several hundred and wounded over twenty thousand unarmed Palestinians in less than two years. The Israeli massacres take place on Friday the Muslim Sabbath.

Islamophobia is a mass ongoing phenomenon which far exceeds other ‘hate crimes’ throughout the west and permeate Judeo-Christian cultural-political institutions. Western and Israeli political leaders having imposed extremely restrictive immigration policies – in some countries a complete ban on Muslim immigrants. Israeli goes a step further by uprooting and expelling long-standing Islamic residents. Clearly the NZ murderer followed the Western/Israeli practice.

Secondly, in recent years, violent fascist and white supremacy thugs have been tolerated by all the Western regimes and are free to propagate violent anti-Muslim words and deeds. Most of the anti-Muslim massacres were announced in advance on the so-called social media such as Twitter, which reaches millions of followers.

Thirdly, while the local and federal police collect ‘data’ and spy on Muslims and law-abiding citizens, they apparently fail to include self-identified murderous anti-Muslim advocates.

Such as the case in the recent New Zealand mass murderer, Brenton Torrant.

The police and NZ Security Intelligence Services did not keep files and surveillance on Torrant, despite his open embrace of violent white supremacy and leading supremacists including the Norwegian Anders Brevet murderer of over 70 children-campers.

Torrant published a 74 page anti-Muslim manifesto easily available to anyone with a computer – even a dumb cop– let along the entire New Zealand security forces. Torrant planned the attack months in advance, yet he was not on any ‘watch list’.

Torrant had no trouble getting a gun license and buying a dozen high-powered weapons, including the material for improvised explosive devices (IED), which the police later discovered attached to a vehicle.

Why were the Police Late

The Al Noor Mosque which suffered the greatest number killed and wounded was in downtown Christchurch less than 5 minutes from the police headquarters – yet the police took over 36 minutes to respond. The white supremacist was allowed time to murder and maim; to leave the mosque and return to his car; reload and re-enter the mosque; empty his ammo on the Muslims worshipping—- using a civilian version of a M16; drive off to the Linwood Islamic Center and slaughter and maim several more Muslim worshipers, before the police finally appeared on the scene and apprehended him.

The mayor praised the police! One might suspect the authorities were in connivance!

What accounts for the total absence or failure of the political authorities and security forces: the lack of prior investigation; the delays at the time of the crimes; and the lack of any self-criticism?

The Rise of the Anti-Immigrant anti-Muslim Far Right

The Brenton Torrants’ are proliferating around the world and not because they are mentally disturbed or self-induced psycho paths. They are less products of white supremacy ideology and more likely products of the Western and Israeli wars against Muslims – their leaders provide the rationale, their methods (weapons) and claims of immunity.

Western regimee keep files on environmentalist and anti-war protestors but not on anti-Muslim supremacists, openly preparing war against ‘invading’ Muslim immigrants – fleeing US and EU war on the Middle East.

The police take a half-minute to respond to the shooting of a police officer. They do not allow police killers to shoot, re-arm, shoot and move on to another police target.

I do not believe the delays are local police negligence.

The massacre was a result of the fact that the victims were Muslims, in a mosque. The tears and wreaths, the prayers and flags after the fact do not and will not change the murder of Muslim people.

Educational campaigns to counter Islamophobia may help, if and only if effective state action is directed against the Western and Israeli wars against Islamic countries and people.

Only when Western elected officials end imposing special restrictions against so-called ‘invading’ Muslims, will ‘White supremacists’ and their ideological offspring cease recruiting followers among otherwise normal citizens.

Massacres at mosques and crimes against individual Muslims will cease to occur when imperialist states and their rulers stop invading, occupying and uprooting Islamic countries and people.

 
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Going into the third year of President Trump’s presidency, it is necessary to draw a balance sheet on who is winning and/or losing.

We will proceed by first analyzing domestic outcomes and then turn to foreign policy

Power Bases of the Parties

The Democrats secured a majority in Congress, but the Republican retained their majority in the Senate; Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court secured a majority.

The Democrats received the support of four major television propaganda outlets (ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR), to one for the Republicans (FOX). The news print media reflected a similar advantage for the Democrats – the NY Times, the Washington Post, The Financial Times backed the Democrats while the Wall Street Journal leaned to President Trump with notable exceptions on trade policy.

