“…the root cause of the poverty of Third World peasants is their powerlessness—their lack of power to alter the social structures responsible for their poverty. By buttressing these social structures directly (as in Chile and Guatemala) and indirectly (through national and international aid organizations), the United States has perpetuated rather than alleviated…”world hunger”…The failure of aid programs to narrow the gap between rich nations and poor is that…aid has been determined less by the needs of the recipients and more by the political objectives of the contributors.”
– L.S. Stavrianos, Global Rift, 1981
“As you likely know, I have kept scores of Syrians in the United States. As a member of Congress I succeeded in getting 125 Arab boys in to attend school here. I got beat by three votes when I tried to fix the quota of 5,000. I just mention this to you to let you know that regardless of race, creed, or color, I have been doing my best…”
– Senator William Langer (R-ND) to a Syrian constituent, 1951
“(Guatemala’s) Arbenz was stubborn, prickly and visionary, but definitely a reformist socialist rather than a revolutionary Communist. But Arbenz, like (Chile’s) Allende, committed the unpardonable sin of infringing on American corporate interests (when he)…expropriated in 1953 some 200,000 acres of unused land belonging to United Fruit.”
– Global Rift
“Venezuela has become the first and only (Western) hemisphere nation where Armed Forces officers, traditionally the dependable, obedient tools of the extreme Right, have occasionally joined the extreme Left as active partners.”
– John Gerassi, The Great Fear in Latin America, 1963
“Iran…became the ideal state for implementing the Nixon Doctrine, which called for local clients with massive U.S. military aid and training to do the fighting necessary for preserving the status quo in strategic Third World regions.”
– Global Rift
This just in: A briefing from my KGB Husky friends around the world; Omar Khayyam from the Middle East; Señor Perro from Latin America; Kim Dog Un from Asia; and Putin and Rasputin from Russia and Eastern Europe:
Once upon a time, in lands far away, in 1953, 1954, and 1973, popular, elected, democratic governments, inspired by America’s 18th Century revolt against the British Empire, assumed power. They wanted to control their own destiny, not be subject to the control of 20th Century American and European corporate power.
Unfortunately, this is a cautionary rather than a fairy tale; so happy endings have no place. Attempts by Iranians [Mossadegh]; Guatemalans [Arbenz]; and Chileans [Allende], to make their nations safe for democracy were undone by agents of the U.S. Presidency and Congress, who overthrew these elected governments, and replaced them with dictatorships more to the liking of Wall Street, and boardrooms of large First World corporations. In each case a difficult situation was made worse, creating misery and murder in those countries, and the flight of their best and brightest to Europe and the United States as asylum seekers.
In Iran, Big Oil called the shots. In Guatemala; United Fruit (aka. Chaquita Banana). In Chile it was IT&T. What these conglomerates had in common was intense hatred of anyone who dared “f**k with their profit-driven hustle.” The coups were easy enough to pull off in plain sight, as long as the Soviet Union and Communist China existed to scare the bejesus out of the American people into blindly supporting these imperialistic policies in the name of “Anti-Communism.”
But then things started to unravel. It seems each of these democratic governments in the Middle East and Latin America was paired with genuine nationalism. They hated foreigners, especially Americans, who talked democracy, but practiced otherwise, and “f**ked with their Iranian, or Latin American hustle.” The results were dictators not to the liking of Wall Street and its minions in Washington D.C.
The first sign of blowback came with Cuba in 1961. American backed Cubans got their asses kicked by Dictator Fidel Castro’s well-organized troops with the support of most Cubans, who figured universal health care and access to education were a decent trade-off for 1st Amendment freedoms and the right to be brainwashed by the Rupert Murdochs of that day. And, of course, a little help from Russia’s Dictator, Nikita Khrushchev. Hmmm. Poor Fidel. He had to choose between Soviet sh*t heads and Wall Street sh*t heads.
A second blow to clever folks in the CIA, the State Department, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and bi-partisan Cold Warriors in Congress; not to mention an unsuspecting American public, came in Southeast Asia. Conspiracies against national self-determination there, democratic or otherwise, ran up against Ho-Chi-Minh. Ho had a strong army and favorable terrain. He began armed revolt in 1946 against the French with quotes from the American Declaration of Independence.
Ho’s appeals to American anti-colonial sentiment and traditions didn’t work, even after the French were defeated in 1954, with material aid from China. As in the case of Cuba, it was either sh*t heads from the Communist world or Wall Street.
Once Americans learned that what Charles de Gaulle had told them about those guys in black pajamas was true, they quite sensibly packed it in. The Viet Minh were then obliged in the 1970s to bloody Chinese noses: a lesson not lost on Beijing, but overlooked in the United States, it seems.
In 1979, the bill for Americans’ arrogance in Iran came due, and a dictatorship they could love with a Shah was replaced by a dictatorship they could hate: the Ayatollahs. Iranian roots go back to the Persian Empire in the 7th and 6th Centuries BC. Their national pride is well documented.
Before the follies of America’s Foreign Policy establishment of the 1950s could be exposed by realities of the 1960s, there was one man in Congress who spoke out relentlessly against the stupidity of supporting corporate greed against popular sovereignty and democratic forms of government: Senator William Langer[R-ND].
Senator Langer’s was the sole vote cast against the CIA invasion of Guatemala in 1954. He served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and opposed SEATO [The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization] on the grounds that it would not halt Communism, but, instead, pull American lives and treasure into useless wars. Langer also decried racism in Congress against peoples of Asia and the Middle East, and against Jews, Muslims, African Americans and Native Americans at home. Neither he nor his constituents were crazy. They knew from experience in the 1910s what it was like to be treated like a “shithole country,” as our current President-who-would-be-King [Donald Trump]prefers to call 3rd World nations.
Self-determination of farmers and ranchers in North Dakota began in 1915 with successful defiance of corporate control over their agricultural production. North Dakotans established State-owned institutions at a time when there was no CIA to overthrow their Non-Partisan League leadership. The FBI tried but failed.
As a founding father of an anti-imperialistic movement, Langer brought the NPL train of thought to the U.S. Senate [1940-1959] against policies of Congress and the Presidency which fostered Imperialism against the sovereign impulses of people outside of North Dakota. Langer’s warnings of American hubris were later echoed by fellow Senator J. William Fulbright (D-AK) [The Arrogance of Power].
Langer’s answers for disaffected around the world included: “Let them come to America and become citizens;” as well as food, clothing and, practical, modern techniques for those who would, or must, remain, a task taken up by numerous NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) formed since World War II. Langer’s concept of American intervention abroad is well represented today, for example, by the Solar Oven project [Haiti] of the Methodists; or the Kids in Need of Desks and school scholarships [Malawi] of msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
At long last, in 2019, there are signs that Senator’s Langer’s message, though largely forgotten beyond pages of the Congressional Record, and isolated areas of his home State, is being heeded. The new House of Representatives, under the guidance of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is composed of many men and women of myriad ethnicities, races, and religions, who are sick of being treated as if they were from “sh*thole” communities in the U.S.A.
Not surprisingly, in response to such popular sovereignty breaking out in the American Republic, President Trump and National Security Director John Bolton are, once again, beating the drums of war against Iran and yet another Latin American country (Venezuela this time), not to mention the demonizing of thousands of refugees [the so-called caravan] from corporate America’s empowerment of gangsters in their home countries of Central America.
As these dangerous games begin again, the cry of “The Tail Is Wagging the Dog” goes out amongst media sources of our collective wisdom. Signs of such intelligent life in the American public sphere are to be applauded and encouraged.
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