Party Successes and Failures

The Democrats succeeded in diverting President Trump from most of his political agenda via prolonged ‘hearings’ on Russia, and charges of Trump collusion ; the Mueller investigation; the funding of the US-Mexico border; and other peripheral issues.

President Trump succeeded in major tax cuts for the wealthy – with the support of the Congressional Democrats – a major win.

The principal programmatic issues proposed by both parties were never raised.

The Democrats ecological agenda and international accords were defeated by Trump; on the other hand the Republicans failed to reverse most of the existing environmental agreements.

Trump succeeded in reversing or revising US trade agreements especially the Trans Pacific Partnership, the US-Iran Nuclear (and sanctions) Agreement, and revision of NAFTA. The Democrats were divided and ineffective critics.

While both the President and Congress claimed to support a massive multi-billion-dollar federal infrastructure program to rebuild the crumbling structures, nothing was done.

The Trump administration promise to ‘re-industrialize’ the US was a failure, as several major manufacturers left, and a few returned to the US.

Growth was largely in the ‘service sector’ especially at the high end of finance and the low end – in nursing homes, restaurants and cleaners.

Democrats promoted the elite in Silicon Valley and billionaire retailers like Amazon.

In a word the economic policies of both the President and Congress failed to promote ‘structural changes’; their major tax reforms were regressive; severe income inequalities remained in place.

Trump increased gender, racial and sexual discrimination, while the Democrats opposed his policies with mixed results.

Trump encouraged the far-right to mobilize against abortion and in support of police violence against Afro-Americans; the Democratic Party provided verbal opposition to Trump’s rollback;most of their energy was directed to peripheral issues —Trump’s sexual escapades and other personality issues.

Foreign Policy

President Trump’s electoral agenda promised to end US military intervention in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democrats were opposed and condemned his ‘appeasement’. The Democratic Congress joined forces with Trump’s neo-conservative cabinet and Senate hawks in reversing Trump’s agenda – he retained troop everywhere; and extended sanctions against Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China.

The Democrats joined with US multi-national corporations in defense of ‘globalization or free trade, defeating Trump’s initial protectionist “America First” policies. In the end Trump combined the worst trade policies of the Democrats in Congress with the war policies of key senior Cabinet members (Pompeo, Bolton, Abrams et al.).

Trump followed and deepened the Congressional Democrats war policies. Under Democratic pressure Trump retained US troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; supported Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen; backed Israel’s conquest of Palestine; recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and increased military aid to Netanyahu.

Led by the Democrats, Trump’s administration equated criticism of Israeli war crimes with ‘anti-Semitism’ and sought to make it a criminal offense.

Trump’s original overtures to improving relations with Russia were reversed. Under Democratic pressure via the Mueller ‘show trials’ the Trump Administration joined the anti-Russia chorus.

Likewise with China, Democrats demanded a ‘turn to Asia’ which included trade sanctions and restrictions; Trump went one step further by promoting a trade war.

Trump recognized North Korea as a trading partner, the Democrats condemned his opening. Trump capitulated and embraced non-reciprocal negotiations.

Trump’s adoption of the Democrats hardline foreign policy served only as a propaganda tool for the Democrats to condemn his failure to implement it through a coalition with allies

Trump sanctions and coup policies directed against Venezuela’s elected government followed in the footsteps of the Obama regime – with greater force. The majority of both parties –with the exception of a handful of junior Democratic Congresspeople– support US intervention including a pending US military invasion.

While Trump broke the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by Obama, many if not most of the Democrats did not object because of their close ties to Israel.

Conclusion

Neither President Trump nor the Democratic Congress have secured clear and decisive victory in their ongoing political conflicts and spats.

Trump has failed to reduce the trade deficit – in fact it has risen over the past two years.

Democrats have trumpeted the result but cannot claim that they have an alternative. Trump succeeded in raising the military budget with the backing of the Democrats, ignoring social needs. Trump succeeded in reducing taxes for the rich. Despite critics on the left of the Democratic Party, most of its leaders joined the Republicans ,simply mouthing verbal criticism of Trumps tax give away as ‘one-sided’.

Trump has been defeated on the issues of abortion, gay and minority rights but the Democrats have failed to advance the struggles, especially the issues of police violence against racial minorities.

Trump has blocked any attempt to introduce a national public health program for all. But a majority of Democratic legislators have sided with Trump, despite the fact that the voters from both parties support it.

The biggest victory for the Democrats has been to divert Trump from his political and economic agenda through public hearings and Congressional investigations into his hush money payoffs, private real estate deals, dubious tax payments and his supposed meetings and chats with “the Russians”.

Trump initially promised to reduce the US military presence but under pressure from his own Cabinet and advisors, recommitted US troops to all the losing war zones – including the US originated wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya.

Likewise, Trump opened the door to negotiations with Russia and North Korea but retracted under attack from his Cabinet and the Democratic majority.

In a perverse manner, the Democratic Congress has defeated Trump on his initial peace initiatives and scored wins in lowering funding for the President’s Mexican border wall.

In sum, the Democrats ‘victories’ have exacerbated the state’s global war agenda.

The Democrats domestic victories have led to the blocking of parts of Trump’s reactionary domestic program.

The ‘victories’ of both parties have had a regressive effect on the vast majority of workers and employees.

At most, political diversion have prevented further regression.

Clearly the so-called ‘division of powers’, ‘competitive parties’ and ‘bipartisan’ politics have not led to ‘representative government’ or democratic results.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democratic Party, Donald Trump 
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Introduction

The US is currently engaged in negotiations with at least a dozen countries; which involve fundamental political, military and economic issues.

The US has adopted diplomatic strategies in the face of its ‘inability’ to secure military victories. The purpose of adopting a diplomatic approach is to secure through negotiations, in part or fully, goals and advantages unattainable through military means.

While diplomacy is less subject to military and economic losses it does require making concessions. Negotiations are only successful if there are reciprocal benefits to both parties.

Those regimes which demand maximum advantages and minimum concessions, usually fail or succeed because they are based on very unequal power relations.

We will proceed to evaluate Washington’s success or failure in recent negotiations and analyze the reasons and consequences for the outcome.

US – North Korea Negotiations

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have been engaged in negotiations, for nearly a year. The White House has prioritized the ‘de-nuclearization’ of the peninsula which includes dismantling nuclear weapons, missiles, test sets and other strategic military objectives.

North Korea seeks the end of economic sanctions, the signing of a US-Korean peace treaty and diplomatic recognition. A decisive meeting between the two took place Feb. 26-27, 2019 in Hanoi.

The negotiations were a total failure. Washington failed to secure any gains, nor did they advance the peace process; and there are no future prospects.

North Korea offered three significant concessions which were not reciprocated. President Kim Jong-Un proposed to (1) dismantle nuclear testing sites (2) announce a moratorium on nuclear tests and inter-continental range ballistic missiles tests (3) agreed to partially dismantle missile engine test sites.

Washington offered nothing in return – instead it demanded total disarmament; no lifting of sanctions; no signing of the end of the US-Korea war.

Washington’s asymmetrical ‘negotiations’ were pre-determined to fail. The US underestimated the capacity of the North Koreans to insist on reciprocity; they believed that future verbal promises would entice the North Koreans to disarm. The Koreans were fully aware of the recent US record of reneging on signed agreements with Iran, China and its partners in the Belt and Road agreement.

Moreover, North Korea had powerful allies in China and Russia and nuclear weapons to resist added US pressure.

US – Iran Negotiations

US and Iran negotiated an agreement to terminate economic sanctions in exchange for ending nuclear weapons development. It temporarily succeeded but was quickly reversed by the Trump regime. The White House demanded Iran dismantle its missile defense program and threatened a military attack. Washington did not bargain, it sought to impose a one-sided ‘solution’. The UK,France,Germany Russia and China, co-signers of the agreement, rejected the Trump dictate, but a number of major EU multi-national corporations capitulated to the White House demand to tighten sanctions.

As a consequence, the US deliberate sabotage of negotiations pushed Iran closer to Russia, China and alternative markets while the US remained wedded to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The former engaged in a losing war with Yemen, the latter remained an international pariah receiving billions of US handouts.

US – China Negotiations

The US has engaged in negotiations with China to downgrade its economy and retain US global supremacy. Beijing has agreed to increase its imports from Washington and tighten controls over Chinese use of US technology, but the US has not offered any concessions. Instead Washington has demanded that China end the state’s role in financing its cutting- edge technology, artificial intelligence and communication innovations.

In other words, China is expected to surrender its structural advantages in order to avoid harsh White House tariffs which would reduce Chinese exports.

There is no reciprocity. The Trump regime operates by threats to China which, however, will have negative effects on US farmers dependent on Chinese markets; on US importers, especially the retail sector which imports Chinese products; consumers who will suffer higher prices for goods purchased from China.

In addition, China will deepen its links with alternative markets in Asia, Africa, Russia, Latin America and elsewhere.

As of the most recent year (2018) China’s positive trade balance with the US rose to $419 billion dollars while the US was forced to increase its subsidies to US agro-exporters to compensate for loss of sales to China.

After several months of negotiations US representatives have secured trade concessions but failed to impose a breakdown of China’s economic model.

By the middle of 2019, while negotiations continue, the likelihood of a ‘grand bargain’ is dismal. In large part this is because Washington fails to recognize that its weakened global position requires that the US engage in ‘structural changes’, which means that the Treasury invests in technology; labor upgrades and education. The US should practice reciprocal relations with dynamic trading partners;to do so, Washington needs to invest billions to upgrade its domestic infrastructure; and reallocate federal spending from military spending and wars to domestic priorities and productive overseas agreements. US diplomatic relations with China based on threats and tariffs are failing and economic negotiations are deteriorating.

 

US – Venezuela: Non-Negotiations a Formula for Defeat

Over the past half- decade (2015 – 2019) Washington has succeeded in restoring client regimes in Latin America, by military coups, political intervention and economic pressure. As a consequence, the White House has successfully ‘negotiated’ one-sided political, economic, social and diplomatic outcomes in the region … with the exception of Cuba and Venezuela.

President Trump has broken negotiated agreements with Cuba to no advantage; US threats have led to Cuba securing greater ties with Europe, China, Russia and elsewhere without affecting Cuba’s tourist business.

The Trump regime has escalated its political and economic propaganda and social war against Venezuela. Multiple overt coup efforts have backfired beginning in April 2002 to February 2019.

While the US succeeded in the rest of Latin America in consolidating hemispheric hegemony, in the case of Venezuela, Washington has suffered diplomatic defeats and the growth of greater popular resistance.

US interventionist and sanctions policies have sharply reduced the presence of its middle and lower middle class supporters who have fled abroad. US propaganda has failed to secure the support of the Venezuelan military which has become more ‘nationalist’ with very few desertions.

The White House appointment of the convicted felon Elliott Abrams, known as the ‘butcher of Central America’, has certainly undermined any prospect of a favorable diplomatic settlement.

US sanctions of political and military leaders precludes efforts to co-opt and recruit leaders. The US appointed as its ‘interim ruler’ one Juan Guido who has little domestic support – widely seen domestically as an imperial stooge.

The US non-negotiated successes in Latin America have blinded Washington to the different conditions in Venezuela; where structural socio-economic reforms and nationalist military training consolidated political support.

In the case of Venezuela, the US refusal to enter into negotiations has led to greater polarization and multiple defeats, including the failed coup of February 23/24 2019.

US – Russia: Colluding with Failed Diplomacy

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela 
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The Western Hemisphere is our Region”

Michael Pompeo, US Secretary of State

Introduction

Not since the US pronounced the Monroe Doctrine proclaiming its imperial supremacy over Latin America, nearly 200 years ago, has a White House regime so openly affirmed its mission to recolonize Latin America.

The second decade of the 21st century has witnessed, in word and deed, the most thorough and successful US recolonization of Latin America, and its active and overt role as colonial sepoys of an imperial power.

In this paper we will examine the process of recolonization and the strategy tactics and goals which are the driving forces of colony- building. We will conclude by discussing the durability, stability and Washington’s capacity to retain ownership of the Hemisphere.

A Brief History of 20th Century Colonization and Decolonization

US colonization of Latin America was based on direct US military, economic, cultural and political interventions with special emphasis on Central America, North America (Mexico) and the Caribbean. Washington resorted to military invasions, to impose favorite trade and investment advantages and appointed and trained local military forces to uphold colonial rule and to ensure submission to US regional and global supremacy.

The US challenged rival European colonial powers – in particular England and Germany, and eventually reduced them to marginal status, through military and economic pressure and threats.

The recolonization process suffered severe setbacks in some regions and nations with the onset of the Great Depression which undermined the US military and economic presence and facilitated the rise of powerful nationalist regimes and movements in particular in Argentina, Brazil, Chile Nicaragua and Cuba.

The process of ‘decolonization’ led to, and included, the nationalization of US oil fields, sugar and mining sectors; a shift in foreign policy toward relatively greater independence; and labor laws which increased workers’ rights and leftwing unionization.

The US victory in World War II and its economic supremacy led Washington to re-assert its colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere. The Latin American regimes lined up with Washington in the Cold and Hot wars, backing the US wars against China, Korea, Vietnam and the confrontation against the USSR and Eastern Europe.

For Washington, working through its colonized dictatorial regimes, invaded every sector of the economy, especially agro-minerals; it proceeded to dominate markets and sought to impose colonized trade unions run by the imperial-centered AFL-CIO.

By the early 1960’s a wave of popular nationalist and socialist social movements challenged the colonial order, led by the Cuban revolution and accompanied by nationalist governments throughout the continent including Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. US multi-national manufacturing firms were forced to engage in joint ventures or were nationalized, as were oil, mineral and energy sectors.

Nationalists proceeded to substitute local products for imports, as a development strategy. A process of decolonization was underway!

The US reacted by launching a war to recolonize Latin America by through military coups, invasions and rigged elections. Latin America once more lined up with the US in support of its economic boycott of Cuba,and the repression of nationalist governments. The US reversed nationalist policies and denationalized their economies under the direction of US controlled so-called international financial organizations – like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) Inter-American Development Bank.

The recolonization process advanced, throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, under the auspices of newly imposed military regimes and the new ‘neo-liberal’ free-market doctrine.

Once again recolonization led to highly polarized societies in which the domestic colonized elites were a distinct minority. Moreover, the colonial economic doctrine allowed the US banks and investors to plunder the Latin countries, impose out- of -control debt burdens, de-industrialization of the economies, severe increases in unemployment and a precipitous decline in living standards.

By the early years of the 21st century, deepening colonization led to an economic crisis and the resurgence of mass movements and new waves of nationalist-popular movements which sought to reverse – at least in part – the colonial relationship and structures.

Colonial debts were renegotiated or written off; a few foreign firms were nationalized; taxes were increased on agro-exporters; increases in public welfare spending reduced poverty ; public investment increased salaries and wages. A process of de-colonization advanced, aided by a boom in commodity pieces.

Twenty-first century decolonization was partial and affected only a limited sector of the economy; it mainly increased popular consumption rather than structural changes in property and financial power.

De-colonization co-existed with colonial power elites. The major significant changes took place with regard to regional policies. Decolonizing elites established regional alliance which excluded or minimized the US presence.

Regional power shifted to Argentina and Brazil in Mercosur; Venezuela in Central America and the Caribbean; Ecuador and Bolivia in the Andean region.

But as history has demonstrated, imperial power can suffer reverses and lose collaborators but while the US retains its military and economic levers of power it can and will use all the instruments of power to recolonize the region, in a step by step approach, incorporating regions in its quest for hemisphere supremacy.

The Recolonization of Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, and the Lima Pact Against Venezuela

As the first decade of the 21st century unfolded numerous Latin American governments and movements began the process of decolonization, displacing US client regimes, taking the lead in regional organizations, diversifying their markets and trading partners.

Nevertheless, the leaders and parties were incapable and unwilling to break with local elites tied to the US colonization project.

Vulnerable to downward movements in commodity prices, composed of heterogeneous political alliances and unable to create or deepen anti-colonial culture, the US moved to reconstruct its colonial project.

The US struck first at the ‘weakest link’ of the decolonization process. The US backed coups in Honduras and Paraguay. Then Washington turned to converting the judiciary and congress as stepping stones for launching a political attack on the strategic regimes in Argentina and Brazil and turning secondary regimes in Ecuador, Chile, Peru and El Salvador into the US orbit.

As the recolonization process advanced, the US regained its dominance in regional and international organizations. The colonized regimes privatized their economies and Washington secured regimes willing to assume onerous debts, previously repudiated.

The US advances in recolonization looked toward targeting the oil rich, dynamic and formidable anti-colonial government in Venezuela.

Venezuela was targeted for several strategic reasons.

First, Venezuela under President Chavez opposed US regional and global colonial ambitions.

Secondly, Caracas provided financial resources to bolster and promote anti-colonial regimes throughout Latin America especially in the Caribbean and Central America.

 
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Introduction

In these times, when the United States pursues an unprecedented military build-up, promotes coups and trade wars, breaks weapons agreements, organizes the illegal seizure of overseas financial accounts, building barriers and walls along the southern border, Washington can count on the mass media to provide a variety of propaganda messages, ranging from the predictable ‘yellow ’ to the sophisticated ‘serious press’ .

While the political class dismisses the sensational press, they are avid readers of the ‘prize winning’ propaganda newspapers and their columnists

Among the perceptive readers who follow the serious press one can hear periodical outburst of laughter or observe cynical smiles.

The ‘serious’ newspapers which draw the greatest attention include the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Though they vary in the style and quality of their writers, they all follow the same political line, especially on issues pertaining to US imperial power.

For our purposes – and because I have been a long-time subscriber of the Financial Times (FT)—, this essay will concentrate on its journalists and their articles.

 

Armchair Militarists and “Western Values”

Gideon Rachman is a senior columnist for the FT who travels around the world and has a unique ability to preach ‘western values’ . . . selectively. Commentating on contemporary US and EU politics, Rachman attributes to them ‘western values’– representative democracy, individual freedom and the rule of law…. overlooking two decades of imperial invasions, several hundred US bases around the world and countless violations of international law.

According to Rachman’s notion of ‘western values’ there is a historical legacy a long tradition of constitutional government, – overlooking the conquest of five continents.

Moreover, while Rachman has consistently condemned Syria for human rights violations, he systematically avoids Israel’s weekly murder and wounding of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian protestors. Most knowledgeable writers wink and grin as they read his selective labeling of western values.

John Paul ‘Ratface’ Rathbone is one of FT leading contributors on Latin America who specializes in celebrating murderous regimes and promoting US policies which overthrow freely elected democracies. During the first decade of the 21st century, “Ratface” (as some of his loyal readers refer to him), wrote eulogies about Colombia’s murderous President Alvaro Uribe (2002 – 2010) as he slaughtered hundreds of thousands of insurgents and activists.

While Uribe’s death squads rain amok driving millions of peasants from their villages, Ratface frolicked in downtown night clubs and high-end bordellos enjoyed by oligarchs and tourists.

Consistent with the Ratface’s version of Colombia’s death squad democracy he condemned ‘the populist’ popularly elected democracies of Brazil and Venezuela.

Having distant ties to Cuba, Rathbone reminisces about the good times in pre-revolutionary Havana, its stately mansions and the fun city, as he ignores the common police practice of pulling fingernails of political dissidents.

Rathbone evokes occasional cynical smiles from columnists who are embarrassed by his toadying to Washington’s intelligence operatives.

Columnist Philip Stephens in the perennial bleeding-heart liberal who sheds tears for all of his pro-western martyrs, except those Downing Street designates as pro-Russian terrorists. Stephens wears his ‘liberal democratic’ credentials on his backside – from which he emits his gaseous defense of UK imperials wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Stephen’s uncovers ‘undemocratic values’ in Putin’s poisonous operations even in provincial English villages.

Russian journalists are not excited by Philip’s journalistic ejaculations. He is the occasional butt of after work banter and laughter.

The Dean of the Times economic reportage is Martin “Marty” Wolf, who is well-known throughout the craft as the thoughtful advocate of welfare plutocracy. Martin advocates equality, justice . . . free markets for everybody but only the rich can meet his criteria. Marty finds and condemns populists of every hue. He engages in serious debate with leftists and rightists. But Marty like Gideon has yet to condemn Israel’s settler ‘populists’ who practice ethnic cleansing.

Despite his statistical tables, Marty never links his facts with the western imperial pillage of Africa, Asia and Latin America. His concerns and moral indignation is very selective and flourishes when he finds colonized people who call into question his western values.

Marty’s hostility to China is more than a broken financial love affair (that never was). It is part of the FT propaganda war to downgrade Beijing’s economic advances in the world economy. In the January 14, 2019 issue the entire editorial board went on a rampage, ranting about China’s technological theft, its ‘slow down’ and pending crises … always reaching gloomy conclusions.

The FT expert observers note ‘big facts’ — that China is declining . . . all of one tenth of one percent over the previous year. Most China observers chuckle over the FT’s China ‘crises’ and wonder how the EU is ‘robust’ when it touches two percent and the US a shade higher?

China’s so-called economic crises is, in the eyes of the FT, a product of its bloated state sector even as it promotes science and high-tech growth—- but they are part of a total war.

Jamil Anderlini tags China as a ‘colonial power’ . . . with its single base in Djibouti and for financing hundreds of billions in infrastructure, while the colonialism label is not applied to the US with several hundred military bases in five continents. China’s crackdown of US funded Uighur terrorists, who have murdered hundreds of Chinese citizens, is described as genocide, a term more apt for the US intervention in Libya, Iraq, Somalia and Syria.

The FT has a stable of journalist hacks who specialize in ignoring US economic warfare against China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela etc.

All the economic ‘slowdowns’ among US adversaries are attributed to internal mismanagement never US intervention.

The one-sided propaganda pieces written by the FT leading hackers— Hornby, Feng, Politi, Kynge, Mallet, Anderlini, Bozorgmehr etc— are notoriously repetitive: China’s economy is on the verge of crises–which prediction never occurs and smart investors ignore while smirking all the way to their bank accounts.

The FT would offer its subscribers plenty to laugh about over late afternoon beers, if it were not for the war crimes it endorses. Their apologies of bloody western imperial invasions in the Middle East are not laughing matters.

The FT joins the Anglo-American chorus accusing Russia of political assassinations on British soil, without evidence or witnesses.

The FT has yet to chastise their US and British paymasters for their prolonged economic war against the elected governments in Venezuela.

The upwardly mobile FT scribes ,scrambling for senior posts, ignore the laughter at their pious claims of ‘democratic values’ because their columns reek of lies and denials of China’s advances, Russia’s economic recovery from the catastrophic decline which the Times celebrated alongside the oligarchs’ plunder during the lost decade of the nineties.

 

Conclusion

 
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As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.

We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.

We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US ‘regime changes’ throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Venezuela: Results and Perspectives 1950-2019

During the post WWII decade, the US, working through the CIA and the Pentagon, brought to power authoritarian client regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and several other countries.

In the case of Venezuela, the US backed a near decade long military dictatorship (Perez Jimenez ) roughly between 1951-58. The dictatorship was overthrown in 1958 and replaced by a left-center coalition during a brief interim period. Subsequently, the US reshuffled its policy, and embraced and promoted center-right regimes led by social and christian democrats which alternated rule for nearly forty years.

In the 1990’s US client regimes riddled with corruption and facing a deepening socio-economic crises were voted out of power and replaced by the independent, anti-imperialist government led by President Chavez.

The free and democratic election of President Chavez withstood and defeated several US led ‘regime changes’ over the following two decades.

Following the election of President Maduro, under US direction,Washington mounted the political machinery for a new regime change. Washington launched, in full throttle, a coup by the winter of 2019.

The record of US intervention in Venezuela is mixed: a middle term military coup lasted less than a decade; US directed electoral regimes were in power for forty years; its replacement by an elected anti-imperialist populist government has been in power for nearly 20 years. A virulent US directed coup is underfoot today.

The Venezuela experience with ‘regime change’ speaks to US capacity to consummate long-term control if it can reshuffle its power base from a military dictatorship into an electoral regime, financed through the pillage of oil, backed by a reliable military and ‘legitimated’ by alternating client political parties which accept submission to Washington.

US client regimes are ruled by oligarchic elites, with little entrepreneurial capacity, living off of state rents (oil revenues).

Tied closely to the US, the ruling elites are unable to secure popular loyalty. Client regimes depend on the military strength of the Pentagon —but that is also their weakness.

Regime Change in Regional-Historical Perspective

Puppet-building is an essential strategic goal of the US imperial state.

The results vary over time depending on the capacity of independent governments to succeed in nation-building.

US long-term puppet-building has been most successful in small nations with vulnerable economies.

The US directed coup in Guatemala has lasted over sixty-years – from 1954 -2019. Major popular indigenous insurgencies have been repressed via US military advisers and aid.

Similar successful US puppet-building has occurred in Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Being small and poor and having weak military forces, the US is willing to directly invade and occupy the countries quickly and at small cost in military lives and economic costs.

In the above countries Washington succeeded in imposing and maintaining puppet regimes for prolonged periods of time.

The US has directed military coups over the past half century with contradictory results.

In the case of Honduras, the Pentagon was able to overturn a progressive liberal democratic government of very short duration. The Honduran army was under US direction, and elected President Manual Zelaya depended on an unarmed electoral popular majority. Following the successful coup the Honduran puppet-regime remained under US rule for the next decade and likely beyond.

Chile has been under US tutelage for the better part of the 20th century with a brief respite during a Popular Front government between 1937-41 and a democratic socialist government between 1970-73. The US military directed coup in 1973 imposed the Pinochet dictatorship which lasted for seventeen years. It was followed by an electoral regime which continued the Pinochet-US neo-liberal agenda, including the reversal of all the popular national and social reforms. In a word, Chile remained within the US political orbit for the better part of a half-century.

Chile’s democratic-socialist regime (1970-73) never armed its people nor established overseas economic linkage to sustain an independent foreign policy.

It is not surprising that in recent times Chile followed US commands calling for the overthrow of Venezuela’s President Maduro.

Contradictory Puppet-Building

Several US coups were reversed, for the longer or shorter duration.

The classical case of a successful defeat of a client regime is Cuba which overthrew a ten-year old US client, the Batista dictatorship, and proceeded to successfully resist a CIA directed invasion and economic blockade for the better part of a half century (up to the present day).

Cuba’s defeat of puppet restorationist policy was a result of the Castro leadership’s decision to arm the people, expropriate and take control of hostile US and multinational corporations and establish strategic overseas allies – USSR , China and more recently Venezuela.

In contrast, a US military backed military coup in Brazil (1964) endured for over two decades, before electoral politics were partially restored under elite leadership.

Twenty years of failed neo-liberal economic policies led to the election of the social reformist Workers Party (WP) which proceeded to implement extensive anti-poverty programs within the context of neo-liberal policies.

After a decade and a half of social reforms and a relatively independent foreign policy, the WP succumbed to a downturn of the commodity dependent economy and a hostile state (namely judiciary and military) and was replaced by a pair of far-right US client regimes which functioned under Wall Street and Pentagon direction.

The US frequently intervened in Bolivia, backing military coups and client regimes against short-term national populist regimes (1954, 1970 and 2001).

In 2005 a popular uprising led to free elections and the election of Evo Morales, the leader of the coca farmers movements. Between 2005 – 2019 (the present period) President Morales led a moderate left-of-center anti imperialist government.

Unsuccessful efforts by the US to overthrow the Morales government were a result of several factors: Morales organized and mobilized a coalition of peasants and workers (especially miners and coca farmers). He secured the loyalty of the military, expelled US Trojan Horse “aid agencies’ and extended control over oil and gas and promoted ties with agro business.

The combination of an independent foreign policy, a mixed economy , high growth and moderate reforms neutralized US puppet-building.

Not so the case in Argentina. Following a bloody coup (1976) in which the US backed military murdered 30,000 citizens, the military was defeated by the British army in the Malvinas war and withdrew after seven years in power.

The post military puppet regime ruled and plundered for a decade before collapsing in 2001. They were overthrown by a popular insurrection. However, the radical left lacking cohesion was replaced by center-left (Kirchner-Fernandez) regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade (2003 – 15).

 
James Petras
About James Petras

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.


